Just before the New Year rolled around, Jesse and I spent some time on holidays in Queensland – bliss! While we were there we woke up each morning and spent an hour or so walking along the beach and talking about 2016 and our dreams for 2017. Jesse asked me a series of questions about the year that had just been and encouraged me to dream bigger for our future. One of the questions he surprised me with was, “Do you think we risked enough in 2016?” I thought for a moment and felt God lead me to think about our finances. At times during 2016, it felt like more money was going out than coming in. We fell pregnant, and suddenly I found myself anxious about how we would survive on one wage. There were times where God asked us to stretch and give much more than our tithe, which we did so faithfully. All of these moments were moments where I was really feeling the ‘stretch’ of faith and the ‘sting’ of taking financial risks. Yet, as 2016 came to a close, I found that we were living incredibly comfortably – in fact, in abundance. God had blessed us with new jobs, pay increases, great deals on two new cars, multiple holidays and a savings account which, contrary to popular culture, boasted that we millennials can have our smashed avocado on sourdough and a house deposit to boot. We’d seen musicals, gone out to dinner, caught blockbuster movies, shopped for ourselves and for friends and eaten smorgasbords of food with people we loved. Suddenly I found myself feeling as though the only ‘stretch’ I had truly known in 2016 was the stretch of my jeans. And so, I turned to Jesse and said, “No, we didn’t risk enough at all”. When Jesse asked me this question, I was surprised for two reasons. One, because my husband is a steady man. Wise and faithful. He loves adventure, but not foolishness and I doubt he’d ever risk it all on a seemingly promising financial venture. Instead, he values consistency and hard work in building our future, one day in the office at a time. Two, because why is it necessary to take risks in order to build a successful future? Well, because of who we are! We are called to live a BIG life! 1 Corinthians 2:9 says “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard and what no human mind has conceived – these things God has prepared for those who love him.” A life knowing that we are God’s children calls us to live bigger than what makes sense. We live with wisdom, yes, but my testimony tells me that I can never out-risk or out-give God. My reasoning simply cannot conjure up risks big enough to not be covered by my Father’s abundant blessing. Where I am generous, He is more generous – every time, without fail. It is the same with my dreams: with each year, I am increasingly surprised by my life. God has chosen not to bring to fruition so many of my desires and I am so glad because disappointment has built character and His blessing has lead me to a life that is so much bigger than my measly self-centred dreams anyway. And so, I’ve sat and penned the vision I have for my life this year because God encourages us to dream, to write down our desires and to live and lead with a vision for our future (Habakkuk 1:1). I’ve made sure that there is risk involved in the pursuit of my dreams for 2017 because God asks his children to live with faith (Hebrews 10:38). And now, in obedience, I’ll spend my year following his lead, hoping that He’ll fulfill every dream, and none of them at the same time. Because what I want more than my dreams for the next year, is to finish 2017 with a 1 Corinthians 2:9 testimony. I am willing to ‘risk’ all I want for the fruit of what God wants for me.