It’s after lunch and I’m in a high school algebra class. Chin propped on hand, trying to stay awake, I’m staring at a poster stapled to the center of a square bulletin board. There is a photograph of a soaring eagle in the middle of the poster framed on all sides by a thick, black border. Printed at the top are two words in bold: “Dream Big.” Below the picture is a quote from businessman/motivational speaker Zig Ziglar, “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” If only that applied to solving complex algebraic equations.
More than twenty years later, I consider the validity of Zig’s argument. How far can attitude get you? How far can dreaming big take you? And when is dreaming not enough?
When I think of someone with big dreams who followed through with those dreams, I think of my friend Staci. Years ago, Staci literally had a dream. One night, she dreamt of a woman—possibly in Africa—carrying a child, struggling to survive. Staci woke with a feeling of urgency and concern for the child and mother. The dream shook her and wouldn’t let go. It pierced her in a way that was almost painful. She felt called to act.
Then, like déjà vu, Staci’s dream materialized before her when she learned of a plan by a missionary supported by our church to build an orphanage in Tanzania. This orphanage would be called Neema House.
At this point, many people would give money to the orphanage. Some might just think, “Huh? That was kind of like my dream. Weird,” and stop right there. But Staci dreams big and she decided to act.
She called together like-minded friends and family and cleared a space on her dining room table. Staci laid out plans for a Thanksgiving Day race to benefit the orphanage.
There were hurdles to jump—permits from the city, t-shirt designs, port-a-potty placement—but she and her team continued. She had never planned a race before, but this would not deter her. Her dreams were bigger than the list of reasons it looked too difficult or even impossible.
By 8:00 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning 2010, more than 1,600 runners had registered to compete in Borodash. The directors of Neema House would be shocked by the donation they would receive before Christmas that year.
In the years since that first race, Borodash has grown and flourished and continues to bless the children living at the orphanage. The success of the race has exceeded anything even Staci could’ve imagined. She is quick to call the success a result of divine intervention.
Last year, Staci traveled all the way to Tanzania to visit the Neema House. She finally saw the culmination of her dream fully realized. She rocked the babies who now had a home. She played with the children who were safe and loved. She learned what happens when you dream big and act. And what happens when God blesses your dreams.