What happens when our dreams fade…

Sunday Scripture

What happens when our dreams fade… into different dreams?

I have always found comfort in verse 4 of Psalm 37: “Seek first the Lord your God and He will give you the desires of your heart”.

It sounds incredible, doesn’t it? Seek God, and he’ll make our dreams come true. That’s what my translation was.

And it’s true. God does give us so much, and many times He blesses us so that we can actually make our dreams a reality. However, I have found that this scripture has come to mean something very different to me in real-life application.

Before I committed my life to Christ, I wanted to be an actor.

God had blessed me with incredible opportunity and talent in this area, and so I figured that I had the “go ahead” from Him on this “desire of my heart”. So I devoted my first four years of college to refining my acting skills, learning how to act professionally and still make a paycheck, practice auditioning as an art form in itself as well as a way to land gigs, and building my resume.

Then I met the Lord Jesus Christ.

And slowly, day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment, my dream of becoming an actor just up and died.

I found that by the end of that same year I became a Christian, I had lost a tremendous amount of my desire to act. I didn’t even really care for it anymore and when I looked into what the future might hold for me, acting was not on my top priorities any longer.

But… I had always wanted to be an actor. Even as a little kid, God had blessed me with a flair for the dramatics; I would recreate and act out Disney movies with my friends and family constantly. Dress up and performance was my thing. It always was.

All of the sudden I didn’t really know what to do with myself. All of my friends who where my “acting friends” suddenly seemed like strangers; we no longer had anything to talk about or connect on. My professors and directors didn’t know what to do with me either and I was acutely aware of the disappointment I was causing those who previously knew me.

My dream was fading. It was dying. But why?

The answer is oddly simple. My dream of becoming an actor was indeed the desire of my heart, but the reason why I was not granted this desire (nor did I wanted to be granted it) was because I had never really gone after the first part of that verse….

“Seek first the Lord your God…”

Nope. Hadn’t done that until I really truly gave my life to Christ.

As soon as I became a Christian, God began to change and mold my heart, and in doing so, he altered the desires of my heart.

I no longer wanted to be an actor because it wasn’t what I was seeking first anymore; my priorities had changed, and so my dreams changed to include and become God’s dreams.

This is what truly happens when we seek God: His desires for us become our own desires because we are growing to become more and more like the men and women He intended we be.

If you are walking with Christ and seeking Him in all you do, you invite Him to change you. And He will.

Perhaps my new interpretation will be this: “If you follow Jesus, you’re dreams might fade, but rest assured that they will be replaced with a plan that is beyond your wildest dreams.”

How is God changing your heart’s desires? How have your dreams changed since you have come to know and mature in Christ?

On giving up…

let it go…

You may have heard people say things like “never say never” or “never give up” (woops! I just said “never” three times!), and they might sound like very motivated and dedicated people who inspire you beyond belief.

But the truth is, there are times when “giving up” is exactly what we need to do. Giving up will make us happier, healthier, and most importantly, more like Jesus.

There are probably a hundred things we hold dear that we don’t even realize are killing us spiritually.

Here is a list of 10 of them:

1. GIVE UP YOUR NEED TO ALWAYS BE RIGHT

To some of us, the idea of being wrong is terrifying. So much so, that even when it’s clear we’ve made a human error, we’ll never admit to it. There is always a price to be paid when we don’t let this one go. It might be an honest friendship, or even a job, or it might be that we loose our family’s trust entirely. Isn’t it worth it to just let go of that need to always be right?

Through James, God tells us that we must admit when we have done wrong or are wrong: “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed”. James 5:16

Do you want to be healed?

2. GIVE UP YOUR NEED FOR CONTROL

I’ll be honest; I struggle with this one…. Proverbs 3 tells us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.”

This means that we really don’t have any control over our own lives. We can’t even count on our own capabilities of understanding the world. We have to be willing to give up our need to always control everything that happens to us and around us. It actually takes the pressure off us if we know that things are out of our control!

The next time you feel like you’re obsessing or worrying over something that you can’t do a thing about, just breathe and know that you’re in good hands; God’s hands.

 3. GIVE UP ON BLAME

This is similar to giving up on control.

When we allow others to have power over us in their ability to make us physically do things, emotionally feels certain ways, or mentally go somewhere in our own minds, we put ourselves in a position where we may end up blaming someone else for our own situation. This is never helpful.

Even when people have done wrong to us, we must never blame them. What did Jesus say when the Jews killed him? Oh that’s right: He said, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34.

God tells us in 1 Peter 4:12 and James 1:2-4 (sequentially), that we should not only expect hardships and persecution, but that we must be joyous in each strenuous situation:

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.”

 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

4. GIVE UP YOUR DEFEATING SELF-TALK

Okay, this one I’ve been struggling for a long, long time, especially in regards to my body image and a few eating disorders floating around out there. Here’s what we need to understand:

God made us in HIS beautiful, glorious, incredible, and perfect image.

And how beautiful is this?

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be”. Psalm 139:13-16

In Isaiah 64:8, we learn that God has formed us like a potter does to clay. If we made us and we are the work of his hands, then how can we critique God? Who are we to say the pot needs new handles or a different shape?

Now, if you’ve done something wrong, then it’s okay to feel convicted by your actions, but this lasts only for a time. And frankly, it’s not God’s voice that’s telling you you’re no good; it’s Satan’s.

 Who do you want to listen to?

5. GIVE UP YOUR LIMITING BELIEFS

This one is clutch for Christians.

Do not doubt what you can or cannot do, about what is possible or impossible.

Philippians 4:13 tells us that “I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me.”

There is also a ton of stuff in the bible about doubting and having little faith. If you’re doing to doubt Christ, you cannot follow God. So stop limiting your beliefs with logic or hearsay.

It may not be logical; that’s why they call it FAITH.

6. GIVE UP COMPLAINING

Ephesians 4:29 tells us to “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

And don’t forget when James says in Chapter 5, Verse 9, “Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.”

Then God gets a little angry in Numbers 11:1:

“And the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes, and when the Lord heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp.”

There are plenty of examples in the New Testament, when Jesus gets downright annoyed that his apostles are always “grumbling to themselves”. It does no good. We really are doing ourselves a disservice by complaining. When we talk about something, it gives it life, and do we really want to give life to the most annoying things in our lives?

Probably not. So just stop talking about it. Really.

7. GIVE UP THE LUXURY OF CRITICISM

I don’t even have to add to what Jesus says in Luke 6:37-42:

 “Stop judging others, and you will not be judged. Stop criticizing others, or it will all come back on you. If you forgive others, you will be forgiven. If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving — large or small — it will be used to measure what is given back to you.” 

  “What good is it for one blind person to lead another? The first one will fall into a ditch and pull the other down also. “ 

 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, ‘Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.”

‘Nuff said, right?

8. GIVE UP YOUR NEED TO IMPRESS OTHERS

Stop trying so hard to be something of this world just so that the world will like you. Jesus doesn’t work this way.

Jesus tells us that if we are a friend to the world, we are an enemy to him. If we are impressing those around us, our treasures are here on Earth rather than in Heaven with him.

If we receive our reward here, then no reward awaits for us after life is finished.

In short, we need to impress Christ, not other people. Other people don’t hold the key to our immediate future, or ultimate Salvation.

9. GIVE UP THE PAST

Jesus was arguably the most present person who ever lived. He did not look on past sin in anger, and he did not let his anxiety of future events change his ability to be focused on life within the present moment. In turn, God wants us also to let go of any past wounds or bitterness we hold onto. He wants us to look for his presence within our daily lives, and press on, forgetting what lies behind us.

“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

If Paul let his past failures and wounds affect his journey by hanging onto them, he would never have been the great writer and teacher that he was through Christ. He would never have pressed on, determined to overcome future battles and struggles.

Our own memories can sometimes paralyze us. If we want to be like Jesus, we have to let go of the past and be newly created by him everyday. And this happens in the moment.

10. GIVE UP ATTACHMENT

First of all, Jesus tells us that rich men rarely enter heaven, so right there you should be thinking of freeing up some space in our pocket book by giving to those in need.

He also tells his disciples not to carry anything with them when they go out to evangelize; He doesn’t want them to be attached or dependent on anything except The Lord.

Now, this is extreme, but perhaps we are called to be a little more extreme in our faith…. When we are attached to the things of this world, we are essentially creating idols, which God hates. And his hate is fierce.

Galatians 5:19-21 reads,  “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Idolatry can also look very much like love. I have been guilty of holding those around me up on pedistals that only God deserves to be held upon. This also makes me have extremely high expectations because… well, unknowingly, I’m expecting these people to take the place of God.

If we idolize our spouses, for instance, we will also end up demonizing them because they won’t live up to our high expectations—expectations to fill places and heal wounds that only Jesus can.

When we attach ourselves to our jobs, our house, our car, our clothes or even our family members, we are placing our identity in things that have absolutely no meaning in comparison to what our identity should be placed in: Jesus.

“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Galatians 3:26-27

If our identity is in Christ, then nothing can alter who we are in him. Nothing can touch us!

What are some other things you need to let go of? What is God calling you to give up?