Saturday, March 12, 2011

You were born to dream! (with sound)


A week ago she secretly gave birth to a beautiful pup. A real undercover job, might I add; No one even knew that she was pregnant. I'm only realizing now that no suggestions have been made for a name, so for my post I'm going to call him Shizam: like a rabbit pulled from a hat in a magic trick :)

I’ve been watching little Shizam over the past few days and caught him napping and – what would seem like – dreaming. Yes! Dreaming! Wow! His eyes haven’t even opened to this world yet, and he can’t walk but he can d-r-e-a-m!

Watching him I try to imagine what he is dreaming about. I imagine that he sees himself as a big, strong dog; a leader of the pact. When he barks others take note. I imagine him running free with the wind in his fur, tongue hanging out, jumping over fences and chasing the wind over miles of lush grass. Others respect him, and his enemies fear him. He is bold, he is ferocious, he is fearless. Even though he can utter very little else but a faint whimper right now, in his mind he barks loudly! He knows instinctively that he is a dog – he expects to walk, to run, to bark. He doesn’t wonder this - - - and he is only one week old.

Watching him like this - and in light of my reading The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson right now - it has really given me something to think about. If this little one dreams only a few days after birth, how much more are humans born to dream - born with a dream? God dreams about us, you know?

By the time you are born you are being delivered into greatness - - then life happens, and life happens differently for everyone.

Today I’m talking to those for whom life happened in that you have been told that you are not worth it, that you will never amount to anything, that you’re hopeless, that you should stop dreaming stupid dreams that is never going to happen anyway, or that you are stupid. I’m talking to those who have started believing these horrible, hopeless things spoken to them.

Today I am challenging you to realize that God has an awesome dream for you (Jeremiah 29:11). You dream because He dreams and He dreams big and wonderful dreams for you! He loves you so much and He has created you for something specific that no one else can ever do as good as you! God wants you to dream for you like He does!!!

Think about it: what is in your heart that you’ve always noticed there but thought it was too good to be true and therefore have kept pushing it from your mind. What is it that you have been wanting to do for so long but all you’ve accomplished till now is making excuses because you don’t think you can, or that things as wonderful as that are only intended for “other people”. What makes them any better than you that they would be deserving of a great dream? NOTHING! The only difference is that they believe in a dream and takes the courage to pursue it. They believe they can (and maybe they’ve been more fortunate in that they’ve had loved ones who also believed it.) You don’t believe you can.

Maybe it is time that you start believing something else: believing that YOU CAN! Believing that you were called by name for SOMETHING GREAT! Believe that GOD LOVES YOU, not because you’re perfect but because you’re beautiful in His eyes (Isaiah 43:1). What has your fear achieved for you till now? Maybe it is time to chuck it out and remember the dream that has always been in your heart.

Maybe it is time for a change - time to leave fear and doubt behind!

In the second part of the video clip mommy fetches Shizam because he had tumbled over the side of the bed; out of her reach. She goes after him and gently lifts him in her mouth and puts him back in the safety of the bed and the warmth of the blankets that smell just like mommy.

God does the same with us. He watches our every move and He teaches us and helps us and guides us (Psalm 32:8). Whenever we stumble away from his protection He comes to get us and put us back on track; in the safety of His will for us. He always knows what is best for us and He watches everything that concerns us every step of the way (1 Peter 5:7). He knows exactly what we need and when.

Maybe you need to remind yourself again just how much He loves you and just receive it in your heart! Then start remembering the dream that has always been there since before you can remember. Then know that it is ok to dream it; it is ok to go after it, because if you stumble it will not be fatal. He holds you in the palm of His hand (Psalm 37:23, 24).

You can do it because He says you can. Maybe you need to start saying what God says about you! Only believe ... and the dreams that you dare to dream really can come true...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Dream Giver: Then he saw a sign

Then he saw a sign. It read: “Leaving the Comfort Zone of Familiar. Entering Border Land.”

Looking back over my own journey – especially over the past two years, I realize some of what I have learned.

One: Once you leave the comfort zone things will never be the same again. Even if you’ve wondered beyond the familiar and find yourself returning to that zone at a later time- for whatever reason – you soon realize that it is not as comfortable as it used to be. The thing about leaving a comfort zone is that it changes you – I know it changed me. The person returning to that place is not the same person with the same desires, fears, dreams, inhibitions, naive ideas, etc. And for this new person – what used to be comfort – is simply not comforting anymore.

I read a quote once: “A mind that has been stretched can never return to its former shape.” I have often thought of this and realized that it is very true in my own life. Once you’ve explored new horizons and been new places – whether physically, emotionally or spiritually – you change shape and you simply don’t fit into the moulds of yesterday anymore. Trying to fit can be rather confusing and very painful. I have found it best not to try, but to rather embrace the new and find the mould that you DO fit into.

Once Joseph’s beautiful robe was smeared with blood and torn it would never be restored to its former glory. Once Jesus hung on the cross things would never be the same ever again. Once you’ve left that job you would never know the same life that it was part of – even if you ever return to work for that company again later on. Once you’ve gotten married your life will change forever, even if you do get divorced at some point. Once you move to another country – even if you return at a later time – it is never the same again. What examples can you think of in your own life?

Two: You will see this sign several times during the course of your life; not just once. Every time when you’ve moved beyond it to somewhere unfamiliar, what used to be hard becomes easy(ier) and soon that unfamiliar place becomes familiar also over time. Then, when you make another bold move, you are in fact leaving “Familiar” again.

For me it is important to never stop growing. Change is not always easy, but it is the only constant thing about life. It is also adventurous and exciting. It is so easy to get caught up in the fear of the unknown that we forget to have an adventure. We should really learn to think about it like that more often. Life is there to be lived – to the full. Being afraid to make changes can cause you to lose out on a great deal of what God has in store for your life. He is not afraid because He knows it all, and where He leads us, is good because He is a good God and a loving father. We shouldn’t be afraid either. Even when you make a mistake, but your heart is with Him, He will help you find your way again and He still works it all for our good.

On the one hand certain things do become easier over time. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. However, the more we grow and learn, the more challenging it also becomes, but we can rest assure that God is always preparing us for what is ahead, and He will never allow anything that we can not overcome victoriously – with His help. Many have probably heard it: “His plan will never lead you where His grace will not sustain you.” I can testify of that. As long as God is in it with me, it will be ok.

We are never 100% ready, but we are as ready as we’ll ever be. The rest is faith and courage.

The further I travel on my journey I say: Take the leap when God nudges you! Don’t let fear cause you to be complacent. God’s dream for you is simply too wonderful to miss out on.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Dream Giver: when things don't go your way

I used to feel very confident about having the answers. In this season of my life, however, I find myself more than ever (or so it feels) not having the answers and I’m not always sure what to do with it. Part of me wants to do more than merely have faith, but I’m realizing that, at times, there is not a lot more to do.

In my search for direction and meaning I am reading The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson. I’ve decided to blog on it as I go along. I invite you to travel with me, participate in discussions and maybe even grow with me.

"Every Dreamer soon learns that the road to the future you really want is clogged with Dream-threatening obstacles. That is why so many turn back. But what many don’t realize – and what I missed for years – is that each obstacle is also an important opportunity. The obstacles come in a predictable sequence, and each for a very promising reason."

When I was 19 I had a dream – literally. I felt like God showed me a glimpse of what he has in store for my life. I started pursuing it with vigour. I had my upsets along the way but nothing deterred me from the purpose that I believed God showed me. I got involved in all the right activities and trusted God to promote me toward what He had showed me. All went well until I felt lead in my heart to put that dream on the alter – to stop doing what I was doing and that God wanted to take me on a journey of preparing me for even greater things to come. I felt (in part) that I had to choose between my own fame and obeying God. So I left what I was doing.

For several years now I feel that following God’s leading has been taking me further away from what I thought He showed me and because I’ve had this dream 14 years ago, there had been times when I’ve started wondering whether I’m not just an idealistic dreamer who wants it to be God’s plan so that my life wouldn’t seem to be a meaningless waste. I mean, everyone wants to believe that there is something wonderful ahead for them. Everyone needs hope; everyone needs a dream.

The hard part – and probably my greatest struggle right now – is when things seem to be working out for the worse and not for how you had hoped/dreamed. When you feel like you’ve missed the mark, like God has left the building and feeling that you’ve made a mess of everything. Over the years I suppose my dream has become vague, and at times, I have felt tempted to just let it go wondering whether maybe it wasn’t God but just my own foolishness.

But then I think on the quote from The Dream Giver.

God promised Abraham a son and then asked Him to sacrifice him. Where was the nation going to come from that God promised? Moses had a dream life in the palace before he killed an Egyptian soldier and lost everything he had; what was he thinking? Joseph had a dream of others bowing before him before he landed in the pit and the prison. David was crowned king and then had to flee for his life for years from Saul. Job was one of the richest men ever and lost everything and everyone that mattered to him. We all know the outcome, but at those junctures it certainly didn’t look like it could be God to the natural eye.

I do believe that God is in everything – especially when you are His child. In all of these scenarios one thing is a common thread – learning to trust God fully ESPECIALLY when you don’t understand; to trust that He is who He says He is and that He will do what He said He will do. In times like these to have faith in God’s character: His faithfulness and His love. Sometimes it is not our knowing the direction or the answers that gets us out of the wilderness but our faith that God will bring us out when there is no visible direction or answers – He sees and knows it even when we don’t and He makes roads in the wilderness and streams in the desert.

I think obedience is equally important, especially if you don’t know the way God is taking you – He does. It is wise to heed his guidance; and to trust that it will not come too late. At times in our lives we need to be busy with God and not the things of God.

When I know nothing else I hold onto these (amongst others):

Col 3 :15 – Let the peace of heart which comes from Christ be always present in your hearts and lives... i.e. Let the peace of God be the umpire in your hearts whenever you need to make decisions.

Jer 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good...! – GOD KNOWS THE PLAN even when we have no clue!

1 Pet 5: 7 – Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.

Heb 13:5 - ...for He [God]Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]

Rom 8:28 – And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into His plans.

We cannot please God without faith. It would appear to be one of the things that we never stop learning and growing in.