“By faith, barren Sarah was able to become pregnant, old woman as she was at the time, because she believed the One who made a promise would do what he said.” Hebrews 11:11 MSG
We are born dreamers.
As children, we see the world around us and dream about being a part of it.
We dream about what our place in the world will be, what we will do, and who we might become.
The dreams revolve around us and what it will mean for us if those dreams come true.
As we grow up, there are some dreams that hold onto us more than we hold onto them.
It is those dreams that feel devastating when they shatter and remain unfulfilled.
We put them in the realm of impossible.
When the Lord told Abraham that Sarah would give birth, she overheard it and laughed (Genesis 18:11). She laughed not because she thought it was funny but because she thought it ludicrous. The dream of having children probably died when she was in her 60s or 70s. She had accepted her barrenness.
My friend, God often challenges what you have already accepted.
He will speak a word to you that seems impossible.
Something that seems ludicrous.
Something that you gave up on and now He is asking you to pick up again.
He is asking you to dream again but this time to dream it differently.
How? By placing your hope not in what the dream will do for you but in what God wants to do through you.
God asked Sarah to dream again. She knew she could not make it happen, she already tried. But somewhere deep inside she chose to trust God to do the impossible.
My friend, put your hope in God today.
And when He calls you to believe in the ludicrous dream again, say yes.
“The life you THINK you want could be stopping the life God MEANT for you to live.”
– Matthew Barnett
“So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There is nothing in it, nothing at all. The best thing to is to give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go! This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It is adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike, ‘what’s next Papa?”’.
Romans 8:12-15 MSG
Having dreams and goals are vitally important to help us make choices, take the right opportunities and say no to the wrong ones. But even “the dream” can become an idol when we refuse to surrender it to God. We can easily slip into a habit of worshipping the “what if” and “what may be” or “what I want it to be.”
When you are tending regrets and spending all your energy in the cemetery of unmet needs, goals or dreams, it is difficult to participate in a new life in Christ. The verse above is worded in the immediacy of now and is a moment by moment adventure.
When God sends you a vision of your future, it is to get you moving in the right direction. When He lays a burden on your heart it is to pull towards His purpose for you. He does not lift the call, but He will refine and redefine it constantly.
“What’s next Papa?”
I will leave this “dream” in His hands. I will live in anticipation of fulfilling it daily in any way He chooses and in the opportunities before me. I will give the past a decent burial, even the good things that never happened. Those are trickier, I think.
I don’t want anything less. I will get up and walk out of this emotional cemetery and with a skip to my step ask God, “What is next?”.
What grave have you been tending? What is the “dream” that is holding you back from being fully present in the beautiful life Jesus has for you?
Whether specific or general, you have made plans for the future.
When you are hopeful, those plans are exciting.
When you are stressed, those plans are surviving.
When you are discouraged, those plans shrink to the bare minimum.
God continually wants to expand your perspective and challenge the boundaries of your possibilities. Most of the time it is because they are too limited.
“What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”
Mark 9:23 NLT
Sometimes your “ifs” are not because you doubt God but because you doubt yourself. You are judging the possibilities of the future based on what you can do and God is asking you to judge the possibilities of the future based on what He can do.
I’m asking God to blow your mind and give you a glimpse of His purposes and plans for your future.
I’m praying that He will expand the boundaries of what you think is possible and take the limits off what you think God can do in your life.
What possibilities do you have that need rethinking?
How are you limiting God’s work in your life?
What do you need to do today to bust it wide open and begin dreaming again?
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
John 11:43-44 NIV
Lazarus was dead. His body wrapped tightly in grave clothes and laid to rest. The world had already moved on, the end of the story already written. It was over.
But the story was not over for God.
Just when Mary and Martha thought that it was too late, Jesus came and did the most unexpected thing: he raised Lazarus from the dead. He had someone roll away the stone and then called him out.
In one of the most remarkable passages of scripture, Jesus speaks to death and it is defied. It is powerless before the commanding Word of the Son of God.
You may think that your story has already been written. That it is over. That where you are right now is where you will always be. That your usefulness, your marriage, your ministry, your job, your purpose, your hopes lay dead and lifeless at your feet.
Jesus still defies death. You may think the story is over but God doesn’t.
He will call life from where death prevails and unbind the grave clothes the cling.
He will call your name, remind you who you are and whose you are.
He will change the ending.
He will resurrect relationships, restore callings, redefine life as you know it and move you into the light.
The story of Lazarus is more than an example of a miracle, it is a proclamation of the power of Jesus to raise the dead and reminder to us today that all death means nothing in the light of his love.
When fear rises up to tell you that your story is already over, begin to loudly proclaim that in Christ your story has only just begun.
I find that being in a relationship with God has challenged me to do things I thought I never would and has expanded the borders of what I thought was possible in my life.
It also has taught me to not hold on too tightly to my plans and brainstorms. To hold it all gently.
Some ventures have worked, some have not.
“We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but GOD ’s purpose prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21 MSG)
The wonderful thing about being in a relationship with God is that while our plans don’t always work out, God always works His purpose through them.
My faith has emboldened me to try and trust and risk. Because of it, I don’t have many “what if’s” in my life.
I do, however, have a whole bunch of “oh well’s” and I am thankful for every single one of them.
No, they didn’t work the way I thought they would but God did a work in me through each one of them.
Go ahead risk a bit, bite off more than you can chew and take the initiative to dream.
But hold it all with open hands and an open heart. There is nothing wrong with making plans, or lists or dreaming of a better way to do things, just don’t make them idols to worship or gods to bow down to.
Worship the one and only Almighty God and live every day to the fullest in Him.
Oprah has trumpeted the virtues of keeping a “gratitude journal” for years. I don’t have one and probably should start one (…yea, that is not going to happen). However, I do need a way to remind myself to begin with gratitude. Make it my starting place and the launching pad. I came across this verse today and it just blossomed inside like a beautiful rare flower:
“Thank you! Everything in me says “Thank you!” Angels listen as I sing my thanks. I kneel in worship facing your holy temple and say it again: “Thank you!” Thank you for your love, thank you for your faithfulness; Most holy is your name, most holy is your Word. The moment I called out, you stepped in; you made my life large with strength.” Psalm 138:1-3 MSG
This is the true secret of “living large”. It isn’t about outside income, it is about inside strength. Strength that comes from worship, the word and unique joy thank comes from beginning with gratitude. It makes room in your heart for faith. Gratitude pushes aside the doubt that lingers and changes your perspective to that of abundance instead of lack. It opens your eyes to see the possibilities instead of the problems. Where worry constricts your heart, worship expands it.
I was perusing through my mailbox this morning and I came across a post from one of my favorite blogs, Live to Write. A line that Diane Mackinnon(one of it’s authors ) wrote in her post about living your writing dreams caught my attention:
“Start by wanting what you already have.”
Isn’t that beautiful? Diane suggests making a list of things you want in your life and starting it with things you already have. She always starts her list with “a good cup of coffee.” (I like her already)
1. I want a good cup of coffee ( I have coffee!)
2. I want …
“Start by wanting what you already have”.
What a great way to start ….everything. It is simple. It is so simple that we often overlook it. We skip it like we skip breakfast and move right on to worry and doubt like it is our job.
It is amazing how freeing it is to open your heart with worship, to open your soul with thanksgiving. It is more than amazing, actually, it is vital for your life.
Start living large, my friend… You were made for it.