Are Dreams God-Given?

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve decided to start covering material here that prove more relevant to the people who read my books. Specifically I’m interested in covering topics that, while directly related to my book topics, was not addressed directly in the books themselves.

So with that in mind, I want to talk about dreams – not the dreams you have in your sleep, but the dreams (goals, aspirations, and desires) that you have in your heart. It’s actually the focus of my soon-to-be-released 5th book, Dream-Chasers: Living in Pursuit of a God-Sized Dream. But I realized recently that one of the assumptions that I made when my book was that most people would presume their dreams to be a good and God-given thing, something worthy of pursuit.

Of course I recognize that most people who would willingly purchase a book with a title like mine can be presumed to have some interest in successfully achieving their dreams. But since I have a little more latitude in this blog than I do in a manuscript, let’s take the time to answer the questions.

Are dreams godly? Are they God-inspired, God-given? Does God want His people to pursue their dreams?

I believe that the answer to each of these questions is YES. Now that isn’t to say that there aren’t exceptions to this rule, or that it’s possible to pursue dreams that run contrary to God’s will; but I believe that Christians as a whole are far too tentative about reaching out for the things they dream of achieving, because they don’t necessarily believe that God wants them to succeed.

But here’s the deal, when God first created mankind in the garden of Eden, He pronounced a blessing over them, and that blessing came with a commandment (Genesis 1:28). He told them to be fruitful, to multiply, to fill the earth and to subdue it. Then He gave them dominion. This is a point that I touch on in the book – that from the beginning of our existence as a species, God spoke His intent over us – that we should flourish and thrive.

That same intent is clear in the promise that He made Abraham in Genesis 12:1-2. He promised to make Abraham great. He desired to expand him, to bless him, and to help him achieve prominence in the world.

God did the same thing for Isaac, for Jacob, for Joseph, for Moses, for Joshua and Caleb, for Gideon, for Deborah, for David, for Solomon, for Jabez, for Esther, for Isaiah, for Nehemiah, and for countless kings and prophets. He took people out of obscurity, out of ordinary lives, and He pushed them to achieve greatness. Some of these people were hungry to chase after the purposes that God had placed over their lives, while others took some convincing. But each one of them was placed in their point in history for a specific purpose, to achieve something great.

In fact, if you read through the Bible you will find that the only times that God cast people down and thwarted their dreams were when they either 1) attempted to fulfill them in their own strength and for their own glory, 2) attempted to fulfill them in direct disobedience to God or His laws, or 3) attempted to fulfill them to the detriment of God’s people. The men who built the Tower of Babel, the wicked kings of Israel, and enemies of Israel all stand of examples of this truth.

But for the people of God, the ones who loved Him with all of their hearts, His pattern was (and has always been) to bless their efforts, to make their way prosperous, and to give them success. And the thing about this success that He gave to them is that it was never entirely “spiritual.” It always came with natural benefits as well. The men and women who pursued their dreams, who followed after God’s higher calling, ended up prosperous, powerful, and famous. Those weren’t their primary goals – their first desire was always to obey and honor God – but it can’t be denied that they reaped incredible natural benefits.

I believe that the truth that is so prominently displayed in the stories of the Bible is still actively in effect in our lives as Christians today. I believe that God has purposely planted us in this time and in this place so that we can be used to glorify and honor His name. Furthermore, I believe that the honor and the glory that He’s looking for from us doesn’t come from living out our lives in quiet obscurity. I believe that, just like the many men and women of the Bible, we are meant to make a violent impact on the world around us. We are meant to stand out, to be successful, to achieve impossible things. I believe it, because it is exactly what Jesus told us about our own potential:

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:12-13).

So if you have a dream in your heart, don’t dismiss it as trivial in the sight of God. Don’t assume that it is in conflict with His plan for your life. If you are willing to do things God’s way, to follow His direction, and to honor Him with your efforts, you have every reason to expect that He will make you a great success.

A word on Future Posts

I’ve been thinking a lot about this blog recently – about it’s purpose and it’s audience, and I’ve decided that I want to broaden my horizons a little bit. I’ve spent most of my time on this blog writing about writing (and the writing world). I still intend to write those posts, but I’m also planning to add to it.

You see, every time I write a book I end up with a lot of material on the cutting room floor (so to speak). There’s a lot to say on each of these topics, and the need to focus and edit my work generally means that much of that never gets said. So along with my posts on writing and publishing, I’m going to start writing additional thoughts on topics that are closely related to my books.

This will (I’m hoping) provide value to my readers, and give them a reason to come back and visit the blog after they’ve finished a book. 

God bless!

Paula

I’m not good at waiting

Here’s the thing – I’m not very good at waiting. I’m good at tasks, at procedures, and at anything that resembles measurable progress. Waiting … not so much. 

And that’s what makes this particular part of the book-writing process so incredibly difficult for me. My first draft is done. I’ve read through and edited it twice. I’ve sent it out to a small group of readers to get their initial reactions, and now I’m stuck (say it with me now) waiting!

This waiting period comes with a strange mix of emotions. After working for months to complete a draft, I’ve just recently gone back to read the whole thing from beginning to end. The excitement to see the complete (if not polished) work in front of me makes me want to hit “publish” already and get it out there. I’m excited to see my work in print, and I can’t wait to share it.

But on the other hand there is a nagging, gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach that this book isn’t going to be any good, that I’m going to discover that it needs a complete overhaul or a from-scratch rewrite. The lack (so far) of feedback from my beta readers has me on pins and needles. I’m  half-hoping that their response will be filled with nothing but praise and jubilation, and simultaneously half-convinced that they’ll discover major flaws, gaps, and problems that I, as an author, lack the perspective to notice.

And in the meantime I’m stuck waiting, which (I may have already mentioned this,) I’m not good at doing. So here’s a list of productive, useful things that I can start doing now in order to keep myself busy while I wait:

  • Create a list of things to do to keep myself busy while I wait
  • Start writing the blurb for the back of the book
  • Put together a media kit
  • Begin laying out and designing the book’s interior (using the current draft – I’ll swap it out for a final draft in the end)
  • Assemble and organize my front matter
  • Write my preface
  • Touch base with my cover designer, start talking about working on a mock-up
  • Work on the 3 other writing projects that I’ve put on the back burner while I’ve focused on Dream-Chasers
  • Assemble a list of people who should get a copy of the book once it’s published. Start collecting mailing addresses for them.

What do you do to kill the time? Is there anything I’m missing? Leave a comment below and let me know 🙂