I’ve been writing and rewriting this post for nearly a month now. Had I been writing with pen and paper, I’d have a mound of balled up paper by now. I’ve debated and doubted and questioned. I’ve stalled by doing hours of urgent cleaning, organizing, Facebook prowling and reading. At the root of my hesitation lives fear. Fear of vulnerability. Fear of failure. Fear of taking on too much or not taking on enough.
“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”
― Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles
Children seem to be born with a PhD in dreaming. Their days are filled with tales of big audacious dreams that completely disregard limitations, expectations, fear and failure. I remember as a child I had grand visions of becoming an astronaut, architect, and paleontologist. My three year old son recently informed us he’s getting a winter home when he turns sixteen.
However, something happens along the way. We start to age. We become more refined and educated. We learn what can be done and what can’t. Other people tell us what we should be doing and pile their expectations on us.
If we’re lucky, one day, we’ll get tired of it all and lose interest in our boring, safe lives. We’ll start to dream again and wonder what would happen if…
This is where I was a few months ago when I saw an article about God-sized dreams–those desires in our heart for more of what God has for us. It sounded daring and bold. Who was this Holley Gerth lady who dared to dream unsafe dreams? With a few dreams of my own starting to brew in my head, I grew curious about this God-Sized Dream Team she talked about and nervously completed the application to join. I’m not sure what scared me more–writing out my dreams for someone else to see or the prospects of them actually coming true.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to take in Holley’s wisdom and also to encourage and be encouraged by other dreamers. I’ve wanted to write about my dreams but kept letting fear get the best of me.
While at church last Wednesday, I began to weep as the story of Sarah, Abraham’s wife, popped into my head. When told at the age of 90 she’d have a son a year later, Sarah laughed. She thought it ridiculous. How could she at her age, be used to bear a child? During that moment at church, I felt a bit Sarah-ish. I had God-sized dreams; but deep down, I was laughing at God, too. How was He going to use me with all my shortcomings and failings? What authority did I have to do God-sized things when there were so many other more qualified women around? What if everything was a big failure? Surely, I’d gotten my dreams mixed up with someone else.
I weeped because of my unbelief in God’s ability to provide His best in my life. That was enough to minister to me, but later in the service, our pastor took a few moments to speak over me and my husband in front of the entire congregation. As he spoke, it was if God had reached down from heaven, wrapped His arm around me to say, I got you girl.
As a side note, I must mention it was my son Samuel who really pushed us going to church on this particular night. The first thing out of his mouth when he woke up in the morning and when he came home from school was, “Are we going to church?” One of the meanings of the name Samuel is, God has heard. It’s the name Rebekah gave her son after many years of barreness in spite of her deep longings for a child.
That night as I left church, I truly believed God had heard me–heard my desires, my fears and my doubts; and He loved me still the same.
Is anything to difficult for the Lord? - Genesis 18:14
I love Steve Pressfield’s rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it. Yes, there’s a vulnerability and danger in sharing your dreams with others. They may very well laugh or think you nuts. You may even fail. However, far better to pursue the big, audacious dreams, than to live without ever putting anything on the line.
So, what are my God-sized dreams? Here are the ones I’m focusing on this year:
- To grow a ministry of writing and speaking that encourages and inspires generations of moms to pursue motherhood with great intention and passion.
- To write and publish books for women and young girls.
- To be debt-free.
The small voice telling me all the reasons these things won’t come to past is still there. However, I’ve been reminded that Sarah’s laughing wasn’t the end of her story. She did indeed have a son named Isaac. Likewise, these doubts don’t have to be the end of mine. Stay tuned for updates…