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We were singing a song I can’t recall ever singing in church before that day, Sunday school, vacation bible school, a funeral, a wedding, or any other traditional Christian religious gathering or setting. But I ha d heard the song before which is probably why my face lit up. It was a song in a musical book of lullabies that my youngest brother used to love as a kid. He’s 20 now.
This is My Father’s World is the song and on my morning walks the past two weeks I have found myself humming it, in awe of the beauty of nature before me, and constantly reminded that indeed this is God’s world, that this world and life is much much bigger than I.
In fact when we sang that song in church a few Sundays ago, all 75 or so of us, the pastor reminded us about God’s bigness, life’s bigness, and encouraged us to think big. I winced. Despite the other 74 or so people, it was like he was speaking directly to me. Like he was really saying, “Ahyana, stop thinking so small honey bunny. Think big. You used to do that quite well. Go back to that. Plus you’ve got a great big God that can help you with those great big ideas, dreams, even the big hurdles of hurt you want to get over.” At least in my mind that’s what Pastor Repsold was really saying.
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“Think Big” I wrote in big letters in my journal. I even wrote it on a post it note and stuck it over my desk. I needed to remind myself to think big. I had to remind myself to think big. As my new therapist and I discussed last week I was in a culture that was not only different than what I was used to but didn’t share the same values I shared, including thinking big. I could either leave the culture, or stick it out and try to change the culture. In any event we both agreed that if I wasn’t careful to set boundaries and to seek and participate in other activities, events, and subcultures that’s hard my values, beliefs, thoughts, and ideals, I was done for and would find myself depressed, miserable, and self sabotaging. I was a big thinker, believer, and doer in a culture that was anything but. If I didn’t stay vigilant I’d be influenced by my culture to think, be, and do small. While I do believe in starting small, taking things bit by bit, that’s progress. Progress is not the end product.
Dr. Brene Brown, a pretty well known researcher with a social work background, and author of books like The Gifts of Imperfection: Letting Go of Who We Think We Should Be and Embracing Who We Are and Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, reminds us that as Westerners have become awfully skilled at thinking small. Sure sure sure we have big houses, big salaries, big job titles, big butts and breast (natural or surgically enhanced), big Macs, have reality shows about big parties, etc. Yet we have a mentality that is often grounded in scarcity, in lack. That we won’t have enough, be enough, or do enough. We constantly go after more and buy into bigger being better. But if we were a society of big thinkers, we’d know that without bigger minds and hearts, the material things mean very little.We’d know that there is more than enough for everyone. There are more than enough job opportunities, food, clean water, learning opportunities, etc. Our big thinking and big hearts would translate into inclusivity and not exclusivity. We wouldn’t need to exclude because that comes from fear of lack and scarcity. Exclusivity thinks small. Inclusivity comes from thinking big; thinking there is enough for everyone and we just have to be creative in the ways in which things are accessible.
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I’ve also been reading this book that I bought years ago, started reading, but never finished. It’s called The 12 habits of Highly Creative Women. One of the things the author challenges readers to do is to think big a few minutes each day. To set aside time during the day and allow our minds to expand. I’ve been doing it and I can’t even tell you how surprisingly wonderful it’s been. Not to mention it’s much more consistent with who I am as a person and what I value in the communities and cultures to which I belong and encourages anything but a scarcity small thinking mentality.
I’m posing the same challenge to you this week. I challenge you to take a few minutes each day to think big. Think big about whatever you want. Think big about a new job, redecorating your studio apartment, starting your own business, redesigning your website or blog, writing a book, an art exhibit, a trip overseas, life post having your next child, or the first one you and your family adopt, going back to school, hosting family for the holidays, etc. Write down the thoughts. Keep track of those big ideas. Eventually big ideas become big, inclusive, more than enough, we live in a world that is much larger than we can be mislead to believe, ignorant to the small thinking nay saying afraid of changing cultures we sometimes find ourselves in, realities. Big thoughts beget big realities and big lives. Here’s to a Big week!
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