Tuesday, October 22

"God-sized Dreams"

There's been a trend recently towards encouraging women to identify and pursue "God-sized dreams". As much as I respect the intentions of the women championing this movement, I consistently find myself frustrated with it and cynical of it. Frankly, it smacks of revised feminism. 

Do I believe women can be called to do huge, amazing things? Of course. History clearly demonstrates that reality, all the way back to Biblical times. Women with God-sized dreams write books, found ministries, become missionaries, and can accomplish great things. 

But what the God-sized dream movement seemingly fails to acknowledge and (intentionally or otherwise) contributes to is the reality that the Bible also make some explicit calls to women that are going glaringly unmet - with abysmal consequences.

Broken families abound. Adults across denominations have been wringing their hands for years about the vast percentage of children who leave the church by the time they hit college and never return. Divorce rates are no different within the church than in the larger population. Faith-based blogs overflow with two types of women: 
         1. The wounded and disillusioned, so hurt or disgusted by the behavior of the church that was supposed to be a safe haven that they haven't gone in years and still struggle to connect with faith, truth, and other believers; and
         2. Generations of younger and middle-aged women crying out for the older, wiser women the Bible tells us we should find in our churches to offer guidance, wisdom and encouragement.

While women read about God-sized dreams, envision big, expensive ministries and invest time in themselves and their “art” (whatever that may be for them), my generation aches for Godly women to model for us what it looks like to be faithful in the small things. Women to walk alongside us as we try to understand what it looks like to genuinely and sacrificially love our husbands and families. Mentors and neighbors to stand with us as a cloud of witnesses through soul-jarring times, and help us find our way.

You don't need to run a ministry, write a book, author a famous blog, become a professional speaker or master an art form to do any of these things. Be present. Pay attention. Be honest. Do "small things with great love" for the people that God puts in your path during every day life.
Can I share something with you? Do you know who my friends and I talk about, when we think about people who inspire us? Our parents. They drew lines in the sand and determined that their children would have safer, healthier, and more loving families than they were raised in - and made it happen. They made tight budgets feel like wealth, put real food on the table for family dinners every night while working full time, and still made time to help us study or muddle through the confusions and frustrations of youth. They blessed us every day, and we are eternally thankful. They blessed our friends who weren't fortunate enough to have such parents of their own. They bless our spouses. They have spent their lives quietly pouring into their families at home and other people's families at work and at church. They are the foundation of all that makes life functional, sweet, and rich.  I can't think of a bigger, better God-sized dream than that.

God's ways are not our ways, and the Bible calls us to prove ourselves faithful in the little things. Many, many believers will never be called to do anything that seems "God-sized" to the modern church at all. Instead, they will be entrusted with being the hands and feet of Christ in the day-to-day tasks of life. Creating a safe, truly God-centered community in their churches, being a faithful friend and family member, and carefully stewarding the blessings that have already been entrusted to them.  So next time you read a God-sized dream post, or hear a sermon about reaching for bigger and better, ask yourself if you're being faithful in  the "little" things first - because unless more believers roll up their sleeves and devote themselves to these seemingly insignificant pursuits the ranks of believers will continue to unravel and be lost, and no "God-sized" movement, ministry or anything else will change that.

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