There’s been a lot of talk about dreams lately. Big dreams. Small dreams. Good dreams. God dreams. Dream following. Dream releasing.
For many of us, our dreams change along this path of life – maybe because we achieved those dreams, or maybe because the dreams we had as children were a little more far-fetched than we anticipated.
As children, our innocence and child-like faith allow us to open our minds to the ability to accomplish anything. And for most of us, our parents and teachers fill us with the confidence that we can do anything if we just set our mind to it. Even in the Bible, the apostle Paul declares how he can overcome anything and do all the things he dreams of.
“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Phil 4:13)
And as I sit still in this ripening age of 40, I ask myself: What were my dreams? What ARE my dreams? Have they come to fruition? And if not, why not?
I dreamt of being a pediatrician.
I dreamt of playing professional basketball.
I dreamt of being the next Whitney Houston or Debbie Gibson.
I dreamt of reading all the books in the library.
I dreamt of becoming a firefighter, a police officer, an astronaut.
I dreamt of becoming a mom.
I dreamt of writing stories.
Somewhere along the line someone told this 5 foot 2 inch girl with stage fright and a fear of needles that it was physically impossible to read every single book in the library. Bit by bit, the dreams of things I wanted to accomplish slowly died as I faced a world with growing impossibility. Innocence now clouded with doubts and insecurities let the dreams – my dreams – fade into the background, and the world began to dictate my footprints.
But what if it’s not all about what I wanted, but rather, these things that were set on my heart, were to spark me onto the path that God had intended for me.
My love for basketball taught me the value of hard work and persistence. I didn’t have the raw talent that most of my teammates had. I didn’t have the height to play beyond high school. But I didn’t let that stop me from being the best that I could be. And after high school, I came back to coach other young girls to be the best that they could be with what they were blessed with.
It was then that I realized how much I enjoyed teaching these young minds, and for a season in my life, I taught middle schoolers and first graders. I knew the moment I started, this was a God dream. It was not long before I felt the urge to go further – to learn more about teaching, and God put it on my heart to return to school to finish my Teaching degree in Instructional Leadership. Through this program, God showed me how to reach others. How to truly serve the best I can as an instructor.
And then God threw a curveball that same year I received my degree. He planted a small seed in my heart that would take a year or two to grow. Meanwhile, I was to leave the classroom for a position in Administration. There, I would not be serving 24 first graders, but rather the entire school. Even here, the Lord was preparing me for what was to come next. And as my husband and I prayed on it for an entire year, God’s message was clear. It was time to leave my job completely to reset my priorities and to be a full-time mom. A dream He had placed on my heart years ago, and now, He was giving me the opportunity to live out that dream to the fullest.
At the same time, God had one more surprise assignment for me. He created the opportunity for me to lead a breakout session at our church’s family retreat. Yes, me: The girl who froze on stage at 9 years old. The girl who stood in the shadow of her more talented older brother. The woman who could orchestrate a classroom of children with ease, but stumbled over words when faced with a roomful of peers.
The fear, which entered my heart at a young age, grew over time, and grew over tragedy. Unknown to me at the time, as I worked on my studies, and confidence in my knowledge, God was working on my courage. He taught me to speak from my heart, and not from my mind. For that is where His words rested – in my heart. The Lord taught me to find courage not in my abilities, but rather through Him. For He was, is, and always will be my source of strength. Paul’s words became my own: I can do anything through Christ, who strengthens me.
As I prepared for my first speaking opportunity, I felt excitement, rather than anxiety. I had no worries, for I knew in my heart He would provide. I worked with a mentor to try to figure out what I was going to speak to. What would I be telling this roomful of thirty or forty women? As the day drew closer, an overwhelming sense of calmness filled my heart and I knew that God would deliver. It was not until the night before the session did God unleash His words upon me. Surely it was a test of faith! Through prayer, God revealed the message for these women. The scriptures for these women. And through this experience, I received His message for me.
This was His dream for me. And it was so much greater than I could have ever imagined. Every piece of my life. Every bit of history of my being was to prepare me for this moment. And this moment is to prepare me for the next. He has a great dream for me. Little, insignificant me. Why? Because God likes to take the insignificant and make it extraordinary. Because He is God.
Do you feel insignificant at times? Do you feel like a grain of sand in a beach thousands of miles long? Do you feel as if your day in and day out actions are fruitless? Do you feel like your dreams have died? Perhaps it’s because we’re a little too focused on our own dreams, and not on God’s dreams for us.
Don’t forget that He knows every star in the sky. In fact, He’s named them all. He can count every single hair that covers you. He knows the blades of grass beneath your feet, the ants that march along the cracks in the road. Every little detail orchestrated by the Master Conductor. And you. You are a note within that concerto. A very important note. Without you, the entire composition is wasted and He knows that.
Listen to soft whispers inside of you. Follow their lead. His words are written on your heart. What brings you joy? Where do you feel peace? Even if you stray off the path, know that God will always guide you back. Always leading, always guiding, He never leaves us nor forsakes us. Have faith in the Lord, and know that He is your strength.
It’s simply this:
Our dreams may fade, but His dream – we are living it.
Because it’s never about what we do.
It’s all about who we are and whose we are.