For several years I have wanted to do a follow-up mission trip to Nepal, but this time with my wife, Robin. She didn’t want to take the necessary three weeks away from our son while he was still in high school and it took her another year to adjust to the challenge of being away from her job for so long. But this October she accompanied me on this grand adventure to Nepal. It wasn’t easy for her. There was a lot of planning for the trip and it involved a lot of sacrifices for her. She had a couple of months of crunch time before the trip as she did triple duty of preparing for the trip, doing her normal job, and also preparing volunteers to cover everything she normally does in her children and adult education ministries at our church. On the trip she sacrificed comfort (Did we really spend the afternoon in the SUV with seven adults and seven kids?), her priorities (I mean, it was a mission trip for us to be there serving others), and control (the schedule and plan changed so often, it was hard to see it really as a plan). The trip pushed her way out of her comfort zone and yet she hung in there with grace and resiliency. When she was upset, she didn’t play the victim card. (“I never should have let you talk me into this trip!” Nope. She didn’t say it.) She celebrated when I announced one day, “Playing with the kids today at the orphanage made me feel totally alive. Like this is what I was made for.”
So I challenge you to do for your spouse this year what Robin did for me. No. Not go to Nepal. The opportunity is for you to discover and support your partner’s Big Dream for 2016. Here are the steps:
1. Probe your partner’s heart for the Big Dream. Ask questions. Listen attentively. Ask your partner to dream big (I know, this can get scary!).
2. Plan ahead. Figure out what the dream will cost and how you’ll come up with the money. Do your research on what the possibilities and opportunities are. Show your partner you are serious about making the Dream a reality.
3. Prepare to sacrifice. One of your dreams may need to wait a while. You may need to do this Dream your partner’s way and give up your usual way of doing things. Summon up the courage to forego your own comfort in living into your partner’s dream.
4. Play not the victim. (I liked how these were all starting with “P”!) When your partner’s dream gets rough on you, make your good attitude about it part of the gift.
5. Participate in your partner’s joy. As the saying goes, “Joy shared is joy multiplied.”
There once was a missionary who was preparing to return to his own country after many years of service in a village by the sea. As the day of his departure neared he noticed that a dear friend in the village, Joseph, was not around. At the goodbye celebration Joseph presented the missionary with a gorgeous sea shell. The missionary exclaimed, “Oh Joseph! These shells can only be found in a bay many days walk from here!” Joseph replied, “Long walk, part of the gift.” Make a long walk on behalf of your partner’s dreams.