The glazed stare. The “deer caught in the headlights” look. I’ve seen it a lot. And, sadly, it’s come most frequently in response to the question: “What’s your dream?”
“Dream? Me? Have a dream? For my life?” Yes, YOU!
Yes, you devoted homemaker who now has an empty nest.
Yes, you retired entrepreneur who misses the excitement and challenges of building a business.
Yes, you hamster-on-the-wheel.
Yes, you who feels lonely and forgotten.
Yes, you busy mom of young children.
Yes, you who fills your days with golf or tennis or shopping.
You’re not too old, too young, too worn out, or too busy to make a difference.
Think you have nothing to contribute?
You couldn’t be more wrong.
If you are still breathing, there is purpose for your life. You are meant to make a difference in this world.
Ten years ago, I was that dear deer in the headlights. I had just read a book by John Tesh called Beyond Red Rocks: Making Your Dreams a Reality. It was a quick and inspiring read that actually left me gripped with a deep sense of sadness and longing. I realized that I had no dreams for my own life. For my daughter? Oh yes. For my husband? Certainly. But dreams for myself? Nope. Nada. Zero.
As I wrestled with this revelation, I penned these words in my journal: “I don’t even feel like I have any dreams. Lord, would you clear away the clutter and chaos in my life and enable me to see your dreams for my life? I want to ‘dance’ for your glory, Lord. Show me how.”
A decade later, I can say with certainty that I am pursuing a God-given dream. When I help someone write an affirming letter to a loved one, I am filled with joy. My calling gives me an incredible sense that I’m doing what God created me to do.
Did I ever expect to have this beautiful story done by NBC? http://bit.ly/1ojc6y0 Never! Or be interviewed on Fox News?
Coincidences? I don’t think so. I believe that God is answering my prayers.
How about you? Do you believe that you are doing what you were created to do? If you share that sense of longing for a dream, these steps might help your discovery process:
1. Pray. Ask God to identify or clarify His dream for your life. Write that prayer down and date it.
2. Record ideas as they pop in your mind. What are the things that matter to you? What upsets you? What gives you joy? Start jotting them down. Be sure to record the ideas that seem crazy or impossible to achieve. (Might those be God sized dreams?)
3. Step out of your boat of security and comfort. Take a few risks. You’ll never know where your steps of faith and courage might lead. I’ve learned that the greatest growth and fulfillment happens outside my comfort zone.
4. Brainstorm with friends. “When you’re inside the jar, you can’t read the label.” Your friends might see some of your untapped gifts and talents that you can’t see. Ask them what makes you come alive.
5. Please don’t use the excuse that your purpose on earth is to care for your own friends and family. Yes, they certainly should be your priority. But each of us has a little bit of margin in which we can make a difference to a bigger world. Lift your eyes outside the circled wagons of your own “kin.”
Here are a few simple ideas for reaching out:
Sponsor a Compassion child. And don’t just send $38 a month. Write letters of encouragement. Your simple, affirming words could give a child hope.
Visit a lonely, elderly person. It’s tragic the number of seniors who have no visitors.
Write to encourage a prisoner.
Collect blankets or coats for the homeless.
Try some things you’ve never done before. By experimenting in new areas, you might just uncover a new passion and dream.
A dream doesn’t have to be on a marquee or newspaper headline to be significant. There are countless ways we can make a difference in this world.
If you are a Christ follower, what greater motivation can there be than this? “Whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40
Make your days on this earth count. Pour out. Serve others. Stretch yourself. You are blessed to be a blessing.
And remember the words of C. S. Lewis: “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
What’s your dream at this season of your life?
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