Now that I live in St. Louis, I often take drives through the city and city neighborhoods. These drives help me to think, dream and hear what God is saying in my own heart. I do my best to stay off the highway, and instead, drive through the neighborhoods and city streets. On the highway, I miss out on the city's gems; the cobblestone roads, the historic homes, the small, corner cafes and the interesting people walking the streets.
One day, I was on one of these drives and I got lost. I used my GPS to try to get from the South Side over to the West Side. Even though I wanted to avoid the highway, my GPS (a man with a British accent) kept trying to send me there. At each turn he told me to take, I kept driving straight, hoping he would re-route me through the city neighborhoods. After his persistent attempts to get me on the highway, I was getting frustrated and said out loud, "Stop trying to send me on the highway!"
In that moment, a thought came to mind.... "In this season of the Dream Center, God is wanting us to see the beauty of the back roads. But, the opinions of other people, religious thinking and I, myself, keep trying to send us on the highway, the more fast paced route."It seems there are times in life that God's heart for us is to take the scenic route. Sometimes, on a road trip, the major highways are required-- depending on your destination, time allowance or purpose of the trip. But, some road trips cry out for the back roads, the lookout points, the souvenir stops, and the roads along the coast.
The highway will get us to our destination quicker. Getting somewhere quicker can be good, depending on what season we're in. But, sometimes, getting there slower is better. Getting there slower allows you to meet the beauty along the way, whether that comes in the form of a sunset, an interesting person or a sight you wouldn't have seen while traveling the highway.
The slower route is also the route where you can learn more about yourself and ways of thinking that you didn't know you had--ways of thinking that have made you conform. Slowing down causes the noise to quiet down as well--the noise that has drowned out the whispers of your own heart.
Here at the Dream Center, we're learning to slow down. This path that we've taken to re-group and re-build the Dream Center from the inside out may not be the most popular or accepted path, but we believe it's the right path. So far, on this "offbeat path" we've discovered traveler's delights along the way, that I believe we couldn't have discovered if we stayed on the "highway."
Below are some of the sweet spots the slower road has helped us discover:
- Connecting with creative artists who see East St. Louis as a city of opportunity and potential
- A space to work that inspires creativity and new ways of thinking (Nebula Coworking)
- A healthier foundation for the Dream Center that is daily being built on prayer, worship, and listening
- Learning to not put God or ourselves in a box
- Becoming more free from religious mindsets that have caused us to conform in the past
- Connecting with people who have pioneered significant revitalization in urban St. Louis neighborhoods
In May's Newsletter we shared about how we are re-grouping and re-building this year. If you would like to read more about this, click here.
We appreciate all of the DREAMERS out there who have supported this vision!!! If you haven't given before and you're sensing that nudge in your heart to INVEST in the future of East St. Louis, please consider a one time gift or a monthly recurring donation.
Giving is easy! Simply click on the donate button below and give on our secure on-line giving page or donations can be written to "ESL DC" and mailed to P.O. Box 2456/East St. Louis, IL 62202. The East St. Louis Dream Center is a 501 c3 non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible.