A couple of months ago we sat down with Katy from Elsie Road Magazine, an online magazine for Christian Creatives. We ate sandwiches, talked about our online work, rambled about our dreams and most topics in between. Since then we’ve been looking forward to collaborating with Elsie Road Magazine and thought we would both have a lot to say on the topic of ‘dreaming’.
Katy has written this great post on what it can look like to dream when you are a Christian, two subjects that might feel like they clash, but they actually work in tandem. God has created a beautiful world for us and given us hearts that long for Heaven, it is in us to dream bigger and our dreams can honour and glorify him.
Dream Big. Lean on God.
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” C.S. Lewis
I’ve always been a big dreamer. I come by it honestly; we still tease my dad about the time he wanted to buy an old convent in Saskatchewan and live there. Now whenever someone comes up with a harebrained idea I think of the Saskatchewan nunnery. Despite the impracticality of dreaming big, I’m glad that it’s something that was passed on to me. God created an amazing world with incredible people and fascinating stories and he created me with the passion to explore it.
I’ve never been afraid to imagine more for myself, but I’ve often been afraid to reach for it. Starting a business, traveling the world, living life outside the bounds—I’m not skilled enough, special enough, holy enough, selfless enough. The Bible repeatedly refers to being diligent in our work and quietly going about the tasks we are given. So how do we know if God is calling us to something different? What does it look like to dream big as a Christian?
There are four things I’ve learned to lean on when assessing those lofty ambitions.
Examine the why.
This process can be very revealing—often more than I’d like—but one of the first things I do when deliberating whether to act on a dream is stop and examine the why. Why do I want to achieve this goal or take this step? Is it because I want to live an enjoyable life? Is it for my own glory? Is it because I think it’s what I’m supposed to do? If the answer is anything other than to glorify God and serve others, I know I have some work to do. This doesn’t always mean the dream has to be tossed aside—although sometimes it does. Other times it just means the dream needs some reframing. My mindset and motivations require an adjustment to put God first.
Look to God’s word.
I listened to a sermon a few weeks ago where the pastor was explaining what it can look like to hear from God. We didn’t talk about this a lot in the church community that I grew up in, so the idea of hearing from God always seemed slightly mystical to me. When other Christians would say God had called them to a position or tugged on their heart, I’d feel embarrassed to not know what that felt like. But in this sermon, the pastor clarified that many times hearing from God is a lot more straightforward. That in fact the Bible gives us a framework for understanding God’s call and boundaries for making choices. He gave the example of deciding whether to take a new job. Citing scripture, he walked through what that might look like. The Bible exhorts us to love and respect our spouse—if you’re married maybe one of the first steps for making that decision is to ask your spouse how you could best love them. Through his word Jesus also urges us to live in community with believers—how would your decision affect your place in his church? When you find yourself with plans in your head and a dream in your heart, examine how it fits with how God’s word directs us to live.
Talk it out.
My mom likes to tell the story of how during my first few years of school, teachers would comment on how quiet I was. She had a hard time believing that, because when I came home I’d stand next to her and chat her ear off. These days I do the same thing to my husband when I come home from work. I process ideas by talking them through. Talk through your dreams with those influential people in your life—then most importantly, spend some time talking it out with God.
Be willing to watch them change.
I have dreams that I hold so tightly that I’m afraid to let them turn into something else. I don’t want my desire to have a successful career to be replaced by a longing for a more balanced life or a nursery in the room next door. I wrote about this when I first started Elsie Road and it’s something I’ve seen in myself over and over again. It’s as if my current self is holding those dreams so closely that I don’t want to know that my future self will be fine with leaving them behind. That between point A and B, I will have been given the knowledge and wisdom to move on or take a detour. But dreams change and so do we and often God’s plans don’t look anything like what we had imagined. The beautiful thing about it is that somewhere along the way we realize that we wouldn’t change our situation for those dreams we had once clutched so tightly.
“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9. This is the most valuable thing I hold onto when dreaming big as a Christian. God has given me the ability to think big and to long for more—but in the end it’s his path I want to be on.
Make sure to follow along with Elsie Road Magazine and share your thoughts with us on your experience dreaming big as a Christian.