Trusting God with Your Dreams for the Future

The Trouble with Dreams

Spiritual Issues Arising from Dreams

  1. You can’t tell the difference between your own passions and God’s will. This is a tough issue! How do we tell the difference between what we’re excited about and what God wants us to do? Can our excitement be evidence of what God wants for us? Yes, I believe it can be. God has given each of us unique gifts and passions. He has put those gifts and passions in place so that he can use them. If you’re excited and passionate about something, don’t ignore that or instantly write off the feeling as selfish. Your passions may be calling you to do what God has given you a passion to do. However, you need to have a biblical drive for your passion. In other words, you need to have a sense of what biblical purpose your passion will serve. Passion isn’t an end in itself. It helps us accomplish something greater. If that “something greater” isn’t in the pages of Scripture, you’re probably dealing with a self-centered passion. And don’t dive into Scripture searching for a text to justify your passions either. That’s very easy to do. Instead, read the Bible with an open heart, asking why the passions you have are stirring inside of you. God is always faithful to speak to you where you are. Listen.
  2. Your dreaming stems from discontentment with the present. Often we dream about the future to escape from the present. If discontentment is the driving force of your dreams, that’s not necessarily a good thing. Sure, discontentment with things that are not of God is a good thing! But discontentment in light of worldly standards isn’t (e.g., you don’t have a big enough house, a nice enough car, the latest phone, a buffer of cash in your bank account). The latter needs repentance, prayer, and spiritual reshaping by the Holy Spirit.
  3. You dream in isolation. Do you talk about your dreams with others, with your spouse, with your friends, with your pastor? You should. Talking with others about your dreams does two things: (1) it enables you to work out the motives and means for achieving them, and (2) it gives you (honest) sounding boards who can confirm your gifts, question your motives, and encourage you to do what can seem terrifying. Dreaming in isolation is like driving with blinders on both sides of your face. You can see ahead of yourself; you can see what you want, but you can’t see the dangers or the oncoming weather that might threaten your plans. Don’t dream in isolation. Dream out loud in the company of those who know you and the God you serve.
  4. Your dreams do not involve your calling. Your calling is what God has given you passion and skill to do. Both parts are necessary. Passion without skill is a waste of time; skill without passion just leads to burn out. Pray about what God wants you to do with your passion and your skill, not just one or the other.
  5. You don’t pray about your dreams. If you don’t speak to God regularly and hear his voice in Scripture, you’re not going to dream with a desire to fulfill your divinely-given purpose. You’ll just dream about whims and wishes. It’s true that what you originally dreamed to do may not be what God has planned for you to do, but the sooner you make that discovery, the sooner you’ll be on your way to dreaming God’s dreams for your life. And there’s no substitute for that.

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