Saturday, October 19, 2013

when dreams (don't) come true

**This is a follow-up to a previous post of mine entitled "When God Doesn't Show Up."  If you haven't already read it, I would encourage you to do so before reading this post.**

I have been mad at God for quite a while. Not because He didn't show up for me, but because He didn't show up for my brother. Being the Big Sister in the family, I have this Mama-Bear complex that comes out when someone messes with anyone from my family. 

I have been watching my brother work his tail off for the past few months in a job that he can't stand. (Don't get me wrong, we are grateful that he was able to find steady work for an upstanding Christian boss. But let's face it, it's not where he wants to be or what he was meant to do for the rest of his life.) So as I watch him struggle to keep his dreams alive, it makes me angry. He wants to be a mechanic.  Our local college offers the program, but he hasn't been accepted because he has yet to find an apprenticeship. This past spring, it looked like everything was falling into place, but when things didn't work out, he ended up not only without an apprenticeship, but also completely out of work. As the weeks and months drag on, it breaks my heart to see my brother's dreams crumbling, and his hope fading. 

Last week I started reading our pastor's latest book--a study on the life of the Biblical Joseph--and was greatly encouraged by what I learned in chapter six. So, to my brother and everyone else out there with an "impossible dream," this is for you:

When God give you a dream, He will fulfill that dream. 

Not every one of your dreams is from God. Some are the result of our own selfishness. Our own ambitions. God is not interested in those. But "in the midst of our own striving and dreaming, there will be dreams that God has placed in us." Do not give up on these dreams!

Dream, in this case, doesn't just mean a literal dream. (Though they sometimes come from God.) Dream also refers to "the passion that God places inside each of [us. The] one thing [you] have been created and redeemed for...the one thing that makes [your] heart beat faster than anything else....the one thing [you] want to give [your] life to... The more clearly God has called us...the more strongly our passion will burn in that area."

This next quotation stopped me cold: 
"[God] doesn't tantalize, He doesn't dangle it before your eyes, and then pull it away so  that He can stir up frustration in you. If God gives you a vision, it's because He wants to use it in your life, to bring you where He wants you to be for the glory of His name."
Yet this is exactly what I have accused God of doing! 

So, what were all those times of false hope? Confirming your passion? Affirming that you are on the right track? Providing valuable life experience you will need later? All of the above? For my brother, it seemed like working only a few months in his dream job, was God simply toying with him. Yet, it allowed him to confirm his passion. It showed that he was indeed more than capable of learning a new trade. It provided four months' experience for his resume.  

But here's the kicker:

God fulfills that dream. In.His.own.time.

This is where we have the most trouble. Where I have the most trouble. It always takes longer to achieve our dreams. Often much longer. And it's always more much more difficult than we could ever imagine. 

"This is where God's people often lose faith and grow weary. God places a burning desire in your heart. You go all out to pursue it. Days and months and years go by and nothing seems any closer than when you first began. When that happens, it is pretty easy to despair and think, 'Well, I must have been mistaken about the whole thing...' [but] that is the time to remember that just because you have the timing wrong, it doesn't mean you didn't hear from God. Whatever was truly of God, God will bring to pass in His time."  

We forget that God is not bound by time. We become discouraged when it looks like nothing is happening. We think we heard wrong. Worst of all, we think God just doesn't care. We start to believe that He won't show up. Ever.

But take heart:

When it comes true, it comes true quickly.

"On one hand God works painstakingly slowly over a long period of time....You think nothing is happening, but all the while, God is at work. Then, when all the pieces are in place....He acts decisively and quickly..."

Take the example of the birth of a baby: We wait for his/her arrival for nine months (or longer). Then "the labour [is often] long and drawn out, [while] the actual birth itself [is] over in very short order.... For every work of God that seems to happen in a flash, there is usually an extensive period of preparation where God patiently puts all the pieces together until the whole is ready to be revealed."

The challenge is to hold on to the vision. Keep fighting for your dreams. God will act. It will take longer than you think. But when it comes, it will be quicker and more powerful than you can possibly imagine! 

Despite having a reputation for being a cheezy Christian film with bad acting, Facing the Giants is still my favourite movie of all time because of it's powerful message. After several mediocre seasons as high school football coach, Coach Grant Taylor develops a new coaching philosophy: to praise God, no matter what the result. As he guides and urges each one of his players to give the maximum effort, he motivates them to believe they can win under God's guidance. This is a powerful clip from the movie, and an encouragement to everyone to "not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart." (Galations 6:9).


I don't know what your dreams are. But I know some look pretty impossible. Some have been written on your heart for a lifetime and seem no closer now than they did years ago. My neighbour dreams of owning a horse farm and doing equine therapy. My friend has dreamed of becoming a mom for years. My husband dreams of becoming a Christian counsellor. 

Since I was a little girl, I dreamed of restoring and renovating the house we currently live in. Did I even in a million years believe it would come true? Not really. But God placed that dream in my heart, and though it has been modified over the years, it is coming true. Has it been easy? Never! Has it been on my schedule? Absolutely not! But God is fulfilling it, one piece at a time.  

Did I ever dream of being unable to get a job after two university degrees and over seven years' experience in my field? Definitely not. But God is using this time to allow me to pursue other dreams. Working from home. Starting a business. Pursuing writing. Finding emotional and spiritual healing. 

So today, I encourage you to dare to dream. Hold on to your dream. Pursue it. And never let it go. 

"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen." (Ephesians 3:20-21)




**To read more, check out 
When Dreams Come True: The Story of Joseph
by John Visser.**

3 comments:

  1. Very, very powerful writing Donna - and soooooooooooooooo true! Keep writing. I have found that sometimes, one is not totally aware of the burning passion deep within, but as one "lives and moves and has their being in Him" the choices made uncover the passion that has driven him or her - exposes it, hones it, and crystalizes it until its fulfillment is within easy grasp – captivating and consuming.

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  2. Thank you, Gail! :) I don't know how many profound things I've learned from Pastor John's books so far... Some things just grab a hold of my heart and I feel compelled to share them.
    I'm still figuring out where all my passions lie...I do know that the first has always been for this house. I'm still waiting to discover the deeper "why" of that....whether it's to have a great place to raise kids someday or to have our own spot to do counselling....or both...We will see. :)

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  3. All will unfold - and perhaps in extremely surprising ways, as you "press in" to your passion but remain open to new passions and reworking/redirecting of the passion you know. It's a life of adventure to be sure but even then, there are often times of waiting within the adventure and you find yourself in a place of patient expectation and even sometimes feelings of confusion about the path you are on. As with Joseph, perseverance and absolute trust in God are essential precursors to and companions of the fulfillment of the passion. Looking forward to hearing more!

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