Isn’t technology a wonderful thing? With this small rectangle I can call someone, text someone, check my bank account, have photos of my kids, videos of my kids, can book a movie, view a menu, watch youtube, listen to Spotify and get directions when I am driving.
A few years ago, it feels like back in the olden days now, before I had a phone like this, when I would get lost, I would be LOST. I would have to rely on maps, which is not an application on your phone, but a piece of paper with squiggly lines and squares and street names and on friendly service station people.
Now days, you just need to pull over and click on the app button and boom. It can even use your location to pin point right where you are.
But have you noticed, when using this app we see the map just as we are. Just our little square of location. But God can zoom out and see the whole map. He sees every part of your journey. He sees where you are today and the final destination and everything in between.
Today we are going to explore what it looks like to wake up and live your dream.
Dreaming can be a lot like driving or going on a road trip and today I want to give us 5 ways to wake up and live our dream, to awaken a fresh sense of vision for our life and the potential that comes when we are awake on the inside.
Each of us are wired in different ways by God for a reason, which means that no two dreams are wholly alike.
What may be a dream for me may seem like a nightmare for you!
Your dream might be involve a specific career, a ministry, a relationship, a way of life. It may be to travel the world, to go to university, to be an entrepreneur, own your own home. You may dream of being famous, of “making it”, of being successful, of changing the world. You may dream of being married, having kids, being a grandparent. Your dream might involve being happier, more stable, more settled, more joyous.
Whatever it looks like and more importantly however you define the success of your dream it’s important to begin with that acknowledgement that God is the dream giver and the dream fulfiller and that He is at work in our lives on a much larger scale than our own personal agenda and happiness and that what matters today is not perfection but progress.
- Cry out to God
Do you know what your dream is? Do you have a direction you’re going in? Do you know where you want to be in 10 years?
Direction determines destination.
We need to pray for vision and direction, that we would wake up and have a sense of the purpose of God for our life. Each one of us here on this earth on purpose, with a purpose. You are part of the extraordinary plan of God and everything we do is part of that great plan.
When we awaken to that purpose we point our lives towards a dream, towards a destination.
Some of us are born natural dreamers. Some of us are born again natural dreamers. On the night I became a Christian, in a shearing shed over Easter 1993, I knew that I wanted to preach. I pointed my life in a direction, awakened by God to change the world and to raise up a generation to know Him and make Him known.
However some of us may feel like you’re not really sure what to do. It can be frustrating feeling like you don’t have a dream. It can be disorientating not knowing what direction to point your life in.
Let me first remind you, it’s not about doing. We’re not human doings we’re human beings. Life is about being, it is about becoming the person God wants you to become. It’s not a question of being the “right person” or having “the right background and qualifications”. No, you are more than a list, more than a statistic. You were designed– handcrafted, by the greatest Dreamer there ever was.
Remember also that your life is NOW- don’t pin all your future on discovering the dream and then acting upon it but LIVE now. Don’t wait for the dream but live NOW. Dreams can be discovered as we live each day at a time and making the most of the opportunities around us and using the gifts that God has given us. Dreams often unfold as we walk with God.
Proverbs 29:18 says where there is no vision the people perish – another version says where there is no vision the people cast off restraint.
Vision restrains us and keeps us focused. It keeps our eyes on the big picture. It keeps us motivated and intentional. When you’re pursuing a dream you’ll go the extra mile, you’ll sacrifice and you’ll do whatever it takes. When you don’t have a destination to point to, it can be as I said, frustrating and lead to a sense of hopelessness and complacency.
For me continued passion for my dream has always being found in my relationship with God, in a living real conversation and connection, cultivated with prayer and with the Word of God.
Every dream for natural born dreamers and those frustrated by the shadows of dreams begins with crying out to God, personal awakening to His purposes to and through us.
In Exodus 3 we see the beginning of a journey from slavery to the promised land by Israel. This epic adventure is – as well as being historical – is a story that can give insight into the journey we face following our dreams.
The journey begins with God calling Moses in response to His people crying out for change and intervention in their slavery.
The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” Exodus 3:7-10
The journey out of slavery and into the Promised Land, into fulfilling their dream, began with crying out to God.
If you don’t have a dream you can ask God and keep asking God to show you who are and who you are becoming and how to best use the life He has given you.
If you are someone with a dream you still need to keep close to God, praying for insight and wisdom as you steward your life and live step by step towards that goal.
- There is a tree
I spoke about this a few months ago but felt it was worth revisiting. Some people have “this too shall pass” as their saying for difficult seasons but mine is “there is a tree”.
When pursuing your dream, be it a job, a ministry, a relationship, an ideal, a way of life, there come moments in the journey when you hit the wall.
You might get a redundancy, or passed over for a promotion. You might have a break up or a rough patch where you not only seem to be on different pages, but in different books, on different shelves, in different libraries, in different counties on different planets! You might be facing a health issue that complicates everything or perhaps it looks like things just aren’t going anywhere.
In these moments we need to know that God has gone before us and is with us and that He always has a plan and a purpose for right now.
In Exodus 15 we read:
So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet. Exodus 15:22-25
In each moment we have to choose to be awakened to the plans and purposes of God. We have to let that inside motivation anchor us to who God says He is – good, great, creative, faithful, who breathed out the stars, who knows our words before we even say them, who many years before the Israelites camped at the bitter waters “planted” a tree, orchestrated a tree to be there, grown and prepared for the time of crisis. The tree – that was the answer to the Israelites need – had been pre-thought, pre-planned, pre-purposed and pro-visioned well before the journey!
There is a tree.
We need to be awakened to the reality and love of God so that when we hit the wall we don’t throw our hands up, hold a massive pity potluck dinner and give up, but that when we hit the wall – notice it is WHEN for each and every one of us, not IF but WHEN – when we hit the wall we look up with faith and yell PLOT TWIST and then by faith partner with God to action that tree and to see things change.
There is a tree.
And I want you to know that that tree is a symbol of another tree that was used by God to declare once and for all that He loves you and is for you and is faithful to complete every promise and every purpose even beyond the grave – that tree is the cross of Jesus Christ – that shouts to the universe and whispers to your heart that you are here on purpose by God, with purpose and that He is at work on your behalf in so many ways, all the time.
What is your tree today? Wake up, look around, find it, activate it.
- God is your GPS
Time and time again we read about God leading the people to a new location. To Elim. To Shur. To Rephidim. To Siani. In fact there was a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night to guide them.
Exodus 13:21 says “By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.”
Yes please eh!
Last week my baby turned 10. Double figures. My other baby shaved, and will probably kill me for telling you so shhhhh!
When I was pregnant with Evangeline I had a moment with God that taught me that He is my GPS and knows the plans He has for me, plans to prosper me and to give me a future and a hope.
I was driving down Union St late at night after church, despondent and feeling worn out in heart and body.
I had just completed a fantastic preaching course, but was now watching the other people in the course having opportunities to go and speak around New Zealand. I was watching these guys go live their dreams but I however, was 8 months pregnant and felt like dreams were slipping by me, beyond my grasp. I couldn’t sit through a message on a Sunday without having to go pee let alone be able to give one!!!
As I drove down Union St I felt God very distinctively and clearly say “Claire, I made you a woman.”
Insert sarcastic tone here. “Yes God, I can see that!”
“No, listen” came His gentle reply. “I made you a woman”
In that second listening came a fuller understanding.
God made me a woman. A wife. A mother. Pregnant. Nursing. Preschoolers. School pick ups and drop offs. Caregiver.
All the seasons of my life were designed by Him.
He knew my path. He knew the blueprints of my life. He knew my heart. He was ordering my days.
I look back and I know that I would not be the person I am without being a mother. Without being a mother to Caleb and Evangeline.
You might feel like your dreams is stretching beyond your reach. That there are PLOT TWISTS that rock your foundations and blindside you. You might wrestle with feeling inadequate and insecure.
But God is the greatest GPS there is.
Say that – God is the greatest GPS.
He positions us day by day. Season by season. He is fashioning His purposes through you. God is the dream giver and the dream fulfiller. God is the builder of our dreams and we need to bring Him our blank pages, hand them over and say “whatever you must create to display your glory, do it.”
Whatever God you must create in my life to display your glory, to live out YOUR dream for my life God, do it.
God’s invisible work in us prepares you for His visible works through us.
Joseph dreamed of leadership and influence. His brothers despised him, beat him and threw him in a well, selling him into slavery. His bosses wife then falsely charged him of rape when he stood by the character and calling of God and had being thrown into prison. He was promoted in the prison because of that character and calling and then God – say it again – God is the greatest GPS – orchestrated his promotion into the palace. Every stage and season prepared Joseph to live out that dream, of leadership and influence. In every stage Joseph stayed true to his God given dream, he surrendered to God and trusted that God was at work, even in the plot twists, even in the bitter waters, even in the now of the slavery and the now of prison.
Moses was tending his father in laws sheep in the back of the desert when God called him to lead the people out of Egypt. God knows where you are today – He knows your coordinates – and you are there on purpose, with purpose.
He wants to awaken our heart with new faith that we can trust Him to guide us, step by step, into new seasons, new adventures, into living out our dreams. He is the greatest GPS. You can set your life by it.
- Watch out for roadblocks
So often a roadblock to us living out our dream can be our own fears and insecurities.
We can look in the mirror and see every excuse why we are not qualified to do x y z.
Often our worst enemy lives right between our ears.
In life coaching we call that enemy a gremlin. In the movie Gremlins seem cute and inccoulous at first, harmless. But feed it after midnight, get it wet and boom you have a full grown monster on your hands!
In the same way our fears and thoughts can seem small and inconsequential, but if we feed them and don’t deal with them they can paralyze us and stop us from stepping out into the plans and purposes of God.
The Israelites had a serious case of bad Gremlins when they prepared to cross over into the promised land the first time. They sent 12 leaders out to spy the land and 10 came back with a bad report. They told of giants and problems. Roadblocks. However 2 spies came back with faith and declared in Numbers 13:30 that “they should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”
31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”
This became a serious roadblock for the Israelites on their journey into the promised land. They ended up being turned away to wander the desert for 40 years, an entire generation dying because of unbelief, because of the way they thought and the fears they allowed to cripple them.
As we wake up to live our dream we need to tackle our roadblocks head on – we need to renew our mind with the truth of what God says.
Fear and insecurity might be your roadblocks.
Complacency and compromise might be what you stare down.
Gremlins that try to kill steal and destroy the abundant life that God has planned for us unless we intentionally deal to them.
Romans 12:2 in the Message says: Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Let’s not allow Gremlins to wreak havoc with our destiny and dreams or to settle for the status quo but let’s fix our attention on God who transforms us from the inside out.
There are 3 things we can do to firstly figure out what our roadblocks are and then how to counter them.
Trace It – what am I telling myself?
Face it – is it the truth or a lie?
Replace it – if it’s not the truth then what is? Displace the old with the new.
Trace it – what is that fear telling me? How are insecurities holding me back?
Face it – is that true? No. We can do all things with Christ who strengthens us. God is for us not against us. He is a good Father who loves you and has created you on purpose, with purpose.
Replace it – anchor yourself to the Word of God and let that be the loudest truth in your life. Don’t let those gremlins grow, don’t let roadblocks stand in your way but deal to them!
The devil will try to lie to you and lead you away from your purpose and your dream but we need to trace his lies, face them and replace them with the truth of God who says that He completes what HE begins and that all His promises are YES and AMEN through Jesus Christ.
- Step into the promise
There comes a day when you have to take a step of faith and step into the promise land, when we have to step into the promise and purposes that God has for us.
This in itself is a major step. The Israelites found themselves bookended, they crossed a sea on dry land and then found themselves again faced with an uncrossable river.
If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it. God brought them to the Red Sea, and through the Dead Sea. He brought them through the wilderness – He provided mana and quail and even their shoes did not wear out! Yet there was one more step – another stretch of faith – before they would be IN the promised land. It’s not good enough to camp beside the River Jordan and look out over the promise, it’s only done when you’re IN the land.
Now – life is a journey, the destination is important but equally important as we’ve talked about is that process. Process costs. Process involves change. Process involves stretch.
Crossing over the river may not be convenient. It may not be comfortable.
When the Israelites crossed over they had to send the priests, carrying the Ark, into the rushing flooded waters. They had to get their feet wet. They had to step way out of their comfort zone.
“When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. 4 Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about two thousand cubits[a] between you and the ark; do not go near it.”
5 Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.” Joshua 3:3-5
What does this tell us – that to live the dream we’ve got to have courageous faith in the God who can stop the flood and do signs and wonders.
It shows us that to get somewhere you have never being before we need follow the presence of God.
To get to the new job, the new relationship, the new experience, the new life, we need to be awakened fully to who God is and what He is doing. It takes a living real relationship with God – walking with God – to make it.
It may take some brave conversations, some decision making, some sacrifice and some roll your sleeves up hard work.
We’ve got to leave behind the roadblocks, the failures, the gremlins, the fears and fix our eyes upon God.
We’ve got to trust that He knows the way even if the GPS says go right through the raging river.
We’ve got to know that in every situation God has a purpose and a provision.
We’ve got to cry out to God and ask Him for a fire on the inside that motivates us, stirs us and keeps us focused on the journey no matter what. We’ve got to pray and consecrate our life, surrendering to that purpose that God has for our life, the big picture.
What is God saying to you today?
Where are you at on the journey?
Is your GPS turned on?
Are you constantly taking a detour because of a road block, driving round in circles?
Are you ready to step into the next chapter of the road trip of your life?
Perhaps you’ve been listening this morning, and you realize that you need a brand new start in Jesus Christ
Right now if God is drawing you to Himself, and you feel that this moment is meant to be the beginning of a new start, a new life – 2 Cor 5:7 says that God can make you a new creation, the old is gone, the new has come. You can this moment say that Jesus can make all things new in your life.
If you’re tired of the same old attempts to clean up your life, the same old dead paths to find joy. Your past has haunted you and your future seems paralysed, no matter how you try you can’t get it together.
The beauty of the gospel is that Jesus came so YOU didn’t have to get it all together, but so that you could offer Him the broken pieces of your life, your uncertain future, so that all things can be made new.
For all of you that want to receive Jesus Christ into your life, pray this with me…. This will be the beginning of a new chapter of your life and the beginning of an eternal relationship with a God who loves you and made a way for you to come to Him.
Heavenly Father, I need a new start. I need your grace, I need your mercy. I give my life, all of my sins, I turn from my own ways to trust in You. Thank you Jesus for dying for me, I believe you rose again to give me new life, I place my hope in you, make me a brand new person. Give me a brand new start, and I will live for you all the days of my life. Amen.