Ever have a dream that you’ve thought, “What are the odds of that ever happening?” And then you actually see the odds.
I read an interview with a literary agent who said she only responds to one in every two-hundred queries. The odds for me? .5% Yes, there’s a point in front of the five! Nice.
Sobering. Discouraging. Daunting. We could plug in a hundred different responses. Overwhelmed comes to mind, which means to overturn or to capsize, in reference to thoroughly destroying a passing ship. Yeah, that about nails it.
Can you relate to feeling overwhelmed? Maybe someone or something has already capsized your dreamboat, and you’re gripping the edge, searching for a way to stabilize it. Or maybe you’ve already hit the ocean bed with your head and your feet are the only things bobbing above the water. I feel ya. Every time I stare at certain statistics opposing me, I feel the waters deepen a little farther.
But, thankfully, the odds against me were not the only thing I read today. In an encouraging blog, I came across this reminder: “We cannot accomplish the will of God in our lives, the dreams He has given us, on our own accord. They’re too big. Too full of beauty. That’s the whole point.”
Think about that. Why is it that we trust God as the dream-giver, but not the dream-fulfiller? If we could accomplish our dream on our own, would it really be anything more than a me-kingdom kind of dream. But a God-Kingdom kind of dream…now there’s something that’s going to need a breakthrough that can only come from the God of impossible odds. That’s the kind of dream I’ll take any day.
But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. How many of us know that allowing ourselves to dream at all is risky. It costs us something. Because once we open our hearts to hope, we’re exposed. Risking the pain of disappointment.
Some will argue that the first step requires the most faith, but I beg to differ. It takes courage to step into the unknown, true. But I’ve found the real test of faith comes several steps down the road. When we have to scale the mountain of learning. Trek along the valley of perseverance. And trudge through the swamps of disappointments. It’s in those steps when we have to find the faith to choose whether the dream is worth the cost.
Are we willing to remain committed enough to persevere amidst the anguish of delayed hope? To keep singing when our circumstances strip our hearts of the song? To press in to rekindle enough joy to keep standing when all we hear is, Quit.
It’s costly to dream. We invest with our hearts. And there will always be opposing odds ready to overturn our boat and deteriorate the remaining faith we have to keep going.
I’ve heard authors say they put sticky notes on their computer with the number of rejections a fellow author received before he/she got published. And they aren’t going to give up until they reached that same number. Maybe it’s good to have benchmarks. But I think I know a better one. You know what the sticky note on my computer says? “You are for me.” Because here’s the thing.
In those on-the-floor-moments—heart exposed, faith tested, song forgotten, strength drained—the dream hasn’t died. And in that place of surrender, I’m reminded that the fulfillment of the dream will be as much of a gift as the vision he originally placed in my heart. It was never meant for me to accomplish on my own. While the odds continually invite me to believe they have the final say, so does the gift giver. I have to decide which invitation to respond to.
So, with my legs still trembling, I raise to my knees, ready to renew the commitment in my heart to show up again. And again. And again. Until I find the strength to stand, trusting God to make up the difference where I fall short. And as I stare into the odd against me, I can make this declaration. I will not be overwhelmed.
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