I confess, I can be pretty impatient. When I set my sights on something I want it now.
But God-sized dreams are rarely served up fast food style. In fact often, they come slower than slow cooked.
You see, I’ve already had this vision for My Messy Desk for at least five years and the concept for what I thought would be my first book for nearly four. I’d guess some of you have been waiting on your dreams much longer than that.
With my husband’s job, we move around every two to three years, so purchasing a store-front location isn’t practical. My duties as an Army wife, mom, and community volunteer make it hard to earn enough income through crafts to even consider paying rent on a space like that fiscally responsible. You may face similar, or completely different, challenges that affect the timing of your dreams.
There have been times I’ve wondered if the dream had reached the end of its shelf life. I’ve asked God if my dream had died. So far, He hasn’t led me toward that thinking. And so, I can only assume the dream is just delayed. It is taking longer than my impatient flesh can tolerate.
One Bible character who knew a little something about delayed dreams was Joseph. At 18 years old he dreamed that his older brothers would bow down to him. Instead they sold him into slavery in Egypt. Over the course of about nine years, he worked his way to the top of Potiphar’s team, but was then falsely accused of attacking his boss’ wife, which landed him in jail. While there he made a couple of friends and practiced his dream interpretations. When Joseph was 30, Pharaoh called for him to interpret his own difficult dream. Pharaoh was so impressed he made Joseph the second most powerful person in Egypt. Joseph helped Egypt store up enough supplies to endure the coming famine, and eventually his brothers came begging for sustenance. After some trickery, Joseph finally reveals his identity to his brothers and they fall down before begging for mercy. Joseph was 41 years old. He waited 23 years for the fulfillment of his dreams.
Here are four lessons I learned about what to do when dreams are delayed from Joseph’s journey.
Pray for God’s Direction.
I know I say this a LOT, but that’s because it is so critical. We must be in constant communication with the Creator. We must voice our desires, listen for His leading and seek out the treasures of His Word that have the power to direct our lives. Chasing our dreams is different that following our hearts. If God places a desire in our hearts, we must allow Him to direct us. We cannot make decisions about the dream based on our feelings. During a delay God may prompt us to make slight course corrections or even redirect the dream altogether.
Hone Your Craft.
Practice. Get really good at what God has gifted you with. For me, this means writing lots of words and trying all sorts of new crafts. For you it might be studying about biology or a particular geographic region. It might mean swimming or running or cycling lap after lap after lap.
Establish Your Support Network.
Find people who support your dream. Find people who have similar dreams. Gather these people, your tribe, and talk with them about where you feel God leading you. Find out where He is directing them. Support their endeavors. Ask for their help. Pick their brains. Challenge each other. When the going gets tough or the wait is excruciating, these are the people who will prop you up. Just be sure your sharing with the right people.
If you still feel Him directing your toward the dream you discovered in your heart, then while you’re waiting trust that He is working. When we remember that we are waiting on the Lord, He is faithful to strengthen and sustain us through any delay (Psalm 27:14). He could very well be preparing the way for your dream to flourish, removing obstacles and setting conditions if you’re willing to wait. But really, the primary goal of any dream should be to lead us into a deeper relationship with God. Simply learning to trust Him more could be the point of the delay.
When dreams are delayed: pray, hone, establish support, and trust God.
Sometimes delays are just delays, giving you or God time to set just the right conditions for your dreams to become realities. But other times, they signal the death of your dream. Next week, we’llI have a very special guest who’s going to share her encouraging words on what to do when the worst happens.
Don’t miss the other great posts in this series:
And coming Soon:
Dreaming isn’t all Dandelions and Daffodils
(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.