It’s sobering to think that dreams once held dear will never come true. When circumstances conspire to dash long-held goals and aspirations.
When there is more time behind than there is ahead.
When you stare reality in the face and realise that the time has come when you recognise that the dream will never come true. . . What then?
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8, NIV)
All my life I’ve wanted to do great things for God.
The Bible heroes inspired and encouraged me. Moses, Joseph, David, Esther, Mary, James, Jude and Paul . . . People of influence who had to fight for their beliefs. People who made strategic differences and impacted history.
I wanted to think like them, act like them, have faith like them and make a difference like them.
I wanted to be that medical missionary, caring and touching lives. I wanted to climb the corporate ladder and become a CEO. I wanted to be a pilot, flying for Missionary Aviation Fellowship impacting remote communities.
It never happened!
A conversation with God
“Lord, You put me here for a reason and I’m asking why. I’m no longer young. What can I do? What happened to those dreams of yesterday? Were they real or tricks of the mind?
I want more from life, but time’s a-wasting. Surely there is more to life than this?
I want to live my life for You, to use the latter years of my life to impact the world for you. Isn’t that a dream You would approve of?”
“My child, when does a candle show its integrity?”
“Lord, a candle shows it’s integrity when it’s lit and placed in a dark place.”
“My beloved child, that’s exactly what I need you to be. I need you to be a candle.”
“But, what if I want to be more than a candle?”
Become a person of influence
John Maxwell indicates that leadership is not about position. It’s not about being the pastor of a mega-church, a board member, worship or a connect group leader. Leadership is much more subtle and profound than that!
Leadership is about influence. It’s a choice, something I choose to do. — R.S.
Keeping John’s definition in mind, I can choose to lead in any area of life; as a husband, father, brother, uncle, friend and colleague. I don't necessarily have to have the corner office or official title. I can be a grey man. Let me explain.
A grey-man (or woman) is someone who may not necessarily stand out from the crowd, but they can be relied on to get the job done. A team player.
- Disciples: Not all of us are called to be CEO’s of large companies, doctors, nurses or lawyers. Not all of us are called to be movers and shakers in industry and commerce. The world needs check-out-chicks, refuse collectors and janitors too. Regardless of our status in life, what I do know is that we are all called to be disciples of Jesus. The world needs more disciples!
- Perseverance: Discipleship is not something that happens overnight. It takes a lifetime of development and grit. It’s becoming more and more like Jesus, Personally speaking, that will take more than a lifetime!
- Seek the mind of Christ: Influence doesn’t have to be a deliberate act on my part. It can be me asking ‘what is the next right thing to do?’ Or ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ It’s a simple question, but it requires me to seek the mind of Christ and that’s primarily achieved through daily prayer and reading the Scriptures.
- Be a Grey man: I’m not meaning to be sexist. When I say ‘Grey-man’ I’m referring to all individuals.
God may not be calling me to do great things for Him. Perhaps he is calling me to specialise in the little things, to be one of his ‘grey men’, an unrecognised disciple, blending into the crowd, never noticed, hiding my skills and qualities. Like Ananias (Acts 9), or the widow (Luke 21) If that what God wants, that’s fine with me. I can live with that.
- The next right thing: When faced with the question — how can I influence this situation, perhaps the simple answer is: Do The Next Right Thing.
What I have learned
Little things: Big picture thinking is great, but when the rubber hits the road, it’s the little things that matter, and God expects me to be reliable in the little things.
The pursuit of happiness: As I write I’m reminded of a hymn, Trust and Obey, that was popular in church, growing up in Ireland, The chorus still resonates in my spirit decades later:
Trust and obey,
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus,
But to trust and obey.
Perhaps that’s what God is trying to teach me, Trust and Obey!
Doggedness: Even when the dream appears dead, He expects me to stand firm, be a person of light in a dark place.
Dare to tell God how you feel
This part may be uncomfortable, but having read so far, please indulge me.
Have your past dreams been shattered or perhaps they’ve just evaporated over time?
Has life got in the way and pushed your dreams to the periphery, or maybe right over the edge!
I dare to raise the subject with your heavenly Father. He’ll listen, He’ll understand. Be honest, He won’t be surprised. There is nothing you can say to God that will surprise Him. It may surprise you, but not Him. I find that comforting
Ask what God has to say about those past dreams and your aspirations for the future?
Here’s what I practice. It works for me, perhaps it will for you too.
- One-on-one time: Make a deliberate choice to spend time alone with God daily.
- Read and or Listen: Read or listen to the Bible, cover to cover.
(Keep at it for 90 days to start with and it will become a habit!)
- Pray (have a chat with God): Take time to pray early in the day. Make this a regular habit too.
- Let go: Let go of your regrets. God is still willing to take our lost dreams and our failures and our lost opportunities. He will take our mess-ups and supernaturally use them to influence and disciple others. It was William Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, who stated that;
‘In God’s economy, nothing is wasted.…’
In God’s economy, nothing is wasted. Through failure, we learn a lesson in humility which is probably needed, painful though it is.’—Bill W.
- Journal — Write down your observations, see the change that God brings about in your life, and the lives of others. It’s an interesting exercise to read through past journal entries and see how you’ve grown as a person.
- Influence: Start today and become a person of influence — in your family, workplace, and church.
Lord Jesus, when I can’t see any real purpose for what I do, remind me that you simply require me to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with you. I accept that you know what is best and I submit to your goodwill. Show me what is the next right thing to do. I love you. Amen.
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‘In God’s economy, nothing is wasted. …’ — Bill W. https://www.azquotes.com/quote/584758