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.

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