Monday, May 21, 2012

The Dreamer

I tend to dream big… too big, sometimes, with tons of details and specifics.  I’m not talking about what happens when I sleep, but the sort of dream where I imagine my future.  Sometimes I dream so vividly that I can feel what it’s like 100 steps down the path.  I can taste what I believe God has for my future the moment He gives me the first glimmer of an idea.  Some people say I’m a visionary.   That might seem complimentary, but the truth is, I become so focused on my vision, I risk stepping off of the path that God has for my life. 

Dreaming is a good thing.  I believe that God often places dreams and ambitions in our heart.   The danger comes when an intense focus on goals blinds us to curves that God places in our path.  In our minds, the course is firmly set and when the Lord asks us to move in a different direction, we’re no longer following His map, but the course we’ve plotted for ourselves.

I’ll give you an example.  Many years ago, I accepted a position with a company that offered tremendous opportunity for success and advancement.  Even while in the entry level position, I could see myself at the top.  I knew this was the path that God set for me and believed that he wanted me to flourish in this new role.  I loved the position and I worked extremely hard, but became frustrated when it seemed that I could move only a few steps up the proverbial ladder, rather than climbing all the way to the top as I had imagined. 

Finally, it occurred to me that God was calling me in a different direction.  Originally accepting the position was the right decision.  God used it to teach me many things that I needed for the journey.  The path was His, but the dream was mine.  He never intended for me to become wildly successful in that role, but used my time there to prepare me for serving Him in other ways.      

I’ve had to do some refocusing of late.  It has required some re-surrendering to Him and His plans rather than allowing myself to get caught up in my own ideas and agenda.   I’ve asked for His wisdom and discernment on which dreams are my own and which of them He has planted in my heart.  Truly, those are the only ones that matter.

I once heard a teaching that God wants to stretch us, but He does not desire to frustrate us.  Any time that we feel frustrated, it is likely that we are acting too much in our own strength and not relying on His power working through us. My husband who is in law enforcement likes to say, “That’s what we call a clue.”  I am learning to recognize that when I feel as if I am beating my head against the wall, perhaps I am doing something that the Lord never intended for me to do.  When I feel frustrated I’m learning to bathe the matter in prayer, to step back and re-focus on the calling He has confirmed for me.   

When I walk in His path and obey what He has instructed, sometimes I can only see my next step.  My visionary nature can imagine the final outcome, but I’m learning to relax knowing that He is responsible for the results.   If I think back, I almost never achieve a dream exactly as I’ve envisioned, but without exception, His end results taste even sweeter than anything I’ve imagined.

The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.
Proverbs 16:9 NASB

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