March 3, 2014
Reviving an Abandoned Dream
"Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think." Ephesians 3:20 (NLT)
I sat on the couch during small group, dabbed the tears dripping down my face, and hoped the others wouldn't notice my emotional response to the message.
While watching a DVD teaching about God-given dreams, a tender, hidden spot in my heart was coming to life. It was uncomfortable. Scary, in fact. I wanted to move toward it and away at the same time.
The teaching wasn't on nighttime dreams, but rather those dreams that often start in childhood when anything seemed possible. And we were unhindered by the realities of genetics or abilities. We were sure to be ballerinas or fashion models, ignoring the fact that we couldn't do the splits, or that our height/weight ratio might be less than desirable for the runway.
Personally, I imagined the day my favorite band would invite me on stage. Hairbrush in hand, I practiced my moves and vocal range preparing for my big break.
That day at small group, the dream fueling my simmering emotions wasn't the desire to sing. For years another dream had been stirring in my heart, a dream that had been dampened by doubts and the logistics of adulthood. My dream was to write.
Pain and excitement mixed as I allowed the dream to come to life, much like a foot that's fallen asleep when the blood flow returns. Doubt whispered around every thought. Was this dream from God or me? Did I have anything worth saying?
My heart felt vulnerable every time I pondered the idea. If I told someone my dream, would they give voice to the litany of taunts in my head? I wondered. And yet the more I prayed, the more convinced I became that God was asking me to write for Him. When I finally accepted that truth, my attitude changed. Writing wasn't just an interesting idea, it was an assignment.
I wish I could say I immediately started writing. But I didn't.
Tucking the dream in my heart, I procrastinated. For months. Which turned into years. Thinking about my dream was much easier than acting on it, because it was going to take a lot of work and sacrifice. And there was always a handy excuse.
Until one Sunday, my pastor opened prayer time with these words: "God has asked some of you to do something and you haven't done it yet."
The Holy Spirit was playing the drums on my heart as I shifted from foot to foot. There was no question; God was calling my name. A flood of people headed to the front alongside me to address their own abandoned assignments.
My pastor's challenge was what I needed to shift from a passive to an active approach in my writing. To move from disobedience to obedience. To step into an unfamiliar world believing that if God had called me to it, He wouldn't abandon me.
God often gives directions through dreams. Yet, those can be the hardest to embrace because they seem too big for us to accomplish on our own. And sometimes they seem downright selfish. So we let them drift away.
But dreams are also how God increases our faith. When we step into active obedience of an audacious assignment, we see God move and do things only He can do. Our key verse shows that God has the power to accomplish any dream He gives us: "Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20, NLT).
It was 10 years ago when I embraced my dream as an assignment, and God has shown His power time and time again. There are still doubts and barriers to overcome, but my faith has grown each time God proves Himself faithful.
Did God put a dream in your heart years ago? Maybe your dream was to adopt a child or go on a mission trip. Maybe it was to open your home to neighbors or lead teens at church. At the time your dream seemed too big or came with too many barriers. Now it's a hazy memory.
May I offer the same challenge my pastor gave years ago? God has asked some of you to do something and you haven't done it yet. Will today be your day to accept your assignment?
Heavenly Father, thank You for giving me a dream to serve You and others through my gifts and talents. Help me see this dream as an assignment from You, and I ask for Your power to help me take the next step. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
If writing is your dream, join us at Proverbs 31 Ministries as we train and equip women (and men) in their calling. Visit COMPELTraining.com to learn more about our monthly membership program for non-fiction writers.
Reflect and Respond:
What dream has God put in your heart that you know is an assignment?
What next step can you take to obey God's calling on your life?
Mark 9:23, "'If you can?' said Jesus. 'Everything is possible for one who believes.'" (NIV)
© 2014 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.
Originally published Monday, 03 March 2014.