What started out as a crazy thought, too foolish to be mentioned, soon turned into daily life that I couldn’t imagine living without. My three year anniversary of setting out for Europe and becoming a missionary has come and gone. With it, reflection and reminiscing has yielded a persistent wave of thankfulness to God. With it, the unrelenting question of “How me?” has pervaded as well.
My story is a simple one. Christian family, small town, average guy, university student, now missionary… or whatever this is. There wasn’t a trade secret or self-fabricated talent that predestined me for this.
Before I even set some wheels in motion for the adventure that has unfolded, I was too ashamed and scared to whisper the idea of going abroad. It’s a thing many people think and dream of, but it remains just that…a thought, a dream. You know what I mean: you follow “that guy” on Facebook who managed to backpack around Europe for a few weeks after college, you dream about doing it yourself, dismiss the thought, then go back to your normal routine.
I went through this same process when it came to European missions, but the cost, the possibility for failure, and the appearance of being under-qualified all plagued my thoughts, leaving them bound to an existence of secret wishes.
However, what was it that turned me into “that guy” (in a way…just turn the weeks of backing packing into a few years of missions work)?
I believe that there is something deep down inside us all, something that we are all destined to achieve, as if a calling was plucked out of eternity for each of us to step into. That is a dream fueled by the gasoline of God-given desires. A dream is something that faithfully churns on your inside and endures the test of distractions. It is something that is bigger than yourself and all of your capabilities. Though it’s of immense magnitude and encounters odds at every corner, it is something absolutely achievable with brute motivation.
Call me crazy, but I have this theory. It applies to someone who has a living relationship with God, so don’t go trying to disprove me too soon. But I believe that we are all given these desires deep in our heart as a mandate by God. Thus, dreams become responsibilities, but responsibilities carried out via emphatic joy.
Let’s start with the nature of God. A guy for whom everything is black and white, holy or heathen, good or evil. Thankfully, due to grace and Jesus’ sacrifice, we can be on the white, holy, and good side of things. Clearly, God isn’t haphazard or gray in His ways or decisions.
In Psalm 37:4, the Bible states that if we delight in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart. A diligent and purposeful God wouldn’t grant a desire that’s not of His liking, right? If this were the case, however, that has to be the most risky promise in the Bible. To cinch that loophole, we have established that God isn’t haphazard, so neither are these grantable desires inside us.
So much of the time, we spend our efforts trying to disentangle our thoughts from God’s thoughts, and we trap ourselves in verging-on-ascetic or self-denial mindsets. “This is just me being selfish or unrealistic; it can’t be from God.” But God promised you these desired outcomes and, true to his nature, intends that these desires become fulfilled. Train your thoughts to think: it’s not all me…it’s Him in me…I can trust who He has me to be, desires and all.
So not just are the wishes of your heart sane, but God wants to release them! Desires are the seeds of a dream that cultivate on our inside and culminate in the walking out of our calling. God is on your side. He is a fan of your life and a fan of your too-foolish-to-utter wishes because, in the end, He put them there. He is waiting for you to use another leap of faith just like the one you made when you decided to follow Him.
Now comes the challenge (and you thought that had already come). Stop being so capricious with your dream’s future, as if fulfilling were a simple a choice…like deciding between diet or regular Coke. You are a carrier, and God’s distinct plan was to create you with those desires inside in order to propel your dream and God’s calling forward.
Let your dreams inspire you and not discourage you. May the crazy and seemingly ridiculous tugs on your heart catalyze your future and not suppress your subsequent steps.