(Below are Jessica's thoughts on Chapter 10 of The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson. Please know that what we all learn from a study is usually different. Therefore we ask, if you feel like it, please share in the comments section what you got out of the reading as well. We're sure you'll lift someone's spirit.)
In Chapter 10, Unexpected Opposition, our Dream Coach speaks to us at the point where we have broken through our Invisible Wall of Fear and have officially decided to take action and leave the Comfort Zone. We find ourselves at the Border and in order to continue we must confront and get past the Border Bullies, or those who oppose the pursuit of our Big Dream. This was one of the most striking and ironic parts of Ordinary's journey for me, the identity and purpose of the Border Bullies.
"Ordinary was speechless and bewildered. He'd heard a rumor about Border Bullies. But he supposed that if it were true, Bullies would be Nobodies he didn't know. He never imagined they'd be some of the Nobodies who knew him best! Now his Mother, Uncle and Best Friend all stood silently before him, blocking his view of the bridge to his Big Dream." (Bruce Wilkinson, page 100)
In church this week I heard the phrase "A prophet is never accepted in his hometown" in the sermon. Now I know why. Our Dream Coach, Bruce Wilkinson gives us several reasons why people who love us and want the best for us can be the most opposed to our greatest ambitions. Sometimes the people who know us can feel like they are losing something that helps them feel secure or have a negative view of success. Sometimes they are afraid that they will lose us (or who they see us as being in relationship to them).
It is hard to believe that anyone would object to the pursuit of what you feel is best or could ultimately be the greatest help to your special needs child. Some of the most convincing Border Bullies I have had to get past include doctors and specialists, educational experts, extended family members and even other mothers. In some cases I was able to get the "Bully" to see and help my cause, others I have had to choose to rise above and press on without them. On page 106, Bruce Wilkinson states "The single biggest reason Border Bullies stop most of us from pursuing our God-given Dream is our fear of man." I have always been a "people pleaser" and it has usually been with great distress that I go against the will of or risk upsetting anyone, let alone an "expert". (Notice the quotation marks there) Although it is still not easy for me, I am able to do it solely because I know that in the end, this is all I can live with. This has made me so much stronger as little by little I learn to trust God and follow where He leads me. Sometimes your greatest trials will yield your greatest blessings. We have to ultimately choose to please God over other people, which is not easy.
Fortunately, in addition to Border Bullies we will also encounter Border Buddies and Border Busters. Border Buddies are the people who love, stand by and support us no matter what. They help us to stay positive and encourage us on our way. Ordinary was able to convince his mother to change from being a Bully to a Buddy, which helped him to get across the Border. I have some very special friends and family members who I rely on when I am struggling to help keep things in perspective. These Border Buddies also include everyone who keeps us in prayer. Prayer Warriors are important in helping us to overcome obstacles as well as work in partnership with God. Border Busters take this a step further. They see your ability to reach your God-given Dream and take steps to help you pursue it. In Ordinary's parable, Champion was his Border Buster. I see my Border Busters as being not only those who actively support me in a concrete way, but also those who have gone before me. Other amazing autism moms who have "been there" and are willing to save me time,effort and even heartache by sharing their knowledge and wisdom. The amazing specialists who actually listen to us and our children and use that information to help us improve their lives. These people are knocking down walls that would keep us from our Big Dreams for our children and helping us to overcome obstacles. Border Busters are people whose help we treasure and never forget. People with amazing testimonies are also Border Busters that bolster our strength and enable us to get past the Borders and Bullies.
In the spirit of growth, it is also important to take the time to carefully listen to what the Border Bullies in our lives are saying. Although some may not have our best interests at heart, there are times when we can learn from constructive criticism. I like how our Dream Coach reminds us that this can be an opportunity to learn something important about ourselves. Sometimes we need to listen to them, and shouldn't proceed until we have convinced them that it is best to do so. Sometimes we just need to hear them out. Bruce Wilkinson advises us to "Listen carefully, asking God for discernment". (p. 110) Once we have discerned what our Dream Giver (God) is leading us to do, we can cross the Border from Familiar (our old life) and into our future.
Proverbs 29: 25 "Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe."
Psalm 119: 125 "I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes."
Psalm 27: 1 "The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?"
Proverbs 19: 20 "Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise."