Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hopes and Dreams

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?' Actually, who are we not to be? You are a child of God. We are born to manifest the glory of God that is within us; it is in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people the right to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

--Marianne Williamson (My quick online research suggests three different people said this, but most sources indicate that she did.)

This quote resonates with me. Back in February I went on a retreat through my program here in Nashville, and we tried our hand at a Quaker practice that utilizes a "clearness committee." One of the things that committee asked me was "What are your dreams for your life?"

I didn't have an answer.

I realized that I don't dream; I am not terribly hopeful; and I limit myself entirely too much. I think the failure to do those things is a way we deny the light that could emanate from us; it's a way we fail to unleash our potential.

And don't get me wrong. I look forward to things and hope to travel to places I've never been and whatnot, but I have not dreamed big dreams. I have not had high hopes and huge prayer requests (although I've certainly had expectations for myself, which are different in my mind).

So I am working on that, trying to be intentional about dreaming more and not being so firmly based in what I think is probable or possible. I'm trying to pray big and not be afraid to hope for things that may never be realized.

p.s. I'm grateful for the fun trip to the Nashville zoo today with my niece and two of my students.


Ys said...

From what you've said in previous blog posts you've done some pretty big things in my book. You've done things a lot of people (myself included) wouldn't be able to. So I think you do dream big but you don't realise it cos it's all possible from your perspective. If that makes sense!? ;)

I totally agree with having big dreams, though. I think it's good to aim as high as you can but have the knowledge that you might not get there as well.

Anonymous said...

Ally thanks for stopping by my blog (serial youth pastor) and commenting. It's always great to see new people stopping by.

AA said...

I cannot believe that of all people, you don't dream big. That's just shocking.

Ally said...

AA: Yeah, it's sad, but I'm working on it:)

Ys: I hadn't thought about it that way. Sometimes I think my imagination about what "could be" isn't big enough.

ella said...

I think leaving your job and spending the year at PTM, was dreaming big. It's something that I don't think I could every do.

Lib said...

yeah, i feel you. i'm glad you posted this quote. i've been thinking about it a lot lately, now that i'm pursuing this big dream to be a writer. i've been so tempted to think that my doing this is "silly." it isn't practical, and what if i fail? what terrifies me the most is failing at something that i love to do. i don't care about failing in things that i don't really like, but to put so much of your heart and passion into something, only to potentially be told that you don't have what it about humbling! dreaming big scares the hell out of me. but alas! i'm going through with it.

looking forward to seeing where your big dreams take you as you realize them more and more, and dare to risk pursuing them!

EAJ said...

I have a friend who was a nurse. She was taking a class on what the Bible says about money and stewardship (Crown). The leader asked her what she would do if she had a million dollars. She immediately answered that she would take children with cancer and their families to the beach. A group of investors loved her vision and stepped up. Not with a million dollars but with a start. So in 2000, Lighthouse Family Retreat was born with 1 retreat. Eight years later, they offer 10 retreats a year and have served over 600 families. Serving on the retreats is like nothing I have ever experienced.

So remember, while dreaming big can seem overwhelming, scary, and a huge risk, you just never know what God has in store for you when you go for it. And know that dreaming big doesn't require you to go from A to Z in one step. It just requires you to take the first step!

Anonymous said...

I've been wanting to go to the zoo. Is it worth it? Maybe when the weather cools down...

It's good to have big dreams and big hopes. But I don't think I do it either, it's too easy to get let down and hurt.

Seized by Hope said...

Great post Ally.

I look forward to hearing more about the dreams you've been pushing down underneath the weight of what's possible.

I think it's brave to name what you know is true for you even when others think you're living large.

Ally said...

SBH: Thanks for the encouragement. I think it'll be even braver to dream and hope for what may or may not happen.

FC&F: Yeah, I hate being let down. As for the zoo, it's a fun outing with nice shaded paths; plus it's not overly crowded. I'd definitely wait a bit though--today was SO hot.

EAJ (who are you? I'm trying to figure it out:): Fantastic story. And you're exactly right about just taking the first step--that's totally how it was with quitting my job to do mission work. He just wanted me to take that first jump and trust Him.

Lib: Bravo! I am proud of you. Just by trying you're succeeding in a way. And you're right--the idea of failing is humbling.

Ella: Yeah, I guess so. I need to think about that. And I think God can help you do anything! I've gotten to hear about how much you've grown in the last two years, and it's been tremendous.

ash said...

That quote is really amazing. I think we fear our "light" because we are scared that our light isn't light enough. Our good isn't good enough. Why dream when dreams might not come true?
The Bible begins in Genesis one, with good. God created us as good. He desired and crafted us to be good.
God wants us to see that what He made is good, and He made good first. Over sin and over failure.
God has said you are good and he wants you to claim truth and light wherever you find it.
You are good enough to dream because you are good enough for God.