by Allen Arnold
The world can be hard on our dreams. What once seemed so likely, now feels partial at best. Our best -laid plans laid to rest, sacrificed for other more pressing needs.
It feels like such loss. Not just a loss of our dreams, but also of hope and heart.
I mentor a wide spectrum of writers. Some are at the start of their calling, expectant at all that awaits them. But for others, their attempts at story have been met with heartache and disillusionment. Why would I have this creative desire if this is all there is? Maybe it’s time to give up.
Perhaps you find yourself there, wondering if it’s time to move on or radically downsize your dreams.
I have much better advice.
It’s actually time to dream bigger dreams.
That may feel counter-intuitive or even cruel, especially if your earlier dreams still haven’t materialized.
But it’s actually the kindest advice I know. Because I don’t just want you to dream bigger, I want you to dream differently.
I want you to dream with God this time. Which is the opposite of asking God to come alongside your dreams and make them happen?
We were never meant to dream alone. When we do, we give our dreams wings way too small for the places God longs to take us.
In my book The Story of With, I describe it this way.
When we only consider the options we know are possible, we miss the higher options of God. Yet as a good Father, he invites his children into a future that surpasses human limitations or expectations. Where we see three possible options, God sees endless possibilities. But he will leave us with our three if we refuse to invite him into the process. Thankfully, he stands ready to share his higher options once we’re ready to release our best options.
Whatever we can accomplish purely in our own strength means those dreams were way too small. Pursue instead the dreams God whispers to you, the ones so big they can only be achieved together…with him.
If you’re ready to start dreaming those bigger dreams, a great place to start is with this simple yet profound question: Father, what are your dreams for me – the ones you’ve created me for and that we get to enter into together?
(This blog post originally appeared on NovelRocket.com, where Allen Arnold is a monthly contributor.)
Hear Allen Arnold present more about dreaming at Mount Hermon Writers Conference, March 23-26. Registration is open.
Allen Arnold is the author of The Story of With, an allegory about creativity that fuses together elements of identity, imagination, intimacy, and creative fellowship with God and fellow bohemians. He knows first-hand how common it is for writers to become disheartened, isolated, and overwhelmed—as well as the freedom that comes by making the “shift to with” into truer identity and calling. As the founding Fiction Publisher for Thomas Nelson, Allen oversaw the development of more than five hundred novels that spanned every genre. He now oversees content at Ransomed Heart, a ministry in the mountains of Colorado founded by John Eldredge, the New York Times best-selling author of Wild at Heart. His favorite way to spend the day is with his family—in whatever that day’s adventure may hold. He loves blue oceans, black coffee, hot salsa, and big ideas. Get to know Allen at withallen.com.