On Beauty and Reaching for a Dream

For years I have struggled with dreams. Hoping and praying for one dream left me licking wounds and questioning the pursuit of any dreams.

Some urge us to chase our dreams in a way that leaves no room for God. It’s easy to see the selfish ambition in that. Others encourage us to chase God-given dreams – dreams implanted in our hearts by God that can only be accomplished by His power. I liked the idea, but I thought my dream was a God-given dream, and He said no. I became altogether skeptical.

At the height of my dreams crisis, I attended a women’s retreat at my church and the speaker’s first session was about dreams. She gave us time for personal reflection and assigned these questions: What are your dreams? What has God placed in your heart that you’ve never dared to speak to anyone else? Write it down.

Oy! I remember thinking how I love to be inspired at conferences, to receive a boost of courage to press on. And here, I was being asked to consider the very thing with which I was struggling most. Hoping and praying for understanding, I forced myself to stop ruminating, and just let the words fall from my pencil:

Interesting. Isn’t this the thing I’ve been wondering for months? Years? And I still don’t have an answer. But here’s what I am good at or like:

– photography – to capture beauty, to make beautiful images
– organizing – all sorts of things, making beauty and order out of disarray
– counseling – to bring out the beauty of Christ in others

Hmm, I’ve never before tied up my scattered talents and interests together with one word – beauty. Could it mean something?

I didn’t have an answer about the pursuit of dreams, but this exercise did give me an unexpected glimpse into my own mind. It brought focus to my interests, strengths, and possibilities.


This is an interest – my fun! And it comes as no surprise; my love for photography has blossomed right under the watchful eye of this blog. I have no desire to become more than a hobby photographer, but I take great joy in the creative outlet photography has provided. In much the same way as my gratitude list has made me see the gifts, looking through the lens helps me see beauty. The beauty is a gift and the gifts are beautiful, and it all just wraps up together is a way that makes me smile.


This is a strength – how I’m wired. I don’t just like to organize. I am an organizer. I can’t not organize like I can’t not be brown-eyed. I can’t walk by a rack of greeting cards without straightening at least some of them. I can’t rest at home until everything is in its place.  Organizing brings order from disarray, and as an ISTJ, it’s beautiful in my eyes.


This is the place of possibilities. Little delights me more than seeing God’s people grow into the beauty of Christ through sound biblical teaching, discipleship, mentoring, and counseling. Biblical counseling is one of the most personal and focused ways to help another see the words in the pages of scripture come alive and apply them to her life. Ever since I changed my major from biology to sociology twenty-two years ago, I have had a dream to counsel.

Still, writing my dream list, this was the surprise. Not so much in that I had never thought of it before; rather it was a dream so long ignored it was almost forgotten. Even when I wrote it down six months ago, it didn’t unfurl its wings. But lately, it has been gently tapping. My sweet spiritual daughter has given me cause to reach past my mentoring skills to my meager counseling skills. Helping her has made me remember the dream. She’s unknowingly (well, until now) helped that dream find its wings.

I’m a bundle of excited and scared. But after all, I’ve not forgotten this is my year to reach. I have no plans or idea where this might lead; I’m simply daring to reach for a dream and make something beautiful.

In hope,

About Shelli Bourque

An ordinary girl living by the grace of life in Christ. Adoring wife and mom. Lover of quiet places and uncluttered spaces. Beauty seeker and image maker.


  1. Stacy says

    I am so excited for you!! 🙂

    • Thanks, Stacy! I knew you would be. <3