On Sunday mornings I meet with a group of women who are going through the study, Restless, by Jennie Allen. Jennie has a dreamer personality and in her charming way, she encourages all of us to not be afraid of dreaming big dreams! Her desire to be used by God opened up the way for the first IF:Gathering, a global gathering of women intent on stepping up to make a difference for God in this generation. Our Sunday morning discussion started after reading, “You see, our creative God has an infinite number of creative plans to make himself known through us in unique and beautiful ways....With our freedom, with our comfort, with our security, we get to dream. We get to build. We get to hope. We get to change. We get to influence. We get to respond. It is a glorious luxury and our greatest responsibility.”
We opened up the question.
Do you dream?
Not the "in-your-sleep" kind of dreams but the kind that tosses out incredible possibilities and believes that God really does want to make himself known uniquely through us. What might he call us to do? In the experiences of your life and the make up of your personality, how might he do that? What in my life could he use? Will I let him? Or will I hang on to the familiar and the safe.
Several women spoke up. One told us of how she grew up in a very practical mid-western home where dreams were not encouraged. Concrete plans were more important for a secure future. She hesitates still.
Another said she couldn't even think about dreaming for anything because she has many children with games to go to and meals to fix. Who has time to dream? Shouldn’t we wait to dream until it seems more feasible?
Practicality, a busy season, fear, lack of permission, lack of a community, insecurity, not knowing how and a limited self-view are all barriers to hoping for something new and big.
When I read in John 6:1-14 today, I found something I had not expected that seemed to speak to this very issue. The crowd was hungry. Jesus was handed some bread and a few little fish. He took the small loaves, thanked God for them and went on to multiply them to feed over 5,000 people! It was a miracle!
He took the little bit.
He thanked God for it.
He multiplied it.
He fed many and made himself known in a new way.
Could he not do that very same thing with the little dreams I might dare to dream? Could I offer him my hopes, my ideas and my wonder? Would I shyly step up to him with my minuscule offering saying:
My life has been so much better than I deserve, more than I ever hoped it could be. But I dare to ask for more…in this season…now, for your glory!
And then take my hands away.
Can I let go of what I think his answer might look like?
Can I be thankful for what it already is?
Can I just step back, remove my sticky fingers and let him take it?
Might he multiply it? Might his dreams be bigger than my own?
Would God take those dreams and bless them into a reality that blows our minds and might even make a difference somehow, somewhere, to someone, here and now, in this generation?
I'm thinking that we could gather courage to dream bold dreams, step up and lay them down not knowing what God might do.
We'll never know.
Until we do it.
(Have you registered yet for the IF:Gathering? It is coming up the first weekend in February. Go to IF:Gathering.com to find a location. You'll be so glad you did.)