Recently, I had a conversation with some friends and we discussed our dreams: What were the things that we hoped and dreamed we’d accomplish some day? What did we really believe we were called to do? What were our secret hearts’ desires?
As we chatted, it became clear that every one of us- and there were about a dozen – had a dream. And they varied. Some were as big as to start a company which would assist churches in starting their own businesses in order to become financially independent to another who wanted to produce a worship and CD to another whose heart’s desire was to become a wife and mother. Others included a woman who dreamed of building a house that could be used as a retreat center for others and a man who wanted to return to school and become a minister. My dream? To write thriller-type novels with spiritual warfare and political themes.
Despite our dreams, however, there was one common thread – well, two, actually: doubt and fear.
Now we all know that we’re not supposed to have any of that. And sometimes we talk a good game. But the fact of the matter is that doubt and fear come in all shapes and sizes: “What if I can’t get the education I need to become __________ ?” (Fill in the blank.) “What if people laugh when I try to ___________?” “What if I don’t have the money I need to accomplish ___________?” “What if I’m not good enough, smart enough, attractive enough, influential enough, talented enough????” What if? WHAT IF?? WHAAAAAT IFFFFFF????
“What if I try – and fail . . . ?”
We’ve all been there. Whether it’s been doubts about walking down that aisle, having those kids, taking that job, trying that class, investing in that business, starting that ministry – whatever – we’ve all gotten cold feet at some point. That’s not uncommon. As one friend commented, “There are already enough people doing that! I’d be just another one . . .” True – but so was Shakespeare and Abe Lincoln and Mother Teresa and Marie Curie at one point. Everybody was nobody until they kept on trying. And I won’t even get into how many times Lincoln ran for office and failed. I guess it all boils down to this: Do we really believe we’re being called to do that thing – whatever “it” is? And if we do, how can we say no?
Because I write on spiritual warfare (aka “edgy” content), I recently had someone tell me they thought it best to pass on helping me because they “take spiritual warfare very seriously” and didn’t want to invite attack. I actually appreciated the honesty, but admittedly, that rocked my world. So I went to the Lord and asked Him if I was taking it all too lightly. Had I rushed in where angels feared to tread? Almost immediately the Lord highlighted a verse to me; I opened the Bible and found myself reading the part where Jesus asks the servant with one talent why he had buried it and not invested it for a return. What struck me was the servant’s answer: “Because I was afraid.” (Evidently, based on Jesus’ response, that reason is not an excuse.) Then the Lord told me to re-read the part in Esther where Mordecai confronts Esther about her fear. Now I know that part and so wasn’t looking too forward to reading “If I perish, I perish . . .” But that wasn’t the point God was making. What he highlighted to me was Mordecai’s comment to Esther that, should she decline the invitation to save God’s people, ” ‘God will raise up deliverance for His people from another source.’ ” In other words, the job would get done
I once heard an interview with Katherine Kullman, the woman who’d had the famous healing ministry. She’d been asked about her “calling” and her answer was surprising: she said she hadn’t always been called to have a healing ministry but only after the person who had been called to do it, didn’t. She went on to say that some destinies are assigned to us because other people failed to do them. And why did they fail? My guess is fear and doubt.
The bottom line is this: We have to try. If our dream doesn’t work out, then it doesn’t work out. And if it doesn’t, then we have two choices: either we try again or we dream a new dream. Either way, at least we can say, in the end, that we didn’t let fear and doubt call the shots.
What’s your dream?