12. The Hopes and Fears of all the Years

A week from Valentines’ Day, all the pink and red store window displays make you gag. So they are tacky, but maybe part of the disgust comes from your thinly-veiled longings to be celebrated and loved. It would be nice to get a loving card or enjoy a gourmet meal with a man friend. Anything wrong with wanting that?

No.

In his introduction to The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis said Satan tries to get people into two extremes: to have a morbid fascination with demons or to think they’re not there at all.

Satan uses the same tactics in the realm of our desires. We can become obsessed with what we want and what would make us feel good. Or we can deny that we carry any unmet desires deep down in our hearts. These mind patterns work themselves out in either addictions or cynicism. Both extremes wither our souls and keep us from looking at life with open, honest faces.

It wouldn’t be so hard to have the heart of a princess if we lived in a fairy-tale world. The birds would wake us in the morning, we would have beautiful clothes laid out for us every day, a song would always be on our lips, and our good fairy godmother would be there to make certain our dreams always came true. Everyone would love us and we would love everyone in return.
And in the real world it wouldn’t be so hard to give up hope instead of struggling day after day to keep our dreams alive, because in this not-so-fairy-tale world, life is hard. We could openly acknowledge that the birds have gone south for the winter and probably died along the way. We could be cynical about everything, and mean to everyone. After all, we spend our days chained to the washing machine, covered in Cheerios, and on hold with the phone company. Why not admit we’re miserable and create misery for everyone else?
But we simply can’t be satisfied by living exclusively in either world—both worlds are seductive and dangerous illusions and impossible to live in consistently. The difficulty in front of us is finding that place in-between—a place where we can cultivate the true heart of a princess, full of dreams, wonder, delight, and joy, right in the middle of this crazy, broken, hard-to-understand, disappointing world. (Nicole Johnson, Keeping a Princess Heart in a Not-So-Fairy-Tale World, (Nashville, Tennessee, W Publishing Group, 2003) p. 21)

Verbalize Your Dreams

One year Michelle gave me a Dream Journal for my birthday. Instead of using it to record my sleep-time dreams, which I can rarely remember anyhow, I determined to use it to journal about the things I desire, dream of, and long for. At that time I was too scared to spend time thinking about my dreams, much less put them on paper in black and white. The journal stayed blank for a year.

During that year filled with excruciating, blinding pain and hilarious, bubbling joy, I allowed God to expand my heart. He let me know that He treasures my heart and is interested in what goes on inside. Since He knows it all and still loves me, why not be honest with myself and write what’s on my heart? So I started listing things I dreamed of doing some day:

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