One of my favorite books when I was little was called, “Don’t Wash My Blanket.” It was a small book, square with thick cardboard pages, and it depicted a little boy and his very favorite blanket. The blanket was a cape, and a fort, and his very best friend, and more than anything, the little boy didn’t want his mom to take the blanket away. Never mind the fact that she was taking it to wash it, and would of course bring it back.
I love this story even now because it reminds me of one of the hardest things about being a Christian: Trusting God with something we love.
When I was in college, there was one thing I wanted for my life above anything else. I wanted to be a journalist. I thought about it constantly, remaking my five-year plan every few weeks just so I could think through it again. I wanted to be a network anchor on CNN or NBC or on the Today Show—I didn’t care which. I wanted to change the world with my stories and I couldn’t wait for my career to begin.
Five months before graduation, I gave up my dream completely.
I was sitting in a damp chapel in Costa Rica on the last day of my first mission trip. I’d experienced God that week—had come face to face with Him, had begun a relationship with Him, and it changed everything.
As I was sitting there in the glow of this transformative experience, I knew I wanted to give my life to God fully. I knew I wanted to know Him better, to go on an adventure with Him and find out what He was capable of doing with my life. But in order to dive in fully, I knew I had to let go of the things I’d been holding onto so tightly.
If I wanted God to do something amazing with my life I was going to need to give Him some room. I had to trust Him with my blanket.
So there in that chapel, I gave God my dream of being a journalist.
When I graduated from college I took a job in a church—taking myself out of the journalism ring for good. Then someone told me about a thing called the World Race, and I felt like that’s where God was leading me. When I got home, I felt God leading me to move to Georgia—a region of the country I’d never considered nor visited, and one I had no interest in calling home.
The road I walked with God took me all over the world, and through decisions I never thought I’d make, and experiences I never would have chosen on my own.
But with each decision, God gave me something I never would have had if I’d been following my own map.
Working at the church, I got to lead a small group of sorority women, girls who stole my heart and taught me the power of telling our stories.
In going on the World Race we were asked to keep a blog, and as I blogged my way around the globe I was knocked over by a passion I never knew existed within me. It was on that trip that I became a writer.
Then in moving to Georgia, I got to pursue my dreams of writing and speaking, and on the first day I met a guy named Carl—a coworker of mine who ended up being my husband.
There’s nothing we hold onto in our lives quite like our plans and our dreams. We grip them, keeping a constant eye on them, warding off anyone who’s going to change them or mess them up, even God. It’s hard, gut-wrenching even, to trust God with the things that matter to us most. Because in handing them over, there’s always the chance He’ll change them.
But when we trust God with our blankets, with our most prized dreams and plans, He does things with them we never could have done on our own.
He washes them and makes them better—transforms our blanket into a real life cape, or fort, or best friend. And we find ourselves living a life and a story that’s more thrilling, more beautiful, and more magical than anything we could have dreamt up on our own.
What would it look like to trust God with your dreams? What do you stand to lose, and even more importantly, what do you stand to gain?