Some time ago I went shopping for a dress for a specific occasion. I had been thinking about this purchase for a couple days, and I had in mind exactly the dress I wanted, down to the cut, color and fabric. So you can imagine how frustrated I was after several afternoons of several hours of shopping did not produce the dress I was looking for. Then, when I had almost given up, I found the dress. It was the exact colour and design I wanted, in the exact fabric I imagined. I was over the moon – until I tried it on and it didn’t look at all how I thought it would. I was beyond disappointed.
As I thought about this experience recently I couldn’t help but draw spiritual significance to it. We are taught through life to set goals for ourselves. And we are told to make these goals specific so we can know when we have achieved them. Then we spend large amounts of time, energy and sometimes money in pursuit of our specific goals. We pray to God for them. We petition support from friends and family towards them, and we refuse to settle for anything other than them. But how many times after pursuing these goals do we find that they do not bring us as much satisfactions as we thought they would? What happens when the desires we pursue don’t fit? When the job we jumped through so many hoops to have does not leave us feeling fulfilled? When the University we sweated, saved and sacrificed to attend does not meet the needs we thought it would? When that relationship we pursued relentlessly over obstacles and despite the discouragements of others brings us more distress than happiness? What happens when the dress doesn’t really fit?
That’s when God has the opportunity to open our minds to so much more. After I had let go of the dream of that specific dress, I was able to open my eyes to see all the possibilities around me, including the better outfit I did end up buying. In the same way, God often has something for us – something that we don’t have enough imagination to want for ourselves – that He is waiting to give if we just let go of our own dream for ourselves. And sometimes allowing us to get what we want and realize that it isn’t really what we want, helps us to see that better thing that He wants for us. But think about how much time we could have saved if we just opened up our vision in the first place. As you go into this week, with all your specific plans, I pray that you make room for God’s plan for you. It is likely better than anything you could dream up on your own.
To him who by means of his power working in us is able to do so much more than we can ever ask for, or even think of: to God be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time, forever and ever! Amen. – Ephesians 3:20-21