If you came over from Encouragement for Today, welcome! Today my friends, Holley Gerth and Jennifer Watson are joining me to talk about when we dream big, but it feels small.
I met Holley a week or so after moving to Fayetteville. I knew she lived close by and I was excited to meet someone who loved ministry to women. We connected and have been friends ever since. She introduced me to Jennifer, a pastor’s wife and a blogger/speaker. These two have become amazing friends. Here’s a recent get-together. Holley was speaking so we came to cheer her on.
I asked these friends to share one piece of advice about how to dream big when you (or your efforts) feel small. I loved what they had to say. I think you will, too! ~ Suzie
Sometimes our “more” is small, and yet our obedience in the small and the mundane is huge, praiseworthy even.
We dream so big that we don’t notice the person sitting next to us. That person who would give anything to no longer feel small and we would be better served if we could embrace the small and let our circle of influence land in the place it’s supposed to be.
You want to do real ministry?
Crave the unglamorous life and forgo any ideas of being a bigger deal than you are right now. Worry less about sharpening your talent to embrace the power of availability in whatever unsatisfying season that you find yourself in.
Maybe we could learn how to be better at being the least of these and dwell in the back-of-the-line kind of servanthood that doesn’t require names in lights or in print, just dirty hands.
Maybe we could be better at being small and allowing our hearts to rip wide open for the lost and lose some sleep for the single mom who sits next to us eating smaller portions so her children can have more.
Our “more” is to hunger and thirst for righteousness and to go into our smallish parts of the world to shine the light of Christ instead of the light of self.
It’s not about doing BIG things–it’s about doing all things, even small things for a BIG God.
Our role is obedience; God’s role is results.
That means we can rest in knowing that as soon as we say “yes” whatever we do is already a success.
Just a couple of weeks ago I stepped down from something “big.” I felt that the Lord was asking me to step away from speaking for a year.
Can I be honest? It was hard. Really hard. When I tried to figure out why it was so hard some really logical explanations surfaced.
I love doing it.
It allows me to watch God work in very special ways.
It is a sweet spot.
None of that negated the fact that it was time to lay it down. These were very clear directions as I prayed. Last month I traveled to North Carolina and spent a weekend at The Cove in ministry. This was one of two remaining speaking events already booked, so one of the last speaking ministry events for a long time.
God showed up in such a powerful way. When I left, the enemy hit hard, reminding me that I loved speaking and that putting it down for a year was crazy. I climbed in my prayer closet when I got home and this was the word God gave me.
If it’s really about me, then you wouldn’t hold on so tightly.
And it is really about Him, so I opened up both hands and released it.
Because “BIG” isn’t about speaking or even the powerful good stuff that comes with it, it’s about obediently following Jesus wherever He leads, whatever He asks, whatever He wants to do in me.
It makes me wonder what miracle God is trying to perform inside of this girl who loves Him like crazy. If it’s just to be still for a year and rediscover Him, I’m good with that.
So, here’s our take on what it means to feel small when you want to do big things . . . or how to leave the “big” behind if He wants to abide in the small.
What’s your story? What is God saying to you?
How can we come alongside you today and pray with you as God does BIG things in your heart?
Share your thoughts about dreaming big when you feel small. You’ll be entered in a giveaway for a copy of The Book of Genesis Experience Guide, the most recent First5 app book that allows you to study along with the First5 team!
Over 400,000 believers from around the world are joining in this Proverbs 31 Ministries study each morning. It’s an alarm clock and a morning devotion/study all in one.
When I see someone who is homeless and is asking for a handout, I always want to take that step forward and give them some food or a few dollars. But I always seem to step back out of fear. Will they harm me if I get too close? Am I being taken advantage of? Please pray for me that I can rely on God to be by my side and take that step forward.
As you listen to the Holy Spirit in your daily prayer and Bible reading you will be tuned to His voice. Then when a homeless person confronts you or when there is someone on the side of the road or when a missionary speaks at your church and asks for funds….(you get the picture) the Holy Spirit will tell you whether this is your assignment or not.
This takes the fear out of the picture and give you the freedom to respond.
“The Lord is my Shepherd”
I love Pam’s advice. We aren’t any of us capable of helping everyone, but you have assignments. I have assignments. If giving directly is out of your comfort zone, there are amazing ministries throughout every city that are reaching the homeless and your contribution (whatever that might be) will not be in vain. Listen to the Holy Spirit that lives inside of you. Respond. Let God work through you in whatever way He desires. I love your heart and hear the desire to love others in His name.
Dreaming Big …
The reality is that my living is a complicated chaotic disaster most find rather absurdly comical including myself. Fraudulant even. My mind continues to be filled with this idea that only gets more refined as my faith deepens. There is truly no way I can pull any of it together which seems to be what He’s after in our lives. We get to live these impossible situations that are filled with big dreams I’ve recently realized didn’t come from me. I’ve noticed that when I stop comparing my big dream to Billy Grahm’s big dream or a similar comparison – it’s kind of big to me even if it’s just a tiny thing to onlookers. I’m ok with that now, because the joy and excitement I get in forming the idea is incredible and inspiring. It should be an ignited flame deep inside if we eliminate our critic self and embrace our real self that has a childlike perspective on living in the moments of the daily.
I recently was at The Cove, as I mentioned, and I saw the results of Billy Graham’s faithfulness. It spanned years and generations and cultural divides. It’s impactful. While I rejoiced in his ministry, it also allowed me to thank God that I have a part in building the kingdom, too. How awesome is that? We all get to embrace our part and work toward reaching the world for Him. <3
This has been a hard year of job searching with no lasting results. Many times I’ve been so focused on finding that big, important job so I could finally have a purpose that I have missed opportunities to God’s purpose in small, but important ways. It is as if I thought that I had to have everything lined up just right before God could use me and the truth is He wants to use me now…in the middle of the mess and unknown. I pray that I will be faithful in the small day-to-day.
I love this, Hope. There’s so much wisdom in your response. God can use a heart like that in the small and the big, and that makes it all BIG!
I love my nursing, helping others in their need physically and spiritually. I’ve had to slow down more than once a and go off to a quiet place to fuel up more than I care to remember. I sometimes feel like a failure, that I should be stronger but God is always the one that reminds me to come home early to just rest, he makes it possible. I’m always grateful when I look back but ashamed of my attitude of not wanting to let go. I have tunnel vision a lot and just keep pushing through. I’m So thankful, I have a Heavenly Father who keeps a close eye on me and makes it possible for me to rest!
That was His example here on earth. Jesus often retreated to a lonely place to fill back up spiritually and emotionally and physically. You are simply following His lead. <3
You can’t possibly know how much I needed this post this morning.
I already have issues which create a real burden of frustration and deep sadness. These circle around my perceived lack of accomplishments and the march of time. I am 60 years old.
I elected to be a stay at home mom and did not follow paths which would have used my talents. I truly wanted that and was very happy as long as my kids were at home. They are not a part of our lives and they are not marrying or having families. They are not believers.
Meanwhile my life has circled around church work and service among the people in my circle. I was aware that I was becoming bitter about the lack of time I had to do anything which interested me or which I could use my talents and “shine.” Yes, I wanted to feel good about me.
I knew I should put others first but underneath I had become very unhappy and confused.
Then last year my husband and I became caregivers for my brother who has Down Syndrome and is beginning in early onset dementia. He is a part of our family and we have been working quite hard to help improve his health and also get help from day programs and others to keep him as functional and happy as possible.
Those little things I used to do for my church and for my friends who are in need and which I was so frustrated with because they were all too little are now gone. My old life is gone.
I thought I would be sharing my old life with my brother. No.
Everything is changed.
I know that we are doing a good thing but my old wound which cries out about my total lack of accomplishments and my waning talents as I age is beating me up big time.
Thank you all so much for your obedience and willingness to say how it is. Your words are very helpful; very healing.
The truth in love.
Our culture has tried to tell us that being a mom isn’t a BIG thing and yet I hear a mama’s heart who did the best she could, who has given of herself. Today I’m reaching with a huge hug to say thank you for all that you did and do, and for a heart to love and serve.
I have learned that even the “big” dreams break down into mundane tasks in the everyday. Right now, God has called our family to our biggest task yet- moving overseas to Germany. We are waiting to hear if my husband has a job but feel led to go regardless in the next few weeks. My health is also failing and I will receive treatment there. I also feel led to help others who are ill while there is a great need for those who are ill to not only receive physical healing, but spiritual healing. We know God has much in store for us there, but man is it hard to trust and leave everything behind except a suitcase. I am learning more and more about Gods character and my heart through this. P31 ministries has been a huge part of that! Thanks for all you ladies do. I have a heart for women’s ministry and love to see the lives God changes through you!
Germany is such a beautiful country. I pray that God gives you strength and comfort and direction as you move toward your new life. P31 will follow you there and be with you every day. I’m so grateful that you show up here to hang out with me as well. <3
Very timely post, Suzie! I have been struggling with what I feel to be Gods call on my life for many, MANY years. I became very actice my my church, leading you and children’s groups, speaking, doing pastoral care, taking communion to shut ins… And I loved every bit of it. Then I started a family and backed off of my work at the church. God isn’t done with me, that I am convinced, but have yet to feel led to exactly what that means for me at this time in my life. The other side of that is how God is going to use the things in my part as part of my story. Praying for His leading and discernment.
Father, today I come alongside Pam and I ask that You whisper the next step deep in her spirit. Lead her. Show her where You are taking her or if You are holding her in a still place just to fill her up. Thank you that our feet and our steps are ordered by You. Thank You for her heart to follow You exactly where you lead.
Pam, you are the winner of today’s giveaway, the book of Genesis study guide! Email me your mailing address at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am always asking God, “Is this what you want me to do?” But not really listening to His answer and doing what I want to do, or what I think I want to do. Here these last few years, I keep finding myself in the same disastrous state of a “BUSY LIFE”. And not being able to give my best to things that are really important. I have 3 jobs (thing I enjoy doing (people pleasing) a family, my daughter and my precious grandchildren just moved back in with me.. As I seek God I am feeling to lay down some of the jobs and ENJOY my grands and daughter, I have tend to let this overwhelm me. For this season my gifts is my family and home and now to let go of these other things.. Lord help me to step out…
I read this just yesterday: The things we most often take for granted are the things that matter the most in the end.
I hear you loud and clear. Enjoy those grands. They grow up quickly. You sound like an amazing mama and grandma. <3
Dreaming big today Suzie. But it really has nothing to do with size or reach or any number. Every day seems so big as I sit in astonishment of the conversations being had, the connections being made, the dreams , oh the dreams. I’m loving this building phase! But everyday, early in the morning when I finally lay my head on a pillow, I just lay in amazement, that God sees through everything and everyone and sees me, and says “I can use you, I have plans for you” THAT is big. Not because I’m big or anything I will ever do is big. But because HE is big. A big God with big work. So blessed. Thank you and Holley and Jennifer for this great blog today. Blessings! !
Thank you for this message! I have been discontent for a long time, feeling God leading me in a different direction than I wanted to go. I said I didn’t know what it was…but really, its that I didn’t want to change. OR really, stay where I am! Looking deep, I had to admit some of what I am doing is for me, not God. Ouch.
It’s the middle schoolers I am tasked with loving, teaching and having fun with that I need to finish strong. Continue to invest in. And the friends who are lost, who simply need an invitation to church or a conversation about the saving grace of Christ. Not the “name in lights” stuff!
Don’t withhold your assignments from all these women who love you so much. Give us your eyes to see and ears to hear the needs around us. Thank you sweet Jesus.
This article “hit the nail right on the head!” I’ve struggled with these same thoughts for years. I’m a “do-er” and if I don’t feel like I’m doing something big and great I feel and think, “well that must not be it.” I don’t understand where that feeling comes from. So as I go back and forth thinking about my next “big” step I get frustrated because I don’t feel passionate about that next big thing and I don’t do anything. So then I think about the time wasting. But I think I’m missing the point…
I just watched the movie Do You Believe. The whole film I was in awe of the storyline that showed people doing BIG right where they were with the people God placed in their path. God’s message to my heart 2 plus years ago was to take care of my backyard. That was the mission field He had planned for me. I fail at it often by overlooking those in my very presence. I’m not beating myself up; just always redirecting and praying for God to keep me inline with His plan, His path, HIS BIG!
PS I love this Holley: “It’s not about doing BIG things–it’s about doing all things, even small things for a BIG God.”
Wow, my prayer recently is for me to, not only dream big, but to believe big! And this devotional was exactly what I needed. I sometimes feel a little selfish when I tell God my desires of my heart. My mom and I grew up with a lot of guilt so we are not ones to toot our own horn…and on those rare occasions where we did, it always had a negative effect on our hearts! My problem is that I have a passion for God’s Kingdom but I sometimes don’t exactly know where I fit in, all I know is that I am supposed to be a part of it. I always pray each and every day to bring His Kingdom to the places I will go, especially at my job. I know that even though my little office is not exactly a missionary trip, I sometimes find myself evangelizing to my peers and they know that if there is ever a question regarding faith, I am here for them (not that I am an expert but I think they just know that I am willing to help and listen-see trying not to toot my own horn….). I hope that one day I can step out of my comfort zone a little bit more to be bigger in my small world, but I know it is all for the greater honor and glory of God and I always need to keep my motives in check. Thanks for your wonderful reminder that it’s okay to focus on yourself and your dreams and that God understands where we are coming from. God Bless! =)
This is very timely for me. I teach in a Christian school where some days I wonder if I make a difference. I was reminded today when a difficult student had a break through, that I have a purpose and sometimes my day is more than teaching, but loving them right through their moments. Thank you for helping me see that where God has me has purpose for me. It is his plan for me in this season of life.
I’ve stepped away from different dreams. The most recent was a ministry I helped to start. The Lord let me know it would be the last class I would facilitate. It also was being not chosen because my husband and I have two small boys we’ve adopted after our two older children are grown. I was actually relieved, I don’t want the big and important now, I don’t care. At one time I would have cared.
We have a daughter who was estranged and wanted nothing to do with us who now is asking to see me. She lives in another city over an hour away, and developing a relationship with her is so important to me. This is one of the priorities for me to have a daughter/mother relationship we’ve never had. I can sense an adoption ministry down the road coming into emergence when the time is the Lord’s time. We’ve walked lots of hard times with our kids from their rejection, trauma, and hurts. We feel for both parents and children.
Amen! What a powerful post, Ladies. 🙂 Our Lord can be trusted through it all, and I love the reminder that He is the only One we should cling to, all else hold loosely.
What’s your story? What is God saying to you? I’m finally beginning to write to share what the Lord has done in my life (I think it’s for a book). I began in 2008, but then felt God said “no”. Recently God began to nudge me- as I weep at times when I see people struggling with what I used to. My husband David recently said to me, “Jesus’ heart is breaking because people believe lies of lust, you need to share your story” and he (my husband) even began writing an outline for a book. I have a lot of fears, but beginning to take steps through the fear. Praise the Lord for healing me of body image lies! I love natural beauty, gray hair, wrinkles and the light of Christ that beams through people’s eyes, yet I used to be deeply in bondage. Will you pray for God’s plans for this, and that I would have a surrendered heart.
My job has become stressful and unmanageable. I am struggling to understand what direction God wants me to take. I know I need to look for a new job, but in what career field? I know I will have to step back from some other responsibilities in order to take the time to make these decisions. My blog and my volunteer work are where I feel the happiest and I really don’t want to give that all up (hopefully temporarily?)
My oh my. So very much has happened in my life in the past couple years. One being I am now a single mom and unsure as to the reason in all of this. I wait. I know prayers are always answered. Just not on our timeline. I continue to wait on the Lord. But oh, some days are very hard.
Thank you for your devotion. Today I am getting ready to go to church and help lead on the praise team, I am also getting ready to teach the children ages 3-12. As I do many of the tasks ahead, I want to remember exactly why I do it. I love singing and I love teaching however the reason I do theses things is to spread God’s amazing love. I never want to lose focus of the real reason as to why I serve Him. Thank you for your thoughts today.
Oh, Suzie, I came across this post today and it really blessed me. This fall I finally had the chance to start teaching an exercise class and I loved it! It was the highlight of my week. I used to struggle with thinking that it wasn’t a worthy calling because it wasn’t church ministry. Yet, the Lord placed it on my heart. In January I was sidelined with a severe back injury. Along with the start of COVID-19, I have been unable to teach for over 2 months. I have felt discouraged about this – wondering what God is doing. Why would He take something away that He clearly called me too? I don’t have an answer, but your words have calmed my heart. He is in control even if we don’t understand it. Thank you, along with Holley and Jennifer for all your words of wisdom. I love being a 4th chair friend with you all.