“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt
When I think of the word dreams, the song lyrics “a dream is a wish your heart makes” immediately comes to mind. When we dream about the future, we think about things that we wish would happen.
My husband and I dream of paying off our mortgage as soon as possible and the financial relief that will give us. However much we dream about paying off our mortgage, it won’t happen on its own. This dream is nothing but a wish for the future because without goals, dream are just fairy tales. Making the dream come true will require another step. It will require not just wishing with our hearts, but working hard with our hands.
“Set your goals high, and don’t stop til you get there.” ~Bo Jackson
Before I became a full-time mommy, I worked for a company owned by a woman who was very big on goal setting. We would attend staff meetings where we were taught the advantages of setting short and long-term personal and financial goals. We were taught that it is difficult to achieve success without setting attainable goals. This made a huge impact on me, especially in the area of our finances. Goal setting was instrumental in paying off our past credit card debt. Setting goals is a necessary step in turning our dreams into reality.
“The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” ~Proverbs 16:9 (ESV)
When our income was drastically reduced, I found myself in a state of constant worry, stress, and fear. It took a lot of prayer, soul searching, and listening to God before I realized that my lips said that they trusted His provision, but my thoughts said otherwise. I couldn’t put my finger on why I was so discontent even though He proved faithful by meeting our needs each and every month. I saw Him work in ways that I never could have imagined, and yet my spirit was restless.
One day I realized that my discomfort came from a lack of control. I no longer had the knowledge of what next month would look like. That meant we couldn’t set financial goals. Should we just give up our dream of paying off the mortgage? Obviously, if He wasn’t going to provide the funds, that wasn’t going to happen. It was then that I realized that my dream and my goal had become my idol. Ouch.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I don’t think that dreams or goals, in and of themselves, are a bad thing. I think they contribute greatly to our successes in many areas of life. I think that we can do ourselves a disservice when we don’t dare to dream or when we don’t take the time to set thoughtful, determined goals. I just think we need to be careful to not let them become our idols.
Reading through the Old Testament, idol worship was rampant. We New Testament Christians don’t realize that we sometimes fall into the same trap. I think this is especially true for those of us living the frugal lifestyle. We think we are safe because we don’t have the huge home, the fancy cars, or the expensive clothing. No, the packaging of our idols just looks different. Frugal or healthy living can become an idol. Parenting or homeschooling can become an idol. Anything can become an idol if we are not careful to guard our hearts.
I believe that God will not only continue to provide for our basic needs, but that He will bless our hard work and possibly increase our finances so that we can fulfill our dream of paying our mortgage off early.
I also believe, however, that I needed to heed my dreams and goals to Him first. I was more concerned with my will for my life than His will for it. Once I was able to recognize what I was doing to myself, I committed my dreams to His hands. I gave my goals over to Him completely.
Now, instead of my thoughts and energy striving daily for my own goal, I give those things to Him. I focus my thoughts on His kingdom. I put my energy into living in His will. My dream and my goal has remained the same, but my heart has been changed.
Please do not think that I am undermining the value of dreams or goals. I am not. I am just proposing that we should be intentional about letting them come after we have made sure we are living in His will. After all, not having a mortgage wouldn’t mean anything if it meant living outside the will of God.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you that You have given us dreams. Thank You that You have given us the ability to set goals and to see them come to fruition. Help us, Father, to not let those things becomes idols. Help us to seek Your will and Your kingdom first, knowing that the plans You have for us are for good. Thank You for Your provision and for Your promises. In the holy and precious name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.
Jeremiah 29:11 is a verse that gives me so much comfort when I get anxious about my future. Check out Amazon’s selection of this hopeful reminder in this Inspirational Mug, Flexcover Journals (imitation leather and purple), and Vinyl Wall Decal.
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What is your biggest dream or goal? How do you keep those things from becoming idols?