Then the teacher in the 7th Class asked Elise Vistnes what she wanted to be when she got big, she didn't get the answer she expected. Elise remembers well that she with great conviction told me that she did not know specifically what she wanted to be, but that she would mean a difference.
Text: Heidi Gellein
Photo: Heidi Jakobsen
Elise still has the same desire as when she was younger.
– Ever since I was a kid, I have had an unexplained dream, a longing to change the world. It's still hard to put your finger on what it's quite specific I will be when I get "big." But the same conviction still lies deep within me somewhere: that I will mean a difference.
In God it is possible
Elise has been 26 years and lives in Stavanger. She studies and works as a teacher substitute. She is also one of the leaders of girls in networking. Elise is boldly, brave, takes chances, she leads meetings for 2000 ladies and girls, preaches and is keen to meet the individual. She is one of those who dare to dream big.
– My dreams make it exciting to live! It gives me joy to think of them. I want to see people being endowed to who they are, in spirit, soul, and body. Whole and free in God to live out his full potential. Loved, free and endowed to life here on Earth. There are great goals, but in God it is possible. I've seen, experienced, and learned.
Small, simple actions in everyday life
Elise explains that she has seen how big dreams can become real through small, simple actions. Like the dream she mentions above.
– I am amazed how many react if I tell them what I see in them. Often there is something we can take for granted that they know about themselves. There may be little things for us, but the ones who are greeted like this are often touched, and many begin to cry. There is something extorting and redeeming in being confirmed and seen. It is a pathway to love and freedom. We need to understand how great we are just as we are, and stop comparing ourselves to others.
God gives Dreams
Elise has many thoughts about God and it that he gives us dreams.
– I think it is a natural part of the relationship with God. He gives me thoughts and dreams of the future to bring me closer to him, and that he can help me become more myself. It is not always I see how I can best use the gifts that are in me, but I find that the dreams I receive from God take me in the direction where I can be more myself. It's not always the dreams come to life. Sometimes, a dream changes itself in the process, because I am in a process. It is also the safe with God, he gives no more than I manage to cope. I truly believe, and experience having experienced, that God is good, and that he will me only well. Then it is safe to go for the dreams that God gives me. It can still be scary, and often I have to take a chance. It's like walking on the water; I do not know if it will go.
Like when she first went to lead a meeting at women in the network Nordic conference and stand in front of over 2000 girls and ladies.
– Then I was scared, and it was a shock to hear my own voice in the microphone. Everything I said seemed so stupid. But I did it again next year. Every time I went up the stairs to the stage, I experienced it less scary.
Dreams Give direction
There is a quote that says, "dream so great that only God can fulfill it." Elise is an example of this. But how does she do this in everyday life? What does her dreams do with the way she lives?
– I try to make choices for my life based on what's right for me, not out of expectations or status others have set. My dreams give me direction. An example: If I have a dream of becoming an opera singer, I can't spend all my time playing chess. Then I have to make choices that make me better at singing — taking singing lessons, being in an opera environment, etc. When my dream is to see people in freedom, many of my choices are characterized by being surrounded by people who can help me become more free. If I want to have good and open relationships in my life, I must be honest and vulnerable myself. When I want to see more miracles in everyday life, I must pray for them. If I want to see healings, I must dare to pray for the sick. I am also drawn to those who share my dreams. When I want to change the world and make a difference, I am drawn to others who have the same desires.
Dreaming big can't just be easy. To dare to go for dreams will surely always give challenges, even if the dream is from God. Elise has experienced difficult and challenging situations and has asked himself the question: How can god solve this? She has been desperate, discouraged, and abandoned. But she hasn't given up. How does she do it?
"Sometimes it's hard to understand how dreams can become real. Then I tend to remind myself of who I am, who God has created me to be. No matter what life will bring, I think it will be easier if I am confident in myself. Daily, I consider the thoughts that come in my head, and plucking away those who don't build me up. There will be a lot of silly thoughts in a day. It may be busy sometimes. When I'm tired, it's harder to hold onto what is true.
It is possible to dream big
The Elise is an example of dreaming great consequences for the life she lives, for the thoughts she thinks, for the people she surrounds herself with, for everyday life. She is an inspiration, for she shows that it is possible to dream big. She shows that dreaming big gives a practical effect in life, and that it is possible – if one begins with herself. And with God.
Finally, I wonder if she has anything to say to others who carry on dreams. The answer comes in cash:
– Nothing is impossible for God. First, seek his kingdom, and all the other will come as well. EnCircle yourself with a community, a Christian family that dreams of the same. It is much easier to go for things in the Kingdom of God when one goes together. No one can be strong all the time. In a community it should be safe to view vulnerability and strength.