Is there a difference between leaving a job and throwing in the towel on your dream? I’ve asked myself this question for weeks as I tried to make sense of what I believe God was instructing me to do.
Dreams are funny things…they begin as little thoughts. Mine began at age 4 with a Fisher Price tape recorder and a song I wrote about the last unicorn. A dream is almost human. It grows with you, changes as your priorities change, but at its root, that same little thought remains.
I am glad to see 2019 go. I thought last January it was going to be the year that I saw the hard work of my past few years pay off and finally I would get the opportunity to live into my dream. I saw the warning signs, but thought I’m stubborn enough to make this work and I just had to keep pushing.
In fact, 2019 was “a long hard year” as Carrie Underwood sang in “Jesus Take the Wheel.” And in the past, I would have attempted to take back the steering wheel instead of giving it to God. But this time, I handed the battle to God because it’s simply not mine to fight.
It goes against every letter of my INFJ personality to walk away, but only God has the ability to change hearts. And while hopefully I planted some seeds, it is not necessarily meant for me to see the harvest. Even though 2019 was a challenge, it helped solidify my faith and the calling God has placed on my life. It even more helped me piece together the vision He has for me to be an encourager and friend to those that have yet to know Him, are far from Him, or simply have lost hope.
In 1 Timothy 1:5, Paul instructs Timothy that, “The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith.”
I think we become complacent as Christians. We fall into a trap of believing as long as we do some good, we are righteous enough and will be saved. But salvation is not about making ourselves appear "good enough" to other people. It’s not about a series of man-made traditions that we haphazardly repeat week after week without any true intention or understanding of the why. Salvation is allowing God to truly work through us so we may be delivered from sin. This is only achieved by faith in Christ that comes from a real relationship with Him and a daily decision to die to self.
We like to quote John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life," but we forget the context behind the verse. This verse was said in response to a Pharisee who didn’t understand heavenly things and therefore was relying on his actions to save him. He didn’t understand the ways of God.
In John 3:19, we are clearly told: “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” So even though Jesus was sent to bring light and eternal life, people still choose to ignore or deny Him because although there is peace and freedom found in the light, we are comfortable living in our darkness. Our flesh craves the things of this world — promotion, popularity, control, notoriety, etc. So many times, even when someone attempts to pull us out of our hole of darkness we become offended and refuse to leave it because we have found our identity and security in the darkness.
People hide in the dark places of their hearts because as a culture we shy away from being vulnerable. Being in the light means you are vulnerable and exposed. It means you are no longer trying to take control of the situation and manipulate circumstances so you can remain hidden. It’s risky and so many simply are afraid of the risk involved. They prefer the applause of men over praise from God.
My original thought that became a dream was to one day be a singer and songwriter. It was simply based around my love for music. As I got older, however, songwriting became my outlet for what I was feeling and I believe God gave me songwriting because with it I found a voice. I was the shy kid…the perfectionist…the “try to make everyone happy even though I’m miserable”….and songwriting allowed me to express things I otherwise would have let fester inside of me.
I tell you the dream because I think in the world today, we allow our dreams to sometimes become more important than God. We confuse our desires with God’s calling. Because of my love of songwriting and music, I chose paths that otherwise I may have not taken because I was trying to achieve “my” version of God’s plan for my life. I limited His call to a specific role and unknowingly placed God in a box of how I thought His plan should look.
Music is still my passion. I think it always will be, but it is simply a tool. It is the tool God gave me so I could find a voice and I believe with that tool maybe I can be a voice for others. And with that tool I hope to encourage and be a friend for others, but He never intended me to use it to limit Him.
So is there a difference between leaving a job and throwing in the towel on your dream? Yes. Most definitely. For all intents and purposes, I mistakenly turned a man-made position into the finale of my dream. And while being a Worship Director/Leader is still very much part of my heart, I believe God's call for us to “go make disciples” doesn’t just translate to inside the four walls of the church. It literally means go wherever He sends you….whether it fits “your” plan or not and go invest in someone’s life so that they may know the love of Jesus.
In 2019 I found myself in holes of darkness, because I continually tried to take the wheel from God and piece together the puzzle of my life with only the limited pieces I had in hand. Part of it is my personality, but part of it was simply a lack of faith in who He is and trust in the promises I know He has spoken over me. In 2020, I want to fully abide in Him. Whether it makes sense to my human understanding or not, I want to remain faithful to His calling.
Jeremiah 29:11 - “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”