Aligning Talents with Dreams: God’s in Charge

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Dreams. Tricky, right? How do I know if my dream is from God? What if I’m making this up in my head? What if I step out there and fail? What’s the big deal about dreams, anyway?

Here’s what I’m thinking these days:

There are dreams we have when we sleep. I believe there are spiritual components to some of these dreams. Sometimes, I’ll admit, our dreams are the result of having eaten too much pizza. But, I also feel at-night dreams are often a tool God uses to get through to me when my defenses are down, and my less logical self has the freedom to process something my logical brain may have blocked during the day. More and more, I believe the veil between heaven and earth is nowhere near as thick as I once believed. I believe God shows me things in the daytime that I can only begin processing in my sleep—through the dreams he gives me.

Then, there are the waking dreams. There are daydreams, where our minds wander while we wait at the stoplight, wishing we were back in Maui instead of cold and rainy Nebraska. Daydreams can be lovely, and they can sometimes serve as the key to unlock the door to a clearer vision of what God has in store. Either way, daydreams should be kept in check. Not all daydreams are good dreams, as David would be quick to tell you, after daydreaming about Bathsheba while she bathed on the roof.

There are passions. Passions are like a heartbeat, driving the lifeblood through our veins. Sometimes we try to set them aside and pursue more sensible activities, but the passion remains essential to how God’s made us. Our passions keep pulsing in our spirit just as our physical heart keeps beating away in our chest. Passions won’t let us go. We find ourselves inexplicably linked to them: our children, our desire to contribute beauty to the world, our longing to rescue teenagers from sex trafficking. Passion derives from the Latin word for suffer. These are the things for which we’d be willing to sacrifice something—time, talent, treasure, and maybe even our life.

There is also vision. It drives us and allows us to see a preferred future for our families, our churches, our communities, and ourselves. Often, others can’t see it until we show it to them.

So, how do our gifts, skills, and talents fit into this puzzle of dreams? Well, this is the amazing part. And, we don’t always see it until, like Gideon, we’ve taken that first, shaky step into a dream that seems way too big for us, and with resources that seem way too small.

Not too long ago, I hosted a retreat for—as the tagline read—writers, bloggers, artists, entrepreneurs, and other fabulous people who have an amazing dream. I had no idea what I was doing. I had not one single clue about how to make a retreat of this size happen. What I did have was a vision that I could not shake loose. There was no way I could not try to see the dream through to its completion, whether that meant success or not. The failure, as I came to see it, would be in not trying at all.

And so, I took a deep breath, and simply put one foot in front of the other. I had a few skills that fit the vision well, but mostly, I was way out of my element. Every single time, just when I thought there was no way this dream could ever come true, something amazing would happen, convincing me, again, that the dream was always God’s and that he was in charge.

As God ushers us along the path of the dreams he’s chosen for us, the Holy Spirit fills in the gap where our natural skills and talents fall short. And, of all the people watching the dream come true, we are the most amazed. To some people, it looks like we’ve accomplished some grand thing. But we, knowing our own limitations and doubts and fears, remain convinced it was God who made that grand thing happen.

What if that’s the point, after all? What if the dreams really belong to God, and what we’re given is an invitation—a call—to be transformed, while God works in us and through us to make his dreams come true?


Aligning Talents with Dreams

This article is part of a series at The High Calling on Aligning Talents with Dreams. We’re talking about dreams—both big and small—that flow from an intimate relationship with God. And our talents? It’s the way God’s made us, though we may have to sharpen our raw talents into skills. Ideally, we’re equipped with talents to support the dream we’re given. But often, life’s timing isn’t perfect. Maybe we’re waiting to discover the dream, or maybe we’re waiting to develop the talent more fully. What’s it like when our talents and dreams converge? How can we get there? What can we do in-between, when we’re waiting? Join us as we discuss our God-given talents and dreams. Why not encourage others to join the conversation by sending these articles through email, social media or jumping into the comments at our website?

Image by Tim Miller. Used with permission. Sourced via Flickr.