By Jennifer Johnson, EdD
Program Director, Strategic Educational Alliances
“If your dream doesn’t scare you, it’s too small.” (“Chase the Lion,” Mark Batterson)
In the book “Chase the Lion” by Mark Batterson, we are challenged to embrace the courage it takes to pursue great dreams and trust that God will walk alongside us.
Can you think back to a great dream you had? Who shaped it? Why was it important to you? What were the risks? What did you learn in the process of pursuing your dream? How did it feel to realize your dream?
I grew up in a family who loves children. My mother, who was orphaned early in her life, wanted to run an orphanage so more children could be cared for and loved. She has lived a life full of love, faith, loyalty, encouragement and tenacity.
My sister was a teacher who inspired me as she shaped the lives of her students. She supported me as I pursued new challenges, always reminding me that I could accomplish great things if I worked hard enough and stayed faithful.
I have lots of nieces and nephews who now have children, and I love being around all of them to witness the emergence of their uniquely powerful dreams.
I am married to my greatest cheerleader, who has often reminded me of the impact I can have on others if I believe in myself. My family and my faith has inspired me to continue to dream about what I can do, personally and professionally, to support all children. Having realized that we can all achieve our dreams with God’s support and the encouragement of others, I understand that those dreams weren’t so impossible after all!
“Quit playing it safe and start running toward the roar!”
Every day, as I count my blessings and examine my dreams, I realize I can do more. I am not a lion tamer, but I am learning to chase lions. I speak up to celebrate teachers. I speak out to challenge those who would disrespect my profession and the children we serve. I advocate on behalf of students who have no voice. I pray for educators I will never meet.
Running toward my challenges and fears, I know I need to listen to God as He uses my experiences to teach valuable lessons. “Dare to fail. Don’t hold out. Fight for your dreams. Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-given passions.”
“Chase the lion! Change the world!”
What dreams are you chasing? Have you set God-sized goals? What are your God-given passions? Can you accomplish them without God’s help? What scares you? Do you embrace the challenges God presents? What are you learning? How has your faith inspired you to change the world?
Stop for a minute and think about it.
Does your dream scare you?
Does your dream require you to run toward the roar?
Does your dream test your faith?
Does your dream push you to be better, stronger and braver?
How will your dream change the world?
Congratulations on chasing lions! Know that you are not alone!
Grand Canyon University helps students find their purpose through high-quality academics and a Christian worldview. To learn more, visit our website or contact us using the Request More Information button at the top of the page.
More About Dr. Johnson:
With over 35 years of experience in education, Jennifer Johnson, EdD, currently serves as the executive director of Support Our SchoolsAZ, a statewide, grassroots parent advocacy organization, as well as director of academic alliances at Grand Canyon University. Dr. Johnson retired from the Arizona Department of Education in May 2015, where she served as deputy superintendent of policy and programs. Prior to joining the Arizona Department of Education, Dr. Johnson served as a teacher, high school principal and superintendent in Glendale, Arizona.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.