What dream hides in your heart? What did you want to be when you grew up? Has it come true, or is your dream still waiting?
When God gives you a dream, it won’t die. He planted it there and covered it with his timing. Some dream seeds sprout and grow quickly. Other dreams take a long, long time to see the light.
My dream was to be a writer. As a teen, I received confirmation that my dream was from God. I won contests, earned scholarships, and gained praise from peers and teachers. But that wasn’t the confirmation I needed.
When I was sixteen, I attended a James Taylor concert. Feeling deeply moved by the lyrics, I wondered if my written words would ever touch people so powerfully. Then I heard God whisper to my heart: “You will be a writer.” I kept that promise and held it inside.
Life got in the way of my dream, as it does for so many people. My husband and I married while we were both still in college, and debt piled up. I got a menial job answering phones and filing papers. The job didn’t fulfill my dream, but it helped pay the bills.
Three years into marriage, we got pregnant with our first child. I was so happy to be a mother. But the dream gnawed at me in the night. I remember begging God not to let my dream slip away.
Two more babies followed. I just kept writing in my journals, like I had since I was eleven. I filled up book after book. I was okay with putting my dream on hold when my children were very young. I read books that promised the time to pursue my dream would return when my children were older. I clung to the hope that my dream hadn’t died.
In 2010 I began blogging. I wasn’t very good at first, but with every positive comment, I gained confidence. I blogged for a few months, then lost momentum. I started a new blog, then lost interest. I felt discouraged in my dream pursuit.
Around that time I began an in-depth Bible study of the Old Testament. The story of Joseph in Genesis 37-50 resonated with me. God had given Joseph a dream when he was a teenager, but he had to wait more than a decade to see it come to life. He had to endure rejection and unfair treatment, and all his pride was stripped away in prison. Only after all that hardship did God fulfill the dream.
Joseph’s story made me take a hard look at my dream. I compared notes. God gave Joseph the dream—Joseph didn’t conjure it up on his own. God had given me the desire and talent to write, but he also gave me a unique promise at that concert. It wasn’t all about my own desires, and that gave me hope.
I also noted that Joseph’s character was refined between the time of the dream and its fulfillment. God stripped away Joseph’s arrogance and self-confidence. He gave Joseph opportunities for greater trust and obedience. I realized that my times of overqualified employment had humbled me. I couldn’t ascend to the top like I had in high school and college. I had to endure the humbling process of starting at the bottom, so I wouldn’t feel like I deserved my dream’s fulfillment. I needed to receive it as a free gift from God, not something I earned.
Joseph’s dream fulfillment was also for the good of many people. Sure, he got to enjoy the perks of being Egypt’s second-in-command. But the purpose of Joseph’s dream was to save millions of people from starvation, especially God’s chosen people—Joseph’s family members. The dream God planted in Joseph’s heart had greater meaning than personal fulfillment.
I thought about that for a long time. If God had given me the talent and ability to write, along with the promise I would be a writer, it must be for the good of other people. If my dream came to life, I would naturally feel fulfilled, but I had to focus on serving other people through my writing.
Once I grasped hold of that concept, the path to dream fulfillment began to take shape. When my blog posts took on more of an “I’ll help you” than “I’ll hog the spotlight” tone, I began getting more feedback and more traffic. I received more affirmation that I was on the right path toward fulfilling my dream, and I self-published a few devotionals meant to help others grow.
In May of this year, I quit my job to work full time as a writer. Twenty-three years after hearing God’s promise at that concert, I am now living my dream. God never forgot that dream he planted inside me. He humbled me and taught me to trust in his timing while we waited together.
I don’t know what dream God has given you. But I know you can trust that he will bring it to light in his perfect timing. Keep asking, seeking, and knocking. Keep your dream alive, even in small ways (like I did by writing in journals). Keep hoping, waiting, and watching. One of these days, God will let you know when you’re ready to pursue it, as you walk closely with him.
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