Now, this kind of feels disingenuous because let me tell you, as an enneagram 4 I have ZERO problems with dreaming. I can get very lost in dreams and ideas and creativity. So much so that to stop my brain from spinning I usually have to write out all my ideas and dreams into some kind of chart with specific strategies on how to accomplish them, lest I go insane.
But when it comes to actually listening to dreams, being in tune with the Father and what He wants to accomplish through our dreams, I’m not very good. A lot of it comes from what I think is something we’ve been told since we were young – that when we die to self, we die to dreams of our own. The bible tells us that Jesus told His disciples
“If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will save it.”Luke 9:23-24
The thing is that when we die to self, we are supposed to then become alive in Christ. Paul tells the Galatians,
I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for meGalatians 2:20
And in so doing, we need to actively pursue our ministry, just as Jesus had His. God made each of us for a purpose, with unique gifts and talents designed for His glory. So while we are meant to die to our own desires and take up the cross of Christ, that doesn’t mean that we stop dreaming, it just changes the way in which we look at dreams altogether.
Now, as Christ followers, we aren’t dreaming dreams of self promotion for our own benefit. Instead, if we remain in tune with the spirit, God will put dreams and desires in our hearts that will fuel His mission here on earth. He will use our own dreams and talents – the things we already love to do – for kingdom work while we are still separated from Him here. That is amazing!
But the key is, we have to dream. And we have to keep checking those dreams against the word of God to ensure they are from the Almighty. We are not free to dream of our own glory, but of God’s. We can look to Christ through the gospels as a guide. If we have a dream, does it line up with the teachings of Jesus? Does it involve denying ourselves for the good of the Kingdom? Are we even sure we know what denying ourselves even means? Do you see a need in your community that you think you can fill but it would involve you doing something out of your comfort zone? Do you feel a gentle guiding from the Lord calling you to something that feels big and scary? These are all important questions to bring before the Lord.
But we can’t stop dreaming. Because God will work through our dreams. And we can’t stop working towards God’s purposes. I can’t stress this enough. We have a glorious, wonderful burden to live out the gospels. To clothe the naked, feed the hungry, care for the widowed and orphaned, set the prisoners free. We need to be the hands and feet of Jesus, emboldened by the power of the Holy Spirit to make His will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Listen to all those little dreams. If even just one of them is from the Lord, you need to sit up and take notice. Talk to mentors or friends, test it against the word and then get after it. We aren’t here for very long, so let’s make the most of the time we have. Grab your cross and let’s go.