Authors: Sadie Robertson
But there’s more to this story. Before my parents considered adoption, they really wanted another biological child. Over time, adoption became a dream for them, just as much as having another biological child was. We definitely believe adoption was God’s dream for our family, but God was not finished with our family after Will became a Robertson.
Just a few weeks after Will joined our family, my mom found out she was pregnant. Several months later, my little sister, Bella, was born. Biologically, it would be rare to have two siblings as close in age as Will and Bella are, but that was what God wanted for our family. My mom knew what she wanted, but she cared more about what God wanted. When she gave her dream to Him, He blessed her with more than she ever dreamed of.
Sometimes, we want to hold on to our dreams, but my mom didn’t do that. We think we can make them come true if we just work hard enough. Sometimes I wonder if people get a little nervous about giving God their dreams because they are afraid He will not do what they want or that He might forget about them because He is so busy keeping the whole world on track. That’s just not true!
I learned from my mom that God really does care about all the things that matter to us. He cares about the really big things and about the little things. Our dreams are important to Him!
God also wants us to trust Him. He is the only one who can see everything about our lives from beginning to end, and He knows just the right time to make our dreams come true and the right time to
hold off so He can prepare us for what He has in store. If we will trust Him—even trust Him with our dreams—He will do things so amazing it will blow our minds. Sometimes, we may give one dream to Him and He will make even more dreams come true. When I need to be reminded of that, all I have to do is look at Will and Bella!
YOU CAN DREAM BIG
Sometimes when I talk to people about dreaming big or about God’s blessings, their first response is something like: “Of course you can say that. You’re a Robertson. You’re on TV. You come from one of the most famous families in America.” Those things are true, but being on TV is not what made me dream big. I was dreaming big long before
. When I was just five years old, my mom made a video of me standing on our coffee table talking about how much I loved God and how I wanted everyone to know about Him. Here’s what I said:
We are going to praise Him all our lives. To go up there [pointing to heaven] and we want to stay ’til Jesus comes, and if He comes tomorrow, that’s great! We will all go, “Hip hip hooray!”
Hey, we know Jesus and God are up there watching us right now, and they have a huge smile on . . . We love Him, hip hip hooray! Jesus came to earth ’cause He wanted to be nice, and He died for us, for all of us. It doesn’t matter if you are a policeman or a jail person. God loves you. Sometimes we make mistakes, but when you make mistakes, that doesn’t mean you
are not going up there [pointing to heaven again]. You can still go up there; we know you are worshipping the Lord and loving Him.
And if I was famous, I would still love the Lord. I would not just remember about myself. I would love the Lord.
When you make a mistake you can still go up there ’cause you know if you are worshipping the Lord. We all know that Jesus is in our hearts. He’s watching us; he’s watching us. He has a big smile on, and it’s a huge one and the devil is frowning and that’s great! And everybody will be happy. So let’s give it up for God!
! But of course I had no idea that years later God would use a television show to make my dream of telling others about Him come true. A television show isn’t God’s plan for everyone, but whatever He uses is right for each person. His plans fit them as well as television fits me. And let’s be real: a television show is hard work and sometimes it is really stressful. I often have to be at work at seven o’clock in the morning and work until very late at night. And I’m a high school student. When I miss school in order to film, I have to make up my work, and I have to do the same amount of homework as everyone else in my class. I also play sports, so I have to go to practice and show up for games. Like other people my age, I love hanging out with my friends, but I can’t always do that because sometimes I have to work or travel because of the show.
So being on TV is not all glamorous; parts of it are just plain hard work. It can complicate my schoolwork and my social activities just as much as having a job at the mall complicates those things for other people. Sometimes after basketball practice, I am
really tired and I just want to grab something to eat without being recognized. But then someone does recognize me, takes a picture of me looking not my best after practice, and posts it on the Internet. (I am thinking,
Would you want
picture on the Internet after you have been practicing basketball for two hours and you are exhausted? Me neither!
) Being a TV star gives me some opportunities that others do not have, but it does not make me better than anyone else, and it does not make my dreams more likely to come true. All of us need to dream big, pray big, work hard, and trust God to bring our dreams to pass.
I mentioned at the beginning of this chapter that for as long as I can remember, I prayed and dreamed about serving God. Now, when I have an opportunity to share God’s Word or tell someone about Him, my mind races back to when I was five years old and I prayed for God to please give me just one person to talk to about Him. Every time I get to share about Him, I remember those prayers, and that makes me incredibly grateful for the platform God has given me because of my family and our TV show.
I want to share with you one of my favorite “dreaming” scriptures from the Bible:
This is the confidence we have in approaching God:
that if we ask anything according to his will,
he hears us.
And if we know that he hears us—
whatever we ask—
we know that we have what we asked of him.
—1 John 5:14–15, NIV
This scripture really assures us that God hears us and that we can have complete confidence in Him. But it tells us another thing too: our dreams need to be “according to his will.” So whatever you dream, make sure it lines up with the kind of life God wants us to live.
With that said, I want to encourage you to dream
. It does not matter whether or not a lot of people know about you. For a long time, I was just a praying little girl in a small town in Louisiana. I did not know how God was going to make my dream come true and answer my prayers, but I did know I had to trust Him with it. Now, of course, I have more dreams, and I am trusting God with those too.
When you dream, don’t just think about a few things you might like to do someday if they work out. Get a real dream. Make it a big dream. Make it something you could never do by yourself, something that will stretch your faith, a dream that will give God a chance to do something huge for you.
Live Original Challenge
What’s the biggest dream for yourself you can think of?
What small step can you take toward your dream today?
Think about whether your dream is according to God’s will. If it is, write out a commitment today to never give up on your dream.
Take a minute to pray to God and give Him your dream and wait on Him to make it come true.
Dream big and allow God to make your dreams reality!
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.
And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
Never Give Up
ave you noticed how many people give up on things? I’m kind of amazed when I hear about athletes who do not stick with a team for an entire season or students who drop classes because they are too hard or people who give up on their brothers or sisters when those siblings go through a hard time. I mean, really, giving up is not something to be proud of. It might make things easier for a little while, but it does not make anyone a stronger person.
I’m interested in becoming a stronger person. To do that, I know I will have to persevere through situations that might tempt me to give up. But I know God will give me the grace and courage I need to deal with things that are hard, and let’s face it: life does get hard sometimes. The world is full of haters and disappointments and mistakes, but we do not have to let these things keep us from going after our dreams or from reaching our potential. Sometimes people say or do mean things to us, and sometimes circumstances just don’t go our way, but we have to push those things aside and keep moving forward.
Several men in my family have taught me a lot about perseverance
and about never giving up. I want to share their stories with you, and then I’d like to tell a story about a man I never met but who inspires me anyway. But first I want to tell you about a day that made me want to give up, a day I had to decide whether I would quit or whether I would rise up and fight. This was not the only rough day I’ve ever had; it’s just the one I want to tell you about right now.
I know you have hard days and hard situations too. I know there are times when it seems like everyone is against you and you are the only one who is for you. I hope this chapter will inspire you to keep going against all odds and to never give up until you reach your goals.
I SURVIVED SURVIVOR DAY
Every year, there is one day that I absolutely love and that all my friends dread worse than having their wisdom teeth taken out. It’s called Survivor Day, and it takes place at a Christian camp in Louisiana, not far from where I live. It’s a camp my great-grandfather started in 1967 and a place all my family loves. We’ve made lots of incredible memories there, and in fact, my parents first met there when they were in the third grade—and Mom’s parents met there years earlier. People keep asking me if I am going to carry on the family tradition and marry someone I meet at camp. Who knows? That will be another story for another time.
Survivor Day works like this: we never know when it’s going to happen, but when it does, it is
. For several years, one of my secret wishes has been to participate in the television show
, but so far I haven’t been invited, so Survivor Day at camp is as
close as I can get. Most people moan and groan when the staff surprises us with Survivor Day, but I’m thinking,
Bring it on
. It’s a very hard day physically and mentally, but when it’s over, we always discover that the whole experience has been designed to teach us a powerful spiritual lesson.
A couple of years ago, Survivor Day happened on the very first day of camp. Now,
was a shock to everybody. We were all sleeping peacefully in our wooden cabins, having sweet dreams in our bunks, when suddenly someone burst into our room at about four o’clock in the morning, screaming, “You better run! You better run! It’s Survivor Day!” We had to get up very quickly and start running as fast as we could.
We all met at a central place in the middle of camp and divided into teams of about ten people each, which is what we always do. We had to come up with a team name, design a flag, and wear the team bandanas that were given to us. My team’s bandana that year was orange—and I’m not a big fan of orange. I already had a bad feeling about that day.
Each team chose a leader, and my team decided to make the most athletic person in our group the leader. There were a couple of football players and big, strong guys on our team, but the guys didn’t want to lead, so they chose me. I am pretty athletic, and I am good at sports and games, but I am not as athletic as a football player, and some of our contests required brute strength. I decided to rise to the challenge of being the leader because the group seemed to want me and because I was also the person who had been going to camp longer than everyone else. So I felt some responsibility to lead the others.
On Survivor Day, we have to do all kinds of really hard, seriously
grueling things, and the team leader usually ends up doing the hardest things of all. We can’t eat until we win a snack or a meal in one of the contests. My team was trying so hard that day, but we were not winning, so we were really hungry, and I ended up passing out. At that point, I wanted to quit and just go take a shower and a nap. I found myself thinking,
This is only a bunch of games, and my team is losing, so why should I keep wearing myself out?