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If you could do anything

If you’re feeling stuck in a logjam in life, then here’s a question that can help you get unstuck: “If you could do anything in life, what would it be?” We get locked down by reality, immobilized by the bleak prospects of limited resources and options.  A featureless horizon stretches out…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

If you’re feeling stuck in a logjam in life, then here’s a question that can help you get unstuck: “If you could do anything in life, what would it be?”

We get locked down by reality, immobilized by the bleak prospects of limited resources and options.  A featureless horizon stretches out before us and hope goes begging.  But a “what if” question can crack open our possibilities and activate faith.

Your dreams aren’t trash; they may seem as flimsy as gossamer to you, but they can come to life if you dare to believe in them.  Living a humdrum Groundhog Day existence can sap the verve and gusto right out of you.  You can forget the habit of dreaming.  Responsibilities, especially children and debt can weigh you down.  For some of us, depression comes calling. Serotonin levels fall. 

But what if you could do anything?  What if money were no object and you were unencumbered by responsibilities?  Would you write a book? Learn to fly?  Sail around the world? Start a business? Start a nonprofit?

We need to dream more.  We may be wearing the saddlebags of responsibilities, but we serve a God of miracles who delights in rewarding our faith.  He loves it when we trust him and especially when we trust him with something important like a dream he gave us.

We’re far too practical, asking the “glass-half-empty” question of “how?” when God wants us asking “why not?” He is the author of ideas – he drops them in our spirit all the time. 

Sitting here writing this blog I had the thought, “Start an organization that asks orphans for their dreams and then make them happen.  Call it, “Orphan Dreams.” I think it’s a God-thought.  I think God dreamed that thought and then handed it to me so maybe I could hand it to one of you reading this.  What could be more fun than helping an orphan’s dreams to come alive?  What if?

What if you could do anything?  It’s a beautiful, spirit-liberating proposition.  We need to unshackle our imaginations and our notion of how personal and powerful God is.  What is your dream? Speaking it out and sharing it is the first step in the process of bringing it to life. It’s time to start asking “what if?” more.

Comments (20)

  • That sounds great! We are just across the border in Tijuana and we have 100 kids whose parents are prostitutes/drug addicts. We have found the worst of the worst situations where children are being abused every way possible. Now they are in our home growing in the Lord, going to school and many times are tops in their classes, they love to help others and have built 6 houses for poor families around in TJ. THey have big dreams about being doctors, teachers, moms, dads, policemen and firemen. We are doing all this on faith that God loves these kids more than we could ever love them. And it works!! Because this is our dream to help these kids with so much potential!

    God bless you, Tyler and Connie

  • I want to be a part of the Orphan Dreams project, wow that makes my heart race. I would love to start a nonprofit that would directly benefit the Nsoko project and Chinese orphans. Not exactly sure how it would look but if anything was possible…. 🙂

  • most of what i wish i could do… i am doing. however, if i could anything, i think that i’d find a way to do what i’m doing while living more intentionally and compassionately amongst the poor.

  • Brilliant post and exactly where God has me right now. Been praying and pondering this all morning, in fact for the last few days. Still figuring out the answer.

  • Thanks for the reminder ….. need to add this to my blog (meaning my facebook notes that I use as a blog). Life has a way even in the mist of good things to keep us from dreaming those big God sent dreams….. enough for now…. going to go get lost in thinking about what my dreams are!

  • Andy and I are passionate about serving others who are suffering and thankfully God is allowing us to do that in our daily lives, but one of our dreams is to have the chance to go on a missions trip to Swaziland and work with a mobile medical team. We have done our part with applying and now we just wait and trust God with that dream and lay it at his feet. For some, a short-term trip might be a small thing, but for our family, it feels like a big dream and it is a step of faith. Satan tries to have a hay-day with our dreams, and makes us doubt and question “What if they don’t take your application or don’t want you, or what if we are not worthy enough to serve the people in Swaziland?” And then we remind ourselves that God was the one who brought us this dream and the visions and “his grace is sufficient for us, and power made perfect in our weakness”. So, we will wait and watch to see if God grants us this dream.
    I have another dream and that is to be able to totally support a whole ophanage or maybe a whole carepoint someday. God has not told me where, and of course the when is dependent on God, but also on our faithfulness. I am hoping and praying that as we are faithful and responsible financially, God would grant us this dream. It is tough for me to be transparent with my dreams, but agree with you Seth, that I need to dream more. So I am speaking it and sharing it, and hoping this could be a big step in the process of bringing these things to life. Mostly, I am just laying it at God’s feet, trusting him with these dreams.

  • Wendy (and the rest of you willing to share your dreams here) – thank you for being brave enough to trust us with something as precious to you as a dream. Together we can help make those dreams live. We can do that thru prayers and thru ideas. For example, if you get turned down for the mobile medical team, we can help you find another opportunity.

    God bless you!

  • I’d totally agree with Wendy. I’d like to see us be used as a funnel of resources for God’s work – where would be up to Him. One of my dreams isn’t for me, but my kids. I’d like to have all of my kids do big things for God, to all do something like the World Race or FYM program, to get hearts to serve others with their lives. Maybe if we can sponsor a whole orphanage, the kids could work there!

  • not going to lie … talks like these were what led me to applying for the IJM internship. I kept thinking back to the beaches of Thailand where you asked us what our dreams were …. the question alone has the power to mess you up a bit!

    i don’t know what will come of it, where I’ll end up, etc. all of the answers to the “how” questions are still wandering out there somewhere, but I know that I’m about to imbark upon a dream …… fighting for little girls in the sex industry.

    so … thanks for continuing to ask this question.

  • So, for those of us saddled with those huge responsibilities (in my case, six kids 10 thru 2 to shepherd) isn’t dreaming big dreams almost like telling God, “Yeah, you’ve entrusted me with a huge ministry to six kids, but I’d rather…..”

    I’ve often felt the pain of shattered dreams or what if’s. By the time there’s any margin in my life, I’ll probably be too old to accomplish the things I dreamed of.

  • Chris,

    I’ve been there, five kids 6 and under, no job. hedged my bets, paid the bills, worked hard, and still dreamed great things. after five years or so of killing my ego and my selfish ambition, God started to light a fire under my dream.

    What is your dream? I’ll get some folks praying for it for you if you’d like.

  • I think my heart would enjoy being an emt or paramedic, while still continuing to impact students with the Gospel, especially students not being reached by churches. Or – better yet – helping a church learn how to both disciple church kids (and their parents) and reach lost kids. I’m waiting for confirmation from God whether it’s Him or me dreaming of greener pastures and romanticizing paramedics. My brother reminded me a few days ago when I brought it up to him that paramedics don’t just help people with broken arms or heart attacks. They rescue drunks out of their vomit, and often get it on themselves. Hmmm… I can see God using me like that if He’s calling me to, but it’s a reality check of whether I’m truly ready to follow Him even into that area of God’s hurting people. I say I am, but will I be when reality hits? I’m wrestling with that, but I still dream…

  • I’m leaving for Orphanage Emmanuel Honduras on Sunday. Thanks to you, I’m going to ask them what their dreams are and see if I can help make that happen. I think it will be a good project for the rest of the team as well.

  • How in the world can this happen? I too have 6 children with my youngest being a sophomore in high school. God is giving me dreams – always has, but he has also given me the task of raising 6 kids and loving my wife. BUT I’M STILL DREAMING.

    The BIG DREAM is coming, but in the “inbetween time”, I go to all of my kids games, I disciple kids at school (I’m a high school teacher at a really good Christian school), I’ve lead 2 trips to the slums of Manila the past two summers. I’M STILL DREAMING.

    Now, I’m dreaming and in the process of developing a non-profit called Wipe Every Tear (Rev.21:4). I have an attorney helping me, I have a board, I have a vision to help wipe tears on this side of heaven, I’M STILL DREAMING.

    At age 50, it may seem like us “old-folks” are out to pasture. NO, I encourage all of you (and myself!) to not give up, and not lose hope. I WANT TO MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE.

    If anyone reads this, I am hoping that you would write my name down and the words “Wipe Every Tear” and ask the Holy Spirit to touch me and prepare me to make a HUGE difference.

    Let’s keep dreaming!

    Bless you all.


  • Christie (wr sept 07)

    The “why not” was exactly what convinced me to go on the world race…. and now 6 months since being back, feeling completely lost and trying to figure out where to go from here, I find myself coming back to the same question. Great Blog! Thanks for the encouragement!

  • GREAT stuff here, Seth. This is right where I have been ever since Breakthru in October when God spoke to me saying “you’re not dead, you’re sleeping!” Excellent reading on this very topic is the book “Wide Awake” by Erwin Raphael McManus. Thanks for jumpstarting my day!

  • Seth,

    Why do you have such perfect timing? This morning I was journaling and pouring out my heart’s dreams to the Lord and then I come across your powerful words from the Holy Spirit.

    My dream, plant seeds in the hearts and lives of a group of 20s age young people in Guatemala who are from all over the globe. A group who does not acknowledge Jesus as Lord but who are fulfilling what He calls the 2nd greatest commandment, to love your neighbor as yourself. My dream is to help them see the wisdom in getting the 1st greatest commandment, to know God is one and love him with every fiber of your mind, heart and soul. I’ve got one friend on the wagon with me, a crazy young 20 something missionary buddy, I guess that’s all you need to start, right?

    Thanks for writing words of encouragement and hope. Keep it up!

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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