Reflection: The Sound of a Million Dreams

A person’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way? – Proverbs 20:24

I worked at a college for five years and developed friendships with a few students that extended beyond their graduation day. As a result, I was part of the lives of a couple of them when they had what has been dubbed the “quarter life crisis“. The big dreams and plans of their college years crashed headlong into the painful realities of young adulthood – a young adulthood filled with big college debt, grim job prospects, and fragmented relationships. Resolving that existential crisis means recognizing those dreams may not be following the usually-unvoiced inner script that they’d been following.

But those dreams are more than just youthful ambitions requiring quarter-life recalibration and downsizing. They speak to our very purpose and identity, and shape our experience – even when it seems that they are being shut down on every front. Suanne Camfield has written a lovely book called The Sound of a Million Dreams: Awakening To Who You Are Becoming that encourages readers to recognize that our dreams are not only about carving out a path in life, but about recognizing and responding to the fingerprint-specific imprint of our Creator.

Yes, we will face closed doors in our lives. And yes, those closed doors may well seem like a dream-killer. Camfield encourages readers to recognize and name those stirrings in us, and recognize that surrendering to the events in our lives doesn’t negate those stirrings as much as they do to unclench our fingers from them in order to find our place in God. Those stirrings find new meaning in his time as our lives unfold according to God’s purposes:

Purpose, after all, is not particular. Peculiar as it may be, purpose is not a result of any choice we make, for God alone purposes. Purpose is the aftershock of a God who is good, who postures his people toward his goodness, to know and experience more of his character and refract all that we absorb into the lives of others. Purpose, therefore, actually precedes the particulars. Maybe we spend too much time trying to decipher the particulars. 

(Hand raised. Guilty of this very thing during my younger years, gripped by a terrible case of FOMO.)

Camfield’s lovely writing voice and gentle honesty make this book a valuable meditation on the subject of first-half-of-life ambitions and drives. For those of us mentoring younger people, this readable volume would spark some excellent discussion and prayer on the subject. In fact, if there is ever a second edition of this book, I’d love to see some discussion questions included at the back of the book.

I received a comp copy of this book from the publisher. The cost I paid ($0.00) does not impact my feelings about this book.

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