Tonight I was shopping for a few things after work and I came upon the cookie aisle. As I took my time perusing the packages and reading the labels, I reached for it… Milk’s Favorite Cookie, the Oreo. And then it hit me.
I remember when my brother was about 7 or 8, he had this intense Oreo craving. He would come home from school, eat Oreos, eat Oreo cereal, eat Oreos at lunch and after dinner. He loved Oreos. I remember one time, shortly after mom got ill and Dad was responsible for grocery shopping, he came home with a bag of groceries.
My brother came out into the kitchen and asked for an Oreo. My dad, proudly took the Oreos out of the bag and handed my brother two. My brother looked at the cookies that lay in his band, and looked up at a my dad and said “These aren’t Oreos.” My dad had purchased the ‘other’ Oreos. I’ll never forget my dad’s face, he was so proud, and he’s not a guy to show emotion, but he said “Oh, buddy, yes they are. They are just the ones I chose.” But my brother passed them up. He would rather have *his* Oreos or none at all.
I went into this whole post thinking it was going to be about how parents do their best and how great they are (which they all are, including mine!), but God does some funny stuff.
Take the Oreo. That’s your dream for your life. You spent all your time craving it, all your time waiting for it, taking small bites… completely devouring your dream… and then God, one day, swaps it out with the ‘other’ dream. “This isn’t my dream.” “Oh, buddy, yes it is. This is the one I have for you.” And then we pass that dream up; we would rather have the best or none at all.
This is just all too incredible. God is too incredible.
Recently, I have been having some regrets. I’ll say it. I’m not afraid to say it. My husband knows, my family and friends know. I have regretted every decision I have made that wasn’t in line with my dream. See, when I was young, God called me into ministry. I remember very vividly a dream He gave me. I was going to be in a foreign country, and I was surrounded by children. This was confirmed various times throughout my teenage years, I was wicked good at Children’s sermons, I lead multiple vacation bible schools, and was even the leader of my youth group—as a youth myself! I was given favor and I was blessed. I knew I was going to go to Valley Forge. And I knew I was going to leave as a Minister.
During my college years, I met a mentor of mine at that time, Pastor Jenny Duncan. WOW. This lady, she was and still is, one of my all-time favorite people. She was this enthusiastic, Mission-minded, Christ-centered gal who happened to be the head of our missions department. During my freshmen year, after leadership from her on how to attain the spiritual gifts God had for me, and countless praying sessions face down on her floor with her, I felt called to missions…. Australia was my choice for fun, and the Middle East was my choice because never tell God you don’t want to do something.
During the next few months, I would continue to prepare myself to live a life completely and 100% to Christ and His mission, selflessly and fully. I knew that this probably meant no family, no husband, and I was more than okay with that!
Fast forward. I’m married. With a husband. Working for The Man (far from my hipster college days!) I am doing nothing that I planned. I had my own dream and then God gave me the ‘other’ dream… He gave me the one He had for me. He gave me the best.
Am I saying that because God gives you something else, that will mean that your yearning to do other things for Him is now void? No. But, remember that God has promised you something. He promised to give you a life of purpose to serve Him and I am willing and able to do that however He has planned for me. I could have taken another route in life… I could have ignored my feelings for my husband, I would have finished my degree and pursued a life that I knew God had for me. But things changed, and I took that path that seemed riskier (honestly) and look at where it took me! A state away, a great job, great friends, a great church, a fantastic family and my husband… what a true privilege and blessing! I’m glad I took the path I did. I’m glad that God gave me various avenues to take and I’m glad that they all ended with me using my talent and my whole heart to serve Him.
Take this as you would like, but just know that just because you have dreams that you think line up with God’s dreams, the plan can change and He can hand you something other than what you have planned… He can hand you the best.