What happens when you quit dreaming? Even worse, what happens if you’ve never been encouraged to dream or discouraged from dreaming big?
My take is that when we lose the ability to dream well, we lose the ability to hope. Without hope bad things happen. We lose the gift of ‘possibility’.
At Breakthrough we’re in the midst of a capital campaign called Dream Big. We’re trying to raise about 15 million dollars to construct a badly needed FamilyPlex for our neighborhood. But it goes beyond raising a lot of money for bricks and mortar. It’s more about helping to breathe hope into the lives of people who don’t know how to dream big but desperately need to. It's also about constantly encouraging those who are big dreamers to do what's necessary to help their dreams come true.
Wherever I look in the city and burbs I see a fair amount of people who have been beaten down by life. They lack hope. Dreaming big is non-existent. It’s a drag yourself out of bed, go to an uninspiring workplace, with lackluster colleagues kind of grind.
I know others who dream big about the usual things …money, power, position, prestige. Ho Hum. Fairly pedestrian kind of stuff. I know it well. Do it well. It scares me though. If you give your life to the pursuit of those dreams you run the risk of becoming what you give your life to. Nothing wrong with money, power, position or prestige except when they become the compass for our life.
I’ve been thinking about dreaming big lately. You see, I have maybe 20-25 years left. If I go small in my dreaming and stay amazingly practical and don’t reach for too many stars I can have a pretty non-descript hum drum rest of my life. In all honesty, on some days that sounds amazingly appealing. On most days, it sounds incredibly dull and life sucking. I can’t get away from the thought that God has created me for a variety of purposes and hum drum living isn’t one of those things. I could settle for it but I wouldn’t be happy.
Here’s what’s interesting. As I start to ‘dream big’ I’m having this deep desire to simplify my life. I’ve come to grips that my big earning years are behind me (were they ever in front of me?), that position doesn’t mean a whole lot anymore and that power and influence come more out of relationship than having stuff. So I’m starting to ask questions about what I really need and what is just fluff. Interesting and freeing.
I’m also thinking that part of my ‘big dream’ is to initiate and be part of discussions relating Christian faith to the bigger issues of the day. So I spend time asking questions. For instance: What does God have to say about justice, power, possessions, position, use of money, race, poverty, immigration etc. and why do so many believers remain content to live lives of pietistic indifference to such things? By the way, I think the issue of pietistic indifference is a plague that threatens the life of the church. What is it? We used to call it being so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good. It plays out in a ‘me and Jesus’ theology that ignores God’s call to make a difference on the planet. Pietistic indifference is about salvation and cares little about discipleship, true worship, and a life of service. It's about looking good and caring very little.
Dream Big. It’s more than positive thinking. It’s a life style that reaches for God’s best even if it costs you the expectations others have for you.