Should I chase my dream?
Should I chase my dream? What a loaded question.
TL;DR: The short answer is yes. The right answer is yes but…
If you’re reading on, I assume that you have a dream in your heart, or are unsure if what you’re doing now is the ‘dream’.
In my late teens to early twenties, I was so sold by the idea and message of ‘pursuing your dream’, ‘chase after your dream’, and ‘follow your heart’.
Being a zealous and determined individual, I decided I should do just that. After all, WOLO (we only live once), right? But a few months into the whole ‘pursuing your dream’ narrative, I find myself being more and more restless, feeling kinda purposeless, and questioning my existence. I was less focused on the task at hand because I was constantly dreaming about a more ‘noble’ cause, and a better future - something bigger, something that would change the world.
Sounds serious eh? But the truth is that that’s exactly what these narratives will do to you.
Pursue your dream. Chase after your dream. Follow your heart. Inspirational? Yes. Biblical? Not quite.
If we are not careful, these narratives will cause us to compare our current life with the ‘dream’ life that others seem to have, and the ‘dream’ life that we should be having. And that, my friends, is the beginning of covetousness.
The Bible tells us in Jeremiah 17:9 that ‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?’. Matthew (15:19) goes on to say that ‘For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theift, false witness, slander.’
How then can we simply just ‘follow our heart’?
It is important to understand that on our own, we cannot achieve purity of heart but through a sanctification process with Jesus, daily surrender, and renewing of our minds with Scripture, we can then grow into Christ-likeness and lead our hearts with His truth.
The good news is that though our heart and flesh may fail, God is the strength of our heart and our portion forever (Psalm 73:26).
You might be wondering, ‘So where do I go from here?
‘Should I still dream? What is my calling? What is my purpose here? Am I in the right place? Is what I am doing now God’s will for me?’
These are very good questions. But don’t let them overwhelm you. Let’s simplify things.
Our purpose here on Earth is to glorify God (Isaiah 43:7), to know Him, and to make Him known. Everything God created on Earth is to bring Him glory. Don’t take my word for it, google and search out the scriptures for yourself.
What we do to bring glory to God, that’s our ‘calling’. Most of us do not have a dramatic encounter where God reveals to us a specific assignment or ‘calling’ through a burning bush. And that is completely fine, and perfectly normal! Don’t wait for those dramatic encounters before you can live out your purpose (again, that’s to bring God glory).
Whatever talents and gifts you have right now, you can start using them to glorify God, wherever you are. Be faithful in the now. Be faithful in the little. Stop dreaming about the future, and start living for God now.
For those who had one of those burning bush encounters, and you know that God has placed a specific assignment (or dream) in your heart, don’t wait any longer. Start walking in obedience. You may not see the full picture - and in fact, you never will - but may you be strong and courageous like Joshua, to take one step at a time, trusting that God will provide and lead you, even in the wilderness.
Here are 4 things I’ve learned while ‘chasing the dream’:
1. Don’t chase your dreams.
Chase the One who gave you the dreams. Don’t be attached to your dream, be attached to God. Focus on God, keep your eyes ever so fixed on Him. He is the best Partner you can ever have to work on the assignment together.
2. Fight self-doubt.
If God called you, it doesn’t matter if you feel qualified. He called you. He will provide. He is going to use you to bring Himself glory.
‘But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.’ - 1 Corinthians 1:27
3. Overcome the fear of man.
People are going to comment. People are going to have opinions. Regardless of what you do with your life, people are going to have something to say. Some of these people are God-fearing and loving Christians with well-meaning intentions.
Yes, please seek wise and godly counsel. Pray for discernment.
Yet know that at the end of the day, if you’d heard God’s voice, you got to move. No matter the opinion of anyone, you are accountable to God for what you do with your life.
Don’t be afraid of what people might say, remember the words in Isaiah 2:22, ‘Don’t put your trust in mere humans. They are as frail as breath. What good are they?’
(But please honour and love humans. Don’t act out of a rebellious spirit. That is a blog article for another time.)
4. Slay the giants of discouragement and disappointment.
Learn to encourage and strengthen yourself. In this journey of fulfilling your assignment from God, you will face lots and lots AND LOTS of discouragement and disappointment. You will make mistakes. You will feel uncertain. And you will feel like a failure at times.
You’ve got to learn to pick yourself up and strengthen yourself in the Lord. Meditate on His truth and promises. Speak His word over yourself. Spend time in His presence, stay in the secret place with Him. Relook your strategy with Jesus.
We cannot always rely on someone to send us a text of encouragement, or give us a hug to feel better. Often, this journey can feel lonely because most people will not understand what you’re going through.
But your best Partner can, and He is with you. Remember you’re a warrior and that in Christ, we have the victory.
And for those who have gone before us and forged the way, here’s a letter I wrote a few years back: ‘To the Forerunners’. Thank you for displaying strength and what it means to walk in obedience.