Dreaming Small

Dreaming Small

A few weeks ago I found myself sitting around a table with a handful of other young moms, talking about the places our minds go in our darkest moments. We confessed to concerns for our kids’ health and safety; to constant worries that we are failing as moms; to our desires to support our husbands while also taking care of ourselves. Most of our dark-moment-fretting pivoted around similar themes related to family and home and everyday life. But there was one bigger concern that came up again and again, one shared by nearly all of us: a nagging fear that we are missing out on God’s Ultimate Purpose for our lives. As one mom summed it up, “I feel like I should be doing something big, something important. And because I’m so caught up in the day-to-day grind, I worry that I’m going to miss it.”

What stood out to me most about that conversation was that I’d had a nearly identical one just the day before. Different circle, different group of moms, but that same plaguing question—what is the BIG THING that God wants to do with my life? And will I know it when I see it?

I haven’t forgotten those conversations. Because I, too, have found myself asking God the same thing. As part of the millennial generation, I grew up being told that I could do anything. And as a Christian millennial I was told that God had a big plan for my life. He wanted to do big things through me—things of a global scale, things that I could never fathom or begin to conquer on my own. I embraced this idea that there was an enormous, God-ordained purpose in store for me.

As I’ve spent a little more time on this earth, I’ve begun to wonder if God’s plans for me aren’t so big after all. Don’t get me wrong, I hold firmly to the promise of Jeremiah 29:11, declaring God’s promises for my future. But I’m no longer certain this God-ordained future requires my moving oversees to serve as a missionary, or starting up my own non-profit ministry, or becoming an inner-city pastor. Not that there is anything wrong with those paths, and when followed with a pure heart, I am sure that they are well within God’s will for those who pursue them. But I have come to believe that there is just as much value in pursuing God in the quotidian moments of life as a stay-at-home mom. In the words of Barbara Brown Taylor, “I’m all for greatness, but being focused on greatness can be a way to avoid living the life that you are presently being given to live.”

God’s biggest plan for my life is my faithfulness to Him in all things—the grandiose, and the seemingly insignificant. Every one of these moments can play a part in who God is shaping me to be. They may be setting me up for the next Big Thing . . . or they may simply be used to refine my character and draw me closer to Him. When I invite God into every aspect of my life, and lean into His love and wisdom, it is impossible for me to stray outside of His purpose. And when I’m walking along His path—even an obscure one—I am sure to recognize the bigger opportunities He will make available to me.

In the book of Colossians, the apostle Paul gives the following reminder to his readers: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.” This implies that ALL of our work is important, and that all of it matters to God. Those things I do every day—folding laundry, making smalltalk with a neighbor, pouring into my child . . . they are significant within God’s Kingdom. Even a quiet life can yield powerful results when God is invited into it. He is a big God who happens to take great interest in small things.

For those of us who wonder whether our lives are flashy enough to hold significance, we need only look to the life of Jesus for validation. Jesus came from the humblest of beginnings. He never received any formal teaching, never held office, never published a book. He never traveled more than 200 miles from his birthplace, and he didn’t live to see his 34th birthday. Yet His humble life altered the course of history, and shaped our eternity.

Life is a precious gift. Mine may not be glamorous or remarkable in any way. But I am confident that God can utilize my prosaic life to accomplish great things. Meanwhile, I am reaping the small—yet incredible!—blessings He has planted for me along the way.