Ryan Adams, the alternative rock/alternative country, singer-songwriter interviewed on a recent Austin City Limits and spoke about his busy schedule following the release of a CD. He was lamenting the demands on his day to a friend, telling her:
I’ve got to get up and do three interviews today, I have to go do a performance on the BBC and then I have to go do a show— I was really tired.
And she goes, “Yeah, actually, the way you start that sentence is, ‘I get to.'” And I never forgot that; it was unbelievable advice. I get to get up and do this today. I don’t know how it’s going to be but I’m going to have an amazing time doing it.
Ryan Adams learned an invaluable lesson from that friend— he was living the life he’d always wanted, but in moments of fatigue and challenge he was forgetting that. He was living the dream but didn’t realize it.
Many of us are living our own dreams right now but, like Adams, we forget that blissful thought when we find ourselves in the midst of particular trials or fatigue. Marriages and vocations, raising children and investing in the lives of others, lifestyles we yearned for in days or years gone by, these are the stuff of dreams on earth.
In talks with newlyweds navigating their way through the necessary friction of young marriages, or in conversations with parents travailing with their children, and when talking with friends moaning under the demands of relationships, work and school loads, I try to include in my commiserating this reminder— you’re living the dream.
You get to be married.
You get to raise your own family.
You get to invest in your future.
You get to, you get to, you get to…
This isn’t to minimize the fact that sometimes our lives seem more nightmare than dream and we long to wake from those “dark nights of the soul.” But dreams fulfilled on earth, like life itself, have tears as well as laughter, sorrows as well as joys.
And God assures the Christian that even the nightmares, the trials and apparent losses are in fact being indispensably used to confirm His “dream” (that is, His good will, ordained in Christ before the world’s foundation, Ephesians 1:4) for our lives— transformation into the perfection of the image of His Son Jesus.
To remind ourselves in the midst of trials that the hardships are occurring in the pursuit of and in the midst of the dream is to regain perspective. We regain a sense of peace and joy when we realize the temporary sorrow or pain of the moment will give way to the dream more fully realized.
Psalm 30:5 … Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.
To remind myself that I get to counsel and teach, that I get to interact in the lives of others needing reassurance or guidance, that I get to spend myself and count it loss for what’s gained, is to realize again that I get to live my dream.
For the Christian living the dream here and now, in whatever degree we have that sense of longing fulfilled, is to be reminded that our best dreams will be turned to the most glorious reality in the presence of Christ when heaven meets earth, where joy never dies, and in that company where the best of waking dreams goes on forever.
God help us live aware of the grace whereby we get to live out our dreams now, and wake to dreams come true in God’s presence forever.