As he told me about his new Big Vision, his wild dreams, I wanted to cheer him on from the bottom of my heart. The desire to cheer was, for once, louder than the more familiar one to voice my doubts and suspicion. I was shocked in that moment about how so often my knee-jerk reaction is to pick holes and hand out a dose of supposed realism. Perhaps I was feeling sentimental, because today – the dreamer won out.
I showed him Theodore Roosevelt’s famous exhortation, that:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
I admire and respect my friend for daring greatly despite the potential for failure. Despite the multitude of doubt-filled voices. Especially because for so many of us, somewhere along the way the deep desire God has placed in each of our hearts to live a life of dreaming, daring and doing has become shrouded by disappointment, self-doubt masquerading as pragmatism.
And yet if that is the case those desires, that desire to live out God’s wild and unique plan for our lives is still buried within, isn’t it? Perhaps maturing as it waits at first patiently, then kicking and hollering, to be unearthed. It is just a question of remembering. Rebekah Lyons puts this beautifully in her book Freefall to Fly:
We must start by remembering. Before the children came, before the marriage began, before high school graduation, before the loss of whatever happened…when did your heart sing? Did you lie on your back, barefoot in the meadow at dusk, looking up at the vastness of the stars? Did you find yourself enraptured that a Creator ordered these stars one by one and knows each of them by name? Did you imagine how great you are to God’s heart while feeling so small within this cosmos? Did your spirit soar with a glimpse of heartfelt delight from Him? Can you even remember it? That fullness so great you felt as if you’d burst?
Whoever said that life is not big enough for all God’s fullness?
I love that Rebekah begins her journey back to the start in the stars. In the meadow at dusk – lost in the rapture of a Creator who handmade the cosmos just as he paints the blades of grass between our toes. These great expressions of Love through nature are reminders of where we are to begin.
Because I think the bottom line is –always has and will be – Love. Love dreams wild and big. Love came down from Heaven to rescue us and set us free. Knowing we are loved, deeply, will free us to trust enough to live vulnerable lives of love.
As we learn this, it will invariably take us on a path down into the upside down ways of the Kingdom with ever increasing momentum. As we go down into the depths of Love with Him, so our dreams will become bigger, wilder – our heart song will be called out again as we remember more and more of what we are born for in this fresh and honest place.
I love that my friend dreams big and isn’t afraid to let the voice of the pragmatist or the critic prevail over the song in his heart. I love that he is able to surround himself with wise counsel and take on constructive criticism – but that he is able to see those as building blocks as opposed to road blocks. As is proven over and over, great daring requires great humility. I love this upside down logic.
As I prepare for a new and busy season – one in which I know I will be swamped in others’ expectations, this is a question I am wrestling with. What is the song in my heart and what is the unique vision that God has given me? The North Star as I navigate new and unfamiliar territory in my work and in my life, with unprecedented demands on my time and energy?
More than anything, the question is how to live a life of real engagement, in which we err, again and again, face marred in dust and sweat and blood, all the while knowing this is what we have been Created for. I have so much to learn. But for now I believe Jesus calls us into courageous love. This, this is what I will keep chasing after, as it continues to chase me.
And what for you? What is your North Star?