Freedom: The Dream (part 1)
So what is it, exactly? This dream we’re calling “Runaway Ranch” before there’s even a half-acre of land involved represents everything that God has put on our hearts over the course of our first 8 years of marriage. (For you math nerds, that’s 8.7% of our total expected years of marriage. We’re going for the world record.)
The closing scene of each Duck Dynasty episode has been an inspiration for me.Above all, we dream of a place where our kids & grandkids can find solace. A place they look forward to each year for the holidays, where they have fond memories of warm fires and crowded dinner tables. A place they always know they can return to when things go bad or when they just need a break. A place we all can call “home.”
We’ve been through a lot in 8 years together. Perhaps too much. But in all things, God works for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28), and I’m not just talking about us. We dream of a place where we can extend hospitality to young families that have been beat up while pursuing God’s dream for them. The Mission of God is a dangerous one, so getting knocked down on the job is not a sign of weakness. If anything, it’s a sign that you’re on the right track. Someday soon, we’ll provide a resting place where God’s workers can get back on their feet and return to the field with renewed passion and resolve.
For me in particular, this dream is about freedom. I feel claustrophobic in the suburbs. I feel so trapped when utility companies offer terrible service and demand whatever price they want because there is no competition. I’m also warming up to the idea that there’s value in being as close to your food source as possible.
Elliot living in open space.I want my kids to live some of the stories that my dad used to tell me, of open spaces and outdoor adventures. You could actually blame my dad for a lot of this farm dream. I inherited my love of nature from him. We went on countless camping trips together in Boy Scouts. In fact, Dad just recently texted me, out of the blue, saying simply, “Thanks for all the Boy Scout camping memories.” They were certainly some of our best times together, so much so that I want to model the rest of my life after those weekends!
Maybe I’m sounding crazy at this point, and that’s OK. We just want some space – a piece of Creation. We want a slower pace. We want freedom.
Up until my mid twenties, I experienced a common recurring dream for young men. In various settings, I would be running for my life from an ominous threat, but I could never run fast enough. After reading John Eldridge’s Wild At Heart, I realized that what I was running from was my own strength. I had always been so scared to take risks, to acknowledge and follow the true desires of my heart. Since the day I experienced this revelation, I’ve never had the dream again. Jenny and I both now live our lives embracing the dangerous, exciting adventure that God has designed for us. At first, we thought Runaway Ranch was just a fun pipe dream that we had come up with ourselves. But as God continues to lay the pieces in place, one by one, and things that once seemed to be fantasies gradually become realities, we are convinced that we’re following in His footsteps and pursuing something that is His idea.
I’ve felt out of place for most of my life, always searching for my “calling” and wondering what my purpose is. I still don’t have the complete answer, but I know we’re on the right track. In the next post, Jenny will share The Dream from her perspective. Thanks for Running Away with us!