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Dreams, Goals, and God’s Will

June 21, 2014 by

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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.

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This post was shared on Missional CallA Little R&R, & The SHINE Blog Hop.

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? 

8 Responses to Dreams, Goals, and God’s Will

  1. Joyce

    Many of the dreams and goals my husband and I set in Bible School never came to pass for God had His plans for our lives. Had we been successful with our plans we would never have gone to the Former Soviet Union as missionaries all those years. We made many mistakes being young in ministry and one time over extended ourselves financially and had our home taken. What a blow to our egos! The pastor and wife lost their home. I cried and cried and was so ashamed but in the end God gave us a new townhouse to rent and all new furniture to fill it and we were far better off than had we not lost the old one…and it was old. A wonderful family in our church gave us a huge check and we were overwhelmed at the way God worked it all out.

    We so want to be in control and God wants our lives surrendered to His control and thereby can use us far more for His glory. He always works all things together for our good as we trust Him. We pray to be wise stewards and share all we have with others and He indeed will take care of us. Walking by faith is not easy. As Americans we have no idea what it is really like to walk by faith, but as things are quickly changing in our nation, we will soon know a little just what it is like to HAVE TO walk by faith for even our daily bread. We knew what it was like to stand in line for hours each day in the Soviet Union for just THAT day’s food. But we always ate, and had much to share with our Russians too. Sometimes it was chicken stomachs they shared with us and we all were glad to receive it, and thankful for a close bathroom after we ate with our sensitive American stomachs. Smile God is so, so good!

    • Heather

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience, Joyce. I think that we often forget that God’s plans are always much better than our own. He is so, so good!

  2. Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom

    Our dreams do need to be handed over to God. I feel I’ve been having this message echoed to me over the past few weeks and I’m trying to fully interpret its place in the midst of my life right now. God is showing me something. I think I do hand over my goals and wishes over to Him but maybe I’m holding onto something.

    I’ve been reading Esther lately and I am completely blown away by Mordecai and how he said that perhaps she was there in the king for more (saving the people from Haman). I think sometimes when we’re focusing on our goals we may not heed the will of our Father.

    What a great, thought-provoking post Heather.

    Thank you for sharing and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop.

    Wishing you a lovely weekend.
    xoxo

    • Heather

      This is definitely a fine line to walk, isn’t it? Hang in there and keep seeking His wisdom, my friend. These are the hard things, but they are the things that make us grow in Him.

      Thanks so much for reading and for taking the time to share your thoughts with us. The interesting thing about Esther’s story is the part about her being in a time and a place so that God could use her for a very specific purpose. The same is true for each of us. That’s quite a thought, isn’t it?

      Thanks for hosting, my friend. Blessings to you and yours. xo

  3. 2patkath

    Hi Heather, I have so enjoyed reading these two posts on dreams and goals with God’s purposes as the bottom line. May God use your writing to honor Himself and to help many of us who may need reminding or just encouragement.
    Kathleen 60-TheNew40.com

  4. Pingback: 3 Things We Wish We Had Done When We Had More Money - The Humbled Homemaker

  5. Pingback: 3 Things We Wish We Had Done When We Had More Money | The Humbled Homemaker

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