We asked some Canadian Christian women to share their experiences with ‘dreaming bigger’. They have graciously offered up their doubts, their struggles, and their insights to encourage this community in being one that dreams bigger, and supports its dreamers.
Often we might feel that the dreaming process is a solitary act. For many reasons it can be intimidating to share our dreams with others, let them help us achieve them, and hold us accountable. It can also be hard to know where to turn to for advice and encouragement. We hope that this collaborative interview inspires you and opens you up to this local community of faithful women doing great work and leaning into God to dream bigger.
Louise is a BC mom of three who is a teacher, turned photographer, turned blogger and foster mom. On her blog Louise shares everything from her favourite books to her family’s latest adventure, to the heart-heavy realities of being a foster mom.
Rachel is a married BC woman who has put aside teaching to pursue her career in photography. She is an adventure-seeking, big-dreaming, story-telling woman who is candid about her faith in all she does online.
Hanna is a stay at home mom to two, blogger, photographer and book cover artist. She shares about her daily family life in the lovely Kootenays and her illustration blog has lots of tips and behind the scenes peeks at what goes into illustrating a book cover.
1. What advice would you give a woman who feels like she is uninspired or doesn’t have any dreams for her life?
I would encourage all women to be open to the prompts around them. I think sometimes we lack courage or are fearful of failure and in turn, close our minds to the options around us. If we have open hearts and minds, we can see and hear from the people that God has placed in our lives. These people know us, love us, and can often encourage us to embrace new ideas or perspectives. -LC
It’s going to sound cliche, but none of my “dreams” really panned out the way I planned, because God’s plans for my life were better. I dreamed of being a teacher, and though I got my degree, God brought an even better plan to the table- one of being a full-time photographer. I LOVE teaching, but photography is a bigger passion for me. If I had trusted my own plans, I would have missed out on what God had planned for my life. Instead of focusing inward, I find focusing outward on Jesus and what he is calling me to is far more fruitful. I am always most inspired and driven when I am chasing after Christ and the fullness he has in store for me. That being said, it’s not always clear, it’s not always on our timeline, and it can be discouraging. Those days usually involve very long walks in the woods for me, and I always come out refreshed, inspired, and with renewed hope and vision. – RB
Think about what you loved when you were younger or had more time. Most people I know who are passionate about something were in love with that thing when they were children. The distractions and responsibilities of being an adult can sometimes make you forget what you love to do and what makes you fulfilled. – HS
2. If you have found yourself with many ideas or options on what to do with your dreaming, how did you narrow it down and select which path to move forward on?
I am a bit impulsive so I am sure to first connect with my husband on it because my dreams often involve him. I would like to say that prayer is my first “go to” but it is usually my husband who gently reminds me of this in our discussions. Talking it through really helps and I love that he approaches it so differently than I do. I am emotional and passionate and he is realistic and practical. Together, we can figure out what walking that path might look. – LC
I married a very practical man, and I 100% believe God paired us together to help balance me out. I’m the kind of girl who loves doing things on a whim. Combine that with dreaming, and you sometimes have a dangerous situation! I also surround myself with a community of like-minded women who I can turn to and bounce ideas off of, wrestle with a new vision, and be inspired by. Community is an important aspect of every area of life, and I would not be able to thrive without it. – RB
I’m a very logical person, and I love to plan. I usually follow my ideas down and figure out what kind of time commitment they would require to pull off successfully. Who would benefit from it? How would it help or take away from the other things I have going on? I look at all the facts and consequences, and then I pray about it as I mull it over. I usually come out with a sense of clarity. I have to admit, that I sometimes rush that process, and I never feel as settled about my decisions after. Probably because I wasn’t really listening for God’s response, I just wanted to do the thing. I’m slowly learning (I can be a bit dense!) that God really does want what’s best for me and his kingdom, so I’m better off listening for his guidance. – HS
3. Have you ever felt God urge you to let go of a dream, or lay it aside for a time-being?
I was a person who was very afraid of change. I believed that once you had a dream and a plan, you stuck with it. Now that I’ve realized that I can’t control everything and that I can change my path multiple times and survive–thrive even, I feel so much more confident in decision making! I went from being a teacher to a photographer to a foster mom and blogger. I love how God led me step-by-step to where I am today; I never would’ve believed where I am now had you told me five years ago. – LC
Absolutely! Again, my plans are so near-sighted, and His are far greater than I can imagine. I’ve set things aside, sometimes permanently, only to see God bless that decision or project more fully than I could have ever accomplished myself. Just recently, I felt God calling me to take a one week break from Instagram. I had become too caught up in the wrong things when it comes to social media, and God called me to step away and draw back into him for my identity and worth. That week was incredibly stretching for me, but it resulted in a deeper relationship with Jesus, and a more balanced approach to social media. Obedience is so hard, especially when it comes to our dreams! Nothing is more personal and heart-driven than our dreams, so it’s easy to hold tightly to them. The more I walk in obedience to Christ, the more open-handed I can be with my plans. I’ve seen his goodness pour out tenfold whenever I’ve followed his lead, and it drives me to be more willing to offer up whatever dream I might be holding on to. – RB
God has asked me to give him my dreams. To not hold them so tightly in my hands. And then if he gives it back to me, I know that I’m on the right track, and not just pushing forward because it’s what I want to do. – HS
4. Many of us shy away from pursuing dreams because we like our comfort zone, not just emotionally but also the ‘practical’ side, like paycheques and job stability. How have you had to lean into God when it came to the ‘how’ of making your dreams happen?
This question really resonates with me because I grew up being taught that job stability and financial savviness were very important. When our second son was born, I was sick with an autoimmune disease and unable to return to teaching. I had to focus on the other skills that I had in order to bring in some income–this helped me to develop my photography and business skills. This situation taught me that it’s okay to try new things and He will provide for all of our needs (not wants–needs.) Had I not gotten sick, I never would’ve taken the risk of resigning from my teaching job. I think God knew that I needed an extra push to lead me down a new path! – LC
I remember when I first felt like I might walk away from my stable job and solely pursue photography. My husband and I were both feeling the call, but it was a scary one! His practical thinking had worn off on me, and the idea of an unstable and seasonal profession didn’t exactly make me jump for joy. So, we began to pray. I asked God if this were really his leading in our lives, that he would grow and bless my business so that we could step away from my job and step into this new season. We had our friends pray for discernment on our behalf as well. My business suddenly exploded and brought us to the point where I could no longer manage two jobs and my hand was forced to pick one. We really felt that God wasn’t just opening the door, rather he was pushing me through it. So we jumped. We took the risk. It’s not easy, it’s not comfortable, but it is good. And it’s where God wants me. – RB
5. What mindsets have you had to adjust in order for your dreams to happen?
The biggest shift for me is that it’s okay to switch gears. Circumstances and passions change and so do our dreams; it’s not quitting, it’s moving in a new direction. Also, I need to continually remind myself that a lot of what happens is not in my control, it truly is up to Him. If this is where He wants me to be then it will work. It might look different than I planned but it’s going to happen. – LC
Pride is definitely something I struggle with, and when you’re self-employed, it really comes into play. I tried too many times, in the beginning, to go it alone and act like I had it all together. It was exhausting and nauseating. I wish I could go back in time to young and naive Rachel and shake her from head to toe. You will never make it alone. We weren’t designed to make it alone. We need community! As I learned this painful lesson, I began to surround myself with other photographers. I invited them along on my adventures and we photographed each other. We partnered on personal projects. We bounced ideas off one another. We chatted about our struggles, clients, and insecurities. These women became my community. They build me up, inspire me, teach me new things, and help me serve Jesus and my clients better. Life is so much more full when it’s done with other people. – RB
6. There is the saying ‘God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called’. Have you seen this as true for yourself?
So true–I wasn’t born with the skills I have today, I’ve had to develop them. In photography, blogging, and fostering, there was a foundation of knowledge for it to start but the pieces to build these areas all came from asking questions, attending classes, and being in community with others. If you are looking to be equipped, I think you need to be inquisitive and open-minded; recognize that there is room to grow and that character development is a positive thing. – LC
Almost every opportunity or dream I’ve pursued, I have felt under-qualified for. But somehow, in every circumstance that I’ve stepped out in faith, according to God’s calling, I have seen Him show up and equip me. Sometimes, however, that equipping comes in the form of hard lessons, not just supernatural gifting. Equipping can be painful, but it is incredibly fruitful. If you’re feeling God calling you to something, and you aren’t sure you’re fit for the task, know that He is bigger than your limitations, and also be willing to hustle and work. – RB
I’ve never been sure that I agree with this saying. I do believe that God will equip you for what he calls you to do. But I also believe that God is the one who made me. He made me with aptitudes and passions and a specific personality. If that wasn’t him equipping me, I don’t know what it was. If God needs me to do something outside of my skills and comfort zone, I know he will be faithful. But I believe he made me unique because he has work for me to do. – HS
7. How do you stay motivated in pursuing your dreams?
It’s important to take the time to reflect on where you are at and where you would like to be. This reflection should really occur on various levels; alone, with God in prayer, and with those you trust and love. Dreams grow and change and what we are doing will need to shift alongside. Meeting with similarly-minded people encourages me as does taking risks and pushing myself outside of my comfort zone to learn and grow. Another big one is sharing my dream. I think often we’re afraid that it will not be supported, but words of encouragement from others have done wonders for me! – LC
I have never been a goal setter. I know many people who start off each year, or even each quarter, with a goal list. They sit down and quietly contemplate what they want to accomplish. I should probably do this more often, I think it would be quite beneficial! But this is not something that I am naturally drawn to, or good at. By having people like this in my life, who are naturally motivated and driven, I find that I become more driven. They remind me to focus and pursue and hustle. I remind them to slow down and take a breath every once in a while. The key is always balance, and finding people to help you accomplish it. – RB
8. How do you think it benefits God’s kingdom when women dream big dreams?
I think dreaming big shows others that we have perspective in regards to what really matters. It’s okay to try and fail because God’s got His hands in it and we can learn from each experience. I love Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” What is the worst that can happen from dreaming a big dream? If our dreams are full of love and connection then hopefully others will see God’s hands and words in action. For example, being a foster parent has shown others that you don’t need special skills to love a child to the point that they feel safe and can blossom into who God meant for them to be. It is a tangible way to change one life at a time. Are there risks? For sure. Is it worth it? Yes. – LC
Too many times, my narrow-minded faith has caused me to almost miss big opportunities to see God move. Our dreams need to be big, because God is a BIG God. If we limit Him by our standards, we miss out on the fullness of His kingdom being known here on earth. Allow Him the space to show up in all of His fullness, power, and glory. – RB
Thank you to these ladies who have shared vulnerably and graciously.
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