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“What would you like to do if you could do anything in the world?”

I don’t know how many people have asked me that question this year (seems like too many). The question is pregnant with potential. And it’s exciting to think about it because it invites us to imagine how good our lives could be. To ponder on such beautiful and endless possibilities.

To Me? The question drove me CRAZY, especially this year.

The past 10 years have been quite a journey. Learning English, adjusting to different cultures, moving 8 times from country to country… I mean, how is that for being adventurous? I’m just a laid-back girl from Japan who likes music, hamburgers and friendship. All the experiences I’ve gained, the people I’ve met – I wouldn’t trade it for anything! But it came at a great cost. The price for this path has been almost unbearable. Giving up my rights for comforts, dying to myself, and going lower day by day. And I realized this year that I’ve forgotten how to dream. It’s the sad reality of my journey.

Before I decided to go to ministry school in Toronto back in 2004, I wanted to be a journalist. I have always loved words. How crafty you can be in expressing yourself in these random shapes called letters! I also wanted to travel around, interview people, and write articles about them – but I gave up this dream because my family did not have the finance to send me to university. And there are so many things that I’ve given up based on “limitations.” The restrictions I had no power to change. Then, what was out of my control, started to become what controlled me. But don’t get me wrong, I do have things that I’ve wanted as well. I’m grateful for the little victories. It’s just annoying to count the many dreams that had to “die” in my heart because of the thing I could not overcome.

As I write this today, I’m wondering what the balance is between dreaming and being realistic/practical about it. (My asian brain thinks like this non-stop)

Think about it, would you ask the same question to kids who grow up in Africa? Those who are hoping every day for their stomach to be full. The ones having to wear water bottles on their feet because they do not have the luxury of having shoes? They have dreams too I’m sure, but how would you teach them to overcome the obstacles that they have to face day-to-day?

There is a story in 2 Kings, where the prophet Elisha goes into a town and a woman decides to provide a place for him to stay. This woman is good. Kind to the prophet. Faithful to God. And Elisha realises that she doesn’t have a son, so he prophesies over her that she will have one by the next year. She freaks out because she doesn’t want to get her hopes up (welcome to my life!) Then, Elisha’s words come to pass and she has a son the following year. Dream fulfilled!

But then the son dies out of the blue. And to keep the long story short, by a miracle the son comes back to life in the end. I always wondered what the purpose of this story was. It seems a bit harsh to me that God would let this woman go through such tragedy even though she got what she hoped for. Then I realised it was God’s plan for her to have a son anyway. No matter what! God always wanted to see her HAPPY because that was the desire of her heart. And that JOY was brought to her by having a son.

Unfortunately I don’t know if I’m getting my promise. I’m still waiting for the “prophet” to make it happen. I’ve tried to be good. I’ve tried to be kind. I’m trying to stay faithful. But the dream is still a dream. Yes, I am content with what I have accomplished. But this ramble can’t have a conclusion here. I’m still waiting on myself. And will be looking for the courage, to answer My Favourite Question Of All Time.

お読み頂きありがとうございました

Yuki Tanaka 🙂
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