When I was a girl, my childhood dreams took many forms. I dreamed of being a nurse. A flight attendant. A rock musician. A Peace Corp volunteer (for a very short time in high school.) And a writer.
What I have been is a student. A marketing professional. An entrepreneur. A wife. Mother. Homeschooling mom. Counseling ministry director. Seminary graduate. And a writer.
Through the years, I’ve taken my identity from these roles and often forgotten about the little girl dreams I once had. But lately, God is leading me down a path of rediscovering the person He designed me to be. To reconnect with the dreams he placed in my heart as a girl.
Recalling who and what we wanted to be when we grew up might feel like a sentimental exercise in nostalgia. Especially when reality is calling us to get to work on the adult responsibilities looking us right in the face today.
So why spend time remembering the dreams of childhood?
Because when we take time to remember our childhood dreams and wonder where they came from, we might discover something delightful. That the dreams we had as children might be clues to the people God designed us to be.
It’s possible that our childhood dreams sprung up quite naturally in response to how God uniquely created you and me. With personalities, talents, abilities, and passions that He gives us and allows us to use throughout our lives, often in unexpected ways.
When we take a closer look, we might discover that we’ve been living out some of our childhood dreams even when we didn’t realize it.
Even though I never became a nurse, flight attendant, or Peace Corp volunteer, I’ve spent most of my life using the gifts and opportunities God has provided to live my dream of helping others. I’ve nursed hundreds of injuries – from skinned knees to broken hearts. I’ve scheduled, planned, and executed dozens of adventures. Making sure everyone had their seat belts fastened, were fully informed of safety concerns, and had all the snacks they needed to make every trip enjoyable. And I’ve ventured into other countries and cultures to build houses in Mexico and train counselors in South Africa.
While I never learned to play electric guitar, or any other instrument beyond the clarinet in high school band, God still uses music to lift my spirits and bring me joy. Music of all kinds – rock, country, classical, worship and hymns – fills my life every day, just as I dreamed it would as a child.
When I was young, God gave me a desire to communicate ideas, thoughts, and feelings with others. And I’ve lived my dream of being a writer every time I’ve picked up a pen (or a laptop.) As a girl, when I would journal by a pond on our Oregon property. In my early career, when I wrote marketing copy for banks and newsletters for a radio station. And today, as I’m seeing how my dream of writing might be connecting to my dream of helping others.
If childhood dreams were one way God first connected us to our authentic selves, then rediscovering them might be a way to live our lives with more of the joy and passion He designed us for.
So how do we reconnect with the dreams that once filled our hearts as children? By staying connected to the One who created us to dream.
Who better to understand the desires of our hearts, than the Lord himself? The One who promises to give us those desires when we delight ourselves in Him. (Psalm 37:4)
So how about you? What dreams from your childhood have you been living out in unexpected ways? And which dreams are still waiting for you to rediscover? Are you able to take them out and let God show you how they still matter in your life? Maybe not in the ways you stored away as a young child, but in ways that might surprise you.
I hope you will. And I hope what you discover delights you. And causes you to delight in the One who made you a dreamer.