It’s a new year … a new day … a second chance to get this thing called life right … a do over … a mulligan … a clean slate.
There is something refreshing about starting over. There is something redemptive about forgetting past mistakes and letting go. The opportunity to try again is appealing and hard to resist.
So, as I start this year over, I want to make a change. There is something that I want to do differently. Something I would like to get right … or at least try.
I want to start dreaming big – really big. For some reason, my dreams have become so small. They are easy to control and manage. There is no risk involved because then I might get hurt, embarrassed or God forbid I might … fail.
And so I live my life safe. I dream expected dreams. Ones that most often do not require a big God.
About a year and a half ago, I received a special Mother’s Day gift. Well, actually it was a gift I gave to myself. I had been dreaming for some time about a dog. But not just any dog. You see my kids already had two dogs and I didn’t need another dog. I don’t really even consider myself a dog person. What I wanted was a small dog … a lapdog … a teacup. You know, Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde … that kind of dog.
So I did my research (or so I thought) and found a breeder nearby who had “teacup Chihuahuas” for sale. I should have known when I met her in a grocery store parking lot … I should have seen red flags. But, my excitement for a new puppy clouded my judgment. I didn’t ask the right questions, I just looked into that puppy’s eyes and knew I had to have him.
I dreamed of dressing him up in cute clothes and carrying him everywhere with me in cute little bags. After all, the breeder told me he was only going to weigh about 4 pounds.
My naïve dream lasted all of a week until our first visit to the vet where I was informed that my “teacup” would eventually weigh at least 9 pounds. I about fell out of my chair. I had been scammed and in a big way.
I was immediately filled with humiliation for even writing the word “teacup” on the vet forms. I am sure the doctor and staff got a kick out of me that day.
For the next few days I contemplated giving the puppy back, but we had already bonded. It was too late. And my boys would have never forgiven me. So, he stayed.
And each week he grew and grew. To date he is at least 10 pounds … probably more, but I stopped counting. The cute outfits don’t’ fit and I look ridiculous trying to carry him in any kind of bag.
One day my husband said to me, “You thought you got a teacup Chihuahua, but I think you got a Big Gulp!”
And there it was … my teacup dream had turned into a Big Gulp. I had dreamed a small dream, but had been given a big one.
So, this not so little dog has become a permanent fixture in our family. In a weird way it has brought us closer. We are all unified in our love for him. In fact, I am surprised every day at how much I love that dog. But, if I had known I was signing up for 10 pounds, I would have passed. In fact, I would have ran.
Now, I know we are just talking about a dog … but isn’t that what we should really want out of life? For God to take our little dreams and make them better? To help us dream bigger dreams for our lives, for our families, for our communities and for the world? To still be surprised by God’s overwhelming love for us?
In just days I am leaving for Africa. I am headed there with a few friends who will help us tell the story of rescue and hope in Uganda. I have a dream for this trip … I want to help rescue abandoned children. I want to help build rescue homes to give them a safe place to live. I want to give them hope.
But perhaps my dream is too small. Perhaps I need to dream bigger. Maybe my dream is just a teacup … and it needs to be a Big Gulp!
My prayer for this journey to Africa and for the entire New Year is this:
“God, take my dreams and make them yours. Take my small dreams, and make them big. Use my dreams to bring help and hope to a hurting world. And, surprise me everyday with your power and love. Amen”