I can’t be so far away from my wasteland
I’ll never know when I might ambulance”
Living in the land of the familiar. A state that the songwriter describes as his wasteland.
Walking to the edge, ready to step through to something big; something unknown. The the thing he dreams of doing. The vision that there is more than what his life is.
Then, turning back in fear. Returning to his wasteland.
The familiar, even comfortable wasteland of his existing life.
“I have all the love I could ever ache
and I leave almost with you
the art of almost”
Then, over and over. The walk to the edge. The fence if you will. Repeated over and over until finally, it becomes an art.
A walk to the edge, never intending to cross Point-of-No-Return…The Art of Almost.
Bruce Wilkinson published the Prayer of Jabez in 2000. Three years later he wrote a book called The Dream Giver, Following your God-Given Destiny. The Dream Giver is an allegory whose central character is named Ordinary.
One day Ordinary wakes up and decides to leave his Comfort Zone and walks toward his Dream. The further he walks the more and more uncomfortable he becomes.
“Ordinary’s mood quickly went from edgy to anxious. His steps began to slow. And he began to have big doubts about his Big Dream. What had he been thinking? He didn’t have enough talent or skill to succeed at his Dream. he was clearly Unable to accomplish Great Things. What if he failed right in front of other Nobodies?
Worse, even if he could do the Dream, he was clearly Unworthy. Any Nobody could see he didn’t deserve to live his Dream. he was just Ordinary, after all. Maybe the Dream Giver had meant to give the Dream to some other Nobody more noble than him?
By now, each step was harder to take than the last. His anxiety grew into fear. Then up ahead he saw a sign. It read:
Leaving the Comfort Zone of Familiar.
Now Ordinary felt sheer terror. Sweat poured off his forehead. he could hardly breathe. He could hardly think.
Then, just as he came to the sign, Ordinary hit an visible Wall of Fear.
He stopped, unable to take one more step.
He dropped his suitcase and sat on it.
Should he turn around? he wondered. Or should he try to find a way to go on?
Ordinary stayed where he was. He watched an unfamiliar bug crawl across the toe of his shoe. Strange birds flew by overhead.
After awhile he stood and looked longingly toward the Unknown. Somewhere out there was his Big Dream.
But getting from here to there seemed way too hard.
Then he looked longingly back toward Familiar. He fondly remembered all its comforts–his Usual Job, his Best Friend, his recliner, his box. There was something wonderful about nothing happening.
Ordinary picked up his suitcase and decided to take one step in that direction, just to see what it felt like.
It felt better. Right away, his breathing came easier.
So he took another step–just to see what that step would feel like.
It felt even better.
He went on. With every step back toward the middle of Familiar, Ordinary grew more comfortable. But he quickly noticed he was also growing sad again. And he knew why: With each step he took , he was leaving his Big Dream farther behind.
Then he heard the Dream Giver again.
Why are you going back?he asked.
Ordinary stopped. “Because I’m afraid! Leaving Familiar feels too scary and too risky,” he said.
Yes it does.
“But if I was supposed to do this Big Dream,” he exclaimed, “then I’m sure I wouldn’t feel so afraid!”
Yes, you would, said the Dream Giver. Every Nobody does. You can go on. Take Courage Ordinary.
Ordinary saw his choice now. He could either keep his comfort or his Dream…
Last summer I had a chance to interview a lady I have come to admire. She is not conventional by most peoples standards. And I have to admit that she confounded me at times the first two years I knew her. But it just goes to show you can’t judge a book by its cover.
As we talked I was amazed at her wisdom of scripture; impressed with the focus of what she believes to be her call in life. To do what she can to help abused and neglected kids.
As we sat under the shade of a tree I asked Irma, “who are some of the people who inspired you?”
She thought for a bit before telling me about the classes she attended while Bruce Wilkinson was teaching at Multnomah School of the Bible (Now Multnomah University) in Portland, Oregon.
I listened with interest as she told me about The Dream Giver and how Mr. Wilkinson had inspired her and others, long before he wrote the book, to pursue their dream.
I have to admit, I’ve never read the Prayer of Jabez. But such was Irma’s admiration for Bruce Wilkinson that I decided to pick up The Dream Giver. I’m glad I did.
If you want inspiration and encouragement I would highly recommend The Dream Giver. It certainly beats the alternative, the Art of Almost.
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