withOn SUMMER SHOW UP Day 1 (August 1st), I read to you the story about a Nobody named Ordinary who lived in the Land of Familiar and had a BIG DREAM (Dream Giver-pages 13-18).
(You can listen to it here. You may have to friend me on Facebook first)
Who did you identify with in the story?
- The father
- The best friend
Are you a Nobody named Ordinary with a Big DREAM? Do you remember when you first noticed that Dream? Was there something significant about that moment (like Ordinary's feather) that causes you to remember your Dream?
Or did you identify with Father somehow- you had a dream, but left it on the window sill so long that it turned to dust?
Or maybe you are BEST FRIEND? Someone else has shared their dream with you and you weren't sure what to do with it. So you encouraged them to keep quiet. "You don't want the other Nobodies to think you are a fool."
I have always connected with Ordinary in the past- a Nobody named Ordinary with a Big Dream. But yesterday, I found myself wondering a lot about Father. Maybe it is because I am older now and my little Ordinary(s) are pursuing Big Dreams of their own. But I also wonder sometimes if I waited too long to pursue some of mine. It's harder when you are older and I have less energy to 'get after it.'
But I do remember, at the young age of 13, sensing strongly that God was CALLING me to a life of full time ministry. I shared it with my camp counselor, I wrote it in my diary. I didn't know what I would do, but I knew it would involve working with people in ministry somehow.
What I knew at the time as a preacher's kid, was the role of a pastor's wife. I loved what my mom got to do and I knew I could be good at that. But also, as a pastor's family, I was exposed to many people who were in full time ministry. Some served as missionaries in foreign countries- Japan, Africa, South America to name a few. But there were also people who served here in the states to inner city groups, or Native Americans. Or there were evangelists, or teachers or musicians (my favorite) who were serving full time in these capacities.
For most of my life, full time ministry is what I have been doing. Working in the local church, serving, leading worship, teaching at a Christian school, working as a administrative assistant at a Christian psychiatric clinic, even traveling with an music extension team for the Bible College I graduated from.
Honestly, out of the nearly 40 years of my adult life that I have served prior to opening my coaching practice, only 5 of those years were in paid positions. The rest of the time, I volunteered my services. I don't recommend that. What you do is valuable? I think sometimes we as Christians think ministry is what we should do for free. And sometimes it is. But I'm getting off track now. We will leave that discussion for another time.
I knew as a kid of 13 what I know now. I want to be walk alongside people as they embrace who they are and learn to know who God is in the process.
But notice I started this post with a DREAM, but used the word CALLING when I spoke of what I do. Yet I got into this discussion because I've been challenged to consider the VISION I have for my life.
That led me to ponder:
Are all three words - Dream, Vision & Calling - talking about the same thing?
What is the difference between a Dream, Vision & Calling?
So I went online to look up the definitions of the words. Here are some of what I found.
- a series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person's mind.
"I had a recurrent dream about falling from great heights"
- contemplate the possibility of doing something or that something might be the case.
"I dream of making the world a better place"
- a strong urge toward a particular way of life or career; a vocation.
"those who have a special calling to minister to others' needs."
- the faculty or state of being able to see.
"she had 20/20 vision"
- the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom.
"the organization lived out its vision and direction"
- a mental image of what the future will or could be like.
"a vision of retirement"
- a vivid mental image, especially a fanciful one of the future; a daydream
"he had visions of becoming the Elton John of his time"
- A series of thoughts or sensations
- A contemplative possibility
- Able to see
- Able to think and plan for the future
- A mental image
- A daydream
- A strong urge
Are these all part of a description of this thing that we often sense God inviting us?
In some ways they are different.
A DREAM is a seed for a calling- contains bits and pieces of what we were made for
The CALLING is the thing we must do because of how we are designed. God Creator made me and you, His beloved creatures a certain way with various skills, gifts, passions. Not to mention stories where those things are shaped. We can't NOT do this.
The VISION is we see our CALLING lived out. - we begin to see what it is we are called to and how we will live that out.
Another word we could use is our PURPOSE.
Which is different from a Plan…
Oh boy! I could dive into this word study a whole lot more because I love words and I love digging deep into them. I know some of you do to!
But here's what I am noticing.
We may not all have a 'feather' experience.
Or we may not have that very vivid sense of God's CALLING on our life like I did when I was 13.
Or feel like we have a VISION.
But I wonder- is God really that interested in which word he is using (Granted, I know He is THE WORD. Words are important to him.) But He made us all so very different. I think sometimes He chooses to use the word that is going to connect with our heart if we are paying attention. He allows us to hear the word that we need to move us forward.
So maybe it's a feather or a dream.
Maybe it is a calling that is very real and you remember every detail of that moment.
Or maybe it's a vision that you can see so clearly. You can visualize what you are to do next in living color.
Too often we get tangled up in trying in taking our best next steps saying, "I don't know if this is a dream- or It is my calling or if God is giving me a vision for something ahead."
Honey, if God is talking - LISTEN! Am I Right?
Let's not get caught up in the uncertainty of whether it is a dream, calling or vision.
God is inviting you to something. That is what we need to pay attention to.
So what are you hearing? What is God inviting you to?
How do you feel about what I said? This is a huge topic. I'd love to hear what you think about DREAMS, CALLING and VISION. I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below.
NOTE: More to come on this topic: Check out Kathy Burrus on Facebook @greenhopecoach to join in on the discussion.