Hey, everyone! Since my kids are all in school full time I decided to get busy substitute teaching in their school. I guess part of me just needs to boss around little kids. Anyway, my writing has been a bit erratic due to the lifestyle change, but know I am thinking of you all the time, and I will get back on track!
Looking back on posts I drafted, I found that I wrote about a certain topic/experience more than once. So I combined the posts and here we are, a message dear to my heart. (Plus, there is a book recommendation at the end of the post!)
Last April, my husband and I went to a church planting conference in Orlando. The conference was called “Exponential” and the theme was Dream Big. We gleaned good things and also realized that we really aren’t into the whole megachurch/mega-speaker/mega-music vibe.
It was in a main speaker session Louie Giglio said, “When I get to heaven and meet Jesus, I don’t want to regret that I dreamed too small.”
I took issue with that statement.
I understood his point, but didn’t appreciate the manipulation. His inspirational tool was law, not gospel: What if I’m not dreaming big enough? Instead of focusing on God’s faithfulness, he turned the congregation’s focus onto themselves.
I’m not opposed to big dreams, really. You have a big dream? Go for it. I would be a liar to say I don’t have big dreams, so I’m not anti-dreaming.
I’m anti-discontent. I’m anti-measuring-dreams-by-earthly-standards.
God’s deliverance of His people- the dream that got that ball rolling was the dream of a mother who wanted to follow God’s will and keep her baby son alive. Midwives banded together to just do what God directed. They didn’t want a huge birthing facility and a political platform to change the world- they wanted to be obedient and save the lives of the children and mothers in their care.
That was a big deal, and it all started with a mom being brave enough to literally be a mom. She trusted God, gave birth, and did what she could to keep her kid alive.
Was that dream too small?
Jesus took fishermen and made them disciples and agents of change, but he didn’t take EVERY fisherman. He took a few. Does that mean he regarded the other fishermen any less? Nope. It meant the world still needed fishermen. It meant those men could stay and be obedient to God exactly where they were.
The angels announced the birth of Christ to stinky shepherd outcasts. What do you think the shepherds did after that? My guess is they probably went back to being stinky shepherd outcasts. They may have been transformed by the good news, but guess what? The world still needed shepherds.
God chose those smelly men to serve in their occupations, and He has chosen you too.
In a society hell-bent on influencing us to envy other lives, to dream outside God’s will, God reaches down and time after time shows us what He values: humble and contrite hearts. Hearts that relinquish to God what is already His. Lives that are content with the jobs they are given, and willing to step out in faith when called.
I’m not saying don’t dream, don’t aspire. Do those things. Offer them to God.
And if it is in our power to do anything to help a neighbor, we do it not for recognition or to live up to some self-inflicted ideal. We do it because it is what God prepared for us to do, and God is good.
Then we remember our God holds the measuring stick and He honors the small.
The Shepherd left the 99 sheep and went after the one.
Humility and repentance in one sinner causes a holy and heavenly ruckus.
Children, mangers, bread, fish. God consistently chooses the marginalized, meek, and “unimportant” to reveal His glory. His greatness is unleashed in our teeny tiny mustard seed act of trust.
Let’s not settle for worldly success when God gives us the eternal victory.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
Seven Women, by Eric Metaxas is a fantastic collection of short biographies of women who changed the world. In a society where we read books about success and strategies, this book didn’t offer ways to achieve your personal idea of greatness- it offered stories of women who were great because personal achievement took a back seat to helping others. These women are honored today, not because their businesses succeeded or their “big dreams” came true, but because they gave to the poor, educated slaves, hid Jews, cared for children. They lived to give, and it changed the world.