Teach catechumens to dream big—by example

RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) image posted by TeamRCIAOnce you master the goal-setting and limit-busting process we explored in the previous posts (here, here, and here), you will be ready to do something really big. How big? As big as you can imagine. If you can dream it up, you can set a goal for getting it.

What would make you great?

We often tend to think of practical goals—goals that make sense and that are actually doable. I think, though, if we are going to be forming catechumens, we have to shake off this self-limiting attitude. If you think about it, it’s actually a form of idolatry. Idolatry is worship of an image or idea that is not God. When we adore the practical, we are turning our face away from the unlimited possibility of the Divine. Nelson Mandela is the personification of someone who refused to settle for the practical. In his inauguration speech (quoting Marianne Williamson), he said, “Your playing small does not serve the world. Who are you not to be great?”

So what would make you great? What is it you really want? What is your biggest limit? What is holding you back from everything God is calling you to be? If someone gave you unlimited resources (money, time, people, space), what is it you would do? Write that down. And then write some more, following the process we have been discussing.

Don’t know what you want?

But what if you don’t know what your most profound dream is? What if you don’t really know what you want?

That happened to me. When I was in college, I thought I wanted to be a psychologist. At the time, I was working part-time at the campus Newman Center to pay the bills. I loved the work. I loved it much more than school and much more than my psychology classes. But back then, lay ministry was not a career. The only people who did professional ministry were priests and nuns. I had a very practical plan. I would be a psychologist, so I could help people, and maybe volunteer some time at a parish.

I didn’t even think of it as settling for something practical. I just saw that path as the only one available to me. In her book, Write It Down, Make It Happen, Henriette Anne Klauser outlines a process for discovering what it is you truly want.

  1. First, get up 15 minutes early and just start writing. Write about anything. Write about hating to get up early if you want. Just write for 15 minutes. Do this faithfully, everyday, for two weeks.
  2. After two weeks is up, go back over everything you wrote and look for patterns. Don’t re-read anything before your two weeks are up.

Her point is that our conscious mind often buries what we truly want. However, just because our desire is buried doesn’t make it go away. By writing while we are still half-asleep, Klauser says we start to unearth our unconscious—where our true desires are secreted away.

Write down your dream

Spend some time these next two weeks praying about what it is God is calling you to. What is the biggest, scariest, most audacious dream you have? Find it, and write it down. And don’t dream too small.


See also these related articles:

  1. What are your limits?
  2. Lesson from a VW Beetle: Turn your limits into opportunities
  3. A 5-step, dreams-to-reality process for RCIA teams
  4. Teach catechumens to dream big—by example
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