I wrote a lot of books between the ages of 9 and 11, and they all had one thing in common: a hand-colored front page (usually featuring a spooky-looking old house) with three precisely placed staples.
But then my family life took an ugly turn, and the joy of writing got buried, one traumatic event at a time.
My dream to write only resurfaced after many years in an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus. God began to reveal to me (through literal dreams, no less!) that I had buried the gift of communication He had entrusted to me. By that time, I was in my late 30's and stunned about the whole thing. The gift was so deeply buried I did not even remember it existed.
I did not connect the joyful passions of a little girl to the calling God had on my life.
So how did a nearly 40 year old woman shift gears and begin to finally reclaim and then pursue the dream God obviously gave her? For me, it was a process--sort of like a slow awakening. If you come from a difficult background, know this: it's never too late and you're not 'too damaged' to pursue your God-given dreams.
The five keys below can help you:
1. Ask God to reveal any talents that are buried. Few of us get through life unscathed. Physical and emotional wounds take their tolls in different ways, but I believe that the enemy of our souls uses hurts primarily for one reason: to prevent us from fulfilling our God-given destinies. Ask God "Have I been sidetracked?"- and implore Him to clearly show you His purpose for your life. Ask for confirmation, wisdom, and clear direction.
2. Recognize and articulate the dream. This was a hard one for me, because my dreams were submerged beneath a lot of dirt. But Jesus stooped down, unearthed my dream, brushed it off, and graciously handed it back to me. This required a lot of prayerful listening on my part, a willingness to allow Him to restore the passion for a long-lost destiny, and then time for my focus to become sharp and clear. Habakkuk 2:2 says "...Write down the vision and make it plain so that whoever reads it may run with it."
3. Ask God to bring healing. We're all works in progress, but in order for us to effectively minister in any capacity, we need His healing touch in our hearts, our emotions, our lives. No, God does not require perfection before we step out. And yes, our testimonies are powerful. But we want to be careful to minister out of His love, not out of our hurt.
4. Dare to believe what God shows you. Initially I thought, You must be kidding. I didn't want my name out there and resisted my 'public' calling because of fear and lack of education. I felt totally unqualified. But God wants us to believe Him. God "selected (and deliberately chose) what in the world is foolish to put the wise to shame, and what the world calls weak to put the strong to shame." - 1 Corinthians 1:27
5. Run with it. Dreams are where faith, passion, and hard work collide. When we diligently apply ourselves and cooperate with the Holy Spirit, our dreams begin to unfold. Yes, we start out taking baby steps. But eventually we will run like the wind--empowered by God's grace. (See Hebrews 12:1)
We all have different callings on our lives, and different spheres of influence. So tell me, what's your dream? How has your life affected your ability to pursue your dreams?
* Photo taken by me, for those of you up north dreaming of beach days.