When I was a little kid, I wanted to be an astronaut. Seriously, the thought of blasting into space and exploring the “final frontier” was an amazing dream I had for a few years. Now, I’m quite content to have my feet firmly on the surface of the earth.
Over the years, I’ve had many other dreams. I’ve dreamed about the possibility of writing a book (a dream that came true with my first book – On Track). I’ve dreamed about the possibility of going to the Summer Olympics in Barcelona (a dream that did not come true).
I think there is something positive about having dreams and desires for our lives. These dreams give us reasons to live intentionally. They give us an avenue to escape from some of the realities we face in our everyday existence. Dreams can give us hope for what is yet to come.
Sometimes our dreams and desires get twisted and tangled. Maybe we let the dreams of our parents become our dreams. Or maybe we look at the “perfect” world of those on television or in the movies thinking our lives would be better if we were just like them. And sometimes we simply chase after the wrong things.
One of the things I love about going on a short-term missions trip is that they always seem to have a way of recalibrating my dreams and desires. Besides expanding your community and changing your perspective, they have a tendency to adjust the way you think about the future.
For example, my dream of building 100 houses in Guatemala for widows and their families didn’t just appear suddenly while I was working at my job in Blue Bell, PA. This dream and desire came about as a result of spending time in Guatemala serving widows and orphans. My short-term missions trip experience in Guatemala allowed me to see the impact a house could have on a family, and I wanted to replicate that for other families.
Last year while our family was coming home from Guatemala, Leanne and I made a decision to sell our house, so we could live more, save more, and give more. After an unsuccessful attempt at selling our house this spring, we remain committed to seeing how this plays out in the coming year. We believe the dream and desire to downsize was not placed on our hearts by accident, and our trips to Guatemala for short-term missions were instrumental in recalibrating our dreams and desires in this way.
When you go on a short-term missions trip, you open yourself up to the possibility of new dreams and desires that go way beyond your wildest expectations. And they go way beyond your self-centered, normal way of thinking.