As we continue our conversation about God-sized Dreams, I asked my dear friend Bonnie Gray from Faith Barista to share. Bonnie and I connected online last year and our friendship became even deeper when we finally got to meet face-to-face in California. We sat in a parking late one night and talked about our dreams and why joy is so hard sometimes. What she had to say encouraged me then…and I believe what she has to say today will do the same for you too.
It’s a question that plagues me like water dripping out of a broken faucet. I’ve tried to turn off the doubt with positive sayings and even memorized verses. But, my fears of failing won’t go away. It’s because God hasn’t given up on me. He wants me to keep moving towards my God-sized dreams.
It’s not the first time God has given me a dream bigger than what I’m capable of. Most of my life has been spent pursuing what I’ve believed God has called me to do. But I look back and see long stretches of fall and winter. I can’t say those years weren’t fruitful, because I have come to develop a comfort in finding God in them.
I’ve depended on God since my early years as the oldest girl growing up in a single parent family with little means. God is all the Daddy I know, so I stuck to him for dear life.
Dysfunctional upbringing? I sucked up the words of Jesus, like the last oxygen mask left in a broken plane crashing down.
Dreams of becoming a writer dashed for a practical engineering degree? I chose to find my joy in serving others instead.
A traumatic stint in missions left years marked by solitude and prayer, while singleness past 30 handed me the questions about the gift of singleness.
Even though I later got the surprising joy of getting married, I’ve been learning to be content with the storyline of my life for a very long time. I got so good at living with the disappointment of yesterday that I have trouble opening my heart up to taste joy in today.
Sand Between My Toes
I’d say I’m a happy person who loves to laugh, eat chocolate, and enjoy friends. And I can’t describe the thrill my heart feels when I get to encourage others.
As for personal joy, the kind that is God-sized? I like to stick to the kind of joy that comes out of suffering and trials. Not because I’m all that spiritual. That’s just the kind I know about.
I’m comfortable with walking through deserts. I’m used to wearing sandals and getting sand between my toes. Trouble is, I was walking along fine until one day, I stepped out of the desert and into new waters of healing. Scenes in my life that previously looked void of purpose took on a new shape, color, and sound. I started seeing God in the background.
I realized as hard and painful as my losses have been, Jesus’ love for me grew deeper in spite of it all.
What Doesn’t Feel Like Me
I’ve always felt like an ugly duckling, with experiences I wish never got written into my life. Since Jesus started showing me how He carried me through it all, I now see the fruits of love, faithfulness, and gentleness that He’s planted in me, along with each sorrow.
A new kind of joy has been growing in my heart. It’s a growing desire for beauty even though I’ve experienced the barrenness of dreams.
This joy is calling me to embrace abundance and celebrate the opportunities He’s placed in my life.
Like a new pair of shoes, this joy is very uncomfortable. This joy doesn’t feel like it’s me. I’m afraid to lean into this joy because maybe it won’t last.
So many questions I never asked are now challenging this new freedom.
How will this joy change me?
Will my friends like this new me?
If I embrace this joy, will I love feeling this way more than depending on God?
Ultimately, all this awkwardness is a question about trusting in God’s love. I’m used to snuggling in Jesus’ arms. Now, He wants me to ride on His shoulders. Do I really deserve to be here? God is saying —
Yes, You deserve to be here. Because I love you.
Maybe you understand me better now, when I say that I think I’m pregnant with promise. I’m not having a baby. I’m expecting a God-sized dream. It’s very early in the pregnancy right now. It’s not even official. I hope this work that God is doing in me is real. I’m scared, but I’m also expectant. Because He loves me, I know God will stick by me no matter what.
“Who is like the Lord our God…
He lifts the needy from the ash heap,
To make them sit with princes…
He makes the barren woman abide in the house
As a joyful mother of children.”
~ Psalm 113:5-9
Answer Bonnie’s question above by leaving a comment before midnight CST on Sunday the 3rd and you’ll be entered to win this new Tree of Life cuff bracelet by DaySpring to remind you of the new things God is growing in you!
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