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“Whatever you’re thinking, think bigger.” That’s what my mentor said to me the last time we spoke. As I shared my goals and aspirations with her, somehow she could still sense that I was selling myself short. Hey, don’t leave me out here by myself, you know you do it too.
Why do we do that? We prohibit ourselves from envisioning anything that departs the realm of “reasonable” and gets a little too close to impossible. Maybe this is our way of protecting ourselves in case our dreams are never realized but it is this type of thinking that holds us back.
In the book of Zechariah, the prophet speaks of visions that were shown to him after the Israelites returned home from Babylon, where they had been held captive for a number of years (70, to be exact). They were to take on the not-so-small task of rebuilding the temple and while some progress had been made, they saw no reason to celebrate. But God did.
Zechariah 4:10 NLT: “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…”
Progress is progress so don’t discount the work you put in to get where you are today. Don’t discount the work you’re doing even now. But don’t stop there, either. Big dreams require big effort.
I purposely skipped over a few verses so let’s go back.
Verses 6-7: “Then he said to me, ‘This is what the Lord says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Nothing, not even a mighty mountain, will stand in Zerubbabel’s way; it will become a level plain before him! And when Zerubbabel sets the final stone of the Temple in place, the people will shout: ‘May God bless it! May God bless it!’”
Zerrubabel was a descendant of King David and was the governor of Judah during this time. He was the one that had been given the order to rebuild the temple. Having that context, God’s words in these verses can be translated as follows: “Not by your own efforts but by My spirit and with My help, you will accomplish what I have sent you to accomplish. And any obstacle that stands in the way of you doing so will be utterly destroyed.” In other words, God never expected Zerubbabel to rebuild the temple on his own. He always expected to be part of the process.
God is not like people you might have worked for in the past – He doesn’t give you a job to do and then leave you without instruction on how to complete it. That would be setting you up to fail. As His children, when He gives us an assignment, we are acting on His behalf. So why would He want to see us do poorly? He doesn’t. When we succeed, He is glorified.
Whatever He has placed on your heart to do, do it. And whatever thoughts and visions you’ve got going in your mind, know that that is your starting point but I need you to plan to finish bigger. Expect to do far more. Expect to scale and to have a greater impact. Don’t think about your own limitations because when God is involved, your limitations have no effect on the final result. They are totally irrelevant. God is exalted in our weaknesses because they make room for His strengths to come into play.
Stop being afraid to have goals that small-minded individuals might deem ridiculous. Your dreams should be so big that people’s eyes widen with disbelief when you talk about them. They should look at you like you’ve gone mad. If no one has looked at you that way here lately, go back to the drawing board.
It’s on you to start but once you do, you can expect Him to step in and help you finish. Starting truly is the toughest part. You’re starting from zero and you have no momentum. All you see is this big boulder of a task before you – this mountain that you need to summit. And you’ve no clue where to begin. Only you do. God has already told you where to begin but you’re so focused on and intimidated by the next 10 steps that you’re too afraid to take the first one. To that, I will say this: when you finally do, God will rejoice because now He has an opportunity to get involved.
So go ahead and start small but I ask that you would anticipate an outcome that is astoundingly weightier than anything you can conjure up in that imagination of yours.
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