Releasing Our Dreams; Finding God’s Adventure

Years ago, when I worked for Governor Huckabee, oh the dreams that I had!

Having worked for the States of Arkansas and Texas, ladies, I was determined. I’d work my way up through the political ranks, and one day, be a Senator. And to tell the truth, when I get put out with political goings-on, I momentarily entertain those dreams. But seriously. While I absolutely want to effect change within my sphere and my reach, I am truly not interested in grasping after those things.

The reality is this: our dreams are sometimes given to us by God, but sometimes (and I think this is true in the modern age), we take on manmade dreams of career and infuse them with the ideas of meaning and significance, as if the doings of our life are what will bring joy, as if our title and duties are what give us value.

The main thing I wanted to share with you is this: letting go, opening my hands, *releasing* the grip of my tightly-clutched dreams has brought great joy and led to adventures greater than I could have imagined. Back when I was meeting Senator Blanche Lincoln, and picturing my future self in the Senate chamber, I could not have remotely imagined the life that God has given us.

I have found that God’s multi-faceted daily adventures are so much more delightful than our one-dimensional dreams.


Doug and I have been through good times and hard, lived abroad for 6 years, are raising six beautiful and fascinating children together, and already feel like we’ve lived enough for a few lifetimes. But I also need to be honest with you: while I’ve seen the world, I’ve also seen a WHOLE lot of diaper changes, loads of laundry, and boiling pots of pasta.

But that’s the beauty of it: God’s adventures don’t look like we’ve been led to believe about dreams and adventure.

In the movies and on television, dreams and adventure looks like passion, dynamic action, self-promotion, finding “who we really are,” and unending heart-racing moments. In reality, the heart-at-rest JOY of making love to the same steady man, the sloppy kisses of a chubby toddler, working through the annoyances of personalities that rub one another wrongly, the simple delight of living life transparently in God’s grace alongside whatever family God gives… these are the things that provide joys, highs, and depths that go beyond the scripted and happy-endings of the screen.

Hear me: I am NOT trying to use my situation as prescriptive toward others. But I do want to share with you the things that I’ve so clearly seen in our life. By releasing our manmade dreams, we’ve found God’s adventure (even through times of hardship and deep sorrow) to be much greater and more fulfilling than anything we could have written or imagined.

What about you?

Have you clutched dreams and found it discouraging? Have you released them and found joy? Do old dreams still nip at your heels? Are you chasing them now?

How are you sussing out God’s adventure for your life?

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Jess Connell

Jesus-follower, Happy wife, Mom of 8 neat people. Former world-traveler, now settled in Washington. Host of Mom On Purpose podcast ( I write and wrangle kids.

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5 Responses

  1. Elspeth says:

    I had a lot of dreams too. Some of my own, many imposed by my culture and background. But God had other plans for me also.

    I am very grateful for the detours.

    God is good.

  2. Kondwani says:

    Thanks Jess. You write so well – I love the fact you talk about the nitty-gritty tough times as well as the bigger picture. And that you cherish each moment. I think that is the key. Whatever dreams/ ideals/ desires we have, they are always placed in the future (as indeed are many of the more negative things – fears, anxieties, dread). Even the good things, the desires to serve, honour and glorify God, to raise a family of missionaries (or whatever our Christian ‘ambitions’ and dreams for them may be). All are things that are not yet in existence, may never be, and can distract us from the task in hand, the God-given task for today. Jesus spoke wisely, ‘Do not worry about tomorrow’. Today is the day God has given, today is the day to embrace, today is the only day that really matters. I learnt that lesson best of all when my firstborn child died at 15 weeks of age with no clear cause. God used her greatly, but not at all as I had dreamed. I realised that in this world, sorrow or joy, hope or disappointment, ‘success’ or ‘failure’ count for little but what does matter is trusting that God can and will use every part of your life in ways beyond what you could ask or imagine.

    Keep up the encouraging writings. Thanks for sharing your life – so many different elements of it – for His glory.


    • Jess Connell says:

      I had no idea about your daughter. I’m so sorry.

      What you said is so true:
      ” God used her greatly, but not at all as I had dreamed. ”

      I feel like that is such a hard truth. So many things that we love & delight in are used by God in different ways than we could have ever anticipated.

      Thank you so much for your encouragement. It is timely for my heart & life, today.

  1. November 11, 2015

    […] education and careers and opportunities and giftings and callings and dreams and side-hustles, the overarching, general truth most of us still know is this: children are […]

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