Monday, May 18, 2015

Dreaming Isn't Selfish

If you've decided to read this series its because you're pretty sure God has placed a dream (or dreams) inside of your heart and you're trying to navigate whether it's from Him or not. You may want to make a difference, whether it's big or small, but you want to ensure your motives are pure. I get that. Completely. I think it's why the Lord placed this little project on my heart. To point us to what His truth says about navigating these desires of our hearts. These holy and oh, so important callings.

Dreams can be seductive, can't they? They can make us trade our right now's for unknown tomorrow's. They can turn our attention and focus away from what's right in front of us and the simple blessings that are to be enjoyed and invested in today. That's why it's important to know that if you are seeking to be faithful right where you are, your dreaming isn't selfish. You see, your heart makes all the difference in your motives. And He knows our hearts better than anyone. If your heart is about His purpose and not your own agenda, He knows that. And thankfully, His Word shows us how we can align our dreams with His Kingdom agenda. Because our dreams should always align with Scripture.

If you feel like dreaming is selfish and that you should just ignore them, that's not truth. If your dreaming is from God, then it is not selfish. If after you have yielded your desires to Him, you have this nagging intuition and profound pull toward something... most likely that dream is something He's calling you to step out and pursue.

I personally have allowed people and timing to hold me back in owning my dreams. In hindsight, I see that trying to please people is what's so selfish. Because in reality, we're not called to make everyone around us happy. But we're called to be obedient.

Perhaps someone squashed your dream. It may have been an overly cautious parent that wanted to protect you. Or perhaps it was a teacher, or a husband who wanted to not have to share you. Or a friend who was jealous. Whatever they may have said to make you stop dreaming altogether, it wasn't from Jesus.

Dreaming is a big part of who He created us to be. The capacity to use our imaginations, have visions, and desires is something HE planted inside of us. It's not a selfish characteristic.

Can I encourage you to let go of this lie that dreaming is selfish? And that one day, just maybe one day, you'll pick them up and pursue them when others around you don't need you so much. If life has diminished your dreams, you should get up and start again. Today.

When your original vision doesn't come to pass

I've heard so many moms say "well, I used to have dreams, but... (fill in the blank)." Due to life circumstances in addition to not only children - maybe divorce, chronic illness, financial strain, whatever your lot- maybe you've given up on dreaming because the dream you used to have didn't come to pass.

And let's face it. Motherhood is a calling. When God made me a mom 5 years ago, I certainly didn't expect it to be messy, awkward, uncomfortable and sometimes just down right hard. I remember asking my mom shortly after having my first child, "Why didn't you tell me this was going to be so dang hard?" And she said, "Because you probably wouldn't have done it. And it's the greatest thing you'll ever do." She was so right.

If your dream is truly from Him, it's also a calling. It's not just a random bucket list desire that you must accomplish for worldly accolades.

The most encouraging truth I came to grips with is that my dream isn't on the clock. Because God doesn't operate on a clock. And even when my dream veers off course, I can refocus my attention, motivation, and heart to align back with His!

No matter the hard that's in your season of life right now- motherhood, illness, marriage crisis, family drama- He doesn't just plant callings and let them wither and die. They may be dormant for a season. And when they finally do push through the ground, they may not look like anything we could ever have anticipated.

It's always been a dream of mine to write, in addition to helping others write books and promote them. Before I even began working in the publishing industry I felt the Lord plant that dream in my heart through song writing. When I felt His leading me to pursue that dream, I never imagined I'd write a book about the loss of my own child; encouraging women through that grieving process. Never.

And then God...

He allowed my heart to remain open to dreaming, even in loss. And now, it's not just a dream fulfilled. It's a life long calling that I know He has equipped me for to accomplish His purposes. Which are far greater than my desires. Motherhood, in a sense, became the very thing God would use to fulfill the dreams He had given me.

Each day that you step out in faith to dream despite your past or your current circumstances, He smiles. And a little more light is added to the world. And if it's not the season for your dream, then embrace that and zero in on what God has in front of you right now. If that is your babies and only your babies, that's honorable and faith-filled. You are His chosen. Don't give up on your dream! Trust Him with all you have. What you are doing today matters more than you see!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Don't Settle for Safe

This time last year I did a 30 day series online on being content where God has you. It was hard. Coming to that place when you throw all attempts at masking it out of the window to admit you're not okay with the season you're in, is hard and beautifully freeing at the same time. Those truths have kind of laid the foundation for this challenge to keep dreaming and to own those dreams in the face of unknown circumstances. As I look back, it's clear to my heart what God was accomplishing and trying to teach me. Don't you love that by the way? I love that He cares for us enough to give us something to hold onto and implement in each life season.

Last fall, I led a women's conference on the topic of being content where you are and had such wonderful conversations surrounding all that's beautifully hard about it. A conversation with one precious girl sticks out most. Over coffee and fruit she said she felt she'd just settled for what is safe. "I'm not unhappy, or bitter," she says. "But I know I haven't reached my potential either."

I wonder of many of us have felt this way? Both hands raised here.

It's so easy to push aside our dreams and settle for what's safest. Especially if you've experienced heartache, loss, and some failure along the way. That can do a number on a girl's heart and put her dreams right in the ground.

But what's worth having most is not easy. It's hard to keep your heart open to dreaming every. single. day. It's really not normal to live that way. What's normal to most is to mask not being okay with where God has you and then become cold, cynical, and bitter. That's our world. It's a vicious cycle you can find yourself caught up in if you're not careful.

That's not what Jesus calls us to.

In John 16:33 He tells us, In this world you will have trouble..." That statement is pretty much a guarantee. But I love that He follows it up with such encouragement, But take heart!

I'd like to think that means, "don't let this world take what's meant to be shared and lock it away!" But that's just me...

If you've kept on dreaming in your season of not okay and you have made a choice to not settle for safe, you're my hero. Seriously... it takes one special soul to carry through the disappointment and hurt and safe guard your God-given dreams. That's kingdom living.