Do you have big dreams?
I do. I dream about one day writing a book–not an ebook, but one of those old-fashioned paper ones, on some deep, meaningful topic.
I dream about being a traveling speaker; about going to women’s conferences around the country and addressing thousands of people who have gathered to hear from me.
I dream about taking my family to the other side of the world to serve families who are in intense spiritual and physical poverty; about creating a place where abandoned women and children can grow safely while they learn a trade and basic life skills.
I dream about this being a “big” blog, while I’m not exactly sure exactly where that mark is. I dream though about having my face and business known in the DIY/Home Decor community, about partnering with these large companies, and about this website being a source of full-time income for my family.
I’m nearing the middle of my life, and so I’m starting to get a sense of whether or not any of these dreams have a chance of coming true. I’ve made some steps towards a few of them, while others still are still just out there, looking really far away.
Speaking of dreams . . . Something I heard recently in a sermon from one of my favorite pastors has made me question how I’m going about reaching my dreams.
In this sermon the pastor was talking about Paul–you know the man who ended up writing half of the New Testament–and how his life drastically changed the moment he saw that light and heard that voice on the road to Damascus.
If you’re not familiar with the biblical account, let me give you a quick summary:
Paul started out his adult life as a high-up Jewish official, with lots of political and religious power. He was well-educated, respected by the religious elite of his day, and passionate about making his mark on his time.
Unfortunately, his passion was directed in the wrong direction . . . You see, he was going around capturing and killing Christians in the immediate years following the death and resurrection of Jesus. The Christian church was just appearing on the stage of the Jewish world, and Paul was doing everything he could to squash it out.
Early in the book of Acts, Paul has an encounter though while riding a horse along the backroads of the Middle East that changed his life forever–He heard and saw the risen Jesus.
And while Paul thought he was doing a great, religious work by capturing and killing all of the Jesus-followers that he could, he came face to face with his error in the form of a miraculous encounter with the Son of God.
After his encounter with Jesus, Paul himself becomes a Christian and subsequently loses all of the status, influence, and position he used to have. He in turn becomes the one that is marked for death, and over and over again the poor guy barely escapes town with his life.
Now we know the end of the story–eventually Paul sets out to take the message of Jesus to the known world at that point and in turn makes a huge impact on the scope of society and history, not to mention that he also winds up authoring a large portion of the Bible and is now a household name. So yes, Paul recovered from his sudden fall from influence and status, and his big dream to make his mark on the world was definitely realized.
The pastor teaching the sermon points out though that none of this happened quickly for Paul.
He spent several years after his conversion doing nothing special–just the regular work of being in a local church and telling people his story.
Then once he started heading out to achieve his big dream, over and over again it looked to Paul like he had failed. He continued being attacked and rejected by communities he visited, and his Jewish brethren never quite forgave him–in fact, they had him arrested by the Roman guard where he was eventually killed.
In his commentary on the life of Paul, the pastor teaching the sermon said something that struck me to my core. He said (and I’m paraphrasing here), that Paul had big, giant dreams, but lived in day-to-day faithfulness.
To achieve his mile-long dreams, Paul was faithful in the inches of life.
For years, day in and day out, Paul just did the ordinary, everyday steps of life well.
He was faithful to each small task that was set before him, and that’s what allowed the tasks to gradually get bigger and bigger. He didn’t start out his new Christian life impacting the known world–he started it by living in a daily obedience and trust of God.
So back to you and me . . .
As I think about my big dreams, I have to ask myself– Am I being faithful in the small tasks that are before me each day?
I want to write a book, but am I faithful to spending daily time enriching my own mind and heart through creating quiet, thoughtful spaces?
I want to be a conference speaker, but am I faithful to speak life and truth to my children each day?
I want to travel to the other side of the world and help make life better for women and children in far away places, but am I faithful to love and serve my neighbors that live on my street?
As a dreamer, it’s so easy to get caught up in the excitement and grandeur of the big dreams. Achieving those big things looks impressive to others, and it gives one a sense of really making a difference.
I am becoming more convinced though that the path towards making a difference is really found when we live well in the little things each day.
That’s not as flashy, or impressive, or frankly, even as motivating. Small, daily acts of faithfulness don’t seem very glamorous. But how can I expect to be given greater opportunities if I am not doing my best to take care of the little ones that are already at my feet?
This all has really nothing to do with antiques, painting furniture, this blog, etc etc. But it’s what has been on my heart and it felt worth sharing.
So I want to encourage you fellow big dreamers out there to ask yourself if you’re being faithful in the inches.
What is before you right now that is yours to do well with?
And if you feel like sharing with us, I welcome your comments 🙂
Lastly, the word art I shared above is available here as a free 8 x 10 printable. You are welcome to download your free copy below 🙂