[Guest Post by Dawn Wilson. Even though we have many mutual friends, we actually met in Chicago at Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s first True Woman Conference. After we were formally introduced through Pam Farrel, we became friends and learned to encourage each other in our writing. She has known me since before I was published–and is a real and true friend. Please welcome her today.]
Over the years I’ve discovered dreams don’t just “happen.”
Three sets of choices helped me gain clarity and move forward and give life to my dreams.
They can give life to your dreams too.
First, stop comparing and start accepting God’s design.
We are not wise, Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10:12, when we measure ourselves against others. It’s foolish to compare because we are all uniquely designed.
For many years, I balked at becoming a speaker even though I was certain God was calling me to teach women. I pointed to the gap between my teeth and my fat ankles and prayed,
“Lord, don’t you see? I can’t be a speaker.”
I focused on women in speaking ministries who were slim and had perfect teeth. I didn’t fit the image.
A turning point came when I heard apologist Josh McDowell say,
“If you spend all your time being someone else, who is going to spend their time being you?”
I got it. I would reach some people that others could not. I suddenly believed God designed a special dream just for me.
When you are grounded in your identity in Christ, and then couple that with an understanding of your unique gifts, skills, personality, life experiences and life message–you will be better prepared to move forward into your dreams.
Then you can create a framework for those dreams.
“Looking at how you spent your time as a child can be eye-opening when it comes to discerning the dream that God placed on your heart. We most likely did things because we wanted to, not because we felt we had to” (Cindy McMenamin, When a Woman Discovers Her Dream).
Second, stop offering excuses and start creating plans.
You might have many reasons for why you haven’t moved forward toward your dreams, but there aren’t any good excuses. Sure, there might be some obstacles to overcome—we all have them!
Excuses paralyze us.
Your personal mission statement doesn’t have to be set in stone.
You can always make changes as your dream unfolds.
Desiring to launch a new ministry this spring, I shared my thoughts with my husband’s sister. Hearing clear evidence of “analysis paralysis” during our conversation, Jan challenged me to come up with a business plan for my ministry and she provided a simple template.
Armed with prayer, my mission statement and the worked-out business plan, I clearly saw what God wanted me to do.
Courageously, I took my first steps toward my dream.
Author Connie Cavanaugh describes this obedience process as “following God one yes at a time.”
When we stop making excuses, we’ll be open to new opportunities. Our thoughts will likely be clearer, unburdened and more creative. I also recommend finding or creating a wisdom network for insight and support as you move forward in faith.
Third, stop pleasing others and start pursuing God.
Paul understood the struggle (Galatians 1:10). Are we trying to win others’ approval or seeking to please God? We want acceptance. Approval. Even accolades. But whose opinion really matters? Our primary audience must always be Father God.
The Psalmist counseled, “Don’t be wise in your own eyes” (3:7). Trust God for direction (3:5-6). Where you put your confidence will shape how you make your choices, so pump up your God-confidence! Pam Farrel explains in Woman of Confidence: “Show me the size of your God, and I will show you the size of your confidence.”
I would rather pursue God’s dream for me than any lesser dreams.
I’m on an adventure with Him!
Dawn Wilson, founder of Heart Choices Ministries and the co-author of the devotional, LOL with God, is the San Diego chapter president for the Network of Evangelical Women in Ministry (NEWIM). She encourage women of all ages to think biblically and make wise choices. She and her husband Bob have two married sons, three granddaughters, and a maltipoo named Roscoe.
[Picture: ePi.Longo, Creative Commons]