Dreaming Isn’t Dangerous. Doubt Is.

If you told me a few weeks ago that I’d be planning a spontaneous trip to Italy in a month, I wouldn’t have believed you. I’d probably have laughed and then sighed, Wouldn’t that be nice?

Truth. I really am planning a spontaneous trip to Italy next month.

Let me back up the story. A few weeks ago, I was chatting with a colleague and landed on the topic of travel. I told her how much I admired her working from Italy last spring, and that in my dreams, I’d do the same thing some day. I shared how my next novel takes my heroine to Italy and that seeing those places first hand instead of through research would be amazing.

She replied, “Well then you have to go! I’m planning a trip soon. Want to come?”

I hesitated for only a moment. Although some logistical questions ran through my head, my answer was yes.

She came back to me a few days later with a more concrete plan and a question: How serious are you about going to Italy? 

If I remember right, I told her 88% or some random percentage like that, because once again, there were some work details that had to be approved. (And then there was the matter of begging someone to watch my cat Ness, who has a reputation for not being the best house guest.)

But guess what? That elusive 12% worked out. I might just have the best boss in the world, and I do have the most amazing family, because they agreed to keep Ness from starving.

As I tackle the next challenge of packing only a backpack, I see a few takeaways I hope might encourage you.

Focus less on obstacles and more on the prize.

As you read my story, you probably noticed the times I hesitated. Caution raised a flag. What ifs popped in my head. If I hadn’t investigated those questions and pursued the possibility, I might still be sighing to myself, Maybe one day.

I think the same is true in our Christian lives. Sometimes, God calls us to an opportunity, and we spend more time stressing about all the reasons it won’t work instead of realizing all the ways it very well could.

I’m learning that dreaming isn’t dangerous. Doubt is. After all, Jesus never criticized people for having too much faith. He chided them for having too little (Matthew 6:30, 8:26, 14:31).

How much we miss when we doubt! But when we dream and allow God to shape those dreams, possibilities often unfold in ways we could never have imagined.

Dream bigger and expect great things.

Maybe life jades us a bit as we grow up. As children, people tell us we can be whatever we want to be, but the truth is that life has many gatekeepers that prevent some of those dreams from coming true. (Sorry, kids, but only so many people can ever be president.)

However, we shouldn’t always conform to what’s reasonable or realistic, because sometimes, God delights in impossibilities. After all, Jesus turned water into wine. Peter walked on water. Paul turned from persecuting the church to boldly proclaiming the gospel he once sought to destroy. The Bible is full instances that defy logic or even nature itself.

You may say, Sure, but that’s the Bible. That’s not my life. Perhaps instead of focusing on what seems impossible, we should start risking, start daring. I like what my pastor said Sunday on the subject of taking risks for God.

“The problem is not that we dream too big. It’s that we dream too small.”

– Pastor Ken Whitten

Choose adventure over comfort.

I confess. I like my routines, things like 8 hours of sleep, a cup of coffee in the morning with my quiet time, fresh laundry, and a clean house.

Travel hacking with only a backpack isn’t going to guarantee any of those things and will likely stretch my comfort zone. But that’s a good thing, right? Because which would you rather be: Home and perfectly comfortable or sleep-deprived in Italy? Allora. (That’s Italian for “um,” I believe.) Yeah, 100% the latter.

The Christian life is something of an adventure, too. We can content ourselves with our church and devotional routines, or we can step out and try something that might seem a little scary. Maybe you’re not sure what that might be. I’m not either. But we can pray about it, and ask God to show us how He’d like us to step out in faith. Perhaps the answer will surprise us.

How might God want you to dream bigger? 

~ Kristen

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Dreaming isn’t dangerous. Doubt is. – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

 

 

 

Graduates, what would you teach us?

This weekend, I’m excited to attend the graduation for some amazing young people I’ve watched grow up through youth group. They might say they learned from me, but in many ways, I learned just as much from them.

I met with them for coffee a few weeks ago to hear about their plans and next steps. Listening to their dreams inspired this post, which appears in full at DailyPS.com.

Whether you’re a graduate or farther down life’s road, I hope this post encourages you.

Post excerpt

Graduates are on fire for life and its seemingly endless possibilities, but those of us on the other side know Forrest Gump was right when he said life can be like a box of chocolates—and not always in a good way. As a result, we adults have both wisdom and experience to offer. However, let’s take a moment to switch places and ask ourselves what we can learn from the Class of 2018.

Celebrate your success, and don’t dwell on defeat.

Sometimes, life and its school of hard knocks jade us. We see the rejection letters, the closed doors, and the failed hopes. When we do, we often lose sight of all the bright moments we’ve experienced, too.

On the other hand, graduates are young and resilient—and for the most part, not as burned by disappointments. For those of us feeling frayed, let’s exercise our stamina again. Accept defeat and criticism when they come, learn from them, but don’t dwell on them.

Oh, and don’t forget to celebrate those successes. Graduates know how to party, and we need to cheer for the moments where we do make the deadline, conquer the laundry pile, and get the upper hand on “adulting.”

To read the full post, visit DailyPS.com. Congrats to the Class of 2018!

~ Kristen

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What graduates can teach us – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)