One of the traps that we can fall into when we’re trying to discern something is to think that God has one precise and perfect way picked out for us, and woe to us if we take a wrong step. We mix up God’s knowledge of the future with God’s will, imagining that God already wrote the complete story of our lives, and that we really don’t have free will. That’s a pretty robotic view of human nature, and it’s far from the Church’s teaching about the human person. (See the Catechism of the Catholic Church, numbers: 1704, 1705, 1711, 1731, among many others.)
1. God doesn’t abandon us if we don’t pursue his dream for us—he always loves us and continues to invite us towards a closer relationship with him, up to the last moments of our lives.
2. God knows us better than we know ourselves, and God is all-wise, so whatever God wants is a perfect fit for us. His dream for us is exactly what we want at our deepest core, we just don’t always know it.
3. God’s dream for us isn’t created apart from us. It might be more accurate to say that God dreams with us, not for us. With the Holy Spirit, we are co-protagonists in the story of our lives.
4. God values our free will so much that he invites us (not forces us) into a loving relationship with him. Similarly, he invites us to enter into his dream for us. We choose how we respond to God’s invitations. God respects our freedom, and is more than willing to work with whatever steps we take, especially when we are sincerely seeking his will for us. Even when our steps seem to be going in the opposite direction, God is able to turn things around in the blink of an eye. The cliché “God writes straight with crooked lines” totally fits here—although it’s not complete. It’s even more than that! God seems to delight in working with our littleness, even with our limitations.
(We have a powerful reminder of this as we approach Christmas: God delights so much in working with human littleness that, when he took on human nature, he was born a little Baby.)