Stay in Your Lane to Fulfill Your God-sized Dream

Have you ever sat back at the end of a day, a month and year and felt unsatisfied or fulfilled with your life? It’s not that you don’t have blessings, or some good things coming your way, there is just something inside that says, I would really love to fill in the blank.

Maybe you have a God-sized dream and you don’t want to say it out loud because someone might hear you and hold you to it or worse, laugh at you. But your dream is there, deep inside just waiting to be birthed.

May I tell you a few things that help us live out the vision God has placed within us?

1. Define your dream.

Often we don’t live out our God-sized dream because we don’t define it.

We might say some vague things such as:

  • I would like to help people.
  • I enjoy being a servant.
  • I love encouraging other people.

Those are great things to do. We should all aspire to do those. What is it that you love to do that makes you lose yourself? You lose track of time. You are so energized and engaged that you have no idea that four hours have passed. For me, it’s writing, research and teaching.

Once you answer that question-

What is it that you love to do that makes you lose yourself? 

Then you can define your dream by writing it down into something measurable.

I’m going to encourage women through teaching a Bible study.

I’m going to serve by opening up a food pantry for the community.

I’m going to practice hospitality by hosting a monthly coffee in my home.

Now, take your statement and break it down into steps that you can walk through and check off your list. Don’t be intimidated by this part. We often skip this step because for some reason we just think they will magically happen for us because we want it to.

God can open doors for us, it’s true.  In order for God to open a door, you have to drive to the building, so to speak.

God may redirect you a few times during the defining phase. It’s okay. It’s all part of the process. Taking the step to define your dream/vision is one step closer to doing something. Do something, lest you do nothing. Stay in your lane.png

2. Stay in your lane.

I think many of us (myself included) would sometimes rather coast in someone else’s lane and watch their God-sized dream come to fruition. It’s fun to be the helper and cheer someone else on until you reach the top of the mountain peak and realize your mountain is on the other side of the valley. All of the accolades for your friend will not fulfill your purpose. I get it. It’s scary putting ourselves out there and saying, “I want to write the book, not be on the launch team for the 100th time.” It sounds selfish to say we have dreams (I’ll get to that in a minute).

I would never say don’t help your friends. That’s a great investment of your time. Just make sure you drive in your own lane more than your friends’, neighbors’ and everyone shouting at you to join their cause. There’s a reason.

God gives you sufficient energy to do what He has called YOU to do, not what every lady in your church is doing.

God is not responsible for the physical and emotional consequences when you drive out of your lane. You will never arrive at the destination of your God-sized dream if you are driving aimlessly.

I’m preaching to the Guire here. For years my life was ordered by what all the other church ladies and my friends were doing. We were doing great stuff, guys! Serving and encouraging. Blessing others. My problem? I used my energy envelope on that good stuff and then was too exhausted to do my real job well. For awhile that job was exclusively mothering, homeschooling and running a co-op. When my kids got a little older, God directed me to start writing. After doing all the other good stuff, I had nothing left. No energy to write. Nothing. And that was not God’s fault. Or the other ladies. Or the church’s. It was mine. All mine.

3. Your dream isn’t selfish. It’s not about you at all.

Read that one more time. Often we don’t pursue our God-sized dream because we think it is selfish. If your God-sized dream is to run away to a tropical island and sip fruity drinks all day, then maybe it is. The truth is, I have never met a woman who hasn’t had a big dream. It takes time for us to own up to this because we don’t want to seem as if we want to make a name for ourselves. That’s not what God-sized dreams are about. They are about taking something that you can’t possibly do on your own, and giving God the glory every step of the way.

Your God-sized dream is about other people. It’s about God’s plan being lived out on this earth because you are obedient.

Years ago I was taking an online memoir writing class. Things were going great. I felt as if my writing was getting better. The teacher seemed to think so. She wrote me some encouraging words. I was feeling pretty comfortable with her…so, I told her my God-sized dream of helping a million orphans and of a vision I had. She told me I seemed unhinged and not to put that in my memoir. (*Just a note- don’t tell everyone your God-sized dream, not everyone gets it). If my God-sized dream includes helping orphans, is it really about me? Nope. Just like your dream. It’s about the people on the receiving end.

I’m sure you have a God-sized dream. It may be staying home and raising kiddos (that was mine for a season and then they grew up). It may be hosting a Bible study, writing a book, serving at an outreach, or fill in the blank. Take some time today and write down your dream. Make some measurable objectives so you can start driving in the right direction. If you, like me, know what your dream is and you need to get back in your lane, start putting up some boundaries. Many times, saying “NO” is the best thing you can do. A “Yes” that is accompanied by frustration, whining, complaining and dragging your feet the whole way is not producing any good fruit. And remember, your God-sized dream is not about you.

  • Thanks to Amy Breitmann for the “stay in your lane” idea!

 

What Success Is…

 

I love the New Year, fresh and crisp as a winter wind. I love the new journals. The new business planner (that I still have no idea what to do with). I love the new Word. I feel refreshed and renewed. Christmas decorations have been put away, except for the greenery I couldn’t stand to put away.

greeneryI take off at a sprint, ready to accomplish all, whatever all is. Sometimes it’s as if I am playing whack a mole, no matter how many books I have read on goal setting and essentialism. Life just doesn’t always work that way, unless you have no family, friends or never get sick. With my personality, I must be careful not to make goals a god. Success is Not an Accident and Essentialism are a few of my favorite books on success and goal setting. I recommend them. They have helped me weed out things that aren’t essential. I have a better idea of how to set measurable goals. I have a definition of success. It’s not what I would have defined it as when I was in my twenties or even thirties. It’s not about knowing the right people, money or wearing the right clothes. And, grab onto your seat, success is not always about achieving your goals. Success is not about being able to do everything. It is more about being able to do the thing that is before you well.

“Successful people are those who have learned how to consistently apply God’s laws in their lives. They ascribe their achievements to focus, hard work, strong relationships, perseverance and the blessings of God.”- Tommy Newberry

I love this definition of who successful people are. We can’t always control our circumstances. Sometimes our list of goals get sidelined while we work on the business of living. Does that mean we aren’t successful? Of course not.

A mother working on a project to make her home more beautiful and comfortable is interrupted by sickness. Is she still a successful homemaker?

A writer working on a manuscript puts writing on hold to participate in a community project is still a writer, right?

A health nut who teaches about the blessings of whole foods and the benefits of exercise gets knocked flat by an immune system disorder. Is what she teaches still true?

I’d love to measure my success by a bar graph or a beautiful circle graph with bright colors. It doesn’t work that way. Often our path to success may seem as if we are running from the snake in a zig zag pattern (like my mama taught me). That’s what we see. That’s not what God sees.

Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart
And do not rely on your own insight or understanding.

In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him,

And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way]. Proverbs 3:5,6

When I trust in and rely on the Lord, I have to throw my own insight and understanding out the window. Every day I must get up and acknowledge the Lord. I must recognize Him and say, “This is your day, Lord, what would you have me do with it?” The truth is, I pray in warp speed, acknowledge my plans and start a frantic frenzied race to the end of the day. I am, shoulders hunched, with frayed nerves, pursuing a success that never satisfies. Success is doing the will of God on the path He has placed before you with the strengths and weaknesses that He has bestowed on you. Success is not about being perfect. It’s about being obedient. It’s about acknowledging Him, recognizing that He is ultimately in control. If my plan falls through, I can be assured that He is has a better one. What about you?

Linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Word Wednesday, join us!

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The Neglected Garden

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I was working in my flower garden, weeding while I waited for youngest son finish his breakfast and join me on his bike  while I walkedran. My flower garden has been neglected this summer and the few minutes or half hours I get here and there to clean it up don’t do it justice. Anyone who knows me knows I love fresh flowers on the table and I LOVE my flower garden. I haven’t shown it the love it deserves this year. The Mile a Minute vines have been relentlessly choking out the flowers. I have yelled at them, jerked them off of flowers, bushes and pumpkin vines and they just keep coming back. So, I weeded and waited. I pulled starts of the Mile a Minute vine and wiped my sweat with the sleeve of my shirt. “I just give up, Lord! I can’t do it. It’s too much!” Then a patch of Black-eyed Susans caught my eye, blooming brightly in golden hues in the middle of the garden. Look at that, my soul whispered. Look at the beauty. Look at the victory. Look at the triumph, not the failures.

Help me see the beauty, Lord,

Help me sort out the victories and not pass over them.

Help me celebrate those victories.

 

Raising children is a lot like taking care of a flower garden. It sometimes get overrun by weeds. Those weeds are behaviors. If we focus on the behaviors, we miss focusing on relationship, on connection. We’re always pulling at the weeds, jerking them around with our words, “Stop that! If you do that one more time, I will ______!”

“Can’t you ever act your age?”

“When are you going to learn how to read? Everyone your age knows how to read!”

Every time we focus on the behavior, we miss the Black-eyed Susan in the middle of the garden. If we focus on the vine, we it chokes out the joy. Especially with raising children from hard places or a capital letter syndrome, there will always be regressions, there will always be survival mode, peeking at us from behind the last victory, the last ‘redo’, the last ‘asking instead of telling’ the last five minutes or five days of regulating. If we are looking for those vines, we will find them. If we focus only on them, we will want to give up.

I’m reminded of the Parable of the Sower when I weed, I have always thought of myself as a seed fallen on good soil kind of gal, until I reread it.

The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.-Matthew 13:22

What is all of this focusing on behavior or checking the lists of what your child should know? It is worry. It is fear that God is not in control, something else is. When we worry that after a great day, regression is around the corner, then we are choked, our lives unfruitful. When we are led by the deceitfulness of “I got this. I can parent on my own,” as if we have the wealth, the pride that expelled satan from heaven. We cannot parent fully until we take it to the cross and give it to the one whose burden is light. He can make a way where there seems to be no way, no matter what the circumstance. He can grow the a bouquet of Black-eyed Susans in the middle of a garden of Mile a Minute vines.

 

Linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor at Three Word Wednesday. Join us!

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Faith Without Works (Three Word Wednesday)

My Bible slipped off my lap as I tried to balance it and my journal and write at the same time.

  • His faith cooperated with his works?
  • His believing what accounted to him as righteousness?
  • What are you trying to tell me, Lord?

My mind flashed back to the Jeff Cavin’s teaching CD (The Great Adventure) on Genesis 12-26, Rafal and I had listened to on the way to Frostburg last week. The focus of the teaching was mainly Abraham.

Abraham believed that God would give him the promised son and that belief was put into an account. The account said “righteous”. Later, after Isaac was born:

“[God] said, Take now your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love and go to the region of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon the mountains, of which I will tell you. ” Gen. 22:2

And Abraham did what God commanded him. We know the end of the story, but Abraham didn’t. He didn’t have a foreshadowing of the ram in the thicket. The ram was the foreshadowing of the Lamb of God who took our place on the altar.

It reminds me of the words I said in church as a child for so many years (without thinking about what I was saying) “May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of His name for your good and the good of all the church.”

I pray that my sacrifice may be acceptable. Do I even know what that means? I am learning. How about you?

God gives us gifts, great and glorious gifts. Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father above. The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is the ultimate sacrifice, He gave up His seat on the heavenly throne to become to blood sacrifice for us. We are washed clean by the blood of the Lamb. Yet, we are called to participate in His suffering. We are called to sacrifice.

“Was not our forefather Abraham [shown to be] justified (made acceptable to God) by His works when He brought to the altar an offering his [own] son Isaac?

You see [His] faith was cooperating with His works, and [his] faith was completed and reached its supreme expression when he implemented it] by [good] works.”-James 2:21,22

My faith coooperates

My faith cooperates with my works when I am obedient, when I am willing to sacrifice my will for His own, when I am ready to lay down my Isaac for whatever He wills. I am justified through works as well as by what I believe (Tweet That)(James 2:24).Sometimes, God asks me to lay down a gift He has given me.

My word this year is sacrifice. It’s only a month in and it is turning out differently than I imagined. I pictured myself jumping around and singing, “We bring the sacrifice of praise unto the house of the Lord” while wearing a white skirt and twirling in happy circles. Instead, God is calling me to sacrifice time, to sacrifice my way of doing things and my time table. Basically, I am sacrificing my flesh on the altar of His will.

It means not doing some good things. The Lord wants me to lay them down and walk away for some better things. How about you? Have you been given a glorious gift or opportunity that God has asked you to sacrifice? Are you on the other side of it, or like me are you standing at the altar looking for the ram?

The works of obedience God calls me to are mostly in areas of my weakness, with a sprinkling of my strength and a healthy dose of my God-sized dream. Is God stretching you too? Asking you to sacrifice your comfort zone on the altar of obedience so He can be glorified?

Linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Word Wednesday, join us!

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