I recently wrote a post having to do with dreams and whether or not they are selfishly our own or are of God. I've found that recently I have taken hold of my dreams again lately rather than trusting God with them. That small act equates to me saying, "God, I don't think you're big enough to give me what I want." There are two problems with this statement. 1) God is certainly big enough to do anything and everything. 2) It's not about me. I spent a good time praying and crying out to God in the prayer room on Sunday asking him to help me release what I want and to entrust it to him. It was a good time, and I came away feeling so much peace. I've talked about this with my mom and she gave me a few articles from her Journey devotional magazine that were comforting to me and helped me know how to focus my prayers in this area. I'd like to share them with you. #1: Giving up my dreams He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cry for help and saves them. Psalm 145:19 When we decided to follow Jesus we laid down everything in our lives before Him. Romans 12:1 says we became living sacrifices, surrendering our lives--including our dreams and desires--to God. We gave Jesus free rein over our lives, to paint us like a blank canvas into any masterpiece He wants. That's what having Jesus as Lord and Master of our lives looks like. But does that mean that every single desire we ever have is wrong? No, not at all. God doesn't want us to be passionless and dreamless. The Bible tells us that God works through our desires (Ps. 145:19). God isn't against our dreams and desires--some of the dreams and desires we have are from Him. And He enjoys fulfilling them. God cares about what we want. He just wants us to be willing to offer our desires up to Him so He can work through us without a bunch of obstacles in the way. Sometimes the Holy Spirit actually works through us by changing and moving our hearts--our desires. But if we have a stranglehold on them, we close ourselves off to God redirecting and guiding us to the good things--the better things--He wants to lead us to. Sadly, some people deny the interests, gifts, talents, and passions that God put inside of them because they think they're supposed to "deny themselves." What happens is that they keep dismissing God every time He tries to work through their desires because they assume their desires aren't from Him. How do you think about your desires? Do you see them as things you need to crucify? Or do you just follow them wherever they lead without talking to God about them? Avoid both extremes. Don't write off everything you want as ungodly. But don't give your desires a blank check in your life either. Ask God to help you recognize the desires that don't come from Him and to plant the ones that do more deeply in your heart. Father, You know all the desires of my heart. Please help me to know which desires are from You and let me put the rest aside so I can follow Your perfect will for me.
#2: Holding my dreams Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart's desires. Psalm 37:4 As we grow closer to God, we start to see His heart behind the principles in His Word. We obey them because we feel the same way God does about them. Not only do we grow into sharing God's heart behind the principles of His Word, but we also start to get a passion for His plans and purposes. We start to recognize that there's so much life, joy, excitement, and pleasure in what God's up to in the world. Slowly, as we start to get a vision for God's good heart, our passions and dreams start mixing with His. So, what if you have a dream? How do you handle it with God? The short answer is: Bring it to Him and have lots of conversations with Him about it. As a living sacrifice, surrender your desire to God, holding it loosely, giving Him free rein to do what He wants with it. But that willingness and surrender should be balanced with the reality that the desire in your heart might be from God. As you surrender your desires to God, He is always working for the greatest good for the most people for the longest time. He is good, and you can trust His heart as He works. Know that God's ultimate goal for your desires is the same as your ultimate goal for your desires: the greatest and highest fulfillment for you and for Him. And even if He has to reshape or redirect your desires, He'll do it in a way that matches who you are and how He designed you. In life, you'll have a lot of desires and they'll all go through this talking-to-God-a-lot-and-holding-them-with-an-open-hand process. It's not like one day you'll wake up and find that your heart's so united with God's that you'll be in sync with Him forever. But as you walk with God, you'll find desires do pop up in you that wouldn't have popped up in you years ago. That's because you're growing closer to Him. It's a constant spiritual process of God bringing you to a place of unity with His heart. Lord, I'm willing to give up my desire if You want me to, and I'm willing for you to reshape it. If this desire is from You, please confirm it. And if this desire in my heart matches Yours, please fulfill it.
#3: The big picture Nothing will be impossible with God. Luke 1:37 While we are finite with limited vision about how our dreams and lives can play out, God sees our futures. He has unlimited resources so He can make anything happen. As we walk with Him, giving Him permission to shape our dreams, trusting Him with them, He can blow the top off our expectations (Eph. 3:20). Sometimes we think our desires are too big. But a lot of times, God might actually be saying, "No, I want you to dream bigger." If God gives you a desire, a big desire, don't be afraid. Attempt things for God that are so great that they're destined for failure unless He's in them. We spend a lot of time sweating out things like details. But God knows how everything turns out. He had you in mind before the foundation of the world, and He knew every single one of your days and what they would entail before any one of them ever came to be. The desires that are in your heart are not a surprise to Him, and He already knows what He's going to do with them. So walk faithfully. Obey God's commands, be in constant conversation with Him, rest in His good heart and in His absolute power and control over everything, and enjoy the ride. If you trust in God's goodness, you'll spend less of the journey of life worrying about the details of how everything is going to work out. And you'll be more in awe of the awesome God who wants to do incredible things with you and through you. Don't abandon what God has put in your heart. If He has truly put it there, there's a reason. Don't lose heart. If He has truly put it there, there's a reason. Don't lose heart. Just keep walking with Him, doing the next right thing, and talking to Him about everything. Your future is secure. Your God is for you. He has big plans and a big ability to accomplish them. Live in that, and enjoy the amazing journey of being in a relationship with an infinitely awesome, infinitely powerful God. Lord, You are able to do above and beyond all that I ask or think--according to the power that works in you--to You be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever (Eph. 3:20-21).
I feel like so many parts of my life are in a state of trying to balance right now. It's difficult and somewhat overwhelming. But I know God has a purpose and plan, and I am stoked to see what that is. Right now He has me just where He wants me, and I can rest in that. Thankfully the things that don't make sense in my life make perfect sense to Him. It is my prayer that my desires match His and that He can show me what I can hold onto and what I need to let go of.
Here's the lyrics to my latest songwriting adventure: What is a dream? What is a story? Is it mine, is it Yours, Is it theirs, is it ours This dream? This dream.
I've taken what's mine With my selfishness, pride, And I've wrapped up inside My own dream. I want this dream.
To claim it's from You No, that I won't do But if there is a way You can shape it and say, "This is my truth.'
"Cuz this is My dream And this is My story. I'll shape it and then You will see it again With My eyes. My eyes.'
"This is My dream That you'd walk in My way That you'd stand in My truth That you'd run after Me.'
"This is My dream That you'd turn from your sin That you'd care for My kids That you'd love. That you'd love.'
"Cuz this is My dream And this is My story. I'll shape it and then You will see it again With My eyes. With My eyes.'
"This is My dream. This is My dream."