When I was in a second grade a group of missionaries from our church came home. They threw a big party and invited us children to attend dressed like the African children. They talked about the village they had been serving in and told us about how the women would “wear” their babies as they worked in the fields all day. That’s all I really remember but I knew that after hearing their stories I wanted to be a missionary.
In fifth grade I went to Camp Allendale during the summer. There was a missionary there. He spent the week telling us about where he served in Africa. He showed us drums and taught us songs from Africa. When I came home I told my parents I wanted to be a missionary. That must have scared them because their answer was “will see.”
In high school I wanted to go to a Christian college. I wanted to study music and be a worship minister. My parents said that was too expensive and I went to a public college instead. My dreams of being a missionary or music minister left me there. It became aware to me that I needed a “real job.” So I pursued that. I majored in communication studies and minored in public relations. Met my wonderful husband, got married and hoped I would be happy in a cubicle somewhere.
I was not, I was actually pretty miserable with my first two jobs out of college. I worked two years at a newspaper and ran myself ragged and then landed my “dream job” doing marketing for an anesthesia company. I failed and lost that job. And then God began to move me where he wanted me to be. First I worked for three years at an accounting firm where I got my foundation to work in the medical field. I then spent two years working for a foot doctor and almost 8 years working in a pediatric office. I enjoyed working in the medical field. I felt like I was helping people. I was serving and that is where my heart had always been.
But I’ve never made it to Africa and although I was part of a praise band for many years it has been about 3 years since we have played together. I think about those dreams. I still want to go on a mission trip. I still want to sing and play piano in other places than my house. But there is a fear of putting myself out there and trying something new. I know that God does not want us to be comfortable but to stretch ourselves to the new thing He has for us. However, there’s a real fear there for me and maybe for others. Of what might happen if we try something new. Will our dreams be dashed again?
In the first chapter of Deuteronomy Moses addresses the Israelites after 40 years in the wilderness. “ You have stayed long enough on this mountain, Turn and resume your journey…”Deuteronomy 1:6-7.
God does not want us to be afraid of going forward. He takes us to wilderness places but does not want us to stay in the wilderness. He wants us to go forward. The Israelites were given a bad report. They had sent spies to see the land who said that they were “Grasshoppers in comparison to the Nephilim people” (Numbers 13:33) Caleb and Joshua were the only two of the ten spies who said the Israelites could defeat the current inhabitants and take possession of the land. So many times we get a bad report. Our dreams are defeated or don’t come true, the future looks bleak and scary. But God promises the desires of our heart. We need to move forward to claim them.
But what if you’re like me and not sure how to make that dream a reality? Pray for doors to open and remember big things start with little things. When God puts a little thing on your heart, do it. It’s amazing what happens when you do.