Today I want to connect with you about the very real phases most of us walk through in order to step out and step into our dreams.
Maybe you’ve read this famous Hudson Taylor quote before. These words inspire me: I have found there are three stages to every great work of God: It is impossible; then it is difficult; then it is done.
This has certainly been true in my own life. What about you?
Many years ago – right in the midst of the worst parts of my battle with Lyme Disease (and the financial stress that
followed), God put it in my heart to write a book. I knew that my budding dream was from Him because it was way out of my comfort zone, it made my heart beat faster; it stirred up all kinds of fear and excitement and anticipation; and
wise mentors confirmed the gifts within me. And yet, I still had a process to go through in order to lay hold of such a promised land.
Currently, I am in a new place, about to lay hold of a new land, and here again, I find myself in the familiar place of unfamiliarity. If I hadn’t walked through this series of emotions and feelings before, I’d be tempted to think that maybe I’m not suited for this next place.
If you have dared to venture to a new place that God has for you, I’m sure you’ve encountered the same questions and
feelings. But we must remember, the Bible says that even Moses felt like a foreigner in his Promised Land. Even though we have promised places to lay hold of, it doesn’t mean that we’ll lay hold of those new places without effort,
obstacles, and whole lot of conflicting emotions.
Many years ago, out of the ashes of my pain, my writing career started this way: I self published my first book, then I started writing for Focus on the Family, and then I was contracted to write a devotional journal. All of those steps were necessary and exciting steps in their own way. But when my first big book contract finally came through (the thing I was dreaming about), I was utterly surprised by my first emotional response. You know what I felt? Instantly depressed. Does that make any sense at all?
It didn’t to me either until I heard a story about when Beth Moore received her first contract. She knelt down on the floor and cried – not for joy – but out of sheer terror that she might fail the Lord in some way. That’s exactly how I felt.
When the dream is far away, it is typical to experience intermingled feelings of excitement and impatience. But when the dream is suddenly within your grasp, and it starts to touch your human-ness – and you become very aware of your own potential to make a mess of things – well that’s just downright scary.
As far as I can see, the phases of our ‘dream-come-true’ journey look like this:
A dream far off – exciting, waiting, wondering, impatience
A dream up close – fear, second-guessing ourselves, stepping out of our known zone and into the learning zone, wondering about the cost now that the dream is so close, wondering if God made a mistake in choosing us; we can’t go back – we’re not the same after having this dream – but feeling unsure and unsteady about moving forward.
A dream realized – once we begin to take the land and we find a new normal, our learning zone becomes our known zone, we become more seasoned and strengthened to stand in this place, but not without effort, fatigue, faith, and trust; we wouldn’t have it any other way, and yet, no one but God knows what it took for us to step and step out like we did. This is the life of faith.
Anne Ortlund wrote these beautiful words: Lift up your eyes. Your heavenly Father waits to bless you – in inconceivable ways to make your life what you never dreamed it could be.
Dream big. Dream with Him. Then walk forward unafraid – to places you’ve never been. Be willing to be stretched and
strengthened. Embrace the unknown places with Jesus at your side and experience God’s miracle of life working in and through you. What a way to live.
God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!