One of the worst things we can do with our efforts and emotions is to place them toward something that just isn’t going to happen. Also, one of the worst things we can do is to refrain from placing our efforts and emotions toward something that seems impossible. The reality of life is that at some point – if we are trying to live a full life – we will spend our efforts and emotions in both of these ways and at the end of those attempts we will be spent. To not do so, at some point and in some way, is to live in fear or to live with regret. For us not to try the impossible is to guarantee we will miss the incredible.
Here’s the deal, we all have dreams that are bigger than our abilities and we all have abilities that are bigger than our dreams. What I am starting to see is that the sooner I get my dreams synced up with my abilities, the sooner I will have a life that is full of purpose and accomplishment and hope and amazement and usefulness and contentment.
In the life of a follower of Jesus, this idea is even more true. The bible teaches that each of us have been given a gift (an ability) to do something that is essential and necessary for the whole Church. (Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12). If we do not use our gifts the Church will move forward because Jesus said that not even the gates of Hell could stop it, but I believe when a believer doesn’t use their gift for the Church, the Church moves forward with a limp. My own experience has shown me that its usually the gap between our gifts and our dreams that immobilize us.
Recently as I was having this battle in my own life – my dreams and abilities in conflict – I “just so happened” to be reading through 1 Corinthians… specifically chapters 12 to 14 when the following verses jumped out to me with very specific meaning:
I Corinthians 13:8
Love never fails…
I Corinthians 14:33
For God is not a God of confusion but of peace…
I Corinthians 12:22
The parts of the body that seem weaker are indispensable…
As these parts of these verses came together in my mind, in regards to this struggle between my dreams and my abilities, I began to see more clearly that the longer I keep these two things in conflict the longer I will stay frustrated and the slower the Church moves toward its purpose. Conversely, I began to see that the sooner I embrace God’s love for me (that never ends) in what He has given me the ability to do (something that is indispensable), I will live at peace and on purpose.
You see, my experience in life and in ministry has shown me that when I use my God given gifts I experience the most fun and I am the most effective. But, when I found myself trying to do things that I am not truly gifted at the outcome would be, at best, serviceable. The former producing energy and excitement and results where the latter just produced frustration and questions.
Since the first time I saw the movie “The Rookie” (in 2002, staring Dennis Quaid – a true story about a baseball player named Jim Morris) a line from that movie has really bounced in around my head. It was in an exchange between Jim’s dad and Jim as Jim contemplated trying to something great but seemingly impossible… here’s the line… “Its ok to do what you want to do until its time to do what you were meant to do.”
Now, I know that line is not in the bible and is in no way absolute truth… but… I think it does carry the spirit of what I’m talking about here. We all want a life that is full and vibrant and meaningful. We all have dreams and how if we could just do “this or that” our life would be all those things. We all should pursue our dreams with great vigor… but… as we grow and as our experiences begin to show us that our dreams are in conflict with our gifts, we need to take pause to seek the Lord and begin to do what He’s gifted us to do.
Whatever you and I are “meant to do” will produce more joy and more excitement and be more challenging than anything we simply “want to do”. Why? Well, because our biggest dream for ourselves is so much lower than what God wants us to experience.
Isaiah 55: 8-9
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Dreaming big is trusting God with the gifts He has given us and really living life is doing exactly what He created us to do. Its in this place that “want to do” and “meant to do” become the same thing and nothing will ever be better than that… and its only in this intersection that we will truly be able to try the impossible and guarantee we will not miss the incredible.