I’ve been assaulted lately with the uneasy truth that for most of my life, I reached too high. Typing those words feels somehow…heretical. Especially in light of the fact that, like most people my age, I’ve been brainwashed with: Follow Your Dreams! Anything is Possible! You Were Created For Great Things!
I wonder, though, were those who touted these philosophies aware they might trigger a generation of burnt out subscribers? And, even more concerning– did they realize that setting our sights on ‘changing the world’ demanded a focus that actually left the world behind as we pursued those dreams?
Think about it. I did… and I’m disturbed at my blindness.
In my case, I somehow bought into the Christian concept that to be the best ‘me’ possible, and responsibly use the gifts I’d been given, I needed to play a big role in some programmatic form of ‘Ministry.’ All I did for years was work toward that BIG, ethereal purpose that was entirely suited to who I am. The ultimate goal: I was going to change lives.
Both my husband and I made sure we were educated and funded and experienced so that when that somewhat mystical, future calling was revealed, we would boldly step forward and begin to act in benevolence and wisdom befitting that calling. And thus, impact the world for Christ.
In the process, however, we passed by the homeless man sleeping on the street right down from our house. Over and over and over again. We had far too much on our plate, of course, to invite that single mom and her kids to dinner—or truly get to know the couple around the corner who were struggling to pay their rent. And we reasoned someone else would comfort the friend who just lost her dog or chat with the neighbor who rarely came out of her house.
We had to finish our degrees, get trained, and save our pennies and prepare so we could REALLY help.
Of course, we also accepted without question that it wasn’t safe to do such things alone in a sue-crazy world. We needed our Ministry to hide behind. And good insurance. What if they took advantage of us? What if they got hurt on our property? What if they came back for more? And worse yet—what if they brought their friends!
The whole thing makes me nauseous. I’m done. There is no Ministry with a capital M. There is no some day. There is only now. And the people God uniquely brings to me each day.
I was heading over to my daughter’s house this weekend and the song, Dream Small, by Josh Wilson brought it home for me:
“Dream small, don’t bother like you’ve gotta do it all.
Just let Jesus use you where you are, one day at a time.
Live well, loving God and others as yourself.
Find little ways where only you can help…
It’s visiting the widow down the street, or dancing on a Friday with your friend with special needs.
These simple moments change the world.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with bigger dreams
Just don’t miss the minutes on your way to bigger things—
Cuz these simple moments change the world.”