Dreams Laid Down

Around two years ago, I was in the midst of starting up an online magazine with a few of my good friends. The publication was birthed in humble beginnings and was nourished by big dreams (along with the skills of women with far more collective talent than I had on my own). As per usual for me, casting the vision was my specialty...details, not so much. This usually presents long-term commitment issues, and almost always triggers a premature ending to whatever it is I have started. The beginning stage of anything gives me a high, and the thought of being able to develop a platform to not only use my own love of communicating, but also those of my dear friends was what I thought would be a crazy, wild ride, perfectly in-line with the dreams I had dreamed. 

While I/we had pure intentions of bringing something of unpretentious value to the vast and oft-times superficial table that is the Internet, I would also joke with a level of hope about going viral and getting on to the Today Show or going "on tour". The day in which I was invited to speak at two different sessions at a local chain restaurant who was starting a well-publicized "Mom's Out For Breakfast" type of thing was the day I thought, "Buckle up, Barbie...so begins this "wild ride!! Time to whiten these coffee stained teeth!"'. For two days I showed up at said establishment for said speaking engagements and sat with the crickets {save for one dear friend who was passing by and remembered I was "starring" in that morning's session and came in to find me sitting in a corner chewing on my breakfast enchilada with Crest-strip whitened teeth to an audience of empty chairs} forced me to reckon with my motivations and expectations--not just for the magazine, but for the dreams I dreamed.

I grew up loving to communicate in any way. With the foundation of a family who believed in me and encouraged my gifts (few though they be), I grew up believing that, with God's help, I could and even should, dream BIG. I felt destined for something and equipped with an over-achieving imagination, over time I constructed an idea of what God's dreams for me would look like. And believe you me, even at their most humble beginnings, they never involved empty seats at a fast food establishment. 


The online magazine made with women I love closed shop due to the lack of a leader who had little more than vision. While I feel badly for strapping ten women along for a very short ride fueled by a vision only big enough to last a tank or two, I do not consider it a failure. Selfishly, it was a very teachable moment in my life for learning my liabilities and limitations...and something else, a subtle, underlying sliver of miscommunication I had been hinging my dreams on. It was this:

God is not desiring to be invited as a back-pocket pal down the path of fulfilling the dreams I have for myself and it's not because He's a control freak who wants to call the shots just because He can. The Creator who made me and knows me and my giftings better than I, would much prefer to wait for me to stop plotting out a course based off the map of my own preconceived notions. He waits. For dreams laid down and a cross picked up. Wherever, however, whomever and in front of or behind whatever.

What makes this basic call of the Christ-follower even more challenging than it is on it's own, is the culture in which we live. There is now an opportunity for anyone to have their own mini-megaphone. Leadership conferences are on every corner and no one is shy about sharing they are at one. "Successful" Christian women look darling as they speak at big conferences, go on big shows and sign up to release big books. The platforms from which many leaders speak seem tall and exclusive, only accessible with ladders made with rungs of viral posts, broad Twitter fan bases and brokered book deals. It all feels a bit...much. And it all sounds very...loud.

I want to be very, very careful here not to imply a blanket of negative thought towards those whose genuine God-loving voices are being heard and herded to by a Love-starved culture. We NEED these voices, and I am deeply grateful for them. I suspect those who know they've been Divinely led to a role of very visible leadership constantly contemplate giving it all up for fear it's becoming more show then substance. In all truth, I do not envy them...not anymore.

For I am increasingly being made aware the goal of adventuring with Jesus is the pursuit of His best dreams for me. I can "share" all the leadership meme's in all the world, I could struggle to write the book and promote it until every acquaintance of mine can't wait for it to just be released already to stop hearing about it, I could work to get my name out on the speaking circuit and make people laugh with my words in a microphone with the whitest teeth to boot....but if I haven't taken up the cross of my self-centered dreams and self-directed life, it is all a show of the most meaningless sort.

With dreams laid down, I simply allow myself to be who I was created to be, open myself up to being loved and daily will to offer "anything"* to a God who has His hand out in a genuine invite for a great adventure that does not end when my time on Earth here does. The possibilities are endless and for each of us, the path looks completely different. I believe I need to prepare myself to be constantly surprised, because I already have been since redirected my thoughts.

I only need to be willing, with surrendered dreams and high expectations of God's creativity in using the better one's He's got up His sleeve for me. All of this, for an audience of One. Crest White-Strips not required.


"Often we fall into the trap of making up our own minds about how we want to serve Christ based on human reasoning and personal preferences. Trying to force our own ministries is such a frustrating waste of time. We end up taking on the pained, fretful demeanor of a woman trying her hardest to birth a very big baby.
I spent the first half of my adult life trying my hardest to make something--anything--work for God. After all, he had called me! Nothing worked...until I gave up in exhaustion and failure and let him work. We can't force fruit. We can only abide in the vine. If we're going to produce much fruit, we've got to be open to the life, agenda and timing of the vine."
-Beth Moore, The Beloved Disciple.

“Great people do not do great things; God does great things through surrendered people.” 
― Jennie AllenRestless: Because You Were Made for More


*I read the book "Anything" by Jennie Allen this past summer while in Maine. I resisted reading it, mostly because I was not ready to face the conviction it would bring. Still, I read it while resisting opening my whole heart to it's gently but powerfully delivered question. Until one night under the most brilliant blanket of stars, I broke down under the weight of ignoring a needed surrender and I handed over the things most precious to me over to the Creator who considers me most precious to Him. Trajectory changed. 



Wow! You spoke to all of us, in such a heartfelt way, and sincere manner. Today, I thank God for the beautiful person He is growing you up to be, the insights that He opens your eyes to, and the way God continues to use Jenny Allen through her books and her studies. Thanks so much for sharing
Angel Ludwig said…
Soooo good! Now I want to come to your coffee cottage and have a heart to heart.
Wendy said…
Jeane, I once had big dreams of writing a book, being asked to speak about my journey, but alas, life just simply has not allowed it. The demands of the journey have allowed me little time to write about. So I learned, or am learning to rest in the here and now, to make myself available to love those that God puts in my path and to be his hands and feet. This I can do. When He is ready for me to write that book, HE will make a way. Keep doing what you are doing. Your words ALWAYS encourage me.
Anna Urquhart said…
Living this exact thing right now. Thank you for your transparency, Jeane. Beautiful.
Just wanted to say "Yup. Me, too." Thanks for once more baring your soul.
debi said…
Once again I read your blog and I am filled with messages from the Lord. Thankful you are sensitive to his voice in your life, it makes a difference in ours!

Gonna have to share this one sweets!!
Loved it.


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