Why I don’t DREAM BIG!

I’m a little late to the game in discussing new year’s themes, planning and resolutions. Fact: I don’t do much planning as it gives me a touch of high blood pressure and heart burn. Sounds funny coming from a TYPE A person who loves planning but the idea of new year planning seems so daunting to me. Kuddos to YOU if you can take on the task with out whirling into a frenzy of anxiety like I do in the attempt. As I mentioned yesterday in my Epiphany celebration, my new year’s theme is…

Sit Still at the Feet of Jesus and fill up on more Him and less of myself…I will only go when He says, GO!

I stayed quiet the last couple of weeks and espeically over the New Year’s day celebrations. There are so many useful resources out there, hear me say that. Lots of great ways to prepare for 2014. Part of me wanted to jump in and give my two cents, but I stayed quiet and just pondered my own need to live by my 2014 theme of sit still. God has just recently told me, GO! and DO! on some upcoming projects that He’s laid in my lap and I can’t wait to share. But in the meantime, I thought I’d share something I posted on Facebook that lead me to consider sharing with you a small excerpt from my upcoming book Just RISE UP!: A Call To Make Jesus Famous. Thoughts from the LIVE IT OUT! Facebook page:

Deep breath in…deep breath out… I’ve been sitting quiet not doing much writing nor planning over the last week as a way to soak in Advent and #AweandWonder I’m not much of a goal maker. God has me sitting still at His feet and filling up on more of Him and less of myself this year. Now…it’s the calm before the storm. Great stuff and ideas beginning to pile up. Sifting through and allowing God to insert HIS purpose for me instead of planning my own agenda thus…sitting still at His feet and filling up is ever so important. Hmmm…Counting on God’s dreams and purposes instead of my own fancies and plans.
My idea in sharing the following excerpt from Just RISE UP! is that I frankly don’t want to reinvent the wheel and rewrite something I so passionately poured into over the summer as I wrote my manuscript. Might as well just share it, right? I think it is something to consider in our new year plans and preparations.
I KNOW I will catch some  flak for the following excerpt. My heart is beating just a bit but I feel it needs to be said…so…here goes…
releasing Fall 2014...here's a sneak peek

releasing Fall 2014…here’s a sneak peek


Can I take a moment to vent a bit with you? I get frustrated with some of the images posted on social media. I’m talking about images with pretty fonts and motivational phrases that contain flat statements such as Dream Big!, IMAGINE! or Just Believe!. Visually they are interesting and maybe a bit motivating. Please know that I’ve done my fair share of Pinterest pinning and reposting of graphics that inspire and point to God’s truth as they contain Bible verses and neat images. In fact, I make alot of them myself to share with my friends. It is fun to read these inspirational images online and view them in greeting cards or wall plaques. As we RISE UP! I encourage you to rise beyond flat motivational statements as you navigate and pray through where God is taking you in life––as you allow Him to do big things in your life.

When we cling to the dream big or just imagine motivational phrases we just might be clinging to an emotion that those phrases conjure up instead of clinging to the ever big God that has ever big things to do in our life when we follow Him and His plan for us and even more importantly for His Kingdom. This flat thought process of dream big often leads to that adrenaline rush of excitement that might steer us toward our own journey in life instead of the most meaningful journey we should take, the one God lays out for us.


The following verse is one that I’ve read in passing before and probably even doodled on a note to my friend as means of encouragement to her. God reminds us of His Word at just the right times for encouragement. I’ve got this heavy-ness on my heart in my own journey to RISE UP! as I want to be used by God. He has planted dreams in my heart but doors have yet to open to fully walk through and live this out. I hide ideas and plans in my heart often checking to make sure they came from the Lord and not of my own fancies. If you don’t quite identify with this, know that it is ok. If the idea of joining God in His Kingdom work and making Him famous gets your heart pumping, that means the Lord is working in you and through you.

I am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop in mid-design but will keep perfecting you until the day Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, returns to redeem the world. (Philippians 1:6 THE VOICE)

This great work God is doing in our life starts with the work God does inside our heart and mind. The word work is appropriate in my opinion as I imagine Jesus using His gardening tools while digging up roots of pride and jealousy in my heart, patting down fresh soil of trust and peace, watering my God-given talents. And, if we believe Scripture, He will continue to toil, root out, plant afresh and grow beautiful blooms in my life and yours. Blooms that will RISE UP! and flourish. Even a novice gardener like myself knows that before a plant comes to full bloom time, care, pruning, watering and sunlight are in order. This is the inner work God is doing in our life and right in line with personal evaluation of our sin leading to heart of repentance as we talked about in chapter 3.What if this great work in which God is doing in our generation, in each of our lives as individuals starts with a major work in the depths of our soul? What if instead of sending us out to do great things in His name, He first sent us inward to the places in our heart that might preclude us from the bold life choices that comes with rising up? What if this movement of making Jesus famous is spurred on by things like personal…



walls broken down

fear dissolved.

How much more would the world recognize the great name of Jesus which we strive to make famous if we lived revived in the Holy Spirit and His power over our own. How much more would we thrive in our God-given talents if we allowed Him to restore us back to the beauty He originally created in us before we had our own way in our lives. If walls lie unbroken around our hearts and we are unwilling to allow God to do His work to crush them, we won’t be emotionally available to reach out to others in love.

So, here’s why I don’t dream big:

Left up to my own devices I will lean more toward my own fancies and agenda. Unless these fancies and dreams are first paired up with an undivided heart for Jesus’ fame, I will take the dreams toward making my own name known…not HIS. This is too dangerous for me. So, instead I ponder and worship a BIG GOD and His greatness…His greatness that He does with in me.

Whew! That’s a lot to take in…are you freaked out? Thanks for reading!

Thoughts? Leave a comment, let’s chat.


Why I don’t DREAM BIG! — 13 Comments

  1. No flak from me. I have always wondered what those catch phrases like “dream big” and “imagine” are really supposed to mean. They aren’t really encouraging to me. I think they can be more of a crutch to convince ourselves we are doing something without actually having to do the real, deep, authentic work of being wide open to the Savior and letting him have His way with us. I don’t do resolutions or big goals either. My approach is a one day at a time, do the work that is before me, system. Each day The Lord reveals to me what He has for me. If I do that, then His big plans for me will come to fruition.

  2. It is so good to read this. I too take the one day at a time method.. which really helps cut down on the “I’m not doing enough” battle. The Lord tells us that we shouldn’t worry about what is going to happen tomorrow because tomorrow will be COMPLETELY different from today. So, for me, instead of worrying or dreaming about tomorrow … I am learning to simply live in TODAY. Now, my journey is not perfect, but I have come a long way. IF we let God into our goals and our “practice” for the future … then he will begin to transform us.

    Thank you for this challenging post!

  3. This is a lot to think about but it is so true. I think sometimes (at least for me) I have these thoughts that if I gave God all my dreams I’d end up with my hair in a bun and wearing prairie dresses. Like id be unhappy if I surrender all but thinking about it who’s has submitted their dreams to a Jesus are unhappy? It shows our faith,I guess. We want to hold on to what we see and what we think we need.

    I am trying to turn over a new dream to Him and figure out if its His will. My ideas can seem so glittery when His right now aren’t as easy for me to see.

  4. AMEN! Preach on Sister. Well-stated. Our society pushes us into an unhealthy busyness that exhausts, consumes, tears families apart, and leaves very little room for quiet reflection or just being still and listening. To God, or to anyone else, except the constant barrage of multi-media noise and activity. — esp. w/in the church.

  5. Sarah thanks for sharing these words. I too have had serious checks from some of the word phrases I see being used in the field of art. Some of them are great and life giving but then you run up on the usage in a not so clear way amend wonder what they really mean. Like the use of mantras and such. Even scripture can be use for selfish gain and if we are not making Him famous we are missing the point.

  6. yes! i have been learning this exact thing lately. i used to think if i wanted something that God must want it for me. He wants to give me the desires of my heart, right? i used to be bitter and resentful when jobs, relationships, etc. didn’t work out when i wanted them to so much because i just didn’t understand what God was doing. then when i start to see the Lord’s sovereignty in the path i was asked to take instead, i realize how much more i’ve learned and what the Lord was planning all along. it’s a really tough mindset to overcome, but such an important one. we should always come to Christ with positive expectations, but we should know that the expectations we have for future outcomes may not be in alignment with His. thanks for broaching such a tough topic and ensuring that we’re being challenged as readers – not just fed an endless stream of useless prosperity preaching! :o)

    on another note, i think some of those motivational phrases undermine the amount of hard work it takes to meet a goal or realize a dream, you know? instead of motivating me, it makes me feel inadequate or that the work i’ve put forth already wasn’t enough and that the end result would come easily if i were working hard enough. those phrases remove the fact that with great success comes great sacrifice and great work ethic, no matter how easy it may seem on the surface. God may empower us to be successful and realize dreams He has for us, but that doesn’t mean He is going to do all the heavy lifting!

    • Chelsea, I loved what you said about positive expectations but only when they are focused on God’s best and not our own grand plans. Awesome. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Pingback: I pressed pause - LIVE IT OUT! -- Sarah Francis Martin

  8. Hi Sarah. I love so much of what you wrote! I, too, am pausing. In fact, maybe I’m even beyond pausing — because I’m trying to focus on simply “being” instead of always doing, and simply remaining still. There is a lot that I want to do in this new year – but something has me waiting … waiting on the Lord. I’m going to be 45 this year. In some ways, I feel like I’ve lived over a hundred years and in other ways I feel like parts of my life have just begun. But the one thing I am sure of is that the Lord has a Purpose and a Plan for me – and right now I’m waiting on Him. And I’m okay with that. In fact, I’m really good with that. Because this thing called life isn’t about me, it’s about Him, and bringing glory to Him. For the first time in my life, I feel like my perspective is right – it’s all about looking Up and looking to Him – for wisdom, guidance, and His Plan. And while I wait, I’m still doing all the “have to’s” … but it seems like with the Lord in the mix even the “have to’s” seem to fit in with His Plan. And I’m willing to admit, I’m a work in progress – and in all of this waiting and being — I’m being refined … and learning. And it truly is a wonderful thing. I agree that a lot of the motivational phrases and quick quotes are just that – little snippets in a much grander scheme. Personally, I have begun to dig into the Lord’s Word like never before – and there is no replacement for that. I look forward to seeing what 2014 has in store for us all!

    • Jean! Yes…awesome! I read your words thinking, Wonderful!!! I love what you said about having your perspective in the right place. As much as we would hope that our perspective would be in the right place as a younger age–like in teens and early 20’s– sometimes it takes a few years and time to get a grip on things. Lol! I hope your new year is full of just sitting still. Sitting still and feeling good about that rather than looking at is as waiting…waiting for something anything. When really, what we are waiting for is right in front of us–when we PLANT ourselves right at the feet of Jesus! Hugs!

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