“Our truest life is when we are in our dreams awake.” Henry David Thoreau
What’s your dream? God has put us here for a reason and planted dreams within us so we can do our part in seeing them realized. “If only’s” and “what-ifs” will haunt us unless we know that we poured ourselves into bringing our unique dreams to life. Many people, however, have no idea what their dreams are and what they really want in life. Don’t you feel this way at times? Maybe when your job is getting you down and you wonder if you’ve completely missed your calling. Maybe when a relationship falls apart or when circumstances make you question if you’re in the right place. Maybe when you’re just bored and going through another mundane, daily routine. During these moments, we tend to forget what our true desires and dreams are because they get buried under an avalanche of pain.
But, just because we want something and yearn to attain it doesn’t mean it’s the dream God planted in our hearts. So, how do you know if a dream is really from God or if it’s just an idea that popped into your head? For one thing, God’s dream will never contradict His Word. If the desire you have goes against God’s Word, it’s not His dream. Paul told us the secret to determining if a dream is from God when he said, “God … is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of – infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts or hopes.” (Ephesians 3:20, TLB).
God’s dream requires faith. If a dream is from God, it will be so big in your life that you can’t do it on your own. If you can accomplish it by yourself, no faith is required. The Bible says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Hebrews 11:6). So, if a dream is from God, it will be so big you can’t do it alone. It’ll have to be a God thing.
God’s dream also makes a difference in the lives of others. It’s not a selfish dream. If you dream of making enormous amounts of money so you can retire early, live in luxury, and remove yourself from the cares of others, then it’s clearly not God’s dream. On the other hand, if you want to make a lot of money to give away, to serve His kingdom, to retire early so you can start a new career to which He’s calling you, then it could be from God. Only you can know what His dream is for your life. God created us as social beings, relational like He is, and He wants us to love and serve others just as He does.
Whenever God gives you a dream, He places it deep in your heart. The word used in the New Testament for heart is most often kardia, a Greek word that literally means “the real you.” Scripture uses the word heart to mean your internal motivation, your love, and your passions. So, when God gives you a dream, He places it in your heart. When God gives you a passion for something, He wants you to go for it because it’s incorporated in your being – not because He’s trying to hijack your life. He doesn’t give you a passion for one dream and, then, call you to fulfill a life plan that’s completely unrelated. That’s not His character, nor is it good stewardship – and He never wastes the resources He’s created.
Just as God has a plan for our lives, the Bible says Satan also has a plan for us. Nowhere is that contrast expressed more clearly than in this passage: “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.” (John 10:10, NLT). God’s purpose is to give you a dream. Satan’s purpose is to steal the dream. And you must understand how relentless he is.
If Satan can’t keep us from pursuing God’s dreams for our lives, then he switches tactics and tries to get us to doubt our dreams. One of his greatest allies is our impatience, along with the fear, worry, anxiety, second-guessing, and frustration that usually accompany the dream. We may pursue the dream and pour ourselves into its fulfillment. We may do our part and wonder why God doesn’t immediately respond. But, God is not a vending machine, and His timing usually differs from our expectations. If the examples from Scripture and our own experiences today are indications, there will be a waiting period before the dream materializes. We’ll experience a detour, an indirect route on the road to seeing our dreams become reality.
In this waiting period, we start asking questions like “When is this ever going to happen? Is this ever going to happen?” “When, Lord, am I ever going to get married?” “When, Lord, am I ever going to get over this hurt?” “When, Lord, am I ever going to get through this problem?” “When, Lord, are we ever going to have a child?” “When, Lord?” If you are in the waiting room of life right now, you are not alone.
Why does God send everyone through the waiting room of life? I believe it’s because He wants us to learn to rely on Him. God is preparing us to fulfill the dream by teaching us to trust Him. While we’re waiting, we learn that He is right there with us and promises that “never will I leave you, never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). We may not understand what God is doing at the time, but we can always trust His heart.
- Write out a description of one dream you have that you believe is from God. How does it require faith on your part for it to be realized? How does it serve others?
- Spend time in prayer, asking God to reveal one thing you can do today to further your pursuit of His dream for your life.