They say that some people tend to be stuck on their pasts while others are too future focused. Only few operate in the present. For me, I am definitely a dreamer. I have many desires and I often sit back envisioning them finally being my reality. Goals, dreams, hopes, and desires are what fuel our motivation. Without any sort of vision for our lives, how could we take steps forward and keep our balance? What would we be working towards? None of us know exactly what God has planned for our lives, but I do believe He places certain fires and desires within us for a reason. He may not do things exactly how we anticipated, but we can be sure that He has something greater in mind. With that being said, having hopes for our future isn’t the problem. I’d actually go so far as to say that if we don’t have any goals or dreams, we likely have a lack of faith as well. But what happens when we start to chase our dreams more than we chase God? What happens when our desires become idols in our lives? What happens when we focus so much on what the future holds that we can’t even see what God is trying to do in our lives right now?
This past month, I’ve been in a place where I just don’t know what God has in store for me. Two big questions that have been consuming my thoughts lately are where am I going to end up working and is this beautiful man in progress my future husband. I have been in God’s face consistently, seeking answers, clarity, and confirmation. Want to know what He finally laid on my spirit in response? He revealed to me that my future is distracting me from my now and from Him. I’ve spent far too much time wondering what if, when, where, and how, when all He wants me to do is draw nearer to Him. I’ve been in His presence, reminding myself to seek His face and not His hand, but I have been so consumed with wondering what my future holds that I have a hard time actually being present with Him. He wants my total focus, not just what’s left once I finally calm my mind.
“Cast your cares on the Lord, and He will sustain you..”
“Be anxious for nothing, but in all things, through prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.
And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and He will establish your plans.”
I could go on and on. I recently made a scripture board with 40+ verses that all focus on praying, seeking Him, and trusting that He hears and answers us (picture below). Meditating on these verses helps to center my attention on God and keep me grounded. I try to place my worries and desires in His hands and leave them there, but this is still easier said than done. While I have gotten better about being still and letting Him take care of everything, that doesn’t stop my thoughts from running wild.
When I look at different job positions, I also feel compelled to look at apartments in that area, anticipate what my commute may be like, consider all I’d be leaving behind, wonder if I’m even qualified or if they’ll regret hiring me (that’s a separate post), and question if I’d actually be happy there. Talk about anxiety provoking. Similarly, when I question whether or not this man is my future husband, I also go through a series of scenarios. I question if God’s “not yet” is actually a no and He has someone else in mind for me, or is He trying to prepare us for our future together. I picture us with a beautiful, happy, blended family, I wonder what it would be like to be a step mom, I worry about if I’d ever actually fit in, and I question if it’d be too hard and I should just run away now. I even consider what area I should live in so our kids can go to great schools and I think about them as I make financial investments for my future.
Those are not at all the only thoughts I have, and believe me when I say I feel crazy sometimes. It really is a lot to consider when making decisions, but the truth is, God has already gone before us and paved the way. I might want to know what He has up His sleeve, but He just wants me to trust Him. His word says to lean not on our own understanding. Faith is trusting Him, even when we can’t see what He’s doing behind the scenes. It’s knowing that no matter where I end up or who I end up with, He is in control. My future is already taken care of!!!
This doesn’t mean I should lose sight of my dreams and desires, but it is time for me to shift my attention. Instead of questioning what God is doing regarding my future, I need to focus on what He is trying to do within me right now! There are some assignments He wants me to complete in this season and some areas of growth that I need to target and improve before He can elevate me. It’s crucial that I’m present for my process. There are some things He needs me to learn right now that will prepare me for my future! It’s important that I clear my mind so that I can clearly see what He’s trying to show me. How can we hear from God if we never stop talking (and thinking) long enough for His spirit to get through?
I’d hate to miss what God is trying to reveal to me because I was distracted by what may or may not come to pass. I’d hate to make an idol out of my desires and then never receive these things from God because of it. He wants to know He can trust us. If we’re already obsessed with the possibilities, then what might happen if they become reality? Because I am conscious of this, I am intentional about at least trying to surrender these hopes and dreams to God. He knows the desires of my heart and should they be fulfilled, He will get ALL of the glory from me. I’ve been writing out my prayers, the revelations I believe He whispers to me, and the dreams I have while sleeping, and I am excited for the testimonies that are en route.
In short, we must be intentional about taking control of our thought lives. This has been a problem for me for at least the past 15 years, but it’s time for me to get serious about refocusing. It’s natural to let our minds wander, but in recent years I’ve learned more about the importance of controlling our thoughts. They have so much power of us. Our thoughts control the way we live, the decisions we make, the chances we don’t take, the way we interact with others, how we view ourselves, and as I just realized, our relationship with God, too. If we don’t take our thoughts captive and decide what we will and won’t allow into our minds, we are living in a dangerous place.
I want all that God has for me, and He wants to give us the desires of our hearts that align with His will for our lives. Keep dreaming but don’t allow your hopes for the future to distract you from all of the purposeful moments that are to be had right now in your present. You may not be where you want to be or have all that you wish you did, but trust that God is working it all out. Know that He is going to blow your mind, but meanwhile, don’t miss this current moment waiting on that day to come.
“A hope deferred makes the heart sick.
But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.”