I’m not sure if this happens to anyone else, but sometimes on Pinterest, the pins I don’t repin (they’re like visual posts) will stay with me for days as if to taunt me saying “Haha you didn’t repin me so I’m going to send the guilt and shame gremlins on you until you find me again haha!” I guess my guilty conscious takes the form of flying monkeys. Anyway, there’s a pin that has stuck with me – not because I think I’m a bad person for not pinning it in the first place, but because it speaks to me. I get inspired by the written word anyway, so this is not a stretch. But the quote in this pin pings a nerve in me:
All of the organizations, universities, colleges, ventures, start-ups, or nonprofits we (that includes you I’m pretty sure) work for started with 1 person who had 1 idea. This person had the insane courage to risk failure and shared their vulnerability and passion with a friend, a colleague, a mentor, a pastor, a family member, a significant other. I’m not sure how ‘business’ works, but I’m pretty sure there are relational, financial, and communal jumps and risks that are required of making someone’s dream come true. This idea of ‘dreaming’ of one person and its importance (good or bad) just jumps off of the screen when I read this quote.
So this got me thinking. If we are to take this quote as true (I’m not sure who Tony Gaskins is, but I think this soundbite is pretty good) then each one of “your” dreams – you, the one person unique child of God you are – is worth the risk discovering and cultivating. It’s not that it’s “my way or the highway,” and our individual dreams are in competition with each other. It’s not like you have to work on one dream, and not the other – I think dreams can be cultivated side-by-side. But I think what struck me from this quote was this tiny voice saying “Are you talking to me? Are my dreams worth discovering and [dare I say] realizing?” To use one of my favorite emoticons from high school: 0.0 (two big eyes looking like deer in the headlights)
When I think of my biggest, biggest dreams, it’s like my soul is on a trampoline, jumping with unconditional joy, on the cusp of jumping the highest I’ve ever been. I jump out of bed in the morning when I know I’m about to get the opportunity and honor to help someone realize that they are worth it. When I help someone understand that the extraordinary lives in the ordinary, that God works through our lives and our very selves as we serve our neighbor with our gifts, passions, imperfections, strengths and weaknesses. Sure, this might be “vocation,” but that’s a huge word to unpack. When I boil it down, this concept looks like 3 spheres of our lives that overlap each other in different ways:
These spheres don’t intersect with each other, they overlap: Intersecting to me is like a freight train that is suddenly smashed and intersecting with a car, and that’s not how I understand these spheres. “Service” is a value on its own, not something that magically stops to intersect with “life.” These spheres stand on their own and have integrity, but they also shine interesting light on each other when they overlap. We see life differently when we see the unique colors that are produced when we shine light through two or three of these spheres. Life, service, and faith are connected to each other, and when these values overlap with each other I know I find meaning and purpose in my life.
That’s a dream for me. To help people understand that they are lovable, worthy, complex, soaked in God working through them, and they are a vehicle for meaningful service in, to, and alongside the neighbor.
This is a starting point for me, and hopefully it’s something that might resonate with you too when thinking about your vocation! If you could build your dream, your dream organization or effort, what would it look like?