When daring to dream, we need a healthy dose of discernment.
While I whole-heartedly encourage you to chase your God-given dreams, I have to caution you not to get carried away. Dreams are exciting and motivating and life-giving, but it's easy to mistake our enthusiasm and delight with a green-light from God. Checking our dreams keeps them from wrecking us.
So, this week, I offer up five ways to check our dreams. Fail safes to ensure we are chasing what God has ordained for us and not the sinful desires of our own flesh. One path indeed gives life. The other leads to death – or at least a broken heart.
God-given dreams will:
Never Go Against God's Word
If we are dreaming the right dreams for our lives, they will never cause us to disobey Scripture. Nothing God leads us toward would ever cause us to transgress His Word. He is incapable of such behavior. If your dreams lead you to lie, cheat, steal, neglect responsibilities He's already given, or become prideful, or angry. You'll need to spend some time in prayer and Bible study to determine if it's the dream or your own management of certain circumstances that needs an overhaul. If you need to sin to accomplish your dream, you can be assured it is not from God. For example, I can become a little engrossed in my writing at times and snap at my children's interruptions. It's not my dream causing the reaction, it's my own sinfulness. I need to address my reaction to them, not abandon the dream. In fact, our dreams may draw out our sinful natures in order to refine us.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17
Lead Us Closer To Him
Chasing God-given dreams will always lead to deeper fellowship with the Giver. If they don't, even after accomplishing them, we'll still be left longing for one thing He has created us to crave – fellowship with Him. God created us to be in fellowship with each other and Him, to walk with Him. He even sent His Son to die so that we could spend eternity in His presence. He would not give us a dream that would compromise that. God-given dreams will always lead us closer to the heart of God.
“O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly;
My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You.”
Be Vetted By Trusted Counselors
My first stop is always with God when making decisions. But when I feel a stirring from Him, I go to my mentors. Women who are several steps ahead of me on their spiritual journey. Women I believe have the gift of wisdom. Women I trust to petition heaven through prayer on my behalf. Women I know will consult scripture in search of truth. But be warned, counselors are human. And humans can make mistakes. If a mentor, advises against your dream but her reasoning doesn’t ring true, take your dream back to God. Ultimately, God-given dreams are between you and him. He may reinforce your dream, or help you discover a new one.
“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.”
Employ our Individual Gifts and Talents
God didn't give us skills for them to be admired from afar or bottled up in a jar. He intends for us to use them to serve others. When your God-given skills and talents intersect with an identified need in your circle of influence, you can be confident you are on your way to discovering the dream He has written on your heart. But, keep in mind the needs in this world are infinite. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean that’s your God-given dream.
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve other,
faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”
1 Peter 4:10
Potentially Exceed Our Capacity
Following the right dreams can lead us into complete reliance on Him and His provision. Often the desires He places in our hearts are beyond our own human capacity to accomplish. By chasing after them we learn to trust Him to provide and lead us where we wouldn't otherwise dare to venture. Our dreams may use our gifts and talents, but there is a good chance they may be just outside our own ability to realize. So that when we do, we'll have no other recourse but to point to God as the One who truly made them possible. If I could manage to write New York Best Sellers or open up My Messy Desk's flagship store of my own accord, I would have no reason to give God the glory for those achievements.
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurable more than ll we ask or imagine, according to His power that is within us, to Him be glory in the church an din Christ Jesus throughout all generations for ever and ever. Amen.”
We can dare to dream all we want, but unless our dreams are in line with God's plans, we miss the point.
God-given dreams will align with Scripture, lead us closer to Him, be approved by good counsel, employ our talents, and potentially exceed our capacity.
As we begin to dream, let’s do so with a healthy dose of discernment.
Don’t miss the other great posts in this series:
And coming Soon:
Dreaming isn’t all Dandelions and Daffodils
Defending the Dream
When the Dream is Daunting
(re)Designing the Dream
Living the Dream
Dare to Dream Again
For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne Eller, Thought Provoking Thursday, Susan B. Mead, Faith Filled Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith and Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Friday, Good Morning Monday, Soul Survival, Monday Musings, Rah Rah Link Up, Tell His Story, Woman to Woman Wednesday, Women With Intention Wednesday, Sitting Among Friends, Testimony Tuesday, Planting Roots.