In preparation for Bridging the Gap’s upcoming Single Moms Retreat, I recently attended a training session on life coaching techniques. One of the exercises we completed that morning was sitting down with another person we didn’t know and spending four uninterrupted minutes describing our dreams for the perfect summer. While it wasn’t a particularly personal question, I found it difficult to talk about myself for the allotted time. I sputtered out something about my desire to do activities with my kids, take a vacation, and plant a garden that will actually grow (unlike last year’s garden debacle), until mercifully it was time to be on the listening end of the conversation, where my dreams could stay safely tucked in their little dream hut in my head.
As I drove home from training that day, I spent some more time thinking about that question. What WOULD make this summer the best ever? I realized that perhaps my real dreams lay so deep that even I can’t call them to mind without intentionally pondering for a while. But as the miles passed, slowly, like a tiny waterfall, little dreams began to drip, drip, drip down. Dreams like spending way less time on my computer, reading really good books, working on that writing project I can’t get out of my head, ESCAPING. Dreams like scooping sand into a bucket at the beach with my baby girl, chasing after my boys on their training-wheel-free bikes, connecting with my neighbors in a meaningful way, ENGAGING.
I thought about those slippery little buggers known as dreams. All the things we want to experience, places we want to see, goals we want to accomplish. I thought about the dreams we allow to fly away because somewhere along the way we decide they are too big or that they are meant for someone smarter, more experienced, or more talented than us. The dreams we allow to be squashed by people, circumstances, physical or financial challenges, busyness, and so many other factors.
Have you ever felt like your dreams aren’t that big of a deal? That you really don’t have to chase them because life will be just fine without them? Yeah, me too. But here’s the kicker. No one else can achieve your dreams because no one else lives your life. You’re the only chance you’ve got. There is a plan, a purpose for which you were created, and it’s one that no one else can claim or accomplish.
In John 15:16 Jesus says to his disciples, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit.”
Those dreams God has planted in our heart? They matter because they are a piece of our calling.
Back in the training room that day, warm April sunshine streaming through the windows, I sat amongst a group of women who were discussing words to describe someone who dares to dream.
Brave, one said.
Empowered, added another.
The good words just kept coming.
It is easy to believe these words of other women’s dreams, but can we claim them for ourselves as well?
At the end of May, hundreds of women will attend the BTG Single Moms Retreat, where they will be dared to dream. They will be dared to believe in what God has placed deep in their hearts, dared to pick up hope, optimism, COURAGE.
Whew. It’s pretty powerful, this dreaming thing. I can’t wait to be among the women as they pick up cast-off dreams and discover new ones. Something tells me I’ll be doing the same.