Africa devos, cont.: BIG and small

Aunt Josephine (right) and Suzanne (left) spend their days taking care of babies and toddlers. It probably doesn't feel very significant many days--but it IS. Thank you, dear ladies, for your selfless, redemptive work.

Aunt Josephine (right) and Suzanne (left) spend their days taking care of babies and toddlers. It probably doesn’t feel very significant many days–but it IS. Thank you, dear ladies, for your selfless, redemptive work.

On page 101 of K from K, Katie writes this: “Every day, we have a choice. We can stay nestled in our safe comfortable places. … Or we can take a risk, do something to help someone else, make a person smile, change someone’s world.”

God has used Katie to touch the lives of many, many people. We see this as ‘bigger.’ But no less of a calling is when God calls us to meet the needs of ONE! We see this example in Scripture. The shepherd went out in search of the one lost lamb. The widow swept her house top-to-bottom looking for the one lost coin. The angels rejoice over one lost sinner who turns to God. Do you feel overwhelmed by stories like Katie’s? Do you feel like there is no way you could do something like that? Are your “dreams” smaller? Maybe you’re supposed to care for “one.” Your life—with all its moments—has been planned for YOU, with your gifts and background in mind. Lean into the God who planned not only your life but YOU—and He will lead you into your BIG “calling” one step at a time.

Questions for thought/discussion:

  1. What do you think is “big” to God? Where does “big” start?
  2. Read Matthew 25:21, 23. How does that relate?
  3. On page 181 Katie hints at the fact that often this life of hers is not easy. Sometimes she may not even feel like it’s very fulfilling. It can be very tedious and repetitive. WE see redemption written all over Katie’s story, but sometimes she may wonder if she’s doing any good. Redemption doesn’t always “feel” purposeful or good. It’s often messy. Sometimes it feels like we are spinning our wheels. Ask God for glimpses of the bigger picture, for patience and endurance to continue till you catch a glimpse. Continue in the good work. Read page 204.
  4. Could it be that every moment has something “big” in it—we just miss it b/c we’re looking through the wrong eyes? He created every moment for a purpose, not just the ones we consider “big.” How is God using you now?

I want your thoughts, continued…

Another pic from Dave's and my Vermont trip. Wish my sister-in-law, Tammy, or my niece Anna had been there (well, not for our anniversary celebration :), but to take the picture. They would have been able to capture far better than I could the light coming through the bridge.)

If you haven’t read yesterday’s post, please do so. I really would like to hear your thoughts. One of my friends from childhood, Anne, gave her very wise perspective in a comment. I would highly recommend reading it.

Last night Emily, my eleven-year-old, shared a story that made me think of this subject of unfulfilled dreams. In her quest for an “interesting to a sixth grader” current event, she came across the story of pythons moving into the Florida Everglades. Formerly pets during the exotic-animals craze, these pythons were released by their owners when they got too big. Somehow quite a few made their way to the Florida Everglads and began eating what is usually food for the alligators. In an attempt to restore balance, people have been catching and killing these pythons who have grown to ginormous sizes. One was discovered  with a young deer–not a fawn–in its gut (guess that would hamper its getaway!).

Here’s the part of the story that relates to unfulfilled dreams: they found another that had tried to swallow an alligator and had split itself open in the attempt.

Ew! Gross! Who would ever do that?

Well, maybe we would! Could it be that we often try to grasp things that will end up splitting us wide open? Perhaps some unfulfilled dreams (even good ones) are thwarted or postponed because God is helping us to avoid this end.

I look forward to reading your thoughts.

Thanks,

Jen

I want your thoughts

A couple weeks ago Dave went to hear Donald Miller (author of Blue Like Jazz and several other books that Dave and I have each really enjoyed) speak at Wheaton College. A few days after that Dave read aloud to me a blog post written by one of his former soccer players who had also gone to hear Donald Miller speak. The former soccer player’s post focused on the advice Miller gave to a crowd of mostly college-age kids (I’m at the age I can say that now) who are also, mostly, wondering what “God’s WILL” is for their lives. Miller told these kids to do whatever they want to do, whatever their hearts desire. His premise is that God created us and gives us passions, so we should follow those passions until God makes it clear otherwise.

Former Soccer Player was fascinated with Miller’s reply, but he had a few questions in response. What if we follow our dreams and they don’t work out? What if our passions are frustrated, and, though there are other options, those don’t excite us? What then? Do we give up on our dreams? Do we “settle”? Is the problem, then, with our dreams, with us?

Those are questions I’ve certainly thought a lot about, since writing has always been a passion, and my pursuit of it has prompted guilt (am I going after this simply because I want it? It seems so selfish.) and despair (will anything ever come of this?) as well as great joy (I simply love to write). I have my own ideas about these questions, but I’d also like to hear from others. I’m going to check back on Former Soccer Player’s blog and read the comments his readers leave, but my suspicion is that many of his readers are also 20-somethings and will have the perspective of 20-somethings. Most of you who read mine, however, are, well, we’ll say, “more experienced.” What has your “experience” taught you about frustrated dreams–or dreams that are not quickly realized–or perhaps, NEVER realized? Would you mind leaving a comment?

Thanks,

Jen

From the left, Em, Jane, and Em's long-time friend, Bekah