Ep 80: Dream Bigger and Build the Life You Want
August 20, 2019 - 56:12
Growing up, I had this aunt named Gloria who I thought was the coolest person around. She was beautiful, independent, drove an amazing car, and had a Rottweiler who went everywhere with her. But the coolest thing about her was that she lived on a farm by herself. She had horses, chickens, pigs, goats and everything that went along with the ideal farm life I fantasized about.
To me, her life looked like the greatest life ever. I would often look at her and think, That’s who I want to be. That’s the kind of life I want to have.
Well, fast-forward a few years to my early 20s when I was working 80 hours a week at a nonprofit. I was looking to downsize from a three-bedroom apartment with roommates to a one-bedroom apartment where I could live on my own. During my search, I came across an ad in the newspaper for a 40-acre farm for rent just two miles from my job—not exactly downsizing, but gasp!
I immediately picked up the phone and called the number on the ad.
It was perfect for me.
Okay, so I couldn’t afford the rent they were asking for, I had no idea how to run a farm, and I was working insane hours at my day job. So, if we’re being completely honest, it didn’t make any sense at all—everything about it was impractical.
But, y’all! It was my dream to live on a farm, so you better believe I wasn’t going to let “practical” stop me from pursuing it.
The next day, I went to visit the farm in person. Once I left, I scrounged up enough money for the deposit and moved in a few days later. At 23, I was living my farm dream. Sure, I had to start a side business boarding horses in the empty stalls so I could afford the rent, but I couldn’t have been happier.
Looking back on that experience, I could’ve easily missed out on living out that dream. Because the dream wasn’t happening on the time line I thought it would happen on (like in my 50s when I’d have more money, a spouse and kids), it would’ve been easy to convince myself that it wasn’t the right time.
But you know what? More often than not, dreams aren’t practical, and they certainly don’t always come to life in practical ways. Thinking practically is just one of the many reasons our dreams get smaller and smaller as we get older.
Why We Stop Dreaming
It’s so easy to dream when you’re little, isn’t it? You believe you can do anything, be anyone, and accomplish all the big dreams in your heart. But at some point, life—and other people—gets to you. You get bogged down by people telling you to do more practical things that have a guaranteed path to success.
So your dreams slowly start to fade into the background.
It doesn’t matter how long it’s been since you’ve stopped dreaming—it’s never too late to start dreaming again.
And if you do dream, you play it safe. You keep your dreams small and doable so you can control and contain them. You also convince yourself that dreaming any bigger is selfish when so many people (your kids, your husband, your church, etc.) are counting on you.
Does that “logic” sound familiar?
So often, we women believe our heart’s desires are selfish. When the reality is, God is the one who placed that dream in you to begin with. He never called you to live a small life, and He certainly never called you to stop dreaming.
I know that dreaming is hard. You feel vulnerable (because what if it doesn’t work?), silly (because what will other people think?) and even a little scared (because what kind of changes will this dream bring?).
But I want you to do it anyway. It doesn’t matter how long it’s been since you’ve stopped dreaming—it’s never too late to start dreaming again.
I want you to dream so big that if God’s not in it, you’ll fail. Dream so big that you can’t see the path forward—so big that you need God to show up and perform a miracle to make it happen.
Friend, this is possible. Dreaming again will feel weird at first, but I believe it’s a practice—not a onetime thing. If you need to get back to dreaming big for your life, I’ve got three steps to help. When you practice these three steps, little by little you’ll see your dreams—and the real you—come back to life.
Three Steps to Dreaming Bigger
Step 1: Own it.
Dreaming again starts with owning what you want out of life.
Honestly ask yourself, What do I want for my:
- faith journey
What do you want?
Your answers to these questions are your hopes and dreams. And when you acknowledge your dreams, you give yourself permission to desire those things. Because, friend, you are allowed to want more!
So many of us spend our lives trying to convince ourselves and others that we’re fine with how things currently are—that we don’t want more for our lives. But I’m here to tell you that life is about more than Legos and laundry. It’s okay to desire something more! God wants you to live an abundant life, and He’s prepared to “give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4 NIV).
Your dreams matter. Acknowledge and own what you want, and then trust God to provide it.
Step 2: Say it out loud.
I know. This is scary!
But do you know why saying your dream out loud to someone is scary? Because it makes the dream real.
When you say your dream out loud, you take the dream out of the battlefield of your mind, where the voices of fear and doubt attack. Only then, do you bring your dream into the real world, where it can take on a life of its own.
On top of that, when you tell people you love and trust about a new dream, you have accountability to work toward it, and your loved ones will rally around you to help make it happen.
Related: Say It Out Loud This Year
You’ll hear things from them like:
“I have several friends in a running group. You could meet up with them to train for your first 5K!”
“A guy at my church does graphic design. I’m sure he’d help you with your logo and website!”
“Oh, my cousin works in real estate. He can help you get your house on the market!”
As silly as it sounds and as vulnerable as it feels, a dream takes on so much power when you say it out loud.
Step 3: Write it down.
Writing down your dreams is another level of accountability to yourself. The action turns your dreams into goals and your goals into a plan. You go from being a dreamer to being a doer.
No longer is your dream just a conversation you had with a friend that you might forget about. Instead, you’ve now painted a clear picture for yourself of what you need to do to make that dream a reality.
Your heart’s desires are not bad things or selfish things—they are God things. That’s why I want you to own your dreams, say them out loud, and write them down on paper.
And I also want you to get your hopes up, sister, because our God is the God of hope. He will make a way for you and all those big dreams in your heart.
Pursuing Your Wildest Dreams With Bob Goff
I’m so excited about my guest today!
Bob Goff is a New York Times bestselling author, speaker and the host of the Dream Big podcast. If you’ve read his book Love Does, then you know about his crazy determination to not only dream big, but also find ways to bring those dreams to life.
On today’s episode, Bob and I talk about:
- Tapping into our inner child and dreaming like we used to
- Living an engaged life
- Getting over the obsession of caring what others think about you
- Dreaming big for your life again
Encouragement: A Personal God
One of the things I’ve noticed in my walk as a believer is that so often we want formulas for our faith. We want a road map that we can reference for how God is going to help us through whatever situation we’re going through. But God doesn’t always do things that way.
God does not work in formulas. He’s not going to treat you and your situation the same way He would treat it for your friend, neighbor or coworker. Even if you’re both going through a similar situation, you likely won’t experience the same journey or results.
Why is that? Does God take someone a different route because He sees something they don’t—or because He likes them more than He likes you?
Years ago, I asked my mentor Eve why she thinks there are so many denominations within Christianity. My question was: How could we all love the same God but have different ideas around how to love Him?
Our conversation went a little something like this:
Eve: “Christy, look at Scripture. When Jesus healed the blind, how did He do it?
Me: “Well, a lot of different ways. One time he used water, another time He used mud, and another time He just spoke it.”
Eve: “Exactly. He had a lot of different methods to get to the same result.”
When we have a certain experience with God, we tend to get together with other people who have had that same experience, and collectively we think our way is the right way. So those who were healed by mud got together with others who were healed by mud, and they believed God always heals with mud. And those who were healed by spit got together with others who were healed by spit, and they believed God always heals with spit, and so on.
Don’t we also do that in life? We see our way of doing things and think it’s the only way or the right way. We think, If God did something in my life, then that must be the way He will always work. So our way becomes the rule for everyone else. We think, This must be the way you worship. This is the way you hear from God. This is how you practice obedience.
But you know what? God is not only bigger than the box we try to put Him in—He’s also much more personal than that.
God will take people down different paths that lead to the same destination: restoration. It’s easy for us to pass judgement on someone who is going in a different direction than the way we went. But what we don’t realize is, God is taking them that way on purpose.
Your relationship with Him is personal, so your path with Him will be personal.
So, if you’re seeing a friend, coworker or neighbor going down a different path or handling a situation differently than you would, don’t be discouraged. It doesn’t mean God has forgotten about you. It doesn’t mean He doesn’t have good plans for you. And it certainly doesn’t mean your friend is “doing it wrong.” It might just mean that God is using a personal approach with them, and He’ll do the same for you.
1:24 Why We Stop Dreaming and Three Steps to Dreaming Bigger
21:17 Pursuing Your Wildest Dreams With Bob Goff
48:47 Encouragement to Remember that God is a Personal God
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