dreams of a flightless bird

Why does it seem so easy to see clearly for another person, but not for myself? Have you ever felt this tension? I can see the potential for another individual, but when I consider my own situation I am mired in the present (or is it the past?) as if my feet are in mud and I can scarcely walk, let alone make progress toward my hopes and dreams. I begin to question whether I deserve such lofty aspirations. I hide under a cloak of practicality. I bury those dreams which allow my deepest desires to flourish, assuming they must have been meant for someone else. It is like dreaming of winged flight, only to realize I am a flightless bird. I go to flight school. I study the theory of flight. I practice in flight simulators. I attend flight retreats and conferences, and even wear an official flight jacket. But at the end of it all I am still a flightless bird. Or so I persuade myself over many years of silent conversation. It is as if my dreams never existed. And thus they die. And something inside of me dies along with them.

It is easier for me to engage in dreams which clearly benefit others. Those, I can justify. And I surely delight in them. My dissertation was not for me, strictly speaking. It was for my church, especially for the parents I am privileged to pastor. It was also for their children. I was motivated to turn the heart of parents and children to each other and God in Jesus Christ. It was one dream fulfilled through many years of God’s grace, provision, encouragement from many others, and very hard work. I am thankful for it, but it does not satisfy at the heart level the longings which I bear down deeply.

As I reflect on my current station in life, I am both thankful and unsettled. I am motivated and uneasy. I am thankful for all God has done, and will do. I am unsettled by my selfishness to complain about my feelings and my struggles. I am motivated to trust God and please him through joyful obedience and humble service. I am uneasy because I know that I too often fall far short of this ideal; I fail miserably on account of my disobedience, my pride, and the complaining in my heart. It hurts to admit. It is liberating, all the same. I am human; son of the first adam with all the sinful traits inherited from his bloodline. Yet also adopted as co-heir with Jesus Christ. And that is an encouraging reminder.

I still don’t see clearly. The future is opaque. I have hope in Jesus Christ. I trust him. And I move forward in my slow, plodding way. Testing the wind velocity. Attempting to sense potential downdrafts or predatory birds. Preparing for that day when God will lift the veil from my eyes even to a small degree, and speak the command to take flight….

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