Who's Dream Is It, Anyway?

Have you ever wondered whether the dream to which you aspire is really God's will for you? Whether we desire to become a social worker, a chemical engineer, an author or the next great chef, it's essential that we understand and pursue God's plan for our lives...not pipe dreams.

Though things unfolded differently for me than I ever imagined, and we will all walk different paths, I'd like to share some steps that will help you embrace and pursue your God-given dreams.

1. Pray. Hard. - Every single success, every open or closed door in my life has been the direct result of specific, focused prayer. I always ask the Lord to not only direct my steps, but formulate my thoughts and plans so that they line up with His. And I never make a move, a plan, or a goal without praying first.

2. Follow after peace. - A prevailing sense of peace is essential for me as I pursue my dream. If I sense frustration or uneasiness in my heart, I pause and pray. If necessary, I seek counsel. Regardless, if I don't have peace about a decision or opportunity, I won't do it. Colossians 3:15 says it well: "And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from the Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts--deciding and settling with all finality all questions that arise in your minds--..."

3. Ask God for confirmation. - I've been awestruck by the doors God has opened for me when I've asked Him to confirm His will. God has clearly and graciously provided confirmation to me through various people, articles, books, radio talk shows, and many other ways, including my own family. Over and over God has used others to point out my strengths (and weaknesses!).

4. Do your part. - Get equipped. Enroll in a class, undergo training, sign up for a workshop. Do whatever it takes to be prepared. I can't tell you the number of people I've met who, when they discover I'm a writer, tell me they've always felt they would one day write a book. Yet when I ask what they've written or if they've read any good books on writing or attended a writers conference, the answer is always no. Dreams don't just materialize. We must do our part. Ecclesiastes 5:3 says "...for a dream comes with much business and painful effort."

5. Dip your toe in the water. - Sometimes we have to step out to discover whether or not the door is going open. Yes, we risk awkwardness or outright embarrassment. But we could also discover the beauty and satisfaction of taking the first steps in our calling.

6. Be willing to wait. - Timing is everything. We may think we're ready, we may feel ready, but only God knows when we're truly ready for the next step in pursuing our dream. If you strongly sense you're headed in the right direction and then you step out and nothing happens, or doors continually close, it could be a matter of timing. Even Jesus got ahead of God's timing (see Luke 2: 41-49).

7. Be honest with yourself. - If, after a lengthy season of preparation doors are still slamming in your face, you're either out of God's timing, learning perseverance, or, possibly, you're barking up the wrong tree. This leads to number 8...

8. Get feedback from trusted professionals. - We've all cringed watching American Idol's auditions at the beginning of every season. I never cease to be amazed by truly awful, tone deaf singers who spout bold, bizarre proclamations that they're the best thing to happen to the music industry ever. The truth is, people have the ability to recognize gifts in others. Find someone in the field you're pursuing and ask for an honest opinion. God just might use them to speak truth and re-direct you.

Leave me a comment and I'll pray specifically for your dreams this week!



Such sound wisdom here, Julie. Thank you.

I am in such a transition . . . I don't even know what my dreams are right now. In my life, it always involves working with women, which is a passion. I would love your prayers.


P.S. I just finished Laura Bushs' biography and was so impressed with her hard work on behalf of so many, when she was in the White House. So I wrote her a letter . . . on the stationary that you gave me.

pinkdaisyjane said...

Thankful for your post today, and grateful that I've followed many of the steps. Praying for wisdom on which to take next and in which direction.

I would love your prayers added to mine!

Jill Beran said...

Great post Julie! I love your insight and wisdom. It really is quite timely too. It seems God's put a dream on my heart, which I'm finally choosing to embrace, but yet my flesh and mind take over and I can doubt. Anyway prayers for a book project, "Who am I? - Seeking God's Answer to an Age-Old Question" and my corresponding blog study would be much appreciated. It seems God keeps confirming this; I just need Him to strengthen me so like you say, I can do my part. Thanks so much, Jill

Karen said...

Julie, I love your steps.

You encourage me in areas that I need work on. I love the "peace" one, too. Thanks!

Josey Bozzo said...

Thank you so much for your willingness to pray for those of us struggling with their dream. Yes, I need prayer in this area. I am attempting to put together a proposal it is proving to be very hard work. Several times since I registered for the conference I have thought about canceling my publisher appointment. I will usually end up getting a comment on my blog at about that same time saying I've blessed them with what I've written there. It keeps me going.
I just want to make sure I am doing what God wants me to do.
Also, please pray that the funds come in for my scholarship.

Fields of gold said...

Super advice! Good words to go by for any decision, big or little. I'll tuck those away!


stephanie said...

So glad to find your blog over at Sam's place. I love this post! I know that I am on the right path, because I do feel God's peace. And it's like i couldn't stop writing even if I wanted to, ya know? I've started about 25 different book proposals, LOL, so just prayers that I can hush my busy brain and listen to God's direction.

Kim said...

Such inspiring and wise words and so fitting for me. I thought I was hearing the whispering of God and the dream, but now find myself struggling if what I really heard was from Him. This blog post will definately be a referance for me as I pray and seek. Thank you!

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