Why Your Biggest Dream Isn’t a Good Idea

by | Aug 23, 2017 | Blog

When I was only twelve, I had a burning desire to be a missionary in Africa. The idea came upon me in a flash while I was sitting in church one day. I admit, my mind was definitely somewhere else when I felt myself suddenly filled with the Holy Spirit. I felt God in every molecule of my body, and I saw myself in Africa, doing everything in my power to help those who had nothing. In that moment I felt I was meant to be a missionary. I was absolutely convinced that was what God wanted me to do.

When I was only twelve, I had a burning desire to be a missionary in Africa. The idea came upon me in a flash while I was sitting in church one day. I admit, my mind was definitely somewhere else when I felt myself suddenly filled with the Holy Spirit. I felt God in every molecule of my body, and I saw myself in Africa, doing everything in my power to help those who had nothing. In that moment I felt I was meant to be a missionary. I was absolutely convinced that was what God wanted me to do.

In the years since then I’ve learned that God doesn’t lay out a plan for anyone’s life in one fell swoop. I describe it as a puzzle that He reveals one piece at a time. The picture isn’t complete until the final piece is in place. But it starts with that first piece, which usually comes in one of three forms:

  • as an inspiring call like the one I felt that day in church,
  • as a burning desire (not all desires come from God, so each must be filtered through the Bible to confirm that it is), or
  • as a response to saying, “God, I want to do something really big with my life. Tell me what that is.”

But God isn’t going to show you the whole picture, or you would be overwhelmed by what He thinks you’re capable of. No, He gives you that first piece of the puzzle and tells you to start making a plan.

It’s up to you to put forth the faith and the action to make sense of that puzzle piece. For me, that meant working like a dog through my teenage years to come up with enough money to go on mission trips. Let me tell you, that was a frustrating experience, because I knew there had to be a better way to fund those trips.

At that point, being a missionary had become my entire identity. Everyone that knew me would tell you I was all about being a missionary. But as young as I was, I wanted to do more. I didn’t want to help one orphan, I wanted to save them all. I wanted to build orphanages all over Africa. I wanted to build a missionary training center, and I wanted to do it all NOW. I was extremely frustrated by the fact that I didn’t have it all figured out already.

I was frustrated by the difficulty of getting wealthy people to donate. I was tired of sending out so many sponsorship letters and getting so few checks in the mail. It bothered me that it took a picture of a sick or dying baby to get people to write a check at all. l even began to resent the wealthy for not jumping at the chance to do more. Why didn’t everyone share my passion?

So when I found myself in the back of an auditorium listening to a guest speaker at the leadership and survival training school I was attending, I was not in a very receptive mood. His name was Gene Strite, a multi-millionaire real estate developer, and I couldn’t see how anything he had to say would help me be a better missionary.

Gene got my attention when he asked. “Who in this room has been on a mission trip?” With each question, I grew more excited, because my answer to each was “Yes! Me!”

“Who has had to raise money  for that mission trip?”

“Who did not like that process?”

And finally, “Did you know that if you buy a house and rent it out for $300 more than your mortgage payment, you get to keep the difference?”

He really had me at that point. I could see the money adding up, $300 at a time. But then he said, “Do that ten times, ten houses, and you can live in Africa and never have to send out another sponsorship letter.”

That idea really hit home, and it stayed with me. I spent that summer in Costa Rica, where God gave me another piece of the puzzle … another clue as to His plan for my life.

In Costa Rica, I met a little girl, about eight or nine years old. She couldn’t speak because her father had sexually abused her and damaged her vocal chords in the process. I was appalled when I learned that sexual abuse of children was common and socially acceptable in that area.

When I looked into that little girl’s eyes, I saw what hopelessness looks like.  And I saw with absolute clarity what I was supposed to accomplish. I was only seventeen, with no resources or skills, but I knew in my
heart that my mission was to make that kind of abuse socially unacceptable. That’s the only way to stop it—by making the social acceptable socially unacceptable.

Right then I understood why I had been where I was, when I was. God gave me that next piece of the puzzle. He told me it takes earthly knowledge as well as Heavenly wisdom to do his work. “Go learn everything you can.”

You see, God can’t tell you how to do something unless you learn the language. I couldn’t begin to act on my ideas until I learned the language of real estate. That would give me the mental fortitude to deal with the people and obstacles that stood between me and getting to the next level. Only then would I be given the next piece of God’s puzzle. 

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4 Comments

  1. Henriette

    Love this Britnie.. really would love to get mentored by you! Thank you for being such a inspiration To so many of us!

    Regards henriette (from south Africa)

    Reply
    • Britnie

      Thank YOU for the encouragement. Keep in touch, Henriette 🙂

      Reply
  2. T

    Been there so many times! Thanks for the encouragement. I’m in the thick of this right now in church planting. Calling is so misunderstood in our culture. It really takes that grit, that passion and perseverance. I’m learning that big time this season. Looking forward to more posts!

    Reply
    • Britnie

      It truly is misunderstood. We have to know nothing is given to us, we have to work for the things we want. Sounds like you’re getting it! Keep pursuing truth 🙂

      Reply

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