We live in a world that constantly tells us to “follow our dreams.” We all experience a point in our lives when we come to terms with these dreams, however big or small. You may be at a place in your life where you have not a clue about what you want the next 5, 10, or 20 years to look like. Or, you could be the person that has a detailed plan for every step of the rest of your life. Wherever you are, remember this: there’s a big difference between God-sized dreams and man-sized dreams.
God-Dreams vs. Man-Dreams
When I started college in 2010, I had a complete list of things I wanted to accomplish. Who to meet, what clubs to join, what classes to take, and what GPA to attain – these were all a part of a grand plan of mine. This type of initiative is usually celebrated and leads to a good measure of success. In my case, it did. But in the summer of 2011, everything changed when I gave my life to Christ. It was during that summer that God flipped my dreams from man-sized to God-sized.
It wasn’t easy. I had to lay down former plans, adjust my perspective, and step out of my comfort zone. But I can say this – surrendering my dreams to God produced more fruit than I could have ever imagined. Mary’s encounter with Gabriel in Luke 1:29-38 reminds me of what it means to have God-sized dreams.
Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”
The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. For the word of God will never fail.”
Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.
There’s much to learn from Mary’s response in this incredible moment. This encounter teaches us three important things about God-sized dreams.
God-sized dreams don’t originate with you.
A tell-tale sign of a God-sized dream is that it doesn’t come from you. God’s dreams impregnate us when we surrender to Him, just as the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary. God’s thoughts and ways are much higher than ours – which means a dream from Him will be much bigger than anything we can think of on our own.
God-sized dreams overshadow you.
Gabriel’s message confused Mary. How would a virgin give birth to a son? Gabriel assured her that the Holy Spirit would overshadow her, giving her supernatural ability to give birth. The same goes for us. The Holy Spirit overshadows us when we embrace God-sized dreams over our own. He gives us the grace to do things we never could, and none of it is about us! All of it points back to God’s glory working through us.
God-sized dreams prove the world wrong.
What the world names something is usually opposite in of what God names it. 1 Corinthians 1:27 says, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. Pay attention to a popular narrative that surrounded Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth: “People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month.” God-sized dreams have a way of going beyond the status-quo and proving the world wrong. We make room for miracles when we embrace God’s dreams instead of our own.
So wherever your dreams are today, remember that they’re no match for God’s. I encourage you to surrender all things to Him, trusting that He will do immeasurable more than you can imagine. When God impregnates you with His dreams, have Mary’s response:
“I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”