Dodge and Burn

This week, I attended a class on how to use photoshop. During the class, the instructor used a phrase I hadn’t heard in years: “dodge and burn.” When he mentioned the term, it sounded vaguely familiar, and then– all of a sudden, I remembered where I’d heard it.

I’ve had an interest in photography since I was a teen. For my sixteenth birthday, my parents gave me a camera. Later in college, I took a course on how to develop photos in a darkroom (but have since forgotten it all!) The phrase “dodge and burn” refers to a technique used by photographers in a darkroom (in the “old days”, before digital) to lighten areas of an image (dodge) or darken areas of a photo (burn).

Even though I attended a class on how to use Photoshop, to be honest with you, I only own a point and shoot digital camera. And our family only has that one camera, for five of us to use. The revelation is this:  I realized I didn’t have to wait until all I owned the right camera and right equipment before I pursue this dream of being a better artist, a better remember-er, a better photographer, a better writer (fill in the blank), etc., before I attended the workshop. We have an older version of the Photoshop software— it’s been upgraded three times since we acquired it. But I can’t wait until I have the latest software version, either, because that might not happen for a long time.  I can’t wait until I have the perfect conditions, because the conditions will never be perfect. I can learn, right here, right now, to take better pictures and learn how to edit them. My dream (in this example) can begin now.

My 13 year old daughter attended the class, too. She has begun to live her dream, too.

The word “dreams” is a special word, stirring up different ideas and thoughts in each one of us. When I think of dreams, I tend to focus on the dreams that reflect some golden visions of the future.

Dreams can be selfish, all about me. I have to ask myself: is this a dream from God, that is about Him and not me?  Is my dream is in line with His character and His word, and has the potential to give Him glory?

There are some dreams I am living in, walking in, daily, right now. For example, years ago, I did dream and imagine – about having a family, and children. And  now… I am living in the midst of that dream—a dream realized. But the dream can be forgotten and taken for granted in the grunge of daily routines of dirty dishes and laundry and the close proximity of elbow-rubbing.

Am I missing any more dreams? In my case, I want to lighten (dodge) the dreams that God has already blessed me with, and those that He has planted in me for the future. I want to darken (burn), as in run away from, any dreams that do not align with His purpose, His character.

Dreams are a vital part of our being; dreams provide the form and color of a vision, a plan. Dreams offer hope, hope of a future, and hope is something we need, something that is spoken of in scripture:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer. 29:11

God plans to give us hope and a future! I don’t know about you, but I need to know and hear that.

While we wait for our dreams to be realized, and even as we go through trials and suffering, we have the promise of hope:

3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.  Romans 5:3-5

God knows we need hope, and while we wait for dreams to be realized, changed, used, and transformed, God plants in us something beautiful—“hope”.   For many of us, we have learned (and continue to experience) the trials of the times of waiting, hoping, with a dream in the distance. God puts all things in front of us, the distance, the dream, the waiting… and offers us hope.

Dreams and hope are connected, and only the hope that comes from God is a lasting one.

Today, I’m:

-thanking God for dreams, for hope

– thanking God as I remember I’m living in some dreams right now

– asking for wisdom to dodge and burn…


Sharing with Faith Barista Bonnie on the topic of “dreams”: