I had a vivid dream last night. In it, I was with a friend from decades ago. This friend and his wife were instrumental in my faith journey- she led me to Christ, and he spoke into my life as a new believer. They changed my life.
This friend is now a college president. In my dream, as I went to greet him, I was anticipating a hug. Not just any hug, but one of those all-encompassing, draw-you-in bear-hugs. I remember this friend’s hugs and contagious laugh as part of his defining characteristics. But in the dream, my anticipated (and hoped-for) hug was intercepted by a stiffened hand shake- the kind that catches you off-guard when you’re expecting something else. It was a good handshake, firm, and full of the same “great-to-see-you-again” intent. But as the handshake ensued, his eyes darted around and he whispered something that meant “I can’t hug you in public. I don’t know what my constituency would think.” I remember feeling disappointed, not just about the hug, but that he couldn’t be himself.
As my dream continued, I learned that the lack of a hug was because he felt somewhat constrained by his position, and some questionable behavior of one of his predecessors. The details are a little fuzzy, but hey, it was a dream.
In the dream, I had the chance to write my friend a note of encouragement. Not on a card or stationery, but in a memento book- the kind you would write in at a wedding or a bed and breakfast to share your experience. In my dream, I wrote something like this (with perhaps some editing here):
“Dave, I am so excited for you in your new role as college president. I know you will do well. In my experiences and study of higher education, I know the Academy can be perceived as uptight, even snobby. I know there are expectations that have been placed on you. But my word of encouragement is this: Don’t forget who you are and who you were created to be. LEAD WITH YOUR BEST SELF. Do not lose who you are, who God made you to be, in order to do your job.”
I don’t remember much else from the dream, other than an overwhelming feeling that I needed to capture the experience here. Why was this dream so vivid? Why do I remember the details so clearly?
Perhaps the dream was meant to be shared with my friend. Or perhaps the dream was for me. In my own life, I need to be less concerned with what others think of me and be intentional to lead with my best self, to lead out of who God made me to be.
My Scripture life-verse is Ephesians 2:10- “For we are God’s handiwork (masterpiece), created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do.” God has created me (and you) to be unique in this world. This world desires to mold and shape us into its image, but God created us in HIS image (Genesis 1:26). Psalm 139:13 teaches me that God created my “inmost being.” He “knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
I am God’s masterpiece, made in His image. YOU are God’s masterpiece, made in His image. We have each been created in Christ Jesus for a special purpose- to do the good works that God has prepared in advance for us to do. I need to be less concerned with what others may think of me. I need to lead out of who I am, who God made me to be, for the good works He has prepared in advance for me to do.
Lead out of YOUR best self. Lead out of who God made YOU to be.