PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• This is Day 4 of a 7-part series “Things We Can’t Buy.” And today, we’re talking about Dreams.
Of the seven things we’re talking about this week, this one is one of the most challenging for me because I’m going to use one of the most misunderstood/misapplied verses in the Bible. But before we get there, I want to share a real story with y’all. If you know me personally, you may have already heard it, so forgive me for repeating…
In 2008, I quit my job in Corporate America. I was a single mother at the time and sick of office politics and wanted to do things my way. So I decided to freelance. I wanted to be more available to my son and have more freedom in my life. Despite my skill set, I had a huge problem. I didn’t know how to network or market myself. Monthly billing was torturous because I doubted my value. I undersold myself because I was afraid people think I wasn’t worth it.
Almost a year later, I was broke and my anxiety was at an all-time high. I didn’t want to go back to Corporate America and I felt like a huge failure. I was driving home from taking my son to school and crying when I saw a billboard for my bank. It said, “You don’t need a new dream, you just need a new direction.”
Y’all, God and I weren’t really on speaking terms in those days, but as I look back ten years later, I believe He put that in front of me. Because even when I pushed Him away, He still cared. He was still trying to guide me back to Him.
Shortly thereafter, my freelance writing gigs with Forsyth Magazines became full-time work, and my role eventually evolved to directing the editorial content for four magazines. And I loved every minute of it. A few years later, I got married. Eventually, I took another job, then resigned from that one in February to start my own business.
It’s been very different this time. And I now understand what God was saying to me through that billboard. I didn’t need a new dream. I needed a new direction. Let’s put a pin here and go to our verse for the day.
Psalm 37:4 ESV says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
This verse does not mean that God gives us any and everything we want. People want to focus on “he will give you the desires of your heart.” But God’s not a genie to grant three wishes. It starts with “Delight yourself in the Lord” and that means aligning yourself with Him. Focusing on Him. Wanting His way more than you want your way. And when we align our hearts with His, that’s when He comes through.
The motives of our dreams matter. If we dream for our own selfish reasons, God isn’t inclined to act. James 4:3 ESV addresses this, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”
But when we dream with the goal to follow God’s will, He comes through! Usually, in ways we don’t expect or see coming—because His ways aren’t our ways and He always has a better plan for us!
Ten years ago, I had the skills but I didn’t have the wisdom or more importantly, I didn’t have a heart aligned with God. All the dreams I had were selfish in nature. I have to laugh because my arrogant self walked out of that Corporate America job believing I’d have the next great American novel written in a year (yeah—don’t ask me the status on that one… I’ve learned that fiction writing requires more creativity than I possess).
Over the last ten years, my relationship with God has gone from indifference to lukewarm to on fire. His will is more important to me than my own. I want what He wants. I believe even ten years ago, God had a path and plan for my dreams. He was just waiting for my heart to line up with His. And in the waiting, He gave me the opportunity through the magazines to learn networking, marketing, make connections, and He helped me understand my own value.
Today, my business is based on honoring God. In fact, my signature verse for the business is Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” If He told me tomorrow to shut it all down and do something else, I would. Following Him has become my priority.
I’m not sharing all this to tell you that following God will lead to your dreams. Honestly, I’d pretty much given up on mine. I’m grateful He’s given me a Take 2 on this freelance life I love so much, and in the process, I still get to work for the magazines I love and I still get to work with the employer I left in February! My new direction wasn’t a new dream, but it was about getting on His path.
But even if His path redirects my dreams, that’s okay. Because I trust that His way is better than mine.
Today, as you pray, thank God for dreams. But thank Him that His plans are always bigger and better than anything we dream up ourselves. Ask the Holy Spirit to direct your heart. Ask Him to help you want God’s way more than your way. And ask the Holy Spirit to help you trust God with your dreams, your direction, and your future.