Dreaming Big for the Glory of God

Photography by Eleanor Stenner

Photography by Eleanor Stenner

born to dream

Soft curls flowing, tutu twirling and princess shoes clanking the floor, my little heart was full as I dreamed about my prince to come one day. I danced around the room as if it were a ballroom, humming a tune I made up. My prince would be tall and handsome with no flaw at all and we would live happily ever after! As a little girl with wide eyes and a big heart, the sky had no limit to my dreams. Anything could happen in the world of make-believe. No dream was too big for my heart to write. And write I did. Countless journals chronicle my journey of dreaming dreams far beyond me. Some might say I am a romanticist and day-dreamer, but I like to call myself one who strives to life live beautifully.

Somewhere along the way, reality set in and began to take a toll on my dreams. The responsibilities of adulthood choked my hope for the impossible. All too quickly I began to live in a box of “possibilities” and what was logical. Anyone know what I am talking about? Nod your head with me if you are a “has been” dreamer looking for revival and hope from the mundane and simple. The reason we were born dreamers is because God originally intended us to live life in a sin-free world. The dreams of perfection that we have are tiny glimpses of what life was like before the fall of man when Adam and Eve walked freely with God, talked with Him and didn’t need to wear clothing because they had no shame or sin to cover up. Before the fall, life was a dream come true.

Then came that fateful day in Genesis chapter three. The serpent deceived Eve into thinking that God was keeping something from her. He planted the toxic seed of doubt in her heart. In his cunning, devious ways, Satan tricked Eve into wanting more than the abundance God had given her and Adam.  When Eve bit into the forbidden fruit, she forfeited the dream of walking sinless before God. One bite changed the course of history. 

the problem with sin-stained dreaming

Ever since the fall, man has struggled to dream. The sin of our hearts often leads us to longing for things that won’t last and dreams that only benefit ourselves. Instead of dreaming to make much of God, man has consistently created dreams, plans and schemes to make much of ourselves. This kind of dreaming leads to life of striving and emptiness. Along with the first sin, Satan robbed man of innocence and living the perfect dream. 

This is where the good news comes in. Are you ready? The gospel of Jesus Christ is that when He laid down his life on the cross, He bought back the dream God intended for His creation. He snatched it out of the hands of Satan with his great power and might. Because of the sinless blood Jesus shed on the cross, we can have a right relationship with God and have the hope of Heaven. Jesus bought back man’s right to live God’s original dream. 

That itch in your heart to live for something greater was put there for a reason. It isn’t to add more to your resumé. It isn’t to make your name famous or accumulate wealth. It is impossible to fulfill on your own. The big dreams we have in our heart were meant to point us to Christ and to magnify him. John 15:5 is a reminder of this from Jesus: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” Apart from Christ we cannot fulfill our dreams and live abundantly. God created us with big dreams to teach us our need for Him, to show us that our life is about Him and to give us an opportunity to glorify Him when he makes them happen.

discovering God-sized dreams

You may be asking, how do I discover this dream? How do I practically live this out everyday? Planted deep in your heart is a God-sized dream. Like all plants, the seed must be watered, cultivated and cared for in order for it to grow and produce fruit. In order to discover your God-sized dream, you first need to know who you are and Whose you are.

  1. Write down your passions, what makes your heart beat fast, what breaks your heart, what moves your feet to action and what you would do if you had no limitations!
  2. Open your Bible, grab a pen, a journal, turn on worship music or just sit in silence and seek the face of the Lord through the Word.
  3. Write down promises of God that you see in Scripture. Ask Him to reveal to you what He has purposed for you to do. Psalm 138:8 says “The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” Remember these truths as you pursue your God-sized dreams:

God-sized dreams reflect His Word. All dreams that are worthwhile accomplish the task of making the name of Jesus known throughout the entire world. These dreams revolve around Jesus, not ourselves. They embrace the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20, they pursue the good that God desires in Micah 6:8 and they are done for the glory of God as Colossians 3:17 commands us.

God-sized dreams radiate God’s glory in and through us. Every person is created uniquely with specific passions, giftings and abilities. You live where you live for a reason. You have certain characteristics for a reason. No two persons dreams are exactly the same. You have a specific task from God, and that is to use how you were created for His glory! Embrace who you are and the desires God has put in your heart. Strengthen your gifts, use your resources and keep your eyes focused on Christ as you pursue using your passions to accomplish the dreams in your heart! 

God-sized dreams refine us and reveal to us that He is God and we are His creation. James 1:17 says that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” Dreams are good gifts from God. We need Him to accomplish them. We need to write them down and then surrender them into His hands, trusting Him to get us where He wants us to be as we follow Him. Pursuing your dreams will change you. It will make you more like Christ. Accept the pruning as God refines your dreams so that He may increase in them. Pray John 3:30 over your dreams.

dig deep for diamond dreams

Dreaming was never meant to be easy. Ecclesiastes 5:3 tells us that “a dream comes with much business.” That is why so many people shy away from big dreams. It is a refining, persevering task to face obstacles each day, overcome insecurity by God’s grace and keep going even when the future looks bleak. Each one of us has a God-sized dream in our heart that gets us fired up to live for something more and do the impossible. But just because God has given you a beautiful, big dream does not mean it will happen without pruning and patience.

For instance, before a diamond has been cut, refined and polished to sparkle, it looks like a lump of charcoal. Diamonds are found about 100 miles beneath the earths surface. It takes time and energy to dig up the lump of carbon, spot its potential and create it to what we see in the store. It takes tedious hard work to cut a diamond and it requires the knowledge and skill of a diamond cutter to make the rough stone into a priceless gem. Your dreams are just like that lump of carbon, planted in the depths of your heart by God. He will refine them and make them into a beautiful masterpiece to reflect His glory.  

Diamond dreams are worth the wait and the struggle. They are worth failing a few times and growing from lessons learned. They are worth living on the edge when everyone else seems to be in the safe zone. They are worth it because in pursuing them, you will know the Lord more deeply. Dream big, sisters. God is bigger than your dreams. He can do anything. His plans are worth waiting for and will blow your mind. Don’t give up when the hammer seems to keep chiseling away as you work hard. Your dreams will change and you will face obstacles. Each step is one step closer. Each hammer blow is a gift that the Lord would choose you, His workmanship, to be used to accomplish great things on this earth.

Dream bigger. You were meant for this.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

dreaming big for His glory,

Gretchen