A little over a month ago, America celebrated the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Rightly so, this speech is considered one of the most emotional, articulate, and powerful speeches ever delivered. It conveyed the sentiments of not only the man delivering the speech, but of his fellow Americans who were suffering under the Jim Crow laws that were in effect. Dr. King’s dream, stated summarily, was that all Americans would live according to the principle that every person, regardless of their race, is created equal.
I believe Dr. King’s dream was a God-given dream. I also believe that God-given dreams are not limited to select individuals. I believe God can, and will, give everyone a dream; we need only ask. God has certainly given me a dream. Indeed, He has given me more than one dream. One of these dreams may seem trite to some, but for me it is quite significant. What is that dream? Well, before I answer that, and then explain what I think characterizes a God-given dream, I feel compelled to address one point.
I want to be clear that I am in no equating my dream to Dr. King’s dream. My dream has neither the historic magnitude nor social significance of Dr. King’s dream. Mine is a personal dream that is significant only to me. I do hope, however, that by communicating my dream I can inspire others to pursue their God-given dreams. Or, if readers do not have a God-driven dream, that they will ask God to give them a dream, and then to pursue that God-given dream.
So, what is my seemingly trite dream? It is this blog. Yes, this blog is a dream fulfilled. A dream that was birthed in me several years ago and that has persistently festered and grown since its inception. A dream that one day I would not only transfer my thoughts into written words, but publish those words for others to read. I wholeheartedly believe that this dream was, and is, God-given, and one that is now being fulfilled.
So why do I believe this dream is God-given? Well, in addition to being something that has been gnawing at me for years, it is because it is a dream that exhibits what, in my opinion, are the four major characteristics of a God-given dream. Certainly, there may be other characteristics. But the four characteristics I outline here are based on Biblical principles and my own experience. This latter basis is why I feel compelled to emphasize that this is my opinion.
Firstly, I believe a God-given dream is Biblically consistent. That is, God will never give you a dream that runs counter to His Word. If you’ve got a dream that either is, or requires you to do, something counterbiblical, rest assured it is not a God-given dream.
Secondly, I believe a God-given dream is confirmed. This confirmation may come from individuals, from spiritual signs, or both. Personally, I believe that in a vast majority of instances one or more individuals will be involved in confirming a God-given dream. By this, I mean one or more individuals whom you respect may offer words of affirmation to you regarding your dream. For young Timothy, the Apostle Paul was that individual (2 Timothy 1:6). For me, numerous individuals have provided affirming words over the past several years; words encouraging me to begin and continue writing. If you are the sole source of confirmation for your dream, I encourage you to seriously consider whether that dream is God-given.
One thing to bear in mind is that this confirmation may come in the form of affirmation only, or it may come in the form of condemnation followed by affirmation. People that you know, respect, and even love may mock your dream. One of the most poignant examples of condemnation followed by affirmation is the Old Testament account of Joseph. When Joseph first shared his God-given dreams with his brothers, they not only mocked him, they hated him to the point of wanting to kill him. It was only much, much later in Joseph’s life that his God-given dream was confirmed.
Thirdly, I believe a God-given dream is mature; not a childish dream, or one that is wholly outside the realm of possibility (1 Cor. 13:11). For example, I can (and did) fantasize all I want about playing professional baseball, but it is simply not possible. I have never even remotely possessed the ability (just ask my softball teammates), nor the drive it takes to practice to attain the ability. If your dream is not reality based, do yourself a favor and give it up. Then ask God to give you a real one.
BIGGER THAN YOU
Finally, I believe a God-given dream is bigger than you. Now, you may ask, “How do you reconcile this characteristic with the previous one?” Well, by “bigger than you” I mean it will require you to overcome at least one inherent weakness, such that you must rely totally on God to achieve your dream. Stated differently, I believe a God-given dream is one that is within the realm of possibility, but seemingly just beyond the grasp of our own ability. In this way, while we ourselves may reap some personal benefit upon attaining our dream, God will ultimately receive the glory.
For me, this inherent weakness is self-doubt. For years I have struggled with this weakness. It has prevented or delayed me from pursuing my dreams, including this one. To overcome, I always come back to what the Apostle Paul wrote in 2nd Corinthians: “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:9-10, NIV).
A God-given dream is not necessarily one that has the historic or social impact of Dr. King’s dream. As I stated, for me this simple blog is a God-given dream fulfilled. It is not the only God-given dream that I have seen fulfilled, and I am not through pursuing other dreams God has given me.
If you do not have a God-given dream, I encourage you to ask God to give you one, and then pursue that dream. If God has given you a dream, but you have not sought to attain it, I encourage you to change course and go after that dream.
A life without dreams is unexciting; a life without pursuing dreams is a life unfulfilled.