[Guest Post by Teryn O’Brien. I always appreciate it when people ask me if they can guest post, especially when they know they want to write about. I am encouraged to get to know Teryn and hope you will appreciate her piece. I can totally relate, by the way.]
Growing up, I believed if I followed my heart and believed in myself, all my dreams would come true.
Even in Christian circles, the thought persisted.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”
The context of Philippians 4:13 was often overlooked. I could do anything I dreamed; Christ would always help me.
In high school and early college, I had dreams that I felt for sure God wanted.
Most of them had to do with getting married. I wanted this so badly that I would often persuade myself God wanted me to date whatever boy I liked at the time. I’d become convinced we were supposed to be together.
God told me so.
(Lest you judge me too harshly, I had many friends who did the same thing, too.)
Yet so often, these dreams didn’t happen.
I had much heartbreak when I so adamantly believed God was telling me to date. I saw other friends’ dreams get crushed, too.
Just because we believe something hard enough doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. Hoping in something with all our strength doesn’t mean Christ is going to swoop in and help it happen.
Our dreams, our wants, our desires–sometimes God says no.
Whenever our dreams get upset, then we begin to doubt God. We begin to stop trusting. I’ve known friends who’ve walked away from God because of broken dreams.
“I thought God told me to do this, and I failed. God must not exist! Or He’s mean and spiteful.”
Why do people think like this? Because we grew up with the mentality I talked about at the beginning of this post. In America, God is often treated as a genie in a bottle who will grant our American Dream. When He doesn’t, we become disillusioned.
We forget that God is God.
We are not God.
Our hearts’ desires are not God.
The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it (Jeremiah 17:9-10, NASB)?
The heart is deceitful and wicked. Until we come to terms with our own human depravity and sin, we must question our motives when it comes to our dreams.
For so long, I told God what He should do.
I twisted Scriptures and His leading because my heart was deceitful. I wanted to be God. Time and time again, God said no. He said no so that I’d begin to learn to walk humbly before God and let Him shape my desires, my heart.
Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it (Psalm 37:4-5, NASB).
If we delight ourselves in the Lord and commit our ways to Him…then we learn to obey Him. We learn to submit our desires to God. But here’s the crazy thing: Because God is a God of love who has our best interest at heart (just read Romans 8:28-39), He knows what we really desire. The more we learn to love God, the more our hearts are changed and our true desires in Christ are revealed.
For me, none of the relationships I so desperately wanted have worked.
However, looking back I can see God’s protection.
When God says no, there’s a reason.
Right now, I’m living in Colorado, working in publishing, and learning that God knows me better than I know myself. I’m living the dream of my heart I had no idea was there, and it fills me with joy. God has placed me right where He wants me. He is using my talents for His glory. His dream is beautiful and good.
Every time I gaze at the mountains, I’m so glad I’ve learned to follow God’s heart, not just my own.
Commit your dreams to Him. It may take time, but you will eventually know that God does things beyond anything we could dream or imagine on our own (Ephesians 3:21).
Trust in the dream that He dreams for you.
You will never be disappointed.
Teryn O’Brien’s passion is to spur others on to the healing Christ’s unconditional love brings. She currently resides in Colorado Springs, CO, where she works in marketing at WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. She spends her free time roaming the mountains, writing a series of novels, and combating sex trafficking. Read her blog about Identity in Christ at www.identityrenewed.wordpress.
[Photo: Melina., Creative Commons]