When Did We Forget to Dream Big?

Dreaming big is Godcentric, allowing His story and kingdom to advance.

by Janell Rardon in Leading Hearts magazine

”Between your longings and the demand for their fulfillment is a place as real as any in the tangible world. But it is uncharted and uniquely tailored to your own personal story. You will only know you are there when you feel a little on the edge of your chair — and you are strangely at peace.

Getting there, sometimes, feels like a miracle itself. It is the place of trust. Trust hangs somewhere between knowing what your heart longs for and trying to dictate the shape or timing or outcome of your heart’s desire. It lies in the willingness to accept the particulars of how and when and where God chooses to intervene. It waits in the cool shade of surrender.”

–Paula Rinehart, Better Than My Dreams

Do You Remember Your Dreams?

I’ve always been a dreamer. One of the very first books I remember reading was, To Dance, To Dream, by Maxine Drury. Just seeing the cover on Amazon made my heart smile. Published in 1965 (I would have been seven years old), I distinctly remember carrying that book around with me. Filled with aspiring words, my little girl heart dared to start dreaming.

Sometimes Our Dream Is not the Best Dream

Years later, I found myself sitting in church. My pastor posed a question, “When did we forget to dream big?” The moment he asked, I knew. A bit ashamed at my reason, I hesitated to voice it. Yet, I knew I had to. On the way home, I told my husband the truth.

I tried twice to become Miss Virginia, but it never happened. Heartbroken, to say the least, it took me quite some time to get over the loss of my dream. Time unfolded the better dream: a husband + three amazing children + a great, meaningful life. Slowly, I started dreaming again. This time, I dreamed of publishing my book.

God smiled, and it was published.

And then, after the publishing of my first book, I tried time and time again to get my second book published, yet to no avail. It seemed many of my author friends met with grand success, but me? Struggle upon struggle, to the point I almost quit. Without a doubt — somewhere between rejection 20 or so — I once again stopped dreaming big.

Sometimes We Need Someone to Help Us Remember How to Dream

But then, I met a remarkable woman at a writer’s conference. For some odd reason, she engaged me and wanted to hear my story.

For hours, we talked. I cried. She listened. I cried some more. Gently, she spoke affirming words that offered me another chance to dream big. Her vision for my life infused my weary heart with renewed energy.

I am so grateful for her. She lent me her strength and courage when mine was running dry — enabling me to get back to writing and doing what I believe I was born to do.

Sometimes the Story God Is Writing Is Bigger Than You Could Ever Dream

One of my absolute favorite authors, Paula Rinehart, wisely advises, “There is an old expression that comforts because it is so true: God never wastes an experience on us. If we have given ourselves to Him in any true measure, we find it all serves. All of it. Discovering the shade of God’s sovereignty is no small matter. It literally changes the lens through which you see your life — the story God is writing that is bigger than you can even think to dream”(Better Than My Dreams, 2007).

God’s story for my life was so much bigger and better than I could ever have imagined. So big it required I go back to school at age 50 to obtain my master’s degree in counseling/ marriage and family specialization. I needed more training and tools to do the work He had in mind for me.

The premise of my dream the exact same: to help and inspire as many people as I could to live into their dreams. But instead of ME wearing a sparkly silver crown, I now empower women to wear the royal crown of God’s favor and love. I wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world.

When Did You Forget to Dream Big?

Now it is your turn to respond to my pastor’s question: When did you forget to dream big? During my own journey toward understanding the whole concept of “dreaming big,” I took valuable time to re-educate myself on what “big” really means. In the Old Norse, it actually means, “To inhabit.”

Can I hear a collective, “WOW”?

My initial reluctance to “dreaming” or “praying” big was driven by my fear of disappointment and by my even deeper fear of appearing self-promoting or egocentric. But seeing this idea of “dreaming big” in light of the meaning, “to inhabit,” changed my perspective. It helped me see my life’s mission through the lens of faith.

Dreaming big is God-centric. It is all about increasing our spheres of influence so lives can be changed, and ultimately, God’s story and kingdom can advance.

An Invitation to Dream Big

Today, I feel stronger than ever. Time and experience have been wise teachers. Today, I’m dreaming bigger than ever. The sky’s the limit. Today, I invite you to join me.

Let’s dream so big that “a great multitude that no one could number” (Revelation 7:9, ESV) stands before God.

A Dreaming Big Prayer

We are dreaming big. May the words we write and speak inhabit each and every corner of this great big world. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Find the resources to help you reframe your story as well as Janell’s “Speak Healing Words” podcast, books and much more by visiting janellrardon.com.

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