I heard Bishop TD Jakes preach recently and he said something like “A vision everyone believes in is too small for you.”
I love that. I heed that challenge. And I think you should too.
I think we talk a lot about vision and dreams and big hopes for our futures, but Bishop Jakes is suggesting that if our visions and our dreams and our hopes are believable, they are too small. When is the last time you envisioned, dreamed and hoped something so outrageous, so impossible, so extraordinary that it made you sound ridiculous?
Well, maybe your vision is too small. Maybe you are selling yourself short. Maybe you are settling for less than you should. Maybe you are making your God too weeny. It’s an interesting thought to ponder…
We dream a lot around here at Collide. As a staff we are watching what God is doing and we are blown away. We are constantly looking for where God is going and where He might be leading us and what He is using to change lives. We have so much vision that it can be kind of overwhelming. On the Collide team we dream and talk a lot about “what if we…”
“What if we…” is a daring question, one we could all be asking.
All of our “What if we’s” should scare us. Whether you are dreaming for your own personal life, for a business, a non-profit, a start-up or a church, your daring to dream should make you uncomfortable. Our “What if we’s” should make us say “That would be impossible.” Our “What if we’s” should make us need God to pull them off. Our “What if we’s” should make us feel afraid to share with other people because they might laugh at us.
And that is how I feel. I feel almost shy or embarrassed or afraid to admit Collide’s “What if we’s” because what if we fail? What if none of these things happen? What if we biff it big time? And therein lies the biggest enemy of big dreams and big visions becoming reality: Fear of failure.
Fear of failure will keep all of our visions small.
When we dream big dreams around Collide, I have to remind myself: Our current reality is a past vision.
I was a broken mess in a counseling office before this whole Collide thing started. Back then we were a bible study. We had 50 college-aged kids who came to our first Collide and we only had four people helping serve them. We were running this thing out of a basement. We had no staff. It was a potluck. We dreamt about publishing bible studies- but they were just sitting in file cabinets. We dreamt about having staff to invite more and more people to run in to Jesus. We dreamt about an office. We dreamt about ways we could help women see the transformation they wanted to see take place in their lives. We dreamt about helping all the broken people coming to us.
And now God has grown our events to reach thousands of women a year. We have a counseling program helping women in their pain and brokenness. We have a mentoring ministry connecting the older generation to the younger to co-learn in their faith. We have a ministry development program infusing and equipping women leaders to use their lives to impact other’s. We have bible studies we are starting to publish so our ministry can travel beyond events. We have classes and a blog and an online ministry presence to meet women right where they are at. We have an army of volunteers to pull all this off. We have a staff and an office that is not in a basement, but it actually serves as a place to minister out of. I say all this to say, if our future is anything like our past, our today’s “What if we’s” might just become tomorrow’s reality.
The more I see big vision unfold and become reality, the more I realize that every big vision unfolded has required 5 things:
1. A person who believes boldly in big dreams and visions because they believe boldly in a big God.
In order to see big vision become your reality you have to get out of settling for small, expected, standard, typical. I’m not saying don’t be faithful to the small things, the chores, the responsibilities, the things we we all have in this thing called life. But in order to experience big vision becoming a reality, you have to dare to believe that God is capable of doing big things in your life. That’s where you have to start.
You have to look at this God who took up residence inside of a teenager girl. That was not typical. You have to look at this God who turned water into wine. That was not standard. You have to look at this God who parted the Red Sea. That was not expected. Believe boldly that you have a big God who can do big things with the little you feel you have right now.
Or keep settling for the reality you feel you will never escape, the dreams that will only ever be just that.
2. A person who acts audaciously. I talk about audacity in another post that might light a fire under you! Look, you can’t just sit and surf the intraweb and wait for your dreams to come true. You can’t just pin inspiring quotes on Pinterest. You can’t just talk about doing big things, you have to DO things.
You have to move.
You have to run.
You have to build.
You have to work.
You have to prepare.
You have to plan.
You have to act on the vision that you have.
3. A person who serves tirelessly.
Big visions don’t become reality:
or by small efforts that lack sacrifice and service.
Look at Noah’s ark- that thing required work, day in and day out. Look at Mother Teresa, serving the poor with her entire life in the daily grind. Look at the abolitionists who sacrificed, suffered, and worked for the freeing of slaves day in and day out.
When I look at the Collide story, I see that we got here through a small army of women who have worked hard and served tirelessly, and God has blessed that. And if we want to see our current vision become a reality, its going to take more of that. If you have a big dream, in order to see it become your reality, it will require you to serve and give, and work and tire.
4. A person who invests wholeheartedly.
There will be moments walking toward your dreams where you will be tempted to do the minimum, to check off the box, to suffice, to come up with the 100 other things you have going on and bag out of the commitment you made to unfold the vision. But it is the people who invest with all that they are, that walk their vision into reality. I know we need people around here to invest their prayer, their time, their passion, their resources, their money, their big ideas, their margins, their sweat, their gifts and their passion. I am confident if enough of us invest, we will see Collide’s vision unfold.
And the same is true for your life or your organization’s vision. The level of your whole investment will determine the likelihood of your vision’s reality.
5. A person who prays fervently.
When you have a big vision, it is beyond you and is bigger than you and cannot, CANNOT be accomplished without God’s move, God’s hand, God’s provision, God’s making a way where there is no way. Don’t just believe, don’t just act or serve, don’t just invest or work, but pray. We need Serendipity, we need Divine appointments, we need God’s network, We need Supernatural provision from on High. We all need what we don’t have. If we had it, it wouldn’t be a vision, it would be a reality.
So commit to prayer.
I will end with one for all of us as we chase big realities with big vision for big purpose because we believe in a big God…
We come before you today. We are believing upon you for big things. Where we have settled for small, help us to dream again. Where we fear to fail, help us to risk again. Where we doubt, give us faith. Embolden us, Lord. Give us your vision for our lives, our families, our businesses, our ministries and use us in this world in ways beyond what we could ever imagine. We know You can do immeasurably more than all we can even ask. Make us dreamers. Keep us risking. Rise up audacity in us. And God, do what we cannot.
In advance, we celebrate the ways our future reality was today’s vision.