Several years ago I traveled to Austin, Texas for a writing conference. Sitting down at dinner one night, a precious woman named Susie Davis asked me a question I’ll never forget. Buoyant with unfettered curiosity, it seemed her feet never hit the floor. What’s your big God dream? she bubbled.
She was so excited to know and I really didn’t want to disappoint her, but I didn’t have an answer. Honestly, I was stunned. Most of my life I was far too worried about what other people thought – or what they would think – I didn’t have a clue. Neck-deep in kids and embroiled in my own insecurities I couldn’t manage a sentence let alone articulate a dream. Any dream. Never mind a big God dream.
I felt like an idiot.
Not because of Susie, of course. She’s as gracious and sweet as the south. But because of myself. What’s my dream? I didn’t have the first clue.
I look back now and see that maybe I didn’t understand the question. I thought it meant something I would do. That, I’m not too proud to say, I’m still figuring out. That day in Austin, I may not have known what my big God dream would do, but I did know (though I was far too insecure to admit it) what it wanted to be: Free.
Free from judgment, fear of others, and the debilitating need for approval. I wanted to be free from comparison, insecurity and always feeling unworthy. My big God dream then wasn’t about something I would do. It was about how I wanted to be.
In the deepest place of my soul, I suspected I would never discover a single dream in my heart if I didn’t first learn how to be okay with who I am — and even learn to love her — and I wanted that most of all.
With everything in me, every fiber of my being, I wanted to live free. But I didn’t know how.
Paul Cohelo said: “When a person really wants something, all the universe conspires to help them.” I don’t know if this is true, but I sure like the idea of it. It feels true. And I see the wonder and cosmic power of God in it. That we offer our hopes, prayers and unknown dreams to God and someday we get to look back – as if on a big screen – as we watch how He organized, directed and made a way. Even if it happens in a crazy, weird, wild way; radically different from the one we had planned! Even if it means we have to literally splay our hearts wide open to people, risking the very thing we fear the most, to find it.
Perhaps even especially then.
Truthfully, I think it’s often the place where we find it. Tucked in the shadow of our fears. Hidden in the deep, dark crevices of our heart. Borne through the marriage of our most beautiful and wrenching experiences. It seems unfair that our greatest purpose would live in our weakness. That healing would come through exposing our deepest wounds. But life isn’t fair. My grandma always said: God is far more interested in your character than your comfort.
So today I can’t help but wonder: What’s YOUR big GOD dream?
I sincerely hope you don’t feel like an idiot, as clueless as I was when Susie asked me that very same question a few years ago. But maybe like me, you don’t honestly know. Are you saying that right now: I don’t know? Well hold tight. Because I think there’s something in you that does.
The tear that spontaneously falls —
The heartbeat that quickens, races, or threatens to beat out of your chest —
The free flying feeling of joy —
The searing pain you bury deep in your chest — some part of you knows. Something. Maybe even just a little bit.
I think sometimes we get confused about the question. Or we think our purpose is something we need to do, instead of how we long to be. We compare our dream with someone further down the road and assume ours will never be enough so we stop before we get started. Or we think we can never change course! We have to commit forever! We get so caught up thinking we have to determine our purpose before we can do something — and we end up never doing anything.
F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote: For what it’s worth: It’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over. It’s never too late to dream a new dream. Or to follow one.
Karen Lamb said: A year from now you will wish you had started today. The time is now. You don’t have to decide what you’re going to do with your whole life — or what your big God dream is forever. As if it were set in stone. I think big God dreams evolve and change and grow over time. It’s just the threads that are the same. Find your threads. Be curious about your life.
What makes your tears fall?
What makes your heart race?
What are you afraid of?
What makes you laugh and play and dance and sing?
What makes you feel completely, utterly, shamelessly alive?
No matter where you find yourself today: alive and inspired or feeling like a bumbling, wishy-washy, indecisive idiot sometimes (that was for me); you’re not alone and there is a big God dream in you.
Maybe today you take a step, write in a journal, go for a walk or sit in silence so you can hear the still small voice of your heart. Or maybe today you simply utter a prayer…a breath…or a word into the universe, laying it into the hands of an omniscient, capable God. Maybe you simply ask Him to help you. Lord: What’s my big God dream? Help me find it.