This summer I have been watching Friday Night Lights on Netflix. To say that I adore FNL would be an understatement. This show is one of the best things I have ever watched in my entire life. Amazing, entertaining, touching. The characters and story-lines really get to the heart of the joys and sorrows of living life.
One of the characters, "Smash", is a really good high school football player. He has dreams of being the star of a large, state university football team (like Alabama or LSU) and then one day playing in the NFL. Due to some bad decisions that Smash makes in one season his scholarship at a big, state school is taken away. In the end, the only university that still wants him is a small, unknown university with a football team that never wins.
In that last episode of the season Smash is crying because his dream of playing for a big state school is gone and he's committed to play for this little, unexciting university. His mother comes in his room and tells him that this is part of God's plan, that God never fumbles, that He always scores a touchdown.
It might be cheesy, but that rang so true to me. We all have dreams. Maybe not football dreams, but we all have dreams. To live in a beautiful house, to have a prestigious job, to make lots of money, to be a missionary, a pastor, a writer, a mom, the list could go on and on and on.
For some people, their dreams seem to come easy. What they want they get and from the outside looking in, their lives look perfect and easy and fun. And maybe they are.
But I truly believe that oftentimes God doesn't outright give us our dreams, not because He doesn't want us to have them, but because He wants us to have something better. Why, in God's plan, would playing football for an unknown university be better than playing for LSU?
When we don't get exactly what we want we're humbled. Humility might be one of God's greatest gifts. Pride is the barrier to so many wonderful things in life. Humility allows you to stop and consider your choices, their long term effects, and how they effect others. Humility allows you to acknowledge that there is something more powerful than yourself and that you are not in control. Humility allows for genuine relationships with God and with others. Pride prevents all of those things. Pride is a trap, like a trail of fool's gold leading to a pit of sinking sand.
For some people fame and glory and all their dreams coming true down to the very last detail might be part of God's plan for their lives. But for most of us that are seeking God in any way, His plan is going to involve humility. And that is His mercy. We're never living more fully than when we're the most honest about who we are - with ourselves, with God, and with others.
Plus, the humbling things often turn out to be the most beautiful. In ways that only the Divine could orchestrate. We dream of seeing our own glory in our dreams coming true. God desires to show us His own, incomparable glory in His power and sovereignty over our lives. The things that we think are humbling, embarrassing, or disappointing might turn out to be the best things that ever happened to us.
When I was a teenager I vowed I'd never go to Houston Baptist University. It just seemed so unexciting. However, after more than a few humbling experiences in my life, I not only have a degree from HBU, but I am now also employed by HBU. And guess what? I loved being a student there and I am thoroughly enjoying working there. God's plan, not mine.
When I was in my early 20's one of my greatest fears was that I wouldn't get married by age 30. At almost 29 and still unmarried, it is at times humbling, but it is also a gift. I know and love the Lord Jesus in ways that I'm pretty sure I personally wouldn't have if I had gotten what I wanted, when I wanted it. Humility. God's plan, not mine. Because He is God and I am so very not.
Dreams are great and I believe they should be pursued, but know that when humility comes it is a gift. Humility is always a gift. When you have been humbled, keep your eyes open and cling to Him - He's showing you His dream for you life. Trust Him.