The other day I was organizing our kitchen pantry.
As I often do when tackling tedious tasks, I listened to Youtube videos. Brene’ Brown is a favorite. I appreciate the research she’s done concerning shame and vulnerability. One segment was her interview with Oprah Winfrey. Near the conclusion, Brown told Oprah, “One of the things I love about you is that you are both a student and a teacher.” What a lovely compliment, I thought. One I’d welcome receiving.
Those words apply to today’s post. In the matter of ‘praydreaming,’ I’m a student. Since I will be sharing with you a little of what I know about this life-giving practice, that makes me a teacher.
Again, quotes in today’s post come from the book I referenced last time (http://suereeve.com/the-power-of-imagination-3/), God’s Voice Within by Mark Thibodeaux, S. J. If you haven’t read that post, I suggest you do so. It provides an important foundation.
We all have desires, but if you’re anything like me, you’ve often had questions and confusion about those desires. I love this Ignatian insight:
“We fall into sin when we are ignorant of the true, God-given desires beneath the apparent desire. We sin, not because we are in touch with our desires, but precisely because we are not in touch with them.
How then do I tap into these great desires? I dream…I let God dream in me, and I sit in silent awe and wonder as these holy dreams come to life before the eyes and ears of my soul.”
If you decide to practice ‘praydreaming,’ here are some ideas for situations I’ve experienced or from talking with others.
- Offered a promotion. The job seems perfect, but it will require relocation.
- Elderly parent needs a higher level of care, and I want to care in the best possible way.
- Thinking about starting a new ministry. The thought excites and terrifies me.
- Wonder if I should: go back to work; look for a new job; pursue higher education; or retire.
- It feels like God may want me to go overseas to minister to women rescued from sex trafficking.
- Don’t feel good about the way my husband and I are relating since retirement.
- Desire to develop a good relationship with my step-kids/grandkids but don’t know how.
List some ideas that pop into your head—both pro and con—about your unique situation. Jot down two to four different ideas in each category.
I like Thibodeaux’s suggestion to start by asking, “What is my purpose in life?’ His answer is always the same: “To praise, reverence and serve God.” Then he asks: “How am I uniquely called to do this?”
Next, invite God to dream in you. Choose a silent place, and begin to let your imagination run wild, one idea at a time.
As you work through this process—one which will most likely take several days or even longer—consider which ideas fill you with the feeling God is smiling, or as Thibodeaux suggests, “…leaves me with a deep-down peace and tranquility…a sense of rightness…fits-like-a-glove sort of feeling.” Conversely, which ideas leave you feeling cold, disturbed, distant from God or just plain yucky!
I believe God is trustworthy. When I am seeking God’s direction, I won’t be led astray. As I ‘praydream’ possibilities, I’ve found imaginations, either positive or negative, will often be confirmed through
conversations with a respected friend or mentor;
words of a song, book, sermon or video;
a dream, or as I experienced recently, through a friend’s dream about me;
Of the Good Shepherd, Psalm 23 says,
Ron and I got a kick out of this country road sign—both directions were Montana Way! We wondered how GPS would deal with the directions. Sometimes, discerning God’s path feels as confusing as this road sign.
Blessings as you invite God to dream in you…