Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dreaming big

I need some help here. (Yes, yes, okay peanut gallery. I'm being serious here.)

I know that God gives us dreams and visions for our lives (not just dreams while we're asleep, although he can do that too). So my question is, how do you know the difference between a dream birthed in you by God, and one birthed by your own desires?

I have a dream, one that I have had since I was about 9 or 10. It requires skills and gifts that I believe I have. It's something I believe that God birthed in me, but every time I've thought he was finally moving me forward towards fulfilling it, it hasn't worked out.

During the morning sermon this past Sunday, the preacher mentioned that God gives dreams and visions as a creative force. It's not just about showing us what his plans and purposes are for us. It's also about birthing hope in us, giving us something that will stretch us and give us something to work towards.

In my case, that has certainly proved true. This dream, or vision, has stretched me tremendously - this most recent time I think to the point of breaking. In fact, it feels like this last time I was stretched beyond the point of breaking, because now I have HUGE doubts about this dream. As I reflect on my past, I honestly don't know whether this dream is just a fabrication of my own desires, or one God has given me.

I need some answers. I don't know what to think. I'm not sure how to proceed. This vision burns like a fire in my heart. I have tried to ignore it, but I can't. The yearning in me simply won't abate or go away. I can ignore it for a while, but every time I just think I'm getting the hang of ignoring it, something comes along to remind me that it's still there. The minute I start to think about it again, it's there with the same intensity as before. I know I have the gift to achieve it, but now seems not to be the time or place.

For one thing, I'm not where I believe I need to be as a minimum in terms of my relationship with God to be able to even consider fulfilling my dream. I know that God alone has the ability to decide when someone is 'ready' to move forward in achieving the vision he gives. I know that I'm ALWAYS unworthy, but that God may choose to use me irrespective of that, because that way he gets the glory. Yet, I still don't believe that God would chose to use me until certain minimums are restored.

In addition, I don't see how, or rather, when, in my current situation, my gifts could be used, or my dream could be realised. Again, I know that God is able to work despite situations and circumstances, yet I still don't think it's going to happen in the current set-up because that would seem to violate God's other priorities in my life.

So I am thoroughly frustrated and confused. Thus, I want to know - how do you know? How do I know FOR SURE whether this dream is from God, or from my own heart?

The sense of loss and emptiness that comes from this dream being unfulfilled is overwhelming at times. I don't want to give up on it, but in order to stay sane, I feel I have to. If I knew FOR SURE that this dream was just from my heart, then letting go of it would be easier to do.

I could really use the advice of wiser, more experienced Christians right now. I could also really use the prayers of any who do so, that I could find the answers I need, not the ones I necessarily want.
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