Setting Goals, Dreaming Big
What plans do you have for tomorrow? Do you have plans for Thanksgiving or Christmas? Have you dared to dream about five or ten or more years from now? Ask someone about their dreams for the future this week. It is truly fascinating to hear all the different goals and dreams people have!
Since we have recently been dreaming as a congregation about the future of Cross Lutheran Church and School, I have had the pleasure of hearing future goals from many people. Disciples of Christ at Cross have talked with me about new cars, retirement, college, vacation homes, touring the country, taking vacations and so much more. It has been an honor, and down-right fun, to hear and share so many different ways God is leading His people at Cross.
God loves it when we dream; it means we are looking forward to the future. He loves it even more when we bring our dreams to Him to bless and refine. How often do you bring your dreams and desires to God? Are you afraid He will say no? I think God often gets misunderstood to be a God who squashes dreams and demands we don’t have fun. The common image of God is heavy piety and self-restraint, but while these remain true, they do not tell the full story.
Jesus loves to celebrate and enjoy the blessings of life. Jesus turned water into wine, Jesus fed thousands of people at once, and Jesus walked on water and spooked His disciples. God used prophets to taunt those who worshipped idols and describes heaven as a marriage feast (think wedding reception) with the best food and drink we’ve ever had. God could be very straight laced and legalistic about things, but He isn’t. God would use teachable moments and dramatic events to inspire and celebrate.
The reason I take my dreams and goals to God, and would encourage you to do the same, is described well in Ephesians 3:20: “Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” God is capable of accomplishing more than we might ever ask or think! My dreams are often too small or too narrowly focused. My vision is frequently limited by my experiences or my perceptions of this world. God’s vision is not limited, and when we take our dreams to Him, He refines them to be greater than we ever imagined!
Does this refining mean that sometimes our dreams are re-directed? Can that feel like a “no” from God on our dreams? This can certainly be our perception, but my experience is that when I allow God to refine my vision, it becomes a much greater vision with more clarity and increased impact than it ever was before. If you’ve never done this, try it; bring your request, your dream, your vision before God, and see what He does with it. If you think He’s telling you “no,” prayerfully consider this reality, and ask Him what His “yes” is. His “yes” is always good, and His “no” is always out of love.
His servant and yours,
Pastor Erik Gauss