We don’t always know how to steward our hearts for dreams.
I think when I was a little girl, I was great at dreaming up big dreams and imagining fairy tales. There is a difference between the dreams of a young child and an adult who has both experienced difficulties and been hurt by trauma.
So I’m challenging myself to dream again in a new way. To dream bigger not for the sake of dreaming, but to challenge myself, love myself and joyfully watch God bless my life with abundance. “More than you can think, hope, imagine.”
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
according to his power that is at work within us…
That’s great. Lots of fuzzies. It’s real. It’s true. And that’s great news. It’s really the gospel if you think about it. I like another verse in Philemon 6:1…
That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging
of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.
It’s real. He can do immeasurably more because He’s God, but especially because He’s already put everything in us in Jesus. I’d like to think that for most people, we dream from this place. However, I had not been.
This is something God is teaching me: dreams come from identity. Dreams come from our character and the hearts God built. Dreams reflect our heart, and what we think our heart is worth and valued at.
How we steward those dreams is also reflected through what we think in our hearts. “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he…”
Unfortunately so many goals, life ambitions, and dreams, can add up to a bunch of vain pursuits and works mentality efforts. An originally well-intended dream may have started from a good place. A dream…a desire or longing in your heart.
However, I’ve found that there can develop a pressure or a standard which condemns for whatever reason. When you manufacture dreams and goals to have value or feel valued, they only diminish or distract from your true value and worth. There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. You should not have anxiety around your dreams or your calling. You may have trials, but your dreams should still be birthed and stewarded from peace.
Striving comes out of manufactured goals and dreams, shame and often fear too. Manufactured goals say that you become only what you can do or what you have accomplished, and there is a great sense of lack at the core of who you feel you are until you meet the next goal that you’ve decided will improve you or advance you.
Not just that, manufactured dreams not only become a need to meet your own standards, but the standards of others. You doubt yourself or condemn yourself with subconscious questions like these; Does it align with what a “normal” dream looks like? Would its achievement warrant reward and praise in men’s eye in the current age? How do your goals and dreams meet up with their expectations? How do your goals and dreams meet up with what they have desired or established? Comparison then begins robbing from you, specifically from you, because no one else can have the dreams you were uniquely created to create or fulfill.
The truth is that no two dreams are alike, except that in this: They look like and invite Jesus. Dreams are birthed from your heart. Your heart is so uniquely made, created in fact. Your heart carries so much to be released.
When dreams overflow from this place, they are full. Joy and peace are on them and in you. There’s freedom.
So now I find myself asking, “Okay, what are the steps? How do I put this into practice and avoid burdensome dreaming? How do I dream authentically and uniquely throughout my life?”
1. Connect to your heart.
I am learning so much about connecting to my own heart. My husband started me on this journey, but a great resource I’m plugging myself into right now is a book by Christa Black Gifford, Heart Made Whole. (Affiliate link to get the book on Amazon). There are podcasts that partner with the book too.
I’m journeying through it really slow, because it leads journal and meditation-type portions for heart connection and healing through trauma. I’ve found it incredibly eye-opening and growth-oriented.
In order to really understand what your heart needs, you have to ask. Sometimes we make goals or set out to accomplish our hearts desire without ever reassessing. Chances are, things are different than they were when you started.
Is it still joyful? Does it still bring peace? Does your heart feel burdened or overwhelmed? Do you find yourself doing it alone in isolation? In competition? Is there a way that you can pace yourself differently or renew your beliefs about the worth of your heart and the dreams it created?
Listening to your heart is a big part of connection. Most people don’t even know how to do that, especially not consistently. It’s a huge effort, but it’s an investment that keeps you full.
The second part of heart connection is knowing your heart, which often means knowing yourself and loving yourself. Valuing who you are means you value the dreams that come out of who you are and that you place high regard in their worth and stewardship.
2. Dream about your dreams.
We can’t make the list and stop there. Any good harvest needs the sowing. Yes, write them down, but continue to think on them. Pray on them. Imagine yourself living them out. Imagine your full identity in Jesus shining radiantly as your dreams unfold and bless those around you.
Think about how your dreams connect not just to your heart and to the Lord’s, but to others around you. How much more fullness can there be? How can these dreams expand? Brainstorm. Daydream. Imagine. Be sure to stay in that place of peace, rest, joy and confident expectation. Humility. Jesus is giving you the grace for these things. Do it differently than what’s expected from others or even yourself.
Remember that Jesus is the Shepherd of promises, but HE is the call.
Don’t get wrapped up in entitlement or unholy expectation. It only leaves you disappointed. None of your dreams can be done apart from Him, and it all belongs to Him. “In Him we live, move, breath and have our being…”
Challenge yourself to a change of scenery or a different creative outlet. Share your dreams with safe people who will encourage and champion the best way to pour out your heart in a tangible capacity.
Talk about them like they’re real. They are. We call things that are not as though they are. Faith is the evidence of things hoped for, the assurance of things not yet seen. Keep your dreams in front of you and connect with them as they yearn to be released from your heart.
3. Make the practical stuff work for you.
For me, this is huge. I often get sucked into the to-do lists and the anxiety that comes with needing to do it all. You can read more about that here. In a day, you can’t do it all. But dreams are supposed to be fun, and making time to invest in them (and your own growth) will be a recharge when you’re doing it right.
There have to be practical steps, discipline, and sometimes even a time of trail involved. If you have to, make a schedule, but be gracious to yourself.
And remember that connecting to your heart keeps the practical stuff functional. When you do all the stuff and you don’t connect with your heart, you’re missing the point.
Take delight in each practical thing that gives room for your dreams to thrive. Invite the Lord in all of those places, invite others into those places. Keep into perspective how the flow of these practical things go. Unforced rhythms of grace.
If we advance our dreams in these places, it will encourage us, and we’ll watch, eyes wide open, at every good gift and every perfect step along the way. And when you’re tired, when you need a break…stop. Reconnect and do not continue. Obligations and the opinion of man never, ever leave us with joy.
4. Guard it all to guard your dreams.
Safe spaces, timing and wisdom. Relationships, prayer and truth. All of these things will keep your dreams guarded. Proverbs says to guard your heart because everything you do in life, the overflow, comes from it.
Keep it with all diligence. Keep it from judgement. A self-hatred based criticism. Keep your heart from lack. You have everything you need in Jesus to provide for your dreams. Keep your heart healthy from comparison, bitterness or envy. Keep it encouraged, and invite people around you to fight and defend your dreams with you.
Godly counsel supports and empowers the dreams from your heart.
I’m still on this journey, and I’m learning how to dream well. A resource that I’ve heard is great is Bill Johnson’s Dreaming with God. It’s on my list of books to read!
Please comment or message me about what has worked for you, and how you’ve seen dreams in your life flourish purely, anointed and blessed by God. If you haven’t experienced this in your life, be encouraged, because truly, the best is yet to come.