i used to dream every night.

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i’m writing this from conception abbey, a benedictine monastery about two hours north of kansas city in northwestern missouri. i’m doing a 4 day orientation and intensive course as apart of central baptist’s “create” program. i am in a cohort of nine individuals who i will be spending quite a bit of time with over the next three years.

we’ve had the opportunity to take part in the daily prayers with the monks, and have spent time doing lectio divina together. the place is quiet and thick with wisdom. i already feel enlightened to a spiritual life i had no clue about previously.

that being said, these are the words that have been resonating with me over the last few days:

“i used to dream every night. now i never dream at all. i hope it’s cause i’m livin everything i want.” – donald glover, aka childish gambino, “outside

yep. came to hang with the monks and can’t get the first line of a rap song out of my noggin. what’d you expect? some 6th century monastic quote? check in with me in a few years and i’ll be throwin those out left and right, but today’s word comes from donald glover.

let me try to explain. while i’ve been here, we – my cohort and i – have been led through a series of dialogues reflecting on our life…
– how did we get here?
– where are we going?
– what do we hope life looks like when we get there?
…questions like that have got me dwelling significantly on the last handful of years that have prepared me for this new venture in theological study. and a “handful”, in this case, has the value of exactly 8.

eight years ago i started my undergrad at kstate. while it wasn’t a pointless phase of my life – i did manage to acquire a degree and a wife while there – but i certainly didn’t feel like i was living out my dreams. those closest to me know that college was a time of tension for me; it was like i was stuck in a purgatory before i could begin my youth ministry career in kansas city. i knew i needed to be there if i was ever going to do seminary someday, but the present was tough. i could see the future, and i couldn’t wait for it to be in the here and now.

a bit over 3 years ago, i finally got to start doing year-round youth ministry. soon after that i got engaged to the love of my life. then we bought a house. then we got married and have gotten to travel all over the world and enjoy our marraige greatly. then i got my dream job working a jacob’s well. and then 3 months ago i found out i got a full-scholarship to seminary.

literally, all my college dreams have come true. let’s recap. college dreams:
1. do youth ministry in kansas city.
2. somehow dupe karlie into dating me.
3. put my undergrad degree to use by going to seminary someday.

check. check. check.

so back to donald’s lyric. in college, “i used to dream every night”, but since then, my life has slowly morphed into “livin everything i want.”

how about that?

but as i’m entering seminary, i feel like i’m throwing away those dreams. i have two options:
door #1. continue living everything i want.
door #2. ruin everything by adding 25 hrs/wk of class, dialogue, study, and stress.

and i’m choosing door number two. and that’s annoying to me somewhat, but i know it is what i am called to live into. i wrote a few days ago about “why i’m going to seminary“, and i still think that’s true – i’m going because i want to be the best youth pastor i can be – but i think it’s more than that too. i think i’m also going because it is where God wants me in this season of my life. if that means throwing away the good life in order to live more fully in my calling, so be it. because ultimately, living fully in my calling is more life giving than any good life i could dream of.

a wise man once said, “if you vote for me, all of your wildest dreams will come true.” an even wiser man once said, “i have come that you may have life and have it to the full.”

so i think that’s what i’m doing here. entering into the next phase of life because i know that living in the fullness of Jesus is worth more than living in the fullness of my dreams from 8 years ago. besides, if i’m already living everything i want, then i should probably think up some new dreams to strive for. like getting to perform the wedding of some former students someday. or celebrating a decade with my wife. or building a treehouse with my son or daughter someday. or maybe write a book or two. those are just a few already coming to mind.

so here’s to ruining everything and actively waiting to live my dreams even more fully. both now and someday in the future.

-apc.

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