Your Dream. Your Anointing.

 
Dreams & Anointings.png
 

Dreams. Goals. Whether big or small, we all have them. We dream of financial freedom, breaking professional records, and traveling the globe to see some of the world’s many wonders. Some give their lives to fight for their dream of social justice, whilst some dream of marriage, children, and enough money to buy a house one day. We need our dreams to keep us motivated. We need our goals to give us direction. We need our dreams to focus us in times of adversity.

And whilst I am an advocate for dreaming, we also need to consider how our dreams can become our own worst enemy. We can get so obsessed with our dreams that we can easily miss out on the bigger picture. 

Unbeknownst to us, our dreams can become our identity. And when faced with letting our dreams go, it seems too hard to let go of all that we have invested and all that we have worked towards. In some ways, our Christian experience has not helped. Many of us have been taught that the spiritual life is instantaneous. Many of us learned to, “name it and claim it” and that we, “possess what we confess”. So we fixate on our dreams. We pray for our dreams. We ask God to give us all we need to make our dreams come true. We assume that the things we pray for, the goals we have set for our lives, are going to be given to us miraculously and quickly. And when our dreams don’t come to pass in the expected timing, we shut down and allow disappointment to drown us.

But there is weight given in the wait. There is wisdom, hope, and truth found as we embrace the process.

Look at Joseph. He may have been one of his dad’s favorite kids, but he was pretty much the runt of the family. In an age where the first-born son was given rank and honor, he was son number eleven, and far from the head of the pecking order. So who could blame him for lauding it over his brothers when he had a dream that he would rule over them? And while he had a dream to rule over his brothers, God had actually anointed him to lead, manage, and administrate a nation.

The road to this God-dream was tough. He was betrayed, sold into slavery, falsely accused of rape, and pretty much left to die in prison. But this was not the end for Joseph. When his brothers journeyed to Egypt during the famine, when Joseph’s dream of ruling over his brothers had come to pass, Joseph said to them, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” Genesis 50:20 (NLT) 

Back home in Canaan, I don’t think it ever entered Joseph’s thinking that his dream actually meant that thousands of lives would be spared from famine. I don’t think it had occurred to Joseph that there was a bigger dream, a God-given anointing on his life. And like Joseph, our dreams are never as big as our God-given anointing. Just like Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:20, God is able, “to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” It’s so hard to comprehend, but God can take a slave with a criminal record and turn him into second in command of a powerful nation.

But when a dream has been our motivation, our focus, and our inspiration, it can be too hard to it let go. We have made life-altering decisions for those dreams. For me, I gave up my home country and moved to the USA (a country I had not even visited) for my dream of being a TV and film producer. I removed myself from a career in the PR industry to start at the bottom in the TV industry. So when the time came for me to loosen my grip on my dreams, I fought back HARD. Producing was who I was. Producing was all I had sacrificed and worked for. My ability to shape a story, administrate a video shoot, and lead others was my identity.

I read in Chip and Joanna Gaines’ “The Magnolia Story” that Joanna knows what it is to let go of a dream. Before HGTV’s “Fixer Upper”, before creating a home design empire, before becoming one of America’s most famous interior designers, she owned a small home décor store called, “Magnolia”. She loved her little store and found a way to juggle motherhood and her dreams. But after had her first two children, she felt a nudge from God to shut her store to focus on her family. At first she resisted, but it wasn’t long until she relented and she loosened her grip on her company, “Magnolia”.  

Her story whispers hope to me. The once small store owner now owns one of the biggest home design brands in the USA. Their “Magnolia” empire attracts hundreds and thousands of visitors to Waco, TX and creates millions of dollars. Their show, “Fixer Upper” was one of the most successful on HGTV. And now they are launching their own channel! They’ve published multiple books, opened a big store, managed a successful real estate company, the list goes on and on because Magnolia is HUGE! 

Like Joseph, Joanna Gaines let go. She discovered that God’s dreams, God’s anointing for her was so much bigger than she could have asked or imagined. But the only way to get there was to loosen her grip and trust that as she obeyed God, everything would be OK. 

Sometimes we are holding on so tight that we are choking our destiny. Sometimes we have to get out of the way of ourselves. Sometimes we have to let go of our expectations, hard work, and dreams in order to move forward. My prayer today is that we follow Joseph and Joanna Gaines’ example. May we have the strength to lay down our dreams, to let go of the trajectory of our goals, and follow the One who wants to give us more than we ask or imagine.

Nothing Missing Nothing Lacking

It’s kinda cute when you watch those videos on YouTube of kids talking about what they want to be when they grow up. If you would have asked a five-year-old me, my profession of choice ranged from doctor to princess (married to Princes William or Harry of course). But our ambitions soon evolve from cute dreams to real-life goals. We figure out our strengths and weaknesses. I struggled with science in school and after confusing the word feces and fetus I finally realized my medical ambitions were over! We make career goals, which ebb and flow with our personal goals. We want to find our soul mate, whilst having financial stability and a fulfilling career. Maybe add a nice house, a good car, some little kiddos, and a strong community around us.

But many of us struggle to keep up with the timeline of our dreams. By the time we hit our late twenties and then into our thirties and forties, some are stuck in dead end jobs, some are longing for marriage, and others are dealing with bankruptcy. It’s so easy to feel like we are in lack and that our lives look nothing like what we had hoped or imagined.

In her book, Daring Greatly, Brene Brown writes about the concept of “scarcity”. She describes how we live in a culture of “never enough”. From the moment we wake up in the morning, we immediately tell ourselves that we did not get enough sleep, which soon slips into believing that we do not have enough time to get things done. “Scarcity thrives in a culture where everyone is hyperaware of lack. Everything from safety and love to money and resources feels restricted or lacking.” (Page 26)

Brene is right – scarcity is so embedded into our thinking that it is a discipline to consider that we are actually living in success and plenty.

2 Peter 1:3 says that God’s “divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.” The Bible is not saying that we are in lack, but in fact God has given us everything we need for life (money, skills, resources, housing, food, toys for the kids etc.) and godliness (the spiritual stuff so we can actually have a relationship with God and grow as spiritual beings). Everything. Nothing missing. Nothing lacking. We have everything we need.

And please note, the Bible is not saying that God has given us all we need to keep up with the Jones’, or even our projected life-plan. Yes, the Jones’ seem to have their life on track with their dreams; they have the money, the career, and the seemingly well-behaved kids, but maybe it’s time to let go of the expectations we have put on ourselves? For the sake of our sanity, maybe we need to let go of the time-sensitive agenda and be content with our little houses, or our frugal budgets that mean we can’t always buy organic produce? Maybe it’s time to surrender the dreams of annual family vacations and be happy with taking day trips to the beach or the mountains, and packing homemade sandwiches?

And as we shift our perspective, may we see that a lack of money, relationships, or career doesn’t mean we have failed or that we are inferior to others. Sometimes the seasons of tight finances, tough work environments, or pressured family relationships are about us recalibrating our hearts. It’s not that we deny the lack, but we surrender the shortfalls and choose to believe that our story is not over. We have been given everything we need to get through today and the next season is not too far away

So today, my prayer for us all surrender scarcity and embrace contentment. Our current situations are not forever. As we press forward, our lives will look oh so different in one year, five years, and ten years. Let us not look at what others are doing, let us not compare. Let us forgo our own expectations of our lives and let us look at the good, cherish the gifts, and let go of the pressure to have more. Let’s be a people who engage our hearts in the present rather than self-medicate on fantasies of what the future could bring. 

May we see that God has given us all we need for life and godliness! But may we also have the grace to accept that it might not be enough to keep up with the Jones’, or even our own expectations.

Complaining, moaning, and having a good grumble (Promises Part 4)

Many if us say we want to live with a real and honest faith. We say we are tired of the “fake it till you make it” mentality, so we can often pendulum into extreme negativity. We assume that by venting our frustrations we are living authentically. 

However, I have found that real and honest truth is not found in the midst of my circumstances. My circumstances often speak of my lack, insecurities, and fears. Everything on earth will chop and change. My emotions change. My bank balance fluctuates. My relationships ebb and flow. But God is my constant. God is faithful. My spiritual perspective speaks of hope, victory, and freedom.

So there’s something powerful about lifting our eyes up to God. There’s something life changing about tuning into God rather than allowing the wavelength of our circumstances to scream out. 

In the early chapters of Joshua we read the story of Jericho. This was the first city that the Hebrews were taking in their Promised Land. After centuries of slavery, and then decades of wondering in the desert, finally the Promise of God was here! 

But they still had to fight for the land. There was still going to be an invasion. There was still going to be battle. And as much as the Canaanites of Jericho were melting in fear (Joshua 2:24), there was still a risk that the Hebrews would lose. I mean, after all, they were a people accustomed to slavery and the wilderness. Victory would have been unusual.  

But instead of relying on their past behaviors, like stewing in disappointment, complaining, or building idols, the Hebrews did something unique; they tuned into God’s voice, listened to what He said, and they marched around the city in silence six times before raising their voices in a cry of victory. Instead of moaning, instead of succumbing to pessimism, instead of losing heart, the Hebrews obeyed God’s seemingly strange instruction to take the land. They decided to trust God. They took courage and chose to believe that God was leading them and that He was not going to give them over to defeat. 

And on the seventh day, the walls came toppling down and Jericho was won.

How many of us can learn from the Hebrews example? How many of us need to align our hearts with the Truth that God will never leave us or forsake us? How many of us need to overcome our own insecurities and listen to what God is leading us to do? How many of us need to raise our voice in praise and thanksgiving, rather than moaning and complaining?

As much as grumbling feels good, it hinders us from advancing forward. Trust and praise are keys to unlocking victory but negativity keeps us on an endless road of defeat. Our complaining prolongs God’s Promises but our praise releases His victory.

In the midst of the storm, we need to acknowledge who God is. We need to speak it out. We need to sing worship songs and lift our eyes to Jesus.  It’s not faking it because we are acknowledging the truth of who He is and who He has made us to be. 

So lift up your eyes. Look to the One who fights for you and is changing you from glory to glory. Look to the One who loves and empowers you. And watch as the walls that surround your Promise come tumbling down. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Unexpected Direction (Promises Part 3)

I’m sure I’m not alone if I say I often feel like I am walking along the road less travelled. And sometimes the hardest thing to do is to let go of the plan I have set out for my life and allow God to navigate me. When I see what I think is the quickest way to get to my promises, surrendering to Him is the last thing I want to do. 

We all get tired of the wait. We all get frustrated, exhausted, and disappointed. We want results and we want them right now!

But what if God is leading us on a safer road? Rather than exposing us to disaster, what if this road protects us from attack or intimidation? What if God knows the things that will terrify us and He wants to shelter us? What if this crazy long path we are currently treading is actually the most successful road to our dreams?

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