My friend came with a notepad to dinner, so I knew this wasn’t going to be a casual conversation.
The past year had been full of change. Her home, her marriage, her job—everything had changed. Now that the dust had settled, she couldn’t shake the sense that another big change was on the horizon.
She was thinking about it. Mulling it over and over in her mind. This idea that she could run her own business just wouldn’t go away.
In between bites, she talked about what she loved to do, what she was good at doing, and how this burning passion to enjoy her life and her work kept bringing her back to running her own business. She talked with ease and excitement about how her gifts were made to do more than what she was doing. With a pen in hand and my 2019 Business Boutique planner as a guide, we started to map out her next steps.
It wasn’t long into the conversation when something clicked for her.
She wasn’t just talking about a business, she was discovering a dream that God had put in her heart.
In the midst of that dream was a clearer picture of her purpose.
And in the midst of that purpose were things she would need to pick up (to learn, cultivate, purchase and more) and things she would need to leave behind.
If you’ve ever dreamed about doing something big—whether it’s starting a business, building a home, planning the vacation of a lifetime, or moving to a new city—you know how overwhelming the process can seem. So when things start to click, it feels like you’re ready to take off, right now!
The groundswell of momentum you experience when gifts, passions and purpose align is vital for moving you forward, but it can be quickly stalled when you realize the things you need to leave behind.
And while not everyone’s steps of faith look the same, there are a few commonalities that bind all dreamers together in this journey.
This is a two part blog about daring to dream, and in this first installment we’re going to share three things everyone leaves behind as they chase their dreams. The next blog will be about what you gain as you go. But first, let’s tackle the tough decisions that impact all dreamers.
The place we begin is with Abraham. It’s on his journey of faith and relationship with God that we discover three necessary endings all dreamers experience before they walk into their destiny.
1. All dreamers must leave what’s familiar (Gen. 12).
In Genesis 12:1, God tells Abraham that He is going to make him a great nation but only after he leaves the place his father and his family settled.
You see, Abraham’s father, Terah, was headed to Canaan but stopped short and settled in Haran. The name Haran is significant because it’s also the name of Terah’s son who had died. When he settled here, it represented more than a physical decision. It also signified how the loss of his son limited his ability to move forward into the fullness of God’s plan for his life.
When God told Abraham to leave family and home, He was breaking Abraham free from the past. This was a necessary ending. Abraham couldn’t move into the dreamstream of God’s plan unless he left the place where others had stopped short of fulfilling their destiny.
Leaving behind what’s familiar isn’t always about leaving home or family. But it’s always about breaking ties with anything that keeps you from moving forward with faith and trust in God.
If the answer is yes, acknowledge it to the Lord. Then ask Him for a clear next step so you can begin moving forward.
2. All dreamers must separate themselves from distractions (Gen. 13).
Like all of life, there were people alongside Abraham in this journey. In Genesis 13, we learn that staying together was causing problems. People were too close and the pressures of everyday life and a lack of natural resources were becoming too much. There was conflict.
Rather than allow the conflict to damage relationships, Abraham wisely chose to separate the people.
In Genesis 13:11 we learn that Abraham gave his nephew, Lot, the choice of where to settle, and Lot chose the most fertile land. This may seem contradictory to God’s original intent, but not if you remember that Abraham knew he heard from God about what he was to do. The separation wasn’t a loss. It was a decision to protect the dream from distractions.
As you move forward toward the dream in your heart, you will face distractions. It may be conflict, familiar commitments, or satisfying entertainment. To see the fullness of God’s promise for your life will require you to pay attention to what’s happening around you and to maintain your course with resolve. You may have to adjust your schedule. You may also have to make some firm decisions to separate yourself from certain people or priorities.
If the answer is yes, be honest with yourself about what needs to change. You may need to invite a trusted friend or family member into the conversation for perspective and to help you make some wise decisions. Don’t be afraid to open up. The courage to change is often found in the company of others.
3. All dreamers must stop moving ahead of God in the process (Gen. 16).
One of Abraham’s greatest challenges was his own impatience. We know this part of the story well. God promised him a child with his wife, Sarah. Abraham got impatient. He had a child with Sarah’s handmaid, Hagar. This wasn’t God’s plan, so it brought another divide in the family.
Moving ahead of God will cause things to happen in your life. You will “birth” something… maybe even something that looks beautiful and good. But what’s good can also be the enemy of what’s best.
The best things are those that come from God’s timing and His purpose. The good news is: God is a redeemer. He will rescue our missteps and mistakes to get us back on track. So even though Abraham rushed to make God’s move for Him, God still fulfilled his promise, and Sarah gave birth to Isaac (at 99 years old!).
Most of us catch God’s vision for something and experience impatience. The temptation to move in our own strength to make things happen comes from frustration and the desire to see our dreams come to pass.
If the answer is yes to either of these questions, stop what you’re doing and give things back to God. Ask Him to untangle any mess that’s been made. Then invite Him to pace and direct your steps.
When you trust God to lead you in the right direction and to fulfill His plans for your life, the dreams in your heart will take you to amazing places! Along the way, you will have some difficult decisions to make, and leaving things behind will always be a part of the process.
But be encouraged! These three necessary endings are common to all dreamers. And the blueprint of Abraham’s life, as recorded in scripture, reveals the goodness of God, every step of the way.
Take those steps of faith with confidence. God knows where you’re going and how to get you there.