Crossing that finish line was the culmination of a long, arduous training process. Quite honestly, the training process was not always enjoyable. There were times when I did not feel like getting up and running. There were even times in the middle of a training run that I felt like quitting. But the goal that I had set in the previous months to run the race (and, to be honest, the entrance fee that I had paid) kept me going. I still recall the adrenaline rush as I approached the finish line, and the satisfaction I felt as I crossed it – such immense exhilaration! I would never have experienced this if I had not gotten up each day and told myself, “Move it!”
Pursuing a God-given dream may feel, at times, like you are training for a long distance race. The process may be long; it may be fraught with struggles; there may even be times when you feel like quitting. But when you finish, when you attain that dream, the rush of excitement, the sense of exhilaration, is incomparable.
In my previous post, I described the characteristics of a God-given dream. I also encouraged readers to ask God to give them a dream. It is my genuine hope and prayer that if you do not (or did not) have a God-given dream, that you have asked God (or will ask God) to give you one. In addition to asking for a dream, it is important to understand that this is just the beginning. After a dream is received, it must then be pursued. Just because you have received a God-given dream, that does not mean you will automatically attain that dream. You must accept the fact that you play a role in attaining your God-given dream.
After God gives you a dream, He may bring people into your life, and He may orchestrate circumstances that will allow you to attain your dream. In the end, however, it is up to you to pursue and attain that dream. It is up to you to move. And so, just as I believe a God-given dream evinces certain minimal characteristics, I also believe that individuals must evince and exercise at least the following five characteristics to attain their God-given dream.
First and foremost, you must exercise faith – faith that God has given you your dream. A steadfast faith that no matter what comes your way, God is with you. (Heb. 11:6 – without faith no one can please God). Such faith will give you the confidence you need to attain your dream (Mt. 17:20 – Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”).
Second, you have to have courage. It takes courage to pursue a God-given dream. It is inevitable that naysayers will come along and try to destroy not only your dream, but you, too. You have to ignore the naysayers. Instead, surround yourself with people who speak life and wisdom. You also need courage to ignore the self-doubt that may creep into your heart. This self-doubt typically comes when it’s time to make the tough decisions associated with attaining your dream. For example, you may be faced with a major financial decision, the prospect of a geographical move, or you may find yourself in a moral dilemma. When faced with naysayers, self-doubt, tough decisions, or perhaps all three, remember the words God spoke to Joshua: “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:5-7). You can and should exercise the same courage that God commanded Joshua to exercise.
RESOLVE & PATIENCE
As I opined in my previous post, I believe a God-given dream is one that is bigger than you. Thus, attaining it is not going to come easily. It is a certainty that you will face setbacks while pursuing your dream. Nonetheless, you have to remain steadfast in pursuit of your God-given dream. This means you need to exercise resolve, you need to be persistent. You must never give up on attaining your dream. (Ro. 2:7 – “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.”; Gal. 6:9 – “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”).
You also have to be patient. I couple patience together with resolve because acting with resolve requires patience. You have to understand that despite the resolve you may exercise, you will only attain your God-given dream in His timing, not yours. The greatest biblical example of these characteristics is illustrated in the life of Joseph. He did not see his God-given dream fulfilled for several years. And this was after he had been sold into slavery, falsely accused of rape, and imprisoned. Talk about resolve and patience!
RELIANCE ON GOD
To attain your dream you must also be totally reliant on God. Yes, you must take action. You must take steps toward attaining your God-given dream. However, you cannot by yourself will a God-given dream into existence. When you begin to think you can orchestrate events, and in fact try to orchestrate events, to fulfill your God-given dream, you will mess it up. (John 15:5 – “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”).
I believe the final characteristic, humility, is a condition precedent to the previous characteristic. This is because total reliance on God requires humility. As I stated in my previous post, you have to understand that because a God-given dream is “bigger than you,” God may force you to face one of your weaknesses (sometimes repeatedly). He does this so that you will remain humble, and so that you will understand that you must totally rely on Him. For some Biblical examples of this principle, I encourage you to read about Gideon, who suffered both low familial esteem and low self-esteem (Judges 6:15), and the Apostle Paul, who suffered some unrevealed “thorn in the flesh” (2 Cor. 12:8).
I want to again encourage you to ask God for a dream. But don’t stop there. After He gives you that dream, actively pursue it. As you begin your journey toward attaining your dream, ask God for help. Ask Him for faith, for courage, for resolve and patience. Do not rely on yourself to make your dream a reality. Rather, humble yourself, and rely wholly on God.
Oh, and one more thing, give yourself a daily reminder: “Move it!”