Growing up, I was always told to dream big.
Some days that meant being a successful entrepreneur. Other days, I aspired to be an award-winning actress. When I won first place at science fair, I was determined to find the cure for cancer.
My mother always nurtured my dreams and reminded me nothing is impossible with God. As I progressed through high school and college, I gained the tools necessary to reach my dreams. Friends called me Wonder Woman because they “knew” I would change the world. When I found success climbing the corporate latter, I believed they might actually be right.
After I got married and became a mother, however, the only thing I ever changed was diapers. My dreams didn’t line up with reality, and the only wonder in my life was about whether or not I still had value. I knew raising our children was the most important job in the world, so I never regretted staying home. But my sense of self-worth was non-existent.
One day I sat on the front step watching my three-year-old daughter play joyfully in our dandelion-covered yard. She knelt down, picked a blossom, and ran over to me. “It’s a flower,” she said, thrusting the yellow bud of a weed into my face. “I love you, Mommy.”
I saw weeds, but my daughter saw flowers. I saw disappointments, but God saw dreams. I was a missionary in the land of motherhood, and I needed to appreciate the season God had given me. I realized that although I might not be able to change the world through my achievements, I could change it through my actions, by loving and serving others, just like Jesus.
When Jesus walked the earth, He focused on relationships. He changed the world one heart at a time, and He still does today.
As my life transitioned from toddlers to teenagers, I enlarged my sphere of influence by forming relationships with elderly neighbors, forgotten friends, and unappreciated individuals. I found that a person’s true value lies in who she is, not in what she does. Freedom replaced frustration when I stopped thinking about how I was going to change the world and focused on how Jesus already did.
It took a long time to realize my discontentment was the result of an idol in my heart: the idol of the extraordinary—my mistaken belief that everything worthwhile had to be big. It was the small things in life—praying with a friend, inviting the grocery store clerk to church, or reading the Bible with my daughter—that made the biggest difference in my life.
The world’s oceans are the result of a thousand rivers and streams, and the mighty Himalayas are nothing more than one small stone upon another. We are the sum total of our experiences, and the most valuable experiences are relational.
Certainly, nothing is wrong with dreaming big, but dreaming small helps us remember Who is in charge of the big plan and the incredible opportunity we have to be a part of it. I may not be Wonder Woman, but I am a woman walking in wonder when I see how God allows me to influence the world for Him one life at a time.
When I surrendered my idol of the extraordinary, I was able to appreciate God’s hand in the small and the not-so-small moments of my life. Seeking God became more important than seeking goals. That’s what Jesus meant when he said, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33 NIV). When we seek God first, He uses ordinary things in extraordinary ways. How is He using you?
By Glenda Durano
Used by Permission