“Now the one who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the Spirit as a down payment. So we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. In fact, we are confident, and we would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. Therefore, whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to be pleasing to him.” 2 Corinthians 5:5-9
Do you ever want to just run away from your responsibilities to chase after that one dream you have had in your heart since you were a child? Would that not be a tad bit irresponsible of you? But, do you know how to wrestle with the dream in your heart, the calling God placed in your heart for only you, and the responsibilities you have found yourself with after growing up? Wanting to realize your dreams, especially the God-given ones, is difficult when you are knee-deep in life and there is no way out of the adulting you are doing until the kids move off to college, or get married.
FINDING THE FAITH TO FOLLOW GOD FOR YOUR DREAMS TAKES DISCIPLINE
If anyone can relate to the issue of faithfully pursuing a God-sized dream, and being responsible for a family, it is me. Ever since I was a little girl all I ever wanted to do was write stories. I love to write. It is who I am, and what I do well. But, unfortunately, writing does not pay the bills that puts the food on the table or keeps the electricity on at night for my family. In fact, writing does not pay anything at all for me – right now.
But when I am writing, it is the closest I feel to fulfilling my purpose in the Lord. It is who He made me to be, it is what He made me to do, and there is no explanation I can give anyone who does not understand that outside my writing community, or others who know exactly what God meant for them to do.
So then, HOW do we reconcile a dream in our heart, a God to serve faithfully, and a slew of responsibilities waiting for us at home each day? I have found that the best way to reconcile these issues and still remain in faithful communion with the Lord is to do what He asks me to do in every situation I face: one task at a time.
The main point I try to keep in mind at all times is that pleasing Jesus is always the goal. Paul says in the verse above that “we would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. Therefore, whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to be pleasing to him.” And while he mentions this in context with being here on earth, or in Heaven with Jesus, one thing is clear: it is far better that we aim to be pleasing to Jesus while we are here on earth than it is to be desiring of Heaven itself.
I do not think he means for us not to desire Heaven any more than I mean for us not to desire to fulfill our dreams. Some of us have dreams wrapped up in our purpose for God. But, that does not trump the fact that we have responsibilities with which God has entrusted us and He would far better see that we were fulfilling our responsibilities in those tasks at hand than the ones He created us for that we have not yet fully realized.
One way I do this is by making a schedule, or a list, and taking care of those priorities first. I still schedule time to write or work on my writing. But once it is on the schedule, I focus my attention on the husband, or the kids, or my work, or my college classes I am taking online because I still do not have my degree in Business and I want to be better able to do my paying job. The point is, the dreams I realize have to take a backseat to everything else until they become the great work that I am doing.
Pursuing Jesus first means my goal is to please Him, by managing and functioning well in the roles I already hold. And looking forward to the day when I realize my dreams also gives me the motivation I need to make best use of my scheduled time when I actually sit down to work on that dream.
BELIEVE IN THE CALLING
Paul says, “…we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. In fact, we are confident…”
Twice Paul reiterates the fact that we are confident. Yes, we are confident. Because we walk by faith. The Bible defines faith as “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) Another version of the verse puts it this way: “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (NKJ)
I like the words substance and evidence. What I get when I decide to pursue Jesus and then my dreams, and I believe in my calling or dream, is the desire to produce substance that is the evidence of what I believe about myself and my dream.
I can say all day long that I believe I was meant to write, or be a writer, or even speak or teach the Word for Jesus. Those are truly things I believe about myself and my calling. However, if I start to limit that belief to what I am now and what I can do now, then I have defeated and destroyed myself and my dream without any help from the enemy.
When we say we believe in Jesus, we live a life that reflects that belief: we read our Bible, we say our prayers, we walk with God and talk with Him, we live lives that reflect his life on earth, and we follow and pursue Him and His ways above our own. This is exactly how we also follow Him to our dreams. We find ways to believe and we create substance, we put our backbones into the substance so that our lives and the things we pursue outside our daily responsibilities produce evidence to the fact that we believe in our dreams.
DO WHAT WE CAN NOW WITH WHAT WE HAVE NOW
Finally, when we live out our calling by pursuing Jesus, believing in what we know we are called to do, walking by faith and not by sight because the dream is not fully realized just yet, we have to have some sort of understanding that just because we cannot see it does not mean it is not there.
The dreams, callings, whatever you call it, exist as much as you exist right now. And there is one way to know for sure that it’s true: “Now the one who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the Spirit as a down payment.”
God gave us His Spirit as a down payment. When you make a down payment on an item, you have every intention of purchasing that item and paying for it in full at a certain time.
This is the same with our dreams.
God has called us to do great things for Him and for His glory. And He prepares us for these things, for our purpose, as we go through our lives. And the promise we hold tightly to as we walk by faith and not by sight is that the Spirit within us will drive and push us to complete the task, the growing, the maturing, the living we were put here to accomplish.
Until our dreams are fully realized, we have a responsibility to make God’s name great in the lives we live, in the people we are responsible for, in the job or task at hand. If we cannot be trusted with what we have now, how can we even be trusted with more?
As we go through this season of growth in our faith, I want to encourage you to seek Jesus and make pleasing Him your first priority, believe in the calling He has placed on your life and do not allow your dreams to be stolen or destroyed by the enemy, and do what you can now with what you have now while you wait on the Lord to do and bring you more.
For further reading on this topic: Matthew 25:14-30