Receiving the Dreams God Has for Me
Letter from Trish Vega
Photo by Elissa Voss
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Hey my dear Sister,
You know when you feel achey? I’m not talking about the “this is the first time I’ve done a sit up in five years” achey. I’m talking about the ache of the heart, which can arguably be more painful. It can be that almost unbearable longing for a spouse, dream job, security. Dang, it really hurts to dream and desire sometimes. Oh love, I know. My heart has been there too.
For most of my life I haven’t known how to reconcile with that ache. As a young teenager, I sought to fill the void with distractions or even more soul-wounding things like pornography and masturbation. Once I started an intentional relationship with Jesus, I welcomed His healing mercy to root those cheap thrills out of my heart. But at the same time, I made a resolve to shut down my desire, because I detested what my ache led me to do.
In college, I came to know about St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. Through JPII’s words, I learned about this desire that dwelled deep in my heart. Theology of the Body not only showed me that desire was human, but that it was good, and—if properly directed to a desire for God—that it was holy. This has been incredibly healing for me, and I felt that a part of me was unlocked and is now being brought back to life.
But ya girl is stubborn-hearted, and our merciful and patient Lord knows I need to hear things over and over again, as I still need lots of healing from the years I’ve hardened my heart by stifling my desire.
Just recently, in an especially achey season of my life, I found myself struggling in prayer with the fear of my desire. As I sat in the Adoration chapel, I tentatively laid out my dreams before God. My hopes for my vocation, my dreams to serve and create, my hopes for life-giving joy. But I was pulling back. I expressed my desire for fulfillment, but I did not dare voice how I hoped they would be molded specifically to my own heart. I feared just thinking about the specifics of my dreams. How could they all possibly be made true? I felt like my desires didn’t make sense. What if they were too complicated? What if they were too small? What if they were impossible? What if once I actually admit that my heart desires these things, they don’t get fulfilled? There’s no use in even going there, right?
But still a small voice prompted… Let Me go there.
Fearful, but with a thread of hope, I gave my small yes. And in that chapel, I received an image of a little girl. In this image, I saw her sitting sullen and still, with blank paper in front of her and crayons and paints surrounding it, waiting to be used. She didn’t speak, but I knew that she stopped making paintings for her Father because she didn’t think they were “good enough”, because she saw that her crayon sketches were not the same as the museum masterpieces made by bigger and better minds. So she stopped dreaming of what to draw.
Seeing her broke my heart. I wanted her to start painting again. I wanted to see her light up with imagination. For I knew that the beauty of her work came from the joy she had while making it.
By the grace of clarity, I knew the Father showed me this because He wants to teach me how to be His little daughter. He wants me to dream, to paint, to make a mess, to inadequately voice my dreams. He thinks my joy is utterly beautiful when I make colorful scribbles, so He wants to give me as many opportunities as possible to make art for Him. He wants me to work with Him on crafting my dreams. He wants to see me fully alive. And He wants that for you too, dear sister. How deeply the Father honors us.
What hope this is, that we can find holy refuge and full life when we dream in the presence of the Father. So I encourage you, dear sister, dream with me. What were you like when you were 5? What were your favorite movies, book characters, and play-pretend games? What was your favorite summer dress that you loved to twirl around in?
Go forth and delight your heart by dreaming! Rekindle your desire to backpack across Europe with your high school BFF or the dream to work on that crazy business idea you shelved when life got busy. Or think of how you want your future home to be a beacon of hospitality and love to those who dwell in it. Be particular! Because our God loves all your details.
Dream hard and dream big with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And like a little girl, tell them to the Father who longs to hear your desires like it is sacred story time. Our Father adores you. Oh gosh, especially when you talk about what makes your heart come alive and you get all excited and your whole being lights up. Man, that really melts Him into a giant, mushy love puddle. Oh how He delights in your dreams! Oh how He delights to make you happy by making your dreams real! Oh how He delights in you, His beautiful, stunning, gorgeous daughter!
Now. Once you’ve told Him, surrender it all with trustful gratitude.
Dear sister, I pray you don’t confuse surrender with giving up. Simply, let Him surprise you. For our Father is the best one out there.
In receiving our dreams and covering them in His merciful and healing love, God transforms our sight and helps us see the ache for what it truly is: not a despairing reminder of what we lack, but a life-giving beacon of hope that tells us what we are made for in Heaven and on earth.
My heart is with you, sister. Let us hold each other in prayer and community, that we may learn how to lean more into holy and hopeful ache. In doing so, I pray that we receive the boldness to claim the abundant inheritance that our good Father promises.
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Hi, I'm Trish! I'm a 22-year old musician, songwriter, artist, and missionary adventurer from the Bay Area of California. I recently graduated from the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music in Musicianship, Artistry Development, Entrepreneurship, and Songwriting, and am now pursuing a life merging my passions for art and mission as missionary with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) at New York University. I'm so grateful to have had the chance to live in awesome cities across the country, but ya girl's gotta admit the truth in her heart: the West Coast truly is the Best Coast. On a given day, you can find me journaling, watching DIY tutorials/cooking videos, or trying not to over-plan. I'm a lover of beauty and an advocate for silliness. My dream at the moment: to be a rockstar, kung-fu warrior princess who is edgy enough to kick evil in the butt but gentle enough to snuggle a baby.
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