With graduation around the corner, I was inspired to re-read The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson. The book’s first half is a parable about a Nobody named Ordinary, who the Dream Giver gives a dream, but to see it fulfilled, he must leave Familiar.
The parable follows what writers call the hero’s journey. The hero, Ordinary, has a call to adventure—his dream. He initially refuses the call until a mentor (Ordinary’s father) and a sense of discontent encourage him to act and cross a threshold into a new environment. Along the journey, he battles enemies (self-doubt, bullies, giants) and makes allies until he reaches the innermost cave (Salvation), where he realizes the tools and strength that he needs have been given to him. He summons the courage to face the greatest challenge and is rewarded with victory. Then he returns home (in Ordinary’s case through a letter to his father) a redeemed or resurrected person.
The hero’s journey and the parable of The Dream Giver apply to our lives, too, so much so that I want to break it down over the next couple of weeks, starting with the call to action and leaving familiar.
We all are born with a purpose.
I was born creative. Since I was little, I loved to build things, draw pictures, and write stories. My friends and I would often build forts in the woods, but once constructed, I never played in the fort. The fun was in the creating. However, when I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d say a dentist. I had it in my head that creating was playing, and work had to be something—well—more like work. It took some time to realize the two could coincide.
God has plans for us.
God knitted us together in our mother’s wombs and laid out our every moment before a single day had passed (Psalm 139). In Jeremiah 29:11, God says, “I know the plans I have for you… plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” There is no may or might in that statement. God has plans for you.
Also, God isn’t willy-nilly. He’s a God of order and divine purpose and instills that same desire inside us. He plants the seeds early on. David was anointed to be king years before it even seemed possible. Joseph was given the dream of being a leader when he was a boy. Abraham was shown the stars and told his descendants would number the sky long before Sarah became pregnant.
Expect God to use you for His glory.
Our purpose may or may not be apparent, but if we ask God to reveal it, He will. Often our dreams can lie dormant inside of us until God reveals His plan. Or, it can be developed and trained like a skilled instrumentalist over time. We can test different waters to see where our talents lie or establish new ones. Or be tested, like the parable of the talents—those who were faithful with a little were then given much. Our dreams can also change over time, maturing as we develop and fulfill our dreams. We’re never too old to have a new dream.
If you move, God will move.
To reach our potential, we have to leave the familiar. I remember feeling overwhelmed at my first writer’s conference. I felt overwhelmed and out of my league, but God placed valuable mentors in my life who to this day help encourage and edit my works. It can be terrifying to strike out and try something new but don’t fear making mistakes. God won’t let a few mistakes ruin His plan for your life. Also, don’t wait on perfect conditions. Make room for your opportunity. There will always be some risks to mitigate, but if you don’t step out in faith, there is a chance you could miss out on God’s blessings for your life.
Step out of the familiar in faith, trusting in God’s plan. We do the possible so that God can do the impossible.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. – Ephesians 3:20