There is a path to discover and release your most beautiful and lasting ambitions into the world. ~ Bob Goff
Once upon a time, as kids or young adults, we had big dreams. Now life has become a maze of responsibilities, obligations, expectations, and assumptions about who we are and what we must do. We know there must be more to life than we are experiencing. Maybe we sense something deep inside stirring us occasionally before we are distracted by the next crisis or urgent diversion. We may even believe God put us where we are for a purpose… but that purpose seems out of reach. We still have dreams, but we are no longer in touch with them.
No matter where you are, know that it’s not too late for you to still dream big. This study is designed to help you realize your deepest longing and your purpose by peeling away the layers of distracting buildup that have prevented you from actualizing your dreams. Layers of messages — sometimes contradictory — from family and friends, teachers and pastors, coaches and bosses, neighbors and acquaintances about who you should be and how you should act.
God didn’t create you to be defined by these layers of messages from the other people in your life! He made you unique in His own image so that you could bring your dreams to life.
To get started, take a few minutes to introduce yourself to anyone you do not know in the group. Then jump into the theme of this session by discussing the following questions:
- One dream I’ve had since childhood is ___________________________________________________
- Sharing it right now with the group, I feel _______________________________________________ because ______________________________________ .
Invite someone to read aloud the following passage. Listen for new insights as you hear the verses being read and then discuss the questions that follow.
Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie — the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. From time to time an angel of the Lord would come down and stir up the waters. The first one into the pool after each such disturbance would be cured of whatever disease they had.
One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked (John 5:1-9).
Why do you think Jesus asked the blind man, “Do you want to get well,” before healing him? While it may seem obvious that the man is there beside the pool hoping for his sight to be restored, why did Jesus consider it important to ask the man what he wanted?
Have you ever seen someone pursuing a goal for a long time only to lose sight of what he or she really wanted? What were the circumstances?
Play the video segment for session one. As you watch, use the following outline to record any questions you have or points that stand out to you.
It’s important to go deeper if you want to explore the big dreams God has for you.
In order to dream big, you need clarity — and the way to see more clearly is to be authentic about who you are, where you are, and what you want.
Looking at your past mistakes, disappointments, and failures will often reveal vital clues about your life’s purpose.
Remembering that you are God’s beloved child is the key to your true identity.
Being real about where you are in life isn’t easy, but it’s important in order for you to know what you want so you can dream big.
Stop merely waving at your dreams and ambitions and choose to follow them.
If you want to uncover your dreams, you need to give Jesus free rein in your life and not just a few areas here and there.
Whatever moves you from thinking about what needs to be done to actually doing it often reveals something important about your lifelong ambitions.
Take a few minutes to discuss what you just watched and explore these concepts with your group.
- Jesus told the disciples to “push out a little deeper” after fishing all night but catching nothing. What does it look like for you to “push out a little deeper” to dream big? What typically prevents you from going deeper — with yourself and with others?
- What obstacles have blocked you from pursuing your dreams? How have you handled those barriers? How have those setbacks blurred the way that you now see your ambitions
- What in your past continues to hinder you from dreaming big in the present? What do these hindrances reveal about your dreams? About the way you’ve pursued them?
- When an acquaintance asks who you are, how do you usually respond? If you take out your titles, positions, or status at work (manager, sales rep, vice president), as well as your roles (spouse, parent, caretaker, sibling, friend, neighbor), what is left? How do you think of yourself apart from your responsibilities and relationships?
- What pops into your mind when you consider where you are in life right now? If you were someone else looking at your life and trying to be objective, how would you answer this question? Where are you in this season of life? In the group tonight?
- Do you agree that knowing who you are and where you are basically reveals what you want? Why or why not? What dreams do you want to pursue right now?
(For this activity, you will need a sheet of paper and a pen or pencil. Markers, colored pencils, crayons, and art supplies are optional but would be a great addition if they are available.)
If you want to get to a place you haven’t visited before, it’s always helpful to consult a map. Whether digital or hard copies, maps identify your starting location and provide you with directions to a destination. A simple “you are here” notation on a map at a theme part, a museum, or trailhead can provide a foundation for you to get your bearings. Maps also provide a visual illustration of what is between your starting point and where you want to end up. Maps help you choose the shortest routes or circumvent roadblocks and dead ends. Having a map can provide clarity about what you need in order to get where you are going.
With this in mind, grab a sheet of paper and take a few minutes to create a map with your big dreams as your destination. It can look like any version of a map you want—the goal is simply to draw, sketch, or doodle a map that indicates where you are currently and where you want to go over the course of the next few years. Include any speed bumps and detours, including the ones you already know as well as ones you anticipate. Remember there is no right or wrong way to do this and no extra points for being creative or artistic. Just have fun as you create this visual depiction of getting from where you are to where your big dreams come alive.
After you come up with your map, share with the group. Tell the other mapmakers something you notice about their maps and what it reveals about them, about their view of God, about their dreams, or about what they must overcome to reach their dreams. After everyone has had a turn, hang on to your map as a reference for future activities.
Close the meeting by praying together and asking God’s blessing on all that has been shared. Ask him to provide clarity as you go deeper and consider where you are and where you want to go. Let the Holy Spirit be the compass that ultimately helps you navigate your dream map.
Excerpted with permission from Dream Big Study Guide: Know What You Want, Why You Want It, and What You’re Going to Do About It by Bob Goff, copyright Bob Goff.
* * *
We’d love to hear your thoughts on Dream Big in the comments!