You have to look for it.
It’s in that split second when you’re listening, really listening, to someone talk. Their gaze shifts to the side. They laugh, or cough, or shuffle, and in an instant the spark is gone.
Ask someone in college what they’re passionate about.
Most of the people I’ve talked to tell me what their major is. They tell me what their plans are. They tell me what’s most practical. They talk about the economy. And then they mumble something at the end, a half-hearted sentence about something else.
That’s what you’ve been watching for, a hint of a dream.
For a second there’s a spark behind their eyes. A half-smile plays on the corners of their lips. The mumble at the end about wanting to own a business, be a teacher, open a bookstore, or have a family–
That’s what you want to pay attention to.
That quiet dream is a seed for something bigger.
Usually after that half-spoken sentence, something comes up.
But that’s never going to happen.
It’s a pipe dream.
I don’t think that’s realistic.
They shift and fidget with their phone. “Reality” invades; the spark is gone. But beneath would and should are unique desires from our Creator that were designed to bloom. Yet so often we forget about them or bury them in the rush of life.
Rewind. Rewind. Rewind. Go back.
I want to hear more about the last part of what you said. You know, that thing at the end. Except this time, say it louder.
Say it like it’s possible, because I think it is. And I think you know it is too, but you’re afraid to say so.
Say you want to be a doctor for the sick.
Say you want to open an art gallery.
Say you want to have a family.
Say you want to make an album.
Say you want to go to the corners of the world.
Say the last part again.
Say it loud, because it deserves to be heard.
And this time, look right into my eyes when you do, because I want to see the spark when it’s on. I want to see the reason you get up in the morning. I want to see light through your eyes.
The true reality is that God places dreams in us with purpose and passion. So often, that spark we so quickly shut off is an idea that could spread life like wildfire to hearts that need it.
Your dreams are needed.
So pull up a chair, sweet friend.
Know that when you open your heart, you get no judgment from me; I am fantastically flawed and still learning about grace. Take off the weight of what you should do and shake the dust of things that other people have said.
I think that deep under the responsibilities of everyday life lives a God-sized dream that this world desperately needs to come true.
Don’t be afraid to remember all of your dreams and oddball wishes and impossible ideas that have no place of their own to fit. Your dreams exist for a reason. In fact, they were meant to be there. Maybe even for such a time as this.
The penny wishing-well wishes.
The birthday candle dreams.
The staring at your ceiling half-asleep daydreams.
They matter more than you know.
I really believe that.
Fast forward. Pause. Let’s start again.
When you speak, know that He’s listening with every syllable, every silence, every spark.
What are you passionate about?
by Elizabeth Ann, Dear FriendLeave a Comment
Jennifer S says
Hmm – this is a great post! I love asking people questions and watching the spark show up. I love to ask a parent to tell me about their kids – that is a fun thing to hear them describe each child…
What am I passionate about? What starts the spark? First – Celebrate Recovery: How Jesus has used it to change my life. Homeschooling: I love the influence i have on my kids and how intimately I know them.
Last week, I wrote about how much simpler my life is since I gave up on my dreams.
Oh,wow. Your words ring so true. As I went to bed I felt that dream on shaky ground. Thank you so, so much for the encouragement this morning.
Elizabeth Ann says
Sometimes that shaky ground is the hardest to walk on. Keep going, friend!
This brought tears to my eyes. I’m that “college” (high school) student who has dreams. Who needs to follow them but is afraid to.
I’m not quite sure what my dreams are… they’re not fully developed. But they will be some day and I need to follow them.
Elizabeth Ann says
It’s okay to be unsure of what your dreams are. As you stick close to God, I can’t wait to see what grows and blossoms 🙂
Holley Gerth says
Woo-hoo! Yes and amen and more please. 🙂 I’m with you–hearing someone’s God-sized dream is one of my favorite things ever. Like a hot fudge sundae for your heart. And cheering them on as they live it is even better!
“a hot fudge sundae for your heart” <- I love that! 🙂
I’m passionate about showing love to people with special needs, especially within the church. I posted about it last night here: http://www.dinglefest.com/2011/03/why-we-do-what-we-do.html And I need to read this now, because that post has brought interest from a church in Kentucky wanting help reaching out to those with disabilities and because I’m thinking of launching a separate blog from my personal one to focus on special needs ministry. I’ve been praying for God to do a mighty work in the church to welcome those with disabilities, and it’s exciting and scary at the same time to be used by Him to do that.
But, yes, it’s definitely what brings about that spark in me!
Oops, “And I need to read” should have been “And I needed to read” – passion makes my fingers faster than my grammar. 🙂
And I forgot to add “humbling” to the list above – it is exciting and scary too, but more than anything else, it’s incredibly humbling to have the opportunity to be part of what God’s doing. He’s God. He doesn’t need us. But he chooses to use us and involve us in the big things He does – how cool (and humbling) is that!
Elizabeth Ann says
Bah! Amen! I’m continually amazed and humbled at how God uses our passions for His kingdom. May your spark continue to light a fire, friend.
wow! wow! wow! one of the greatest and most timing posts I’ve EVER read. Thank you for living and sharing with your eyes wide open.
I Love. This. Post.!!! Love. It.
If you dream it, I believe you’ll be a part of it in some way. When we don’t let ourselves dream it, the “possibilities” get flittered away with the wind.
Encouragement goes a long way and we have such a huge opportunity to use it for other people’s good – to build them up and seize the dreams.
It isn’t our own strength or our own mustering up of ideas or dreams, it’s the God-given implanting into our hearts.
Beth West says
I love the way you worded this, the thought of catching the whisper of heart dreams. I try to watch for those with my children and help them develop them so that they never feel that they have to be whispered.
wow. you reminded me of some things today about my own dreams. but also about the dreams of my friends. of the college students i work with. and how to help them realize their dreams are worth speaking loudly. if that makes sense.
beautiful words elizabeth ann. beautiful words.
Living the Balanced Life says
I love helping others uncover their passions! In my previous career, that is part of what I did as a trainer for a major corporation. Since leaving that job for health reasons, I realize that is the thing I miss the most (well, maybe other than a nice paycheck, but God provides!) I love helping women talk about their desires of their heart and help them uncover the possibilities for their future! It is awesome to see that spark, that light, that comes on in their face! And to see the hope when they realize it may actually be possible!
Great post, and sorry for all the exclamation points! It’s from the pasion trying to make its way onto the screen, lol!
Choosing the important stuff
I Live in an Antbed says
Daring to dream can look so foolish. But He placed within us so many talents and gifts with which we bring Him glory. And I think if we think of it in those terms, it’s about Him not about me, it can give us more courage to walk them out.
Angela Mackey says
Thank you so much for posting this. I have been posting about similar things too. Dreams and how we forget them and how God’s plan for our dreams look different than ours, but He does fulfill them. If you are interested check out my vlog.
It is a bit messy (I get teary, I don’t like getting teary), but it is authentic and so much like this post!
Thank you for confirming what God has been telling me!
Fiona's Mosaic says
This is one reason I LOOOOOOOOOVE doing senior pictures. My hubby says I have printed on my forhead “TELL ME EVERYTHING” because they always do! I get to hear all their hopes and dreams, and then I tell them I will pray for them.
Such a privilege to be allowed into the heart of a young person.
Praying for our next generation, and that they keep dreaming.
Thank you for this. I’m a dreamer, but I’m also a drifter. I tend to be passionate about one topic for awhile, and then move on. It’s hard for me to see how God wants to use my passions, and how they fit together. But it’s so good to have the encouragement that God does want to use them. 🙂
Tara Bonesio-Ortiz says
This post is a gift. Thank you! I have just recently decided that it is time for me to follow my God-sized dream. So this post is encouraging for me to read. My dream is currently still a seedling but I am finally taking steps to transform it into a reality. If it is God’s will like I believe it is, then you will be hearing more from me in the future. 🙂
It is so easy to get bogged down in this world…to push those dreams and passions down and search for practicallity and stability….but we miss out on so much when we do..if we are patient and willing to follow where our Father God leads, if we are listening and willing to step out in faith….if…then our great God can use and develope those dreams and that passion to do great things….in a fallen world that so desperately needs Him and needs to learn to dream again…if
I am passionate about teaching young women what real, Biblical marriage and family look like. There are so many things I didn’t understand, or plain just didn’t know, about marriage before I walked down the aisle. I made a lot of mistakes, and had to learn much of what I learned the hard way. It is my passion to teach young women about godly marriage, and to encourage them in that endeavor. I’m just not sure how to start. I’m somewhat scared to dream, because I’m terrified of failing. I’m fairly certain, though, that success in this dream means facing that fear. I remember what I heard Beth Moore say on a Wednesdays With Beth once. “Do it scared, but DO IT.”
I want to touch people’s lives through my work.
Rambling Heather says
WoW! This is stunning!
What an interesting way to look at something!
You are so right!
I AM going to say it louder. 🙂
Jami Kastner says
LOVED this post! My favorite part “I’m fantastically flawed…” I hope I can remember that one…
Friday Reads: March 11 « Naming Animals says
[…] https://aws.incourage.me/2011/03/eyes-wide-open.html About dreams, passions, and not passing over them. […]