Have You Forgotten How to Dream?
"Before I made you in your mother’s womb, I chose you. Before you were born, I set you apart for a special work." Jeremiah 1:5a (NCV)
"What God-inspired dreams do you have in your heart now?"
As a table leader for our church’s women’s event, I read the question aloud, then smiled expectantly at the small group of women surrounding me.
Eyes looked down, up and to the left. Fingers fiddled with pens. One woman sipped her coffee and focused on the rising steam. Seconds ticked by silently as I gave them time to think.
Surely someone will say something, I thought, as the silence turned awkward.
But no one said anything. Hmmm … I’ll try another approach. So I revised the question, "What would you do for God if you knew you wouldn’t fail?"
As I looked at those precious women, all ages and stages of life, my heart ached. I knew from the ice-breaker question their days were laden with concerns. Although they weren’t complaining, real challenges slipped into their answers: jobs, demanding schoolwork, caring for children with developmental needs, serious health issues and more.
The idea of a God-given dream must seem impossible when your 2-year-old isn’t walking and your savings are dwindling. In fact, getting through the day without falling apart was the only "dream" shared that night by one sweet lady when the quiet was just too much.
The very lack of dreams then became the discussion as we realized we’d forgotten to dream for ourselves.
We knew how to dream years ago; children have no problem dreaming big dreams. Yet as life responsibilities piled up, it was easy to forget to dream. In fact, sometimes a dream even felt selfish when there were so many great needs.
Yet when God gives us a dream, it’s not for selfish reasons, it’s for Kingdom reasons. And He has uniquely wired us to be able to fulfill that dream with His help.
Scripture tells us God chose us and set us apart for a special purpose: "Before I made you in your mother’s womb, I chose you. Before you were born, I set you apart for a special work" (Jeremiah 1:5a).
It’s one thing to read those words on the page and understand them intellectually. It’s another thing altogether to believe them with my heart. Especially when inner doubts find their way to the surface:
… How could God choose me for anything important when I can’t even go to Target with my kids without a meltdown?
… How could I be set apart when there’s nothing special about me?
… And a "special work"? That’s for people much more important than I am.
But here’s what I know about God: He crafted each of us with such great love and intentionality that the dream He wants to give us is what we were created to do.
He knows our potential because He placed it there. Inside each of us, He deposited seeds of talent. He appointed our personalities. He established our strengths. And all lay in wait for His Spirit to empower us to pursue our God-given dreams.
Because we serve a loving God, many times the "special work" He assigns comes in the form of a dream that will bring us joy. I’ve met women who dream of caring for foster children, bringing fresh water to a village, writing a book or teaching Bible study from a stage.
These dreams can feel selfish because we want them so much. But we can know they are God-given when they are aligned to His Word, and we want God to get all the glory and take none of it for ourselves.
Dreams are never easy to accomplish. In fact, sometimes they seem downright impossible. And yet, Scripture tells us in Matthew 19:26 that with God, all things are possible.
Perhaps this is the greatest reason we stop dreaming God-dreams. We let people and percentages, facts and figures determine the probability of achieving our dreams.
But what would happen if we took the "impossible" label off our dreams? What if we declared God’s power to fulfill every dream He plants in our hearts? Wouldn’t it be amazing?
Today, let’s rip that "impossible" label off, scrunch it up and toss it in the garbage. And then, like a child, let’s remember to dream again.
Dear Lord, thank You for calling me to serve You in ways that bring me joy. I want to always be open to the next dream You want to plant in my heart. Help me keep my eyes and heart tuned to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
2 Timothy 1:9, "It is he who saved us and chose us for his holy work not because we deserved it but because that was his plan long before the world began — to show his love and kindness to us through Christ." (TLB)
Matthew 18:3, "And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’" (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What were some of your dreams as a child? What happened to those dreams? Invite a trusted friend to join you this week in talking about your God-given dreams again.
What would you do for God if you knew He would give you the strength to accomplish it?
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