Runnin’ Down A Dream

The voice on the radio today said that Tom Petty would have been 69 years old tomorrow (if he had lived). He died in 2017. One of the concerts I never attended and wished I had.

Mike Campbell, who was in Tom Petty’s band, the Heartbreakers, is now playing with Fleetwood Mac. I got to see them (and him). Did a great performance, even a Tom Petty tribute. Remember Stevie and Tom’s duet, Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around?

One of Petty’s great songs is Runnin’ Down a Dream

I always thought this was a good theme song for my life. Runnin’ down a dream that never would come to me. My dream was a mixture of what I thought God wanted, my own inner inadequacies and the expectations of the world in which I grew up. A lot of stops and starts along the way. Mostly running, not much catching.

There’s a silly activity they play out during football games in Waco. They get someone, put ’em in a helmet, lead ’em to the end zone and launch footballs at them from a cannon of some sort. The poor character has to try and catch three, for a $100 each. I think they must corral cross-eyed people who’ve never held a football before to play the game. It’s also probably much harder than it looks.  Lot’s of misses.

When I look back, that’s what my runnin’ down a dream has looked like. A lot of fumbles along the way. Maybe it has been harder than it looks?

There’s a line in the lyrics, “workin’ on a mystery, goin’ wherever it leads”  That’s why I identify so well with the song. My dream has been such a mystery to me (to everyone else as well, I’m sure!). But for some reason I have kept chasing it. What else was I going to do? It has frustrated me, broken my heart, filled me with joy and kept me guessing. As I look back, I am nothing but confused about the strange path this chase has taken me (and my love) on.

Runnin’ down my dream was hard on everyone else. My wife loved me very hard. It was very hard to love me. She really worked hard at it. I can’t wait to count the stars in her crown for having to endure me. I’m glad we have eternity – it’s going to take me some time!

I’m at a crossroads again. Time to think about that dream and where I’m heading next. Where are you right now in your dreamin’? What metaphor seems to fit?

  • Treadmill
  • A game of Monopoly
  • Lost in the dark woods
  • Mountain to climb
  • Quicksand
  • Another mile in the marathon
  • Hide and Seek

The dream that God gives to each of us, the call he puts on our lives, isn’t going to go away. It’s not even a mystery to him. He’s going to remain faithful to you. Your life and every situation you find yourself in isn’t God. Read that again. Don’t get mixed up, don’t lose your faith in the outcome. Keep runnin’, keep dreaming. As long as it takes to find.

“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.” ― T.E. Lawrence (this is the Lawrence of Arabia guy)

Paul wrote this to the Corinthian church (1 Corinthians 15:10), I post-it noted it near my desk at work. I think it’s a wonderful reminder to me as I keep runnin’ down whatever dreams are left.

“…and His grace toward me was not in vain.”

 

 

Walking to Emmaus Part 3

 

road-to-emmaus

Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.” “What things?” Jesus asked. “The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him.  We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago.” – Luke 24:18-21

The great works of God were in the past tense for these two disciples. They were now in retreat. They had misunderstood who Jesus was, had sold him short. They described to this stranger a different kind of conflict because they had expected a different kind of rescue. Their savior was someone who could be “handled” by the authorities, someone who could not control events as they happened to him, a victim. What a crushing feeling of disappointment must have been written across their faces.

If only they had really heard what Jesus had been trying to communicate all along.

It makes me wonder about things that I might be missing. I wonder what the Holy Spirit has been trying to tell me and then I wonder what I’ve actually been hearing.  Sometimes it’s hard to hear life changing messages when you’re very busy propping up an agenda about yourself:

  • You see I want to make a point
  • I need to appear strong, not weak
  • I want to be moving forward in my spiritual journey, not backward
  • When people ask, I should have answers
  • Why would anyone come to me for help if I look unsteady?

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? – Matthew 16:24-26

It is increasingly difficult for the visible man to hear and understand eternal truth.

Did you pick up any “attitude” in Cleopas reply? “What kind of dumb hick are you? Let me explain what’s been going on.”  They are walking in the wrong direction yet are able to maintain a clear air of superiority. I wonder what that feels like, I’m glad I never act like that (ha!).

This part of the story is that constant and classic reminder to us all that we often misunderstand God’s will and then go about constructing and living in a different reality (Gordon-Conwell Seminary estimates that there are 43,000 Christian denominations world-wide, all reading the same Bible). That’s why Jesus taught his disciples to pray for God’s will on earth as it is in heaven. That’s why he came and joined these two on the crooked road to Emmaus, to straighten things out.

And He gives grace generously. – James 4:6