We live in a noisy world. My world, like yours, is filled with people I love, people I care about and minister to, and responsibilities and obligations. In the middle of all that, it can feel difficult to hear my own heart's desires and the delicate whisper of God's voice. In light of that, I've learned the value of creating space to be with God and dream.
The Psalmist wrote, "You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing" (Ps. 145:16) and "He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him" (Ps. 145:19). Desire is a good thing. God placed dreams in your heart. Creating the space to consider those dreams is vital to becoming the person He intended. I like to think of it as dreaming in sync with the Holy Spirit.
At the beginning of my personal dreaming time, I spend significant time listening to praise music and worshipping God. This brings my heart into union with His Spirit and opens my ears to hear His voice more clearly. Then I use questions to help me clarify the dreams in my heart:
Is there a desire in my heart that keeps resurfacing? If so, could that desire be from God? It could be a desire to change careers or to study and further your education. It could be a desire to have children or to write a book. It could be a desire to go on a mission trip or to adopt. Whatever the dream is, you need to create the space to consider whether that dream is from God and what you might need to do to move forward.
What does God's Word have to say about that dream? This question keeps my heart focused on God's desires and not just my own. If I am able to answer this question positively, I can move on to consider my dream more carefully. If my dream is contrary to the Word of God, I need to nix it!
How does my dream enhance or encourage others? This question ensures that I am outwardly focused and not selfishly focused. God will always call me to dreams that will ultimately not only benefit me but also others.
What obstacles might I encounter? What will be my plan for overcoming those obstacles? For example, I know God often calls me to a dream that is bigger than my resources. Along the way, I will likely encounter discouragement while pursuing the dream. Knowing that, I need a plan for when the moments of discouragement come. My plan might include things like surrounding myself with a group of people who can cheer me on when the going gets tough. I might develop a "praise playlist" that will remind me of God's call to persevere.
What action steps do I need to take so I can move forward on realizing my dream? This question is imperative. If you don't develop a plan, you likely won't follow through, and your dream will never be realized. Think through and list specific action steps that will keep you on the road of transformation and progress. Find someone who can hold you accountable for your forward motion. What I've discovered is that the road to fulfilling my dreams is as important as the dream itself because God values the process of transformation in my life.
This week, my challenge to you is to set aside even a few hours to dream. I'd love to hear from you. Let's dream together. What is one desire that God has put in your heart?
Becky Harling, an author, certified speaker, leadership coach and trainer with the John Maxwell Team, is an energetic and motivational international speaker, inspiring audiences to overcome their greatest life challenges and reach their full God-given potential. Her most recent book is How to Listen So People Will Talk. Her husband, Steve Harling, is the president of Reach Beyond, a nonprofit organization seeking to be the voice and hands of Jesus around the world.
This article originally appeared at beckyharling.com.
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