“Pursue your dreams.”
“Your dreams will come true.”
“Don’t give up on your dreams.”
Don’t these all sound familiar? Cheesy, unrealistic taglines thrown at us from the time we just start to talk to the day we graduate from high school, college and beyond. We all have life dreams. Some take shape in kindergarten where children are raising their hands in classrooms all over the world shouting out different ambitions, careers and game plans.
As we grow older, our dreams begin to shift, change, maybe even take shape and grow. Sometimes the future looks as bright as we’ve always wanted it to be. But often, we find ourselves feeling like the next couple months ahead of us are a fogged out blur, let alone the next couple years. Dreams that have been stored up within us weigh down on our shoulders mockingly.
It can be discouraging when desires we’ve been building toward still haven’t come to life. We have plans that become increasingly complex but don’t have a set direction or time frame of when they will be put into action.
Here are five truths to help you sustain rather than abandon your hopes and desires for your future:
Commit Your Dreams to the Lord
Psalm 37:5, “Commit your way to the Lord, trust in Him, and He will do it.”
I began praying this verse over myself and my family at the tender age of 17, and I have experienced the Lord’s provision as I have continually brought my plans, thoughts, desires, hopes and dreams under His lordship. He has encouraged me so many times through those four last words, “He will do it.” When unexpected situations arise, when the future looks more bleak than beautiful, when fear begins to well up and infiltrate the Father’s perfect peace, I have come back to this truth and it has stilled my soul.
We must bring our dreams before the Lord and seek His perfect will and direction so that He might lead us and guide us accordingly.
Ask Him Where to Start
As we trust the Lord with our dreams, committing them to Him, we have to remember that this is a relationship. Saying you’re just “waiting on the Lord” to show you how to go about accomplishing your dreams doesn’t always seem like a sufficient answer. As we ask for God to lead us, we can trust that when we move forward with plans, He will meet us in them, offering His direction and correction along the way as needed.
We don’t need to be afraid to step out in faith and make practical choices in order for our dreams to take shape—whether that’s applying for a job that you want, looking into ministry opportunities you feel God has been calling you to, or looking into different options for the year after you graduate college. If God is ready to see your dreams come to fruition and if they truly are His best for your life, it is going to take your obedience and trust in order for Him to see them through.
We Must Persevere
When we begin to pursue our dreams in alignment with God’s leading, there will be times where perseverance will be a necessity to take us from one day into the next. A persevering faith is required: A trust in the living God who sees your whole heart and truly wants to use you in His master plan to redeem the world.
This isn’t some self-empowerment sermon or a statement that people just need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and get going with life. It can be tough to be plagued with a million hopes for the future but no clear path to start to fulfill them. But that’s just it—God meets us in the unknown, the unexpected. When someone is writing their first novel, working on their first album, beginning to apply to colleges, the mountain may seem all too steep and much too monumental, but we can rely on the Lord’s strength, courage and direction in order to see all things come to completion in Christ Jesus.
Dream Bigger and Brighter
Recently, the leader of my small group posed a daring question: “What is your biggest dream? And is it big enough that you know God would have to come through in order for it to be brought into fruition?”
As we went around the room, each of our hearts were expanding with faith and excitement. We started sharing dreams that some of us hadn’t ever spoken out loud because they felt so outlandish and unattainable. But we realized that is just what the Lord is calling us to—to dream dreams so big that they can only be fulfilled in Him. There are many times where I have goals and desires that I could simply work out in my own life with my own strength, but where true fulfillment and faith takes place is when we present requests to God that are bigger than we could ever achieve or attain ourselves.
Take Joy Where You are Right Now
Sometimes, I find myself lost in dreams for the future instead of recognizing where God has called me to be right now as I am a student sitting in class or while I am building relationships in my college town in the middle of rural Oregon. But Paul’s words have come to me in the most opportune moments when my heart has needed to hear them most.
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11-13).
Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, the Lord wants you to be all in for Him. Depending on your circumstances to satisfy the dreams and hungers of your heart will only leave you empty in the end. Take joy in where God has you at all times, and you too will learn what it means to be content like Paul explains.
No matter what dream has been fostered within your hungry heart, whatever goals you have for the future, trust in the Lord that He has good plans for your life. Lay these dreams at the Father’s feet, and wait and see what He will do as you ask for His direction and will to unfold.
He may just lead you into something that you could have never even conjured in your wildest imagination.