Is it Possible for Christians to Pursue Their Dreams and Not Be Out of The Will of God?
Following my dreams and walking with God
I’m a different person now than I was when I first started to pursue my dream.
We project our dreams into the future, but when they become a reality, it can be quite surreal.
Most of the books I read about following our dreams said that to fulfill them we have to become a different person, for the old you would not be equipped for what’s required.
There comes a point in our lives when we have to decide what we really want.
We can be faced with a decision about our career, relationships, where to live, lifestyle, etc. And it’s not always easy to decide.
I like the poem by Robert Frost, ‘The Road Not Taken’ as it describes these crossroads very well.
If we travel the road most people take, it might be okay, but there is something about the less trodden path that appeals to me more.
“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
— Robert Frost
When we reach a crossroads in life, we take time to consider our options. We try to imagine what it would look like on either path, but we can only see so far. At some point, we must choose one.
We may try to kid ourselves and say, ‘ I’ll give this a go, sure I can always go back.’ But really, if you make any significant change in your life, it’s unlikely you will ever go back.
Frost puts it this way. ‘Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.’
We often hanker for the things of the past, the people, the way we were, and the places we lived, yet if we try to go back, it doesn’t work.
How I decided to leave Ireland
In 2017, my friend, Sandra Pascoletti coached me at the Morrison Hotel in Dublin. She’s Italian and migrated to Ireland about 10 years ago.
She’s very happy with her life in Ireland, so I felt she’d be able to help me with my hesitancy regarding traveling overseas.
I was in my forties, so it felt like a huge step. As she coached me, we found my obstacle (or limiting belief). I was afraid to go because it meant I couldn’t settle.
The word, ‘settle’ is used a lot in Ireland for people in their late thirties and forties. I always hated when people would say to me. ‘So when are you going to settle?’
I had an aversion to the word as it’s loaded with expectations. It felt like a dream killer to me.
It’s not mentioned in the Bible unless it’s referring to settling in the promised land, but I knew I was nowhere near my promised land.
I had been held captive by a mindset enforced upon me by my culture, society, family, and yes, even friends, for far too long. I felt like a prisoner. I had to break free.
Sandra made a suggestion that unlocked the door for me. She said, ‘Could you just accept that you won’t be able to settle for a few more years and get comfortable with that?’
That was it. That was the limiting belief that was keeping me stuck.
I had been programmed to do what society expected of me and right there and then, I said yes to Orla, yes to God, and yes to my freedom.
I knew it wasn’t going to be easy but I decided I was going to do it anyway.
I decided to trust God and trust myself.
God has no fear and is limitless. I was the one who had to open my mind and heart.
God was more than willing to accompany me on my adventure and He did. Four years on, I can testify that He never left my side.
He carried me and sustained me. He is so faithful and powerful. He gives me a strength I could never have on my own.
Even with Covid, I did not run home as I knew that was not a good plan for me. I left home and I was enjoying my new journey. I would only go home for visits.
I had three and a half wonderful years living, working, and traveling in S.E. Asia. What a blessing!
And even now, I have managed to enjoy Europe and visit my family too. God helps me in every way. It’s unbelievable.
The cost of following your dream
Dreams can be dangerous if we take them seriously because they bring many changes, but all true dreamers know this, yet they are still willing to pay the price.
The biggest cost is the loss of people because you simply can’t make radical changes without losing some people along the way. They won’t want to go with you.
It’s sad and it’s hard. At first, I felt bad, like I was abandoning them in some way, but actually, as it turned out, they were fine with me going and didn’t want to come.
If you want to pursue your life dream — you will need to get used to letting go because this is an essential part of it.
The reality of seeking after your dreams can be a lonely one. You see beyond where you currently are, but others don’t.
Following your dream usually means moving. There is always some sort of movement involved. Even if you absolutely detest change — your dream will demand it.
I needed to leave Vietnam as they were charging $130 per month for visa extensions, so I couldn't stay there.
I was in Saigon desperately trying to get to France, but with the Covid restrictions, I couldn’t go.
I had been in South East Asia for over three years and wanted to go to Malaysia again, but with borders shutting all over the place, it wasn’t possible.
I was getting more and more frustrated. It was a difficult time for me.
I knew then I had to get serious about my prayer. One friend thought I was crazy and said I should just accept it. I said I would accept it if it was God’s will but I had to at least try.
So, I pushed and pushed in prayer until the door opened. I also prayed, ‘but Lord, if it is not your will, I do not want to go.’ I didn’t want to be out of God’s will even though I did not want to stay another day in Vietnam.
Our dreams teach us how to pray. Prayer needs to be specific. This is why Jesus says, ‘what do you want?’ God’s will can be logically worked out, but only in stages.
We co-labor with Christ by communicating our needs and desires to Him in prayer.
I wanted to go to France, but God knew and I knew that it wasn’t safe to go there at this time, so by listening to God and working with Him, I looked for the safest countries to go to in Europe, and Portugal was the safest one.
I was happy with this compromise. At least I would be in Europe and nearer to my home.
Don’t say no when God says go
The more you walk with God, the more you will be able to discern His will for you.
People who don’t have a relationship with God think we are being impulsive when they see us move, but they have no idea how long we sought God in prayer about the decision to go.
Get to know God intimately and He will guide your steps and if you make a few mistakes, that’s okay. I believe God would rather we try and fail than not try at all.
A humble person is not afraid to make a mistake and they aren’t afraid to take risks either. After all, isn’t that what a life of faith is about? Taking chances and trusting God.
The will of God
The will of God is something many Christians struggle with.
What is God’s will for my life?
I used to be like that, always watching sermons on my life purpose and God’s will for my life.
For me, it has been an unusual journey because the only way to know God’s will is in stages. He doesn’t reveal the big picture to us. He shows us a little at a time.
I used to get frustrated with this. ‘Where’s my big calling? Where’s my amazing life?’
It was all about me.
What I’ve discovered, and this was not easy to accept, was that you may not get what you want when you want it, and sometimes God even says no.
It can be difficult to give up the things we desire, but if you have developed a personal relationship with Jesus, then you will want what He chooses.
I know that sounds crazy to a nonbeliever, but to the believer it makes sense.
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.”
— 1 Corinthians 1:18
If you believe God has a plan and purpose for your life, don’t you want to wait for it?
There are a couple of reasons why God likes us to wait:
- to protect us from harm
- to align other circumstances and people
It’s all about timing with God. His timing is perfect. He’s never too early or too late.
You need to take your plan to God and discern if it’s a good one. God won’t stop you, but if you consult Him in prayer, you will know in your heart if it’s from Him or not.
Sometimes our flesh is weak. We get impatient and make poor decisions. It’s never wise to jump ahead of God.
He needs to do a work in our hearts. This is always the most important thing to God.
So, knowing the will of God for your life comes down to prayer and discernment.
When we choose to follow God, we may not always get what we want or we may have to wait a long time for it. But, sadly most people are unwilling to wait.
After walking with God a while, the things of God take precedence over the things of the world.
We desire the higher calling more than anything else. The believer finds great joy in pleasing God.
God is gracious though and leads us in a way we like. I always enjoyed travel and I enjoyed writing letters as a child and later journaling, but I never imagined I would want to become a writer or travel at this stage in my life, but I’m so happy to be doing it now.
So in answer to my question..
Is it possible to pursue our dreams and not be out of the will of God?
Yes, I believe it is possible.
If you sin, you are out of the will of God. If your desire is to love God, yourself, and others, you shouldn’t be out of the will of God.
When we surrender to God, it becomes easier to discern His will for us. It is about being in communion with God at all times.
Quite often I ask the Lord, ‘Am I still on track? Have I stayed at this place too long?’ This is how we grow into our calling, by listening to God.
We must be that close to God, always watching and ready to hear his voice.
Many say they are Christians but they don’t know God’s voice. Jesus said his sheep will know his voice.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
When we live in communion with God, we have peace. It’s not always easy to discern, but you will know it’s His will as you will have peace.
When I feel worried which I do with Covid and the work situation, I stop and pray.
Then I am reminded that God promises to provide for all my needs, so I relax and trust.
After I pray, I always have peace.
Do you have a dream or vision for your life?
If you don’t, ask God for it. If you do, have you taken steps towards making it a reality?
It starts with baby steps and gradually you will start to feel more excited about making it happen until you pick up speed and start to put it into action.
It is God’s will for us to dream dreams and to have a vision for our life.
“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”
— Acts 2:17
Do you want to make your dream a reality?
One fulfilled dream leads to another. All you have to do is keep walking through the open doors. God will guide you, but you must obey Him when He tells you to do something.
I’m so happy I got to Portugal. I could have sat back and waited, but by God’s grace, I am well on my way to fulfilling the next part of my vision.
Seasons come and go and it’s good to recognize when one season ends and a new one begins.
There is always more in the kingdom of God. So, let’s press on as St Paul says..
‘..forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.’
— Philippians 3:13–14
I wrote this article for Christians, but if you are not a Christian and want to learn more you can read about it here.
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It is a continuation of my newsletter, only this time I want to go into more detail about the struggles on the Christian path and how we can overcome them.
I will start by sharing what’s been on my heart for a long time and then as we move forward, I will interview people about their journeys.
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