What kind of story am I living?
What dreams am I pursuing?
In what ways am I living beyond myself?
Those are questions that I wrestle through. I wrestle through them because I believe they hold valuable insight into who I am and who I am becoming. I also wrestle through them because each and every day I have little eyes watching me. Minds and hearts that are being shaped by the life I am living in front of them. Dreams and pursuits are forming that will hopefully outlive my own. Living a life of legacy and connection is not optional. It's happening whether I am aware of it or not. The only thing that remains is deciding what legacy, what story I am living.
|I have a dream that some day I can go to Africa. - Lydia|
Lydia brought home these words written on a cloud a couple weeks ago. Having traveled to Africa 4 times myself, I couldn't help but smile at her desire to follow in her mama's footsteps. Pursing a far off, crazy, life changing dream. I would like nothing better than to travel the world with her someday and be part of her adventures. I want to encourage her and Emma to dream, to live beyond themselves and to make a difference. I believe and want to teach them that our lives are part of a bigger story. I deeply desire that my girls begin to find the story God wants them to live. A story that is meant for them and them alone.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, "He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also put eternity in their hearts, but man cannot discover the work God has done from beginning to end." (HCSB) Eternity has been put into man's heart. If I really take time to consider that eternity is written on my children's hearts, then I need to nurture that. I need to make room for life beyond just the here and now. I must consider the possibility that God has plans for them that I cannot imagine or conceive of. And maybe, just maybe, that would be true for my own life.
Big picture living is exciting and terrifying all at the same time. Exciting because God has a great story, a great adventure for our family to live. Of course I know that there are parts of that story that will scare the pants right off of me. Being a control freak, learning to trust God as sovereign in reality rather than just thought, is terribly difficult and produces uncertainty. However, if I really want my family to grasp how wide, how long, how high and how deep God's love for us is, we must not be afraid to live big. Pursue big. Dream big.
Our family is certainly still a work in progress. Like all families we struggle to live a life that is outside of our own selfish wants and desires. We constantly need to refocus on our purpose to live to the glory of God and to love others. Self-centered living feels far more natural than self-less pursuits. That said, here are a few ways our family is seeking God in trying to live out a big picture life.
We mutually support each others dreams. For 2 weeks this summer, instead of being with my husband and kids, I was in Kenya. I had the opportunity to share Christ and encourage leaders. And while it was not easy for us to be apart from one another, there is no doubt that God had His hand in orchestrating this time.
We are crazy in love with and involved in our church. It is our desire that our family interacts with the people of this community and that together with our local church we would be able to change the spiritual landscape of Fairmont WV.
We desire to put our feet and our hands into action. The girls and I help prepare and serve meals at our local Union Mission. Seeing them learning to serve those less fortunate and do so with joy and enthusiasm is priceless. Developing a heart to serve and care for others is of great importance.
We encourage and serve one another. The first lessons in service should always come from learning to sever those you live with each day. Sure, we can go the extra mile and help someone in need, but can we do simple tasks for our family members without complaint or grumbling? What about the the things we do that will never receive public praise? Yep, those things count to. Learning to serve our very own family members is a huge part of a story well lived.
There are so many dreams I dream for my family. I want us to remain close and to have firm foundations in the love of God. I want us to live life to the fullest and live beyond ourselves. Connecting through a mutual understanding that, "It's not about me, and it's not about now." (Max Lucado)
What dreams do you have for your family? How can you pursue big picture living as a family?
We are THAT Family never ceases to inspire me to live beyond myself. Check out this post which show 100 ways for your family to make a difference.
And if you need some personal encouragement as to why you should pursue your own dreams, check out what Stacey has to say about it.