“Live life large.” Isn’t that an inspiring statement, a call to go beyond the ordinary and enter into the fullness of life that we were created for? When I reflect on those words spoken by Karen Wilson at Flourish last month, excitement stirs.
You see, I’m a dreamer. I’m already on this journey of seeking to live a meaningful life. When I finish my time on earth, I want to know that I’ve fulfilled my God-given purpose. I want to have enriched other people’s lives.
Many dreams reside in my heart. Some are grand, some are small. Some are just a tiny seed, waiting for an appointed time to burst forth. Some are broad – I want to be a nurturer of people, particularly women. Others are specific – I’m longing to complete the book I’ve been working on for five years.
Those dreams are like a fire inside me, constantly pulsing and urging me to press on and see them fulfilled. Momentum grows as I take each step forward and with it, expectancy. Maybe this is possible. Only one thing threatens to quench the flame – the setback – that unexpected occurrence that brings my passionate pursuit to a standstill.
Setbacks come in many forms – weariness, sickness, family crises, the highs and lows of life in all its unpredictability. Discouragements come too, both from my own self-appraisal and from the words and actions of others. Those disheartening thoughts and words hit hard, telling me it’s impossible to reach my goal, that I just don’t have what it takes.
When setbacks come, I seem to be lifetimes away from doing anything close to large. The dreams appear out-of-reach, unachievable. I feel very, very small; fully aware of my own inadequacies and the impossibility of the task.
Perhaps, though, that’s where I’m supposed to be.
Here’s what I’m realising: If it’s God Who has made each of us unique and planted His dreams in our hearts, surely we’re supposed to pursue them hand in hand with Him. Living life large requires the support of someone ‘larger’ than ourselves. Someone greater, who never tires, never doubts and never gives up. With Him all things really are possible. All through history there are stories of ordinary people who did extraordinary things by living with their trust firmly in God: Wilberforce, Captain James Cook, Mother Teresa and numerous others. Normal people, frail and limited, who stepped out with their confidence in God’s ability to do what they couldn’t. I can learn much from their examples.
I’m also discovering that setbacks can be the making of us, depending on how we respond to them. God uses difficulties to provide internal preparation for the external fulfilment of our dreams. Though I often view them as an unnecessary hindrance, they have the potential to help me get closer to where I want to be. Like a chisel in the hand of a master craftsman, those apparent setbacks chip away at my self-centredness, impatience and pride. They show me what’s really in my heart and help to clarify my direction. Perhaps living life large is less about achievement and more about transformation. It’s not purely about what goals we accomplish. It’s also about who we become on the way.
If we want to live life large, we must expect setbacks. But perhaps we don’t need to see those challenges as obstacles. Maybe, just maybe, setbacks aren’t setting us back at all. Maybe, in the crucial areas of the heart, they’re moving us forward.
by Sue Brown
Sue is our newest contributor to the YourFlourish blog and we’re so chuffed to have her on board. Please join us in celebrating her obvious gift for expressing truths through the written word by sharing her posts with your friends. Here’s a little more about Sue: