When I Grow Up…


Cora has decided that when she grows up she wants to be a singer, a dancer and a painter. They all seem attainable to her. When is it we begin to minimize our confidence in our abilities. At what age do we lose our ability to dream?

Today I discovered this quote by C.S. Lewis:


You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.


And it reminded me of a post I did last year.


This morning Cora, “read” us a story from the Bible. It mostly consisted of “a little man named Mike” battling it out with “crocodiles, alligators, monsters, and bad people” in an “apple house.” In the end the monster ate all of the people, except Mike, his brothers, sisters and kids. Josh and I were trying hard not to laugh at her as she told us this fantastic, random tale of woe. We didn’t want her to stop because she thought we were making fun of her.

This Saturday morning scene got me thinking about imagination.

When I was little I could stay in my grandparent’s pool all day, coming up with stories about being a mermaid and having tea parties on the pool floor. Or those times when I would play in our backyard with the neighbor kids and we’d pretend to be princesses and pirates and “the mom.”

When did my ability to believe in the extraordinary disappear? Slowly as I matured I started feeling like it wasn’t ok to think about what could be, and instead started planning for what seemed to be.

The Bible tells me in Ephesians 3:20 that God is able to go abundantly beyond what I could think or imagine. Not to take the verse out of context, Paul writes in the previous verses about his prayer for the Ephesians, that they would be strengthened in the Spirit and able to comprehend the love that Christ has for them, which surpasses knowledge. Paul closes the chapter by saying that all of this power, knowledge, love and action is for the furtherance of God’s glory.

So, does my reluctance to ask or imagine the implausible from God come from a lack of knowledge of Christ’s love for me? As adults too often we’re afraid to wish and hope for things; to dream about what our future could be. The responsibilities of life take over and our focus becomes paying the bills for the month and hoping to retire someday.

Although it has become somewhat diminished, my natural tendency is to think about, plan for and dream of what’s next. I still think about what could be, but not always with the expectation that God will allow it to happen. I’ve lost the inkling of how much Christ loves me – which is enough to make my seemingly impossible dreams become a reality.

Not to go to the other extreme, I don’t see this verse as a promise that God will make whatever I think up happen. I do see it saying that if I have strength through the Spirit and a relationship with Christ the things I ask and imagine will be small compared to what He has for me. So here’s a few of the dreams I feel like God has given me over the years, listed with a hope that He will actually bring it to fruition:

  • Work as a missionary in France.
  • Have a retreat center that provides a free escape for people in ministry to prevent burnout.
  • Write and speak more.

But not all of my dreams are for me. These are the ones I have for Josh:

  • Have the ability to play and share the music he’s written with others
  • Live in a house at the base of the mountains by a lake…hmm this one seems to fit with my retreat center dream. :)

What dreams do you have that feel like they’re too much to hope for?

{Originally posted 1/16/2010}
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30 thoughts on “When I Grow Up…

  1. I am just learning how to have dreams again, so most of them seem impossible to me. I would love to write more, I would love to be able to split working and parenting with my husband instead of him having to work full time, I would love to go to college someday. I also dream of giving a good education/growing up experience for my kids.

    1. Love the dreams you shared! What would you study in college? Is there an online class or a workshop you could attend that would help you to take a step forward in that?

      1. I’m still not sure. :) I think about counseling or social work, I have also been drawn to culinary arts. I think it’s going to take a bit more time to settle on something for sure, but I am hoping to get started on the generic classes at some point in the near future.

  2. Sometimes adoption simply for the financial bridges we’ll have to cross. It’s been interesting lately as I’ve been made aware of other situations (adoption processes, etc) and have been encouraged. I want to rest in the hope that this is something we believe God has for us… and He’ll provide. Thanks for sharing your post, Melissa.

    1. I was just talking with my friend last night about adoption. She was saying that there are state agencies that will practically pay you to adopt children from within your own community. I had no idea. I’d always heard about the expense associated with adoption. That’s quite a dream, Dustin! Praying for your family as you follow God’s lead in that area. :)

  3. Melissa: As I look back I am not sure when I stopped dreaming big dreams. Maybe it was when I realized my dreams were not God’s dreams for me? But at the same time, I now struggle with not dreaming because of my age (58). I have a friend my age who is a pastor and he has stopped dreaming. He is living for the time he can retire (in about 2-3 years) and take it easy or greet at WalMart. He lost his son in 2006 and it seems all the life left him. I DON’T want to end up like that! i want to keep dreaming. Only now I want God’s dreams for me to come true. As a grandfather, I bask in the picture of Cora reading to you all. :)

    1. You’ve got a long way to go, Bill! However, I connect with your friend. It is so hard to imagine moving forward when you’ve lost someone that close to you. I don’t want to end up like that either. I am hoping to spend my retirement backpacking through Europe. :)

  4. Oh that face… that adorable face :)
    Hmmm…. do more with my photography in a ministry setting… continue to go back to Africa on mission… have a great spiritual, emotional, physical, intellectual, intimately connected relationship with my husband (that’s the biggie) :)

    1. Jenny, I was looking at your site yesterday and I am so amazed at the pictures you are capturing! I feel like you just started out in photography, and already everything you capture is so professional and full of emotion! I love what God is doing in that area of your life.

      P.S. I’m wearing my “grace” necklace today and thought of you when I put it on. :)

  5. Putting your goals/wishes out there on the webbernets is a pretty awesome thing to do, and you can rest assured knowing you have some southern and probably some eastern folk praying for you guys :-)

    1. Thanks, Ben! You know, I was re-reading that post and realizing just how much God has done in the last year to bring us closer to those dreams being a reality. I had forgotten writing them out there, but God remembered and heard my prayers.

      Thanks for stopping by! :)

  6. It’s crazy because I used to not have any dreams at all. Just goals that I knew that I would be able to accomplish with hard work. It wasn’t until I was challenged to write out 20 dreams that I saw what was actually in my heart. The catch was that the dreams HAD to be things I wouldn’t normally be able to accomplish.

    It really stretched me. Through that process I think I surprised myself with what came out. There were so many things in my heart that I had buried because they didn’t seem plausible or sensible. Now I’m dreaming big and I believe that all these things are possible with God!

      1. Hmm…let’s see. Here are a few:

        1. Write 10 books
        2. Speak in front of 50,000 people
        3. Minister in 50 countries
        4. Counsel & restore marriages/divorcees
        5. Give a word of knowledge to an influential non-Christian

        Tip of the iceberg my friend. Thanks for praying with me!

        1. Whoa!! Hefty dreams there, Tony! I love this list!! I will be praying along with you. Have you started writing any of your books yet?

          1. I have a chapter outline for one of them. I haven’t started writing it yet. I’ve been using my blog to really find my voice and hone my writing before I really dig into a book.

            1. I started my blog to find my voice and hone my writing, but now I’m finding it difficult to balance that and other writing. Have you found the same to be true with you?

              1. Yeah, my life has been getting increasingly busy which makes it really important to be intentional with how I spend my time. I need to spend specific days and times to focus on specific writing. I just recently got a few free-lance jobs and I need to make sure I’m not over-committing myself!

  7. I’ve only recently become a dreamer and I have some lofty ones on the horizon. Writing a book is one of them.

    I love your dream to have a retreat center. That is a nobel dream.

    1. That’s a great dream, Ryan! To put your heart and soul out there for others to critique and peruse. Have you taken any steps in that direction? It seems like such a daunting task sometimes. :)

      1. When you say it like that (“put your heart and soul out there for others to critique and peruse”) it sounds really scary!

        I actually have taken steps. I have about 40 pages, an intro, outline, and a lot of notes. It is daunting for sure. Overwhelming at times, even. But my heart is plowing through it with diligence. I am starting a blog/website for the book soon as well.

        1. Haha! Didn’t mean to scare you off your dream. :) Let me know the link to your blog/website once it’s set up! I’d love to see what you’re doing.

  8. Uh oh! you’ve set the bar high by actually putting this stuff in print. Yikes!
    Here goes nothing…
    – to be able to play and share music I’ve written with people – specifically I want to write the worship that is in my heart (deep in my heart I also want to make music with my friends again… just not on the road again ;).
    – to earn a PhD (maybe I should focus on finishing my MDiv first)
    – to write a novel (I already have the concept, now to the work of the story)
    – to teach at a college
    There’s so much built up in me that keeps me from even pronouncing these things aloud – the voice of “reason” screams, “who do you think you are?!?”
    But the reality is that I am lazy, I like the sound of my fears more than my dreams because they do not threaten me with more work. When I see it in the light, it is actually much more “reasonable” for me to pursue my dreams than to shrink back in the name of being “reasonable.”

    1. That “Who do you think you are?!?” is on repeat in my head! I hate that person.

      I can see you in all of those dreams, Levi. They track with the things God has done in your life the last 12 years I’ve known you (can you believe it’s been that long!). I am excited to see God working these dreams out in your life!! :)

  9. I dream of many things, and haver had the blessing of having many of my dreams realized…Right now, I dream of material things more than new “roles.” A bigger/better car (no offense) ;-) A yard for London to play…that short of thing.

    Tell Cora she can have her dreams…I had my dreams realized to be a dancer, then a singer, now a painter…I have also gone to college, gotten to be a teacher, a wife, and a Mommy. :-)

    1. No offense, whatever! I am always amazed when I see the old Honda. :) I thought that thing was a goner years ago. Haha! I could not imagine driving it now with two small kids. You have done so much, Haley! And I am so excited because I know God has amazing things for your future.

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