Sunday, April 21, 2013

Vision , Part 2. Dreaming Big.

Several weeks ago, I posted Vision, part 1. And now, here is part 2.
  When I was growing up, I can't remember really hearing anyone every teach me to "dream big", although my mom always encouraged me in all my endeavors. Dreaming big is a new concept to me, but it is one which I am learning from and growing through as a personal individual. And I am now beginning to teach my own kids these things, because dreaming never hurts.  Yes, there is a reality that needs to be held in check to some degree with the dreaming big, but I am learning that to dream helps me to strive to higher levels, levels which I wouldn't try to achieve were I not dreaming.
 Between having some in life avidly encouraging my dreams and a book I am reading, those dreams aren't just ones that sit on paper as "goals" or "things to do", but they become actions playing out in fashions I never would have thought myself capable of doing; they become prayers spoken on a regular basis for the One who can help carry those dreams out, if He sees fit. Some days those dreams feel slow and long and unachievable; Yet other days, the dream feels more like a new reality and it feels like an accomplishment given by God alone.
  In Vision, part 1, I said, taken from the words of my pastor, Vision = A picture of what could (and perhaps should) be.

Vision gives significance to the otherwise meaningless details of our lives.

I was 19 when I got married, and hadn't even begun college, really. That was one of my dad's fears, I think, was that I would not get a degree and pursue my dreams. But, hindsight, at 19, I didn't really know what all those dreams included. I wanted to be a wife and mom, always, so that was part of my dream. But I was unaware of a lot of my abilities yet at that point, leaving it hard to discover real dreams. Now, at age 30, I have discovered some of those things, and vision and dreaming big hold a reality I never knew would exist. I always thought my dream was going back to school. And while, yes, this is still an important desire tucked away in the recess of my mind, in all efforts to pursue it, God has shown me bigger and better things for my life. Like being a mom avidly. Like focusing on my husband and on our lives together. And like helping others, through inadvertant ways I have discovered, like the scholarship in memory of mom, or praying for a friend (customer) who spills a long, heartbreaking story to me. 
  I am a mom, and my kids' lives are going so fast already and my time with them here at home is so limited. Does this mean I cannot pursue a dream? No way. But school can wait. He has made it evident that coffee is my world for now, and that is ok, because in the midst of that, He is providing new ways and new dreams. Like my mom's scholarship. And that is a dream worth pursuing, as well as a dream that can also involve my children with me. This week, we gave out the scholarship to a new student. Hearing her story was really neat and sets the flames burning higher for my pursuit in what to accomplish with it. But after the day was over, I had what at the moment seemed like an awkward conversation, but hindsight is one which was deep and meaningful. My daughter, 10, asked me "Mommy, when you die, do you want me to carry on Nana's scholarship? Will you teach me to do what you do?"  At the onset of the moment, I was unsure how to respond to that. But we've since talked about that, and what a neat opportunity for her to learn to do bigger things. What a humbling experience for me to realize that perhaps what has started as a small seed will, in fact, grow into something enormously beautiful with time and patience and prayer.
  Mark Batterson says in his book , The Circle Maker, "We live in a quick-fix, real-time culture. Between the news ticker and Twitter, we're always in the know, always in the now. We don't just want to have our cake and eat it too; we want instant brand. We want to reap the second after we sow, but this isn't the ways it works with dreaming big and praying hard. We need the patience of the planter. We need the foresight of the farmer. We need the mindset of the sower." 
  Growing up on a farm myself, I understood this well and it resonated deep within me. And as Elizabeth asked me if she could carry that out, that paragraph came back to my mind. Also, it reminds me that what is now can be 10x larger in years to come. And teaching Elizabeth how it works can also be a part of the sowing, a foresight of the farmer. At the awarding of the scholarship, there were other scholarships given, one being the John Bickett Scholarship. John Bickett happened to be the first graduate of Cedarville University, where my mom's scholarship is awarded. But I also happen to be a descendant of John Bickett. Also, my dad was telling me the story this week that my grandpa (my dad's dad) actually founded that scholarship. My grandpa is no longer alive, but seeing how large his once small idea has become was inspiring in the moment. 
  Mark Batterson also said "It's not enough to dream big and pray hard. You also have to think long. If you don't you'll experience high degrees of discouragement. Why? Because we tend to overestimate what we can accomplish in a year. Of course, we also tend to underestimate what we can accomplish in a decade. The bigger the vision, the harder you'll have to pray and the longer you'll have to think...."  
   But my vision isn't limited to simply the scholarship. My vision is to be used by God. I've made my share of mistakes and learned through hard times, but I have a dream that God will one day use me for His glory. Perhaps through my writing. Perhaps in the lives of my kids. Perhaps by touching one of my customers lives deeply. I'm not sure how that will play out through God's time, but it is a vision/dream of my life and gives me excitement each day. Yes, there are days when I feel pointless at times, but then again, nothing is pointless. And, the harder I pray and the more I think, the more He shows me of who I am and how He can use me. 
Vision breeds:

Passion. Wake up excited!


Direction. Practical advantage. Road maps for our lives. Helps with decisions and prioritized values.

Purpose. I matter! I am an important link! A reason to get up in the morning. 

One day at a time, the dreams grow, and dreams are part of vision. And vision is part of purpose. One day at a time. 

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