Are you living your dream— or just living your life?
In his book, The Dream Giver, Bruce Wilkinson tells a parable about a character named Ordinary who lives in the Land of Familiar. Ordinary struggles leaving Familiar to pursue his Big Dream. Only with the help of the Dream Giver does Ordinary begin the hardest and yet most rewarding journey of his life. Pursuing his dream changes him. Ordinary, a Nobody, becomes Somebody as he discovers that all things really are possible with God, and there’s no limit to what God, the Dream Giver, can accomplish, when we choose to pursue the dreams He gives us for His honor.
Once Ordinary became aware of his Big Dream, his hardest decision came when he said “YES” to the Dream Giver and decided to pursue his dream. You see, Ordinary had to face his fears as he left his comfortable life in the Land of Familiar. He encountered opposition, there were Giants he had to fight. There were times when his dreams seemed hopelessly out of reach and Ordinary wanted to quit, to give up, to throw in the towel. As his faith was tested and strengthened, God was building his character. As Ordinary continued saying “YES” to God, he surrendered more of his life to God.
Lysa TerKeurst said in her book, The Best Yes, :
“Whenever you say yes to something, there is less of you for something else. Make sure your yes is worth the less.”
“The decisions you make today matter. Every decision points your life in the direction you are about to travel. No decision is an isolated choice. It’s a chain of events. If you choose wisely, your future will reflect that. But if you don’t choose wisely, the decisions you make now will take you to places you don’t want to be later.”
So how do you and I make wise decisions?
The Bible has a lot to say about wise decisions. In fact, James 1:5-7 (NLT) 5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.
Did you catch that?
And undecided person must not think he will receive anything from the Lord. Indecision keeps you from God’s best. In other words, if I can’t make up my mind about what is really important in life, then I am limiting God, courting disaster and missing out on God’s best for my life.
Our dreams determine our dignity.
Our decisions determine our destiny.
Our choices determine our character.
God gave Moses the dream of leading the children of Israel out of 400 years of slavery, but Moses had to make the decision to confront Pharaoh. God gave Noah the dream of saving the world from the flood, but Noah had to make the decision to build the ark. God gave Abraham the dream of building a new nation, but Abraham had to make the decision to leave everything he had and go out into the unknown.
Just like these men, you will never realize God’s dream for your life until you come to the stage of decision-making and step out in faith. Whether it’s about your career, marriage, finances, health, or children, there is a simple, workable plan for making biblical decisions that will keep you on track toward pursuing God’s Dream for your life.
RICK WARREN gives us Six Steps for Biblical Decision-Making
- Pray for guidance. Before you do anything else, get God’s perspective on the issue. “A man is a fool to trust himself! But those who use God’s wisdom are safe” (Proverbs 28:26 TLB).
- Get the facts. There is no contradiction between faith and fact. Find out everything you can before you make a decision. Proverbs 13:16 says, “All who are prudent act with knowledge” (NIV).
- Ask for advice. Talk to somebody who’s made a similar decision and friends who know your weaknesses. “The more good advice you get, the more likely you are to win” (Proverbs 24:6b GNT).
- Calculate the cost. Every decision has a price tag; it will cost you time, money, energy, reputation, talents, and resources. Proverbs 20:25 says, “It is a trap to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider one’s vows” (NIV). When people pressure you to make a decision, it’s OK to say, “I’ll get back to you.” It’s more important to make a wise decision than a quick decision.
- Prepare for problems. In faith, expect the best. Expect God to work in your life. But also prepare for the problems that are part of every decision. Solomon said in Proverbs 22:3, “A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences” (TLB).
- Face your fears. Perfectionism paralyzes potential. God has always used imperfect people in imperfect situations to get his will done. Ecclesiastes 11:4 says, “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.” Like Ordinary, you have to trust God and start moving in spite of your problems, fears, and doubts.
Philippians 3:8 (ESV)
8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ
Your dream will never be fulfilled unless you’re willing to pay the price that comes with it. And that price is paid not once, but over a lifetime:
First, there’s the initial cost. Then you will have to make personal and sometimes painful sacrifices. You may have to walk away from attractive options and valued relationships because they don’t fit into God’s plan for your life. Some relationships are toxic and need to go so that God can bring you closer to Him and closer to your Dream. Leaving things that have given you your security and your identity will require grit and grace that only God can provide.
The Apostle Paul had quite the résumé. He was “of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews…a Pharisee” (v. 5 NIV). Paul once had wealth and status. Scholars reckon that when he committed his life to Christ, as was customary, his friends and family would have held a funeral service and considered him “dead” to them from that point forward. Paul’s calling was to cover Asia with the gospel and write half the New Testament.
Great assignments call for great sacrifice.
So the question is:
Are you living your dream— or just living your life?
Have you counted the cost and are you ready to pay it?
You are not an accident. You are one of a kind. Your Big Dream is from God. Its irreplaceable. You were born for this moment, for this place, and for this time to seize your Dream and celebrate it every day of your life!