“Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
(Ephesians 3:20-21, AMP)
“The Lord answered me: ‘Write down what I show you. Write it clearly on stone tablets so whoever reads it can run to tell others. It is not yet time for the message to come true. But that time is coming soon. The message will come true. It may seem like a long time before it happens. But be patient and wait for it. These things will happen. They will not be delayed.’”
(Habakkuk 2:2-3, ICB)
I have some friends in my life who have costumes for seemingly every occasion. These people are so much fun to know! But today, I feel like I need to raid their closets to see if they have any pom-poms. I bet they do! If I could do that, I would be waving them in the air squealing excitedly. I would tell you to keep pressing in. Keep pushing forward and focus on your dreams! Keep dreaming! You’re not too old and you’re not too young! You can do it – don’t give up! I believe in you!!!”
To begin, I think everyone at some point in their lifetime needs their own personal cheerleader. We all have had hopes and dreams. We’ve had ideas of things we would like to accomplish. But often, we let the demands of life and fear of our personal inadequacies come between the dream and the reality of seeing it accomplished. Sometimes we need someone who will encourage us to keep going toward those ideals for which we are hoping.
Chasing Your Dreams
This week, my husband was sharing about this very topic at church. He was telling about a God-given dream he had mentioned from the platform several months earlier. He told about how our pastors had encouraged him to pursue his dream. The first words he used to describe what they did was “pushed him” and then he corrected it to “provoked.” They had “provoked” him to pursue his dream.
Provoke One Another
The word provoked often has negative connotations associated with it. According to dictionary.com, it can mean, “to anger, enrage, exasperate, or vex” (Provoke, n.d.). I have two children, I was a teacher, and I have 3 brothers of my own. As a result, I completely understand this definition, and it is the first one that comes to mind when I think of the word provoke. But the next three definitions of provoke are my favorites. And these are the ones to which my husband was referring. Provoke (n.d) means “to stir up, arouse, or call forth (feelings, desires, or activity). To incite or stimulate (a person, animal, etc.) to action. To give rise to, induce, or bring about.”
For certain, our pastors had used their words and behaviors to stir him up to keep pursuing his dream until the dream came about. They didn’t just leave it to him to do on his own. They kept asking him about it. Our pastors told him that they were excited about it, and that they knew it would be amazing. They believed that he could do it. They believed in him and his dream.
My husband then shared a story about the prophet Elijah. This story is found in the Bible, in the book of 1 Kings. There was a drought in the land, and the Lord told Elijah to go to a specific brook near the Jordan River. God told him to drink from the brook, and that He had commanded the ravens to bring food for Elijah to eat. Elijah obeyed the voice of God. He drank from the brook. The ravens also brought him bread and meat in the morning and in the evening.
The brook eventually dried up, however, because there had been no rain in the land. The Lord then told Elijah to go to the village of Zarephath, where he would be fed by a widow. Elijah went to the town, saw a widow gathering sticks, and asked her for a cup of water and a bite of bread. The widow told Elijah that she didn’t have any bread. She only had a handful of flour and a little oil. She was getting ready to fix that last bit for herself and her son. After that they would die, since there was nothing else for them to eat.
Do Not Be Afraid
Elijah instructed her not to be afraid. He told her to make a little bread for him first, then to prepare a meal for herself and her son. Elijah stated that God had said there would always be flour and oil in her containers until it began to rain again and the crops grew. The widow followed Elijah’s instructions. 1 Kings 17:16 reads, “There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah” (NLT).
This part of Elijah’s story is spectacular. But Keith pointed out Sunday that if the brook hadn’t dried up, the widow woman and her son wouldn’t have had enough to eat. They would likely have starved to death during the drought. Elijah’s obedience to God’s command brought provision and life to someone else.
Your Dreams Impact Others
This struck me hard Sunday! I don’t know that I had ever thought of it quite that way before, and I made it personal. My obedience to God’s direction could lead to someone else’s breakthrough! God gives us dreams for a reason. They can be a blessing for us, but they can also bring blessing to others.
After church Sunday, there was a precious lady who approached my husband. She wanted to speak with both of us, and I joined their conversation as quickly as I could. The woman told us that she’d had dreams and abilities that had gone dormant in her life. She reported that as my husband had been talking from the platform about not giving up on your dreams, her own personal cheerleader kept elbowing her. She felt that the Lord was resurrecting those dreams within her. We had the opportunity to encourage her and pray with her before she left and I am now looking forward to hearing reports from her about the progress she is making toward her goals.
Don’t Give Up on Your Dreams
A couple of days later, I saw a post on Facebook from another person telling about how he’d had a dream. He wrote that he’d been told by a family member that he had believed in his dream all his life, but that maybe he’d missed it. After all this time, it was just time to move on. I found this announcement of defeat heartbreaking. I don’t know what all happened in his life to distract him from pursing his dream. Legitimately good, noble, or even responsible activities may have caused the delay, but to have your dreams squelched by someone else is regrettable.
Proverbs 13:12 reads, “unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick, but a sudden good break can turn life around” (MSG). Sometimes having a cheerleader in your corner provoking you to keep going after hearing what you know God has told you to do is just the break needed to awaken dormant dreams. Once you’ve got that jump start, write that dream down somewhere so that you will see it often and the dream stays alive.
Stand on the Word
You can also find Scripture that you can stand on as a source of encouragement. I saw a video of a friend’s daughter quoting Philippians 4:13. She is two years old, and her mom said that when her children tell her they can’t do something, she has them say their verse. What a terrific thing to train oneself to do! Anytime something negative comes into your mind telling you that you can’t do what God says you can do, quote Philippians 4:13, just as that sweet little girl is learning to do. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (NKJV).
There is a multitude of other great Scripture to encourage yourself in the pursuit of your dreams. One is found in 2 Chronicles 15:7. It reads, “But as for you, be strong; don’t be discouraged, for your work has a reward” (HCSB). Another favorite is found in the book of Psalms. “May He grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed. Might we shout for joy when we hear of your victory and raise a victory banner in the name of our God. May the Lord answer all your prayers” (Psalm 20:4-5, NLT).
Get a Cheerleader
Tell your dreams to someone you trust – someone who will encourage you and hold you accountable toward the pursuit of those dreams. Remember what the Lord has laid on your heart to do, and go after it! God gives us gifts and talents for a purpose, and Proverbs 18:16 tells us that those gifts open doors for us.
Finally, keep in mind that as long as you are living on earth, God has a plan for your life. Jeremiah 29:11 is my most favorite verse, and reads, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope’” (NLT). Your dreams can make a tremendous impact on your own life. Likewise, they can be the key to opening doors of breakthrough for someone else. God gives us dreams for a reason, and He wants only what is good for us. Keep pursuing your dreams. You can do it – don’t give up! I’m cheering for you!
For more encouraging words on expecting miraculous things, read the author’s article, Expectation.
Provoke. (n.d.). Retrieved September 19, 2017, from http://www.dictionary.com/browse/provoked
Photo Credit: (Step Out Into Your Dream) – A. Ray