Number 1 Regret of the Dying: I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it. –Bonnie Ware’s book The Regrets of the Dying
In her pink bed the girl would sit and dream, stories of what the future looked like, the man she would marry, the house she would live in and the babies she would hold.
They were dreams of the future, but they were also dreams of heaven, of the happiness that could be part of a beautiful life.
The adventure of childhood is the wonder of what could be: the treasure found, the land discovered, the hero emerging from a girl’s heart.
Once, we were all heroes. Once, we could slay dragons.
But the dragon slayers and heroes grew up and forgot the wonders they dreamed before they fell asleep at night.
The dreams of what could be.
Now the girl was a woman. She scrubbed floors on her hands and knees and swept away the back door dirt. She cleaned toilets, and bathtub rings, and dishes with caked-on food.
The dreams she had as a girl were broken fragments that she tried piecing together. Somehow she never got it right.
At night she lay awake, thinking of her mistakes, the worried thoughts, the things that kept her body from slowing down into the rhythmic beat of sleep.
Where were the dreams now?
She no longer remembered what could be.
Why is it that when we grow up, we stop dreaming of what we could do and just try to endure the days?
We believe the lies that say,
It could never be.
It’s not possible.
It’s all the no’s in life that teach us to stop dreaming.
It’s all the disappointments that teach us to see life in terms of what can’t be.
If the evil one can stop us from dreaming, he can stop us from doing.
Apathy paralyzes us by making us believe we can’t change things.
We are stuck.
We’re not good enough.
Nothing will change.
But when we open ourselves up to God-sized dreams instead of child-size ones, then our faith opens doors we could not see.
We begin to dream dreams again.
Just ask Moses.
When our dreams align with God’s, then the chaos of our lives comes into focus.
The things that he loves become the things we love.
The things that break his heart break our hearts.
The things we begin to dream—of lives changed and churches started, the poor helped and the abused rescued—these are the miracles we hope for and pray about and dream of.
Our impossible becomes possible when our dreams become prayers given up to God and lived out in faith.
Who could dream of walls that fall, and captives set free, and blind who see, and grace given for the worst of sinners?
Who could dream of seas that part, and armies of angels and a sun that stands still?
Who could dream of this but a God who made it true?
Maybe if we stopped living our lukewarm existence and traded it for God-sized dreams, maybe then our hearts would be challenged to live bigger, to trust more, to live a life steeped in faith.
Because it’s not by our hands that these dreams can be reality, but by Him who can do a good work in us.
By him who can make the impossible a reality.
With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)
The woman who stopped dreaming dreams, she realized it one day:
The smallest and first step is dreaming of what could be and then asking, How Lord?
She knew she couldn’t do it on her own.
Somewhere in the process, dreams and faith intersect.
But she didn’t want to get to the end of her life and realize it was too late, that the whole time she had thought her life was too small, her hands too weak, her heart too frail.
It had never been about her anyway.
So she followed this wild path and listened for His words of what could be.
She believed the stories of hope she’d been told as a girl, the stories of redemption and healing and the impossible.
She wanted to live a better story, the broken pieces of her life becoming a story of beauty and wonder.
The broken pieces becoming the dream.