When I worked as a leader in direct sales, we had an exercise called “dream boarding.” Dream boards held visual pictures of our dreams and goals on poster boards, along with dates we wanted to achieve the dreams by. I encouraged my team to not just have a photo of each dream they wanted, but to make a plan to get there… to break the goal or dream down by the necessary action items we needed to take to get there. I even conducted a company-wide training event for all consultants on visioning, explaining the three parts of the brain that were engaged when dream boarding was invoked.
As far as dream board creation goes, I could dream like nobody’s business. I called it visioning, because in my eyes dreaming was passive, while visioning was active, hard work. It was the things you did to make the dream come to life. The great thing about each goal and dream, is that as they were whittled down one by one, a bigger, better dream was put in its place.
Make Senior Consultant? Check! Next goal: Director!
Make Director? Check! Next goal: Develop my team members and help them meet their goals! Check, check, aaaaand check! Next goal? You get the idea.
On one hand, it was amazing to see my list of goals and dreams whittled down one by one, as I pushed myself to do the next hard thing.
God-dreaming, however, was… different.
I’ve had this list of God-sized dreams forever. I’d done the work. Put in the hours. Put in the years. One by one, I watched God bring the harvest I’d desired for so long and answer my prayers to achieve each goal.
Published magazine articles? Check!
Published book? Check!
God-Sized Dreamer? Check!
Women’s event speaker? Check!
Each dream and goal that God allowed me to achieve was so humbling – that He would care about even the fine details of the passions I’d held so close to my heart for long. At the same time, as this list of dreams I’d held so close for so long dwindled down to just a few dreams left unchecked, I couldn’t bring myself to put new things on the list.
Instead of replacing the achieved dreams with new ones as I did so easily in direct sales, I found myself looking at a crossed out list with no idea what to do next. Because sales goals were easy to achieve, and the next step in the plan was easy to see, I could pick them off one by one like the petals of a daisy.
But these God-sized dreams were lifelong. They were precious. I considered myself blessed that God would bring the harvest after the working season, but didn’t dare ask Him for more harvest seasons, because He’d already given me more than I’d even imagined. And if there were no more harvests… if there were no more dreams on my list, I’d count myself blessed. At the same time, I worried if my “usefulness” was complete, as if God would somehow decide that the talents He’d given me had an expiration date.
I had no idea what to add to the list — if anything — because what He’d already given me was of epic proportions. Asking for more seemed selfish. Self-serving. Self-promoting. Ungrateful. I even had a friend ask me why I wasn’t promoting my Facebook page.
“Because I don’t want to promote myself. If He wants to grow it, He will,” I said, believing on 1 Corinthians 3:7.
“But if the topics you cover on your page bring light to others, isn’t that promoting Him?”
So I looked at harvest cycles. I needed to know what to do now that my list was almost complete. I needed to know what farmers do after the harvest.
You see, farmers expect harvest. Not just one harvest. If God gives them the skills and desire to be a farmer, they’d need to, well… farm routinely. It’d need to be a cycle, not a one-time gig. And to have a successful harvest cycle, they spend the time after the last harvest, preparing for the next harvest. They don’t just run right into planting with no preparation.
They analyze their crops. Identify what worked well. Identify what didn’t. They clean up their machines. Perform needed maintenance. Prep the fields for upcoming planting. They know that it’ll be awhile before the next harvest, that there’ll be plenty of hard work before the harvest, and that the better they prepare for the harvest, the better that harvest will be.
I think sometimes as dreamers, when God allows us the gift of harvest, we forget that it’s not really our harvest. Oh, we receive the blessing of the harvest. But the results we have using the gifts, talents, and abilities He’s provided are a yield for Him! I looked at the harvest as God’s gift to me. In a sense, it absolutely was. At the same time, our harvest is a love offering we can lay at His feet! But I don’t want to bring Him just one season’s worth of harvest. I want season after season, to lay crowns of obedience and fruitful harvest at His feet.
So farm on, dreamer. If you’ve seen your harvest and are wondering what on earth to plant next, remember the cycle the farmer follows. Before the next planting season, analyze what worked and what didn’t, perform needed maintenance and prep the fields by spending time in the Word. When your fields are ready, He’ll tell you exactly what to plant and when.
Cheering for you,
Shared by: Karen Sipps