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.

A Longing Fulfilled

I talk to a lot of people who would describe themselves as being in a time of “waiting”. It can be a hard season, where you struggle to accept the longings of your heart and it’s too easy to fall into comparison and disappointment. Some people are waiting for their bodies to be healed, some are waiting to meet their spouse, some are waiting to be free from the label ‘infertile’, some are waiting for family drama to subside, while some are waiting for their finances to increase. The list is endless but the frustration in that time is real. 

This season is not unfamiliar territory for me. I didn’t get married until I was 32 (and I wanted to marry from the moment I was born!!). After that, my husband and I walked through two years of recurrent miscarriages. And on top of that, my husband’s career experienced many bumps in the road! No matter what I was “waiting” for, whether marriage, children, or financial stability, people would try and encourage me to not give up on God. I was confused, disheartened, and sometimes angry. And a common piece of advice I’d receive was, “God will give you what you want when you’re not looking for it”. These people were well meaning, but instead of feeling encouraged or empowered, I felt like their words punished me for having dreams and heart’s desires.  

I understand that for some, their heart’s desires become an obsession. But a big indicator of the health of dreams is how they are affecting our behavior. Are you stabbing coworkers in the back to climb the corporate ladder? Are you embezzling money to build your business? Are you abandoning your own beliefs in order to find or keep a date? If the answers to these questions are ‘no’, then you can be confident that you are not dominated by your heart’s desires. Your prayers, your wants are not destroying you – in fact they may have been given to you by God so that He can lead you in the path that He has for you! Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33, NKJV). This is incredibly practical advice! He’s saying that as long as you are putting God first (His values, His love for you, His love for others), everything will be given to you. Heck, HE WANTS TO GIVE IT TO YOU! 

In the book of Proverbs, it is written, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12, NKJV). Hmmm…. That’s interesting. It doesn’t say, “Stop desiring, stop hoping, stop longing, because only then can you be given what you want.” No! The Bible actually acknowledges that delayed hope, delayed dreams make your heart suffer. BUT WHEN IT COMES, IT WILL BE A TREE OF LIFE. 

My husband loves trees. He always notices them wherever we go. Whilst I am glued to the GPS on my iPhone, he’s taking in the clouds in the sky and the trees that surround us. He often tells me that trees are a firm part of our landscape. Trees don’t just come and go like little plants, they grow over years and decades, and remain for centuries. And trees don’t need much care. They soak up the sun, absorb the rain, and do what they do during all four seasons. And they are a shelter. You can hide under a tree and find shade. I should probably pay more attention because my husband’s right - trees are awesome!

And we rarely consider how long it takes to grow a tree. They slowly grow roots into the earth and with equal speed, grow upwards. It takes decades for a tree to be established. And the answers to our prayers can often come at the same pace.  

But despite their tarried arrival, when our heart’s desires arrive, the things we have longed for, they will be a longstanding shelter and shade in our lives. They won’t be high-maintenance areas of our lives that constantly need tending. Our heart’s desires will be a place of rest, a place of peace. They will be a tree of life! 

So don’t fight your dreams. Stop feeling guilty that you want marriage, children, a career, family reconciliation, or financial gain. These are all good things. Just seek God first and let everything else be added, because when they come, they will be a tree of life.