Feeling so small, but dreaming big.

Feeling so small, but dreaming big.

Doing what matters can bring big (scary) dreams.

One of my favorite pastimes when sitting on the beach is to watch how young children and babies react to seeing and feeling the ocean for the first time in their lives. Oh how I wish I had a video of this milestone, with my own children. That’s one of the blessings of this time with our smart phones and digital cameras. Today, everything can be captured, and it will be incredible for this generation to look back on, and truly re-live their childhood. 

Beach gazing - Leslie Brown

The different reactions are entertaining, but also revealing. And they generally can be categorized as follows:

  • This looks like a big wet monster, and I’m not going near it. (Usually accompanied by screaming and crying).
  • Look mommy, the biggest bathtub ever - let’s do this. (All in… no fear. uh-oh, watch this one, closely, as they charge ahead).
  • Ooooh… sand? water? I’m not liking the feel of this. (And since this is not my thing… let’s go right on back under that umbrella where comfort is king).
  • Hmmm… I’m kind of liking the feel of this. (And if you’ll stay real close by, maybe I’ll get used to this).
Stay with me, mom - Leslie Brown

There are so many times when I look in the mirror at 57 and still see the small insecure kid with hideous glasses that resembled a double magnifying glass looking back at me. Because that person still is a part of me. I've just been through many years of body advancement and the appearance has changed, but I'm still her inside. And it brings tears. Because there are things we think inside that we perceive about ourselves when we are young, and we spend the rest of our lives trying to adjust for those thoughts and feelings. 

Smallness is all in our self-perception.

Kids on the beach - Leslie Brown
Waves and Children - Leslie Brown

Think about the tiny child who approaches the ocean with no trepidation... No fear, no feeling small and afraid. They are simply all in, having no idea of the risk and the danger. They don't feel small, or intimidated - but ready and raring to go. 

We still have those childlike reactions to situations and goals in our lives. The insecurity overshadows the opportunity to move into great (unknown) adventure. We question our ability, we compare ourselves to others, and like the 3 other reactions to the ocean, we approach with trepidation and fear, only to have the waves bring the fun and reward to those who dare. 

Dare to be bold when you're feeling small.

Big statement. And tough to do when what's ahead is massive, and it reveals how small, and insignificant - almost invisible - we are. The self-talk goes something like, "well if I don't venture out, no one will notice or care anyway, so I'll just keep on dreaming about it, and keep it to myself. I'll watch from the sidelines of life while others conquer their oceans".

And we are right. No one will even notice.

Palm Pink Clouds - Leslie Brown

But we know.
And the risk of not taking a bold step serves only to feed our insecurity, and inability to do what matters. We shrink back, into the shadows, not fulfilling what we are called to. And it weighs us down. The what if game plays relentlessly in our head, and yet we feel restrained (mentally and emotionally) from even taking a first step. 

The first step is what matters.

Not the outcome. But that we ventured into the dream and took the step, usually with no inkling of what lies ahead in that vast unknown ocean of possibility. I can vouch for the fact that the waves will try to knock us down and pull us under, but how refreshing and exhilarating it is when we get back up and know that we actually did something to conquer how small and insecure it makes us feel? 

For me, the mental adjustment (my entire life) to feelings of insignificance when I want to progress in anything is to internalize the quote "nothing ventured, nothing gained". I'm just more afraid of staying small and insecure, and in order to grow up and grow into any dream means I must at least make the effort and take the first step, realizing I will likely face waves of doubt and resistance that make we feel wobbly. But it's the pressing through, even without great success, that makes me feel the nudge of accomplishment in "I did it". I wasn't great, not even good at it, but I did it. And somehow it gives us a bit of resilience and determination for the next step. We don't have to know the path ahead - we only have to take the next step - and do it. Just the doing gives enough motivation to take another step. 

But this is the one thing most of us forget.

Golden Waves - Leslie Brown

Regardless of how small, fearful, or insignificant we feel, God is the parent holding us, and equipping us to handle that encounter with the big ocean. And even if we swallow a little salt water and get knocked down by a wave, He lifts us back up and gives us confidence for the next one. 

We are equipped, to do whatever it is, that is before us. If you have no confidence in yourself... Good.

Trust in how he made you.

And, in His plan to accomplish His purpose for your life - in just that way he made you (and only you), to do, and to be. 

Lately, I've ventured into a big vast ocean that makes me feel so very small and insignificant - like every single day! But I choose, sometimes moment by moment, to trust in where He leads me, and to take that step, with no expectations of the outcome. By this I mean that we have to trust the process - even of trial and error, because that is how we experience His faithfulness in our weakness. It's always (and forever) about the opportunity to trust that He is right there with us in this vast ocean of purpose, problems, process and possibilities. Our Father equips (He made you, to do this), He empowers (taking the step turns the switch on), He establishes (it’s His plan), He enables (when we take action). What we learn from is not the accomplishment, or the success, or the result.

It’s the process, y’all. 

Moon and Clouds - Leslie Brown

The process is our encounter with true growth and real results. The process adjusts our mental and emotional ability to endure and overcome - and see big dreams become reality. The process is where we learn even more of His faithfulness to us, and our faith gets stronger, with each step we take. Give up the expectations, and give in to taking that step… of faith and fear. That ocean in front of you is worth the experience.

Lean into the wave.
He's got this. And He's got you.

Make some waves...