In 2023, I’m going to dream small.
Are you a dreamer like me? I love that God wired me that way, but it also means that I’m often looking toward to the finish line, or wondering if I should be further down the road, or I’m thinking of what I can do next.
This has the power to rob me of the joy of celebrating what is right in front of me.
So here’s my one and only new year’s resolution: Lord, help me to dream small.
The power of dreaming small
In Zechariah 4, Zechariah is standing in front of a structure. It’s the beginning of the temple, which is a massive undertaking. The workers have meticulously crafted each part of this beginning structure. It is stunning. They have worked long and hard to get to this point. This is when an angel appears. If we search throughout scripture, angels often appear when one of God’s people are discouraged. I’m not sure if he feels overwhelmed by what isn’t done yet or if he’s dreaming of the next phase, but the angel says clearly, “Don’t despise small beginnings, Z. God delights in this work. He knows what it is becoming.”
Though I paraphrased this message, it captures the heart of what the angel said. It also speaks powerfully to me as I consider this new year.
Don’t despise small beginnings, Suzie
Despise is a harsh word. It means to feel contempt. I don’t want to feel contempt for my own heart, or for a dream that God whispered over me. I don’t want to feel contempt over what I haven’t accomplished yet. Yet this is where the angel is putting his finger. “Z, you’re missing something here.”
The opposite of the word despise is to appreciate.
When I get angsty, frustrated, or insecure about what I should be doing, what I haven’t done, what others are doing, and I fail to see what God has done, I’m missing something beautiful.
So, what’s the invitation?
Suzie, appreciate this small beginning of that dream. Celebrate that step forward that you took. Rejoice over this thing you and God are creating. Look at the work He’s done. Count the number of times He’s shown up. Don’t overlook the one person or ten or thousand who have been impacted. Take your eyes off the finish line and appreciate that email or text from that person who said, “You spoke to me today and you didn’t even know it.”
You’ll see the finish line when it’s time. Live fully where you are. See what I’m doing. Appreciate it. Celebrate it, sis!
God delights in what He sees
I find it crazy that we may despise what God is delighting in. The angel pointed to the structure, the small beginning of the big dream, and he reminded Z that God was delighted by what was unfolding. As I read this part of the story, it brought tears. It brings me to my knees.
Lord, help me to delight rather than despise. Help me to appreciate every part of this adventure. Thank you for that small miracle. That small accomplishment. That small step forward. I understand now that it’s all a part of the bigger picture, and it matters. Forgive me for despising what you are delighting in. Change my heart, O Lord.
God sees what it is becoming
This may be the most powerful part of the angel’s message.”Z, God sees what you don’t.” I may think it’s supposed to look one way, or be at a certain point, but God sees what it is becoming.
That work you are doing in your marriage, as you pray, as you invest your heart and time, as you trust, God sees what it is becoming. People may not notice, and it may be going slower than what you hoped, but if God is behind it it has eternal impact that far outweighs earthly applause or earthly timelines. There’s so much reassurance and hope in this truth.
But there’s more: When we are faithful in the small, rather than trying to continually manipulate and manage the long-term dream, God is freed to take it in any direction he desires. We may just discover our big dream doesn’t come close to measuring up to what God had in mind. We hold the big dream loosely as we show up in the small, and allow our big God to lead the way.
A prayer for 2023
Lord, help me to dream small as I walk into 2023. Help me to appreciate how far you’ve brought me. Help me to appreciate what is right in front of me and how much you’ve accomplished, seen or unseen. While I am a dreamer and a doer, and it’s amazing to dream big, let me not be so focused on what I haven’t done that I am robbed of the joy you want to give. Help me to be faithful in the small. Thank you for taking the small and creating more than I can imagine with it, Amen.
An invitation for you
Did you know that I host a TogetHER Community and Bible Study group on Facebook? It’s a community that I love with my whole heart. We connect weekly but we also go deeper four times a year with a TogetHER Study. I’m excited to announce our first study of 2023.
Do you long to go a little deeper in your prayer life?
This study begins in a couple of weeks and there’s a seat for you. It’s titled Four Ways to Change Your Prayer Life Forever. The study is absolutely free and you are so welcome to be a part!
In this one-month study we’ll discover how to:Remove comparison to create authentic connectionReplace fear of not knowing what to say with the power of showing upDiscard repetition or rules for the joy of talking with your Heavenly FatherSlow down to “soak in” what you are hearing from God
We’ll be using my new book in that study, Prayer Starters: Talking with God about Hard Times. You’ll use this book personally as we take the topic of prayer deeper together.
To join, go to: TogetHER Bible Study and Community
To purchase the book for the study, go to Prayer Starters book page to find all the ways to purchase. 💕
Do you love podcasts? Two podcasts just for you. . .
- Listen to Prayer Starters hosted by Suzie Eller, a daily 3-4 minute dose of encouragement and a prayer starter to begin your day
- More Than Small Talk with Suzie, Holley Gerth, and Jennifer Watson – a weekly conversation and a sacred space to go deep on topics that matter to you