dream big spiritual

Crash and Burn but Dreaming Forward

12:09 PMHeather

My day started well. All snug and cozy and deep in sleep. And then that darn alarm clock went off to remind me that today is the day.

The day the kids go back to school. The dreaded day of morning routines and not sleeping until lunch. Back packs and school lunches and binders and schedules.

Listen, for the record, we are not morning people. None of the five of us. Any of you who spring out of bed, ready to tackle the day -- we just don't get you. We can admire you and respect you. But we don't understand. A good day around here is when we choose to be very quiet in our grumpy morning state, avoiding words or interactions, lest they not go well.

Today was not a good day. I take the blame, really. My daughter couldn't find her tennis shoes for Pre-Athletics. And for the love of humanity, this little bump in our morning road caused me to crash and burn. True story. Climbing in the closet under the stairs when there isn't even a tornado warning, I dug through the mess of suitcases and a whole pile of pieces of gum, along with some school papers and our George Foreman griddle. 

And I didn't do it quietly. I roared about the frustration of missing tennis shoes as if it was the end of the world. 

Every mama knows that when we aren't happy, ain't nobody happy.

So a round of applause for the crazy lady fuming and tearing around the house in her Baylor pajamas about the horror of missing tennis shoes-- "Well, you'll just have to not dress out. Because I can't go buy tennis shoes at 7:30 am! Or where an old pair of shoes. Oh, you don't fit into your old pair? That option is out then. WHY didn't you pack your bag last night?"

Mom of the year basically.

Now the kiddos are off and at 'em, with the baby girl wearing the only pair of shoes she can fit into for working out--her older brother's pair. 

And I sit here reflecting about how I crashed and burned. I've texted an apology to my sons, who graciously offered forgiveness. Mending fences with my girl will have to wait until after school since she isn't allowed to carry her phone to school. 

My planned blog post all waxing poetic about my "word for the year" has thus become more real and authentic and more of a confession than a flowery post regaling my victories for all to read. 

Yes, I am one of those people who choose a word for the year. One word. No resolutions per se. Plenty of plotting and thinking, but focused on one word. I began to pray about my one word for 2016 back in November. Unlike other years, it was quickly revealed through various means.

My husband would like me to pause here and note that I don't actually have ONE word for 2016. Because it's "dream BIG." So, I suppose, I have one phrase for 2016. 

Whatever. You get the gist.

I began to choose a word several years ago, and it's been a significant discipline for me. It's something that I pray over because I want to know how the Father intends to focus my attention for the next 365 days. My word (or words, plural) has been a catalyst for revelation and growth. I have intentionally set my mind on Scripture or Bible studies to help me focus on that word. (By the way, "intentional" was the word for 2011). It's been interesting how year after year, the words seem to build on and interlink with each other. Embrace. Intentional. Grace. Gratitude. Love. Freedom.

And now, dream BIG.

I've already offered a written chronicle recounting how God worked to teach me about freedom in 2015.  A post about how I thought the journey would go compared with how it actually went.

And true to form, I have already missed the mark on "dream big." I was so excited initially, with visions of all my big ideas coming true. As if God is my magic genie and he basically just directed me to expect all my wishes to come to fruition in this next year.

Not so fast.

It wasn't long before my take on Ephesians 3:20-21 for a focus verse was brought to a clearer understanding.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."

It's so easy for me to have the reflex of reading this verse and thinking of all the incredible visions I have of longings of mine being fulfilled in big, spectacular and surprising ways.

Dream BIG, after all.

Yet, as I began the new Bible reading plan through my church, my words for the year came into focus. The truth is that I've never tackled a reading plan like this. A plan that has you reading through the Bible, reading through various books at the same time. It's always felt like too much to me. I've preferred being spoon fed my Scripture reading, in little doses at a time. But this time, I decided to give it a go. And it has not disappointed.

The Bible has come to life to me in new ways as I've been reading through Isaiah, Psalm and a portion of the gospels or Paul's writings every day. I've seen the continuity of Scripture with new eyes. I've gained fresh revelation of who God is and his sovereign plan for all of man kind, for all of history and for eternity. I know I've admitted it before, but these last few years have been a startling deconstruction and rebuilding of my faith, realizing that I've never really known God for who he truly is because I've boxed him in through rote and ritual. I've lived my life in a faith walk that has never fully appreciated the miracle of the gospel. 

What a journey it has been.

What a journey it will continue to be.

Because as I've been going through the reading plan these last few weeks, my phrase for 2016 has come into proper focus.

God intends for me to dream big about who He is. He longs for me to dream big about his grace. And his love. And his purpose and his plans. He desires for me to be so clear on the truth of the gospel that it changes how I live, how I think, and how I act. His dreams for me go far beyond any earthly accolades or accomplishments. His heart for me is to dream BIGGER about the Father and how I might be about the Father's work.

Oh, yes, he wants me to stand on Ephesians 3:20-21. 

Not so that I can revel in the by-product and results of what an immeasurable God can do for me.

But so that I can be awed by how immeasurable He is and thus be willing to do whatever he asks of me because I trust his sovereign goodness and purposes and because I long for his glory far and above my own.

What if? What if I can really grasp how big He is? What if I can glimpse and be humbled by his glory and it could ignite a fire within me to go wherever he leads? What if I can wrap my brain around the gospel, preaching it to myself constantly, and then begin living it out? 

What if?

My pastor hit the nail on the head as he wrapped his sermon this past Sunday. It felt like a statement directed solely for me, by way of clarifying how I am to dream BIG in 2016.

"Could this be the year of unprecedented growth in your faith?"

Yes, I believe it can. I believe the work will continue that was begun in me all those years ago when I chose to follow Jesus as a child. I believe that God intends to blow my mind with fresh revelation of who he is. I know that His desires for my life go far beyond anything I can grasp or dream up for myself.

Because he is a good, good Father -- beyond my wildest dreams.

And for the record, can you share a chuckle with me that our pastor has just announced his next sermon series?

It's on Ephesians.

So, I do believe God intends for me to keep dreaming. To keep dreaming of mornings where I can extend grace and show self-control over lost tennis shoes.  Mornings where I can rise and remember the miracle of a new day. Mornings where I stop to consider how big God is and how I might better point my  non-morning people to him.

Perhaps quietly. Perhaps by silently praying for them, as words are hard for my people before 8 am.

Gracious words or careful silence. It's certainly better than the show I put on this morning.

I may have crashed and burned. But I'm dreaming forward.

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