I’ve mentioned many times that I have always been what many would consider to be a “dreamer.” Dictionary.com defines a dreamer from two extremes saying on one hand that a dreamer is “a person who lives in a world of fantasy; one who is impractical and unrealistic.” Then on the other side of the coin states that a dreamer is “a person whose ideas or projects are considered audacious or highly speculative; a visionary.”
I have come to learn that people who do not understand dreamers will automatically lean toward the first definition listed above. Through the years I have been called naïve, told I was living in “La, La, Land,” am irresponsible and by a few, that I am just plain stupid! But to those who have an understanding and appreciation of the inner workings of us dreamers, both my wife and I have been congratulated for our faith and confidence over some of the things we stepped out to do (even when they didn’t turn out as well as we had hoped), have received much prayer and encouragement and emotional support and at times even emulated as examples to follow. So you can see that the reactions are quite polar!
But I have also learned that being a dreamer entails much responsibility, lots of faith and patience, planning, persistence and the ability to smile when others openly criticize you… for being you! I imagine that it must be difficult for a non-dreamer to understand what’s going on in the mind and spirit of a dreamer!
I recently purchased a new bibliography on the life and times of the well-known American frontiersman Daniel Boone after seeing a two part segment on one of the North Carolina history programs on our local PBS TV channel. It turns out that Daniel Boone spent 21 years of his life right here in our new home state after coming here at the age of eighteen with his parents and many siblings (There were 10 or 11 kids in the family!). So with the new book, I decided to revive the tradition that we started during our first winter in our home, of spending a little time each afternoon in our cozy study reading from an historical book.
After reading the introduction, the preface and looking of the multipage chronology of events in the life of our frontier hero, I turned to my wife with a smile, a laugh and a yearning in my heart and declared: “Like I’ve said before Honey, if we had lived back then I can almost guarantee that we would have had a covered wagon and would have been continually moving west every few years along with all the other pioneers as the country grew.”
I talked to our oldest daughter last week about a similar subject when she came over to spend the afternoon with us. I explained how I would get bored and restless with all the secular jobs that I had held over the years after I had been working there for a while. Looking back, it seemed to flow on a five year cycle. I’d start the position with a bang, work hard and then find myself after a few years no longer looking forward to another day on the job! In the discussion above, it would be like the farmer who is standing in the field he had finally cleared and tended for a few years and looks out across the horizon and begins to dream about the new lands, exciting adventures and challenges with all the other possibilities that loomed over the next mountain range!
But with those new adventures and challenges comes the reality of facing new things that you have never encountered before. And while that can be exciting it also means that you are going to have to deal with the difficulties of stepping out of your comfort zone again! The reality of this normal and sometimes daily event in each of our lives has really come to the forefront of my understanding during this long and difficult journey with my wife’s health.
Over the years I have continually been forced to step out of my personal comfort zone in the preservation of my wife’s life. I was thinking yesterday about all the difficult phone calls, office visits, benefits research and more meetings, disease research and questioning and the hours of prayer in which I have endeavored to inquire for my wife’s needs. Then on top of all that there is having to deal with other people’s reactions and/or responses to my wife’s situation… some outstanding in their reaching out to her and others who cannot seem to step beyond the confines of their own comfort zones.
One thing that impressed me in the two part documentary about Daniel Boone’s adventures in North Carolina that we watched on TV, was the outstanding strength and abilities of Boone’s wife Rebekah that he had met and married while in our state. It seems that she was one of the main foundations of his life that enabled him to accomplish the things that are written in the history books. She must have been a remarkable woman when you consider all that she did in raising ten children, caring for and defending the homestead while Daniel was on a long hunt (sometimes as long as two years at a time) and supporting and encouraging her husband through the ups and down of his remarkable life.
I would imagine that she was continually faced with situations while living on the wilderness borders of our young country that forced her to step beyond the securities of her comfort zone! And from what I have seen on the TV documentary and read so far in the book, she did it with exemplary ease!
I got that same feeling of exemplary conduct with the writings of the Apostle Paul to his son-in-the-ministry Timothy. In I Timothy 1:18-19 Paul encourages his protégé to take the calling as Pastor in the pagan city of Ephesus that had been prophesized over him and personally charged by Paul to accomplish with zeal by “Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck…” (KJV)
Like Daniel and Rebecca Boone, Timothy and in some respects myself (although I’m not sure I can put myself on the same line as these strong historical characters!), I challenge each of my readers to take an honest look at how you handle that place that I am sure you have come to in your lives… when you are faced with new situations that you may not be familiar with… or be comfortable in pursuing. How do you face that fear that tries to crop up and encourage you to simply turn around and go back to where you were before? Do you swallow hard and set your confidence on the strength of God… or do you retreat and choose not to deal with the situation?
This is a tough one… but it is a decision that we have to make continually! As a dreamer, it is a decision that I have had to face MANY times in my life… and I admit that it doesn’t necessarily get any easier… EXCEPT... that I always have the memory of the last success when I stepped out of my comfort zone in the faith and good conscience of the Lord and His Word that carries me through the initial tough times of any new move!
Have a great rest of the week, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting to do today when faced with something that challenges the borders of my comfort zone?”