If you’ve ever pursued a God-sized dream, you will be challenged to do what doesn’t come naturally.
I was driving late to an appointment and getting antsy at each stoplight. There had been something bugging me for a while that I couldn’t shake. I was discouraged about some dreams I’ve been pursuing. I hit some roadblocks and I was stalled.
So I decided to talk with someone who counsels people through transitions and grabbed a cup coffee. I was curious to get her perspective.
Putting plans in place to get things done has been my thing. I had carved out a career in high tech getting teams to produce products doing just that. I liked planning and measuring progress. I got good at meeting goals.
But, the dreams I’m talking about don’t reach success through executing plans.
These dreams are God-sized dreams.
A Safety Mechanism
God-sized dreams defy control and only survive on one ingredient: faith.
The more I want to make progress, the more I get discouraged. It’s like a safety mechanism God puts into the dreams that come from Him. I can only get to the destination walking by faith, which means I can only see one step at a time.
The trouble is that I don’t like doing the one-day-at-a-time gig. The experience has felt long and dreary. Sometimes, I wonder if I’m even heading in the right direction.
Nothing To Fix
An hour later, with a drained cappuccino and a bunch of wooden stir sticks I broke while talking, the verdict was this:
Don’t give up.
Transitions takes time.
“Hmm…” I answer cautiously because I really want something to be wrong. I want to fix something. “So, you’re saying I’m not missing anything?”
“Nothing’s wrong.” was the reply.
I stood up, awkwardly surprised. At the same time, I was relieved because I knew I could now go home and ask God what all this was about.
What Doesn’t Come Naturally
Sometimes the only known path to the future is a desire to stay faithful, even in the face of discouragement.
That is what I realized as I stopped to pray in my car before returning home. As I desperately listened, I got a strong sense of what needed to be done.
Keep doing what I’m asking you to do, regardless of what it looks like, Bonnie.
There wasn’t anything I could fix. No changes to be made. Well, one change was needed — the one in my heart.
It doesn’t come naturally, but I needed to trust God more.
After all, it’s easier to think something is wrong when nothing is happening. Then we’d have something to fix.
It’s also harder to keep doing the same thing, when we just want to see change.
Some people give you the impression that trusting God comes second nature. Not me. That is why it is such a big deal that God is faithful, even when we are not.
Is it still worth it? I ask myself, as I drove into the garage with the same daily routine waiting for me. Do I still want to trust God even when it’s hard?
I remember a time when I struggled to answer that question. So when I found my heart saying yes that day, I knew God was at work in me.
And I was unexpectedly encouraged.
“No one who trusts God like this —
heart and soul —
will ever regret it.
It’s the same for all of us,
acting in the same incredibly generous way.”
~ Romans 10:11-12,
Are you feeling discouraged because you’re in between transitions? God’s dreams for you can never be stalled. He’s calling you to draw near Him, to give you strength, to keep doing what you’re doing.
He knows our hearts are weary. Yet He sees our desire to stay faithful. None of that changes His love for us. And He’ll guide us all the way.
How is God asking you to trust Him more?
Share your comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
*** NOW, IT’S YOUR TURN — FAITH BARISTA JAM! ***
Faith Barista Jam Thursdays — I serve up a topic of faith, you write the post. Keep faith fresh with a faith prompt and add your voice to this community.
Today’s topic: Unexpected Encouragement
Share your post on today’s topic by submitting your specific url below. If you don’t have a blog, share by posting a comment!
Next week’s 9/23 Topic: Letting Go Of Worry
Approach it any way you feel inspired! Only required ingredient: keep it real. Thanks for serving your personal brews!
It’s a jam session. As time allows, say hi & drop a comment when checking out the community faith blends.
Build the Keep Fresh Fresh Community: Include a link back to Faith Barista or grab the Faith Barista Jam Badge to place in your post. Click here for the code.
I did it, I linked up. I should have had more faith, I was so sure i wouldnt find encouragement as i had been so low. Thee of little faith. How awesome is our God. xxx
.-= Saea´s last blog ..Unexpected Encouragement =-.
Sara, you showed great faith because you depended on God to fill the need! I was so inspired by how God could fill you with hope in such indescribable pain. It will encourage many!
My blog post for this week’s discussion: A Little Light Seeping Through the Darkness. http://faithfictionfriends.blogspot.com/2010/09/little-light-seeping-through-darkness.html
.-= Glynn´s last blog ..The brother who loves him =-.
Glynn, I was inspired to remember as well as you have. What a great piece of tight writing that showed a heart that remembers God.
I want to print out so many of your posts and put them in a little binder so I can refer to them with a highlighter and notes and prayers….you know, kinda like a book. 😉
I have some God sized dreams. He planted them in my heart 5 years ago, in a dream actually. And sometimes I have to forget the dream and just remember the Dreammaker. Not forget as in leave by the way side. But just pursue Him in faith, like so much of what you said. We don’t realize that even gazing on our “God” given dream can take our eyes off Him.
Going to link up my post and check out the others!
.-= Melissa | Madabella: made beautiful´s last blog ..From Left Field =-.
“We don’t realize that even gazing on our “God” given dream can take our eyes off Him.” That is a nugget there, to take on the road, Melissa! Beautiful post.
I am learning that in the midst of challenges, God is faithful. I’m still not out of the valley but He has provided me with unexpected encouragement through blogging. I linked up with you above to share.
Nothing is impossible with God. I’m finding that Plan B may be just where He wants me to be right now. When I take that step of faith, He can work in me and through me. And the best part then is …He is glorified.
Blessings and love,
.-= Debbie´s last blog ..Faith Barista Jam Unexpected Encouragement =-.
You’re speaking words of surrender… of willing surrender that is so different from what the world knows. I hear joy in your surrender because your faith is now connected undoubtedly to God Himself. And how many friends you’ve connected with on the way! You’re a blessing, Debbie!
“God-sized dreams defy control and only survive on one ingredient: faith”
That’s a great recipe you shared…thanks!
Great to have you here, Jay! Thanks!
I sooo needed this today! I’m going through the same sort of situation with my photography business. I want so badly to put more things in motion, but literally can’t. Thanks for blogging!!!
Thanks for sharing, Lauren — and adding your voice!
This message was a HUGE encouragement for me Bonnie. My husband and I sense a change coming but God has not spelled out any of the details to us yet. We were feeling discouraged, like we were not listening well enough. Thank you for the encouragement that sometimes it about continuing to wait and not about fixing a broken link. I’ve really enjoyed reading what others wrote today. Good stuff!
.-= Melissa Brotherton´s last blog ..What if the answer isn’t Jesus =-.
You are so in His service. God would not leave you on the side. He’ll be as clear as He has been in the past, moving you when it is time. Keep going and stay confident!
Great thoughts as always, Bonnie! Isnt’ it a relief sometimes, though, to hear that nothing’s wrong, especially when you think you need to fix something?
I linked up…looking forward to reading everyone else’s posts.
.-= Rachel @ the science of music´s last blog ..Unexpected Encouragement =-.
I would love to develop a response to just trust everything is going right because the Lord is guiding me! And trust He’ll let me know otherwise. Loved your post, Rachel! Smiling from ear to ear for you!
My God sized dream is that I can run with God unfettered-to take up His eagle wings and soar to the highest heights He has for me, instead of sitting, staring at the clouds, only wishing.
.-= Bev McDougal´s last blog ..Hes Got the Whole World in His Hands =-.
A beautiful desire, Bev! We were meant to fly as we were designed.
love this …..love the words of encouragement….love that in hindsight we can see Him work….
.-= becky´s last blog ..Ezekiel 40 & 41 Psalm 128 Revelation 21 =-.
Bonnie, what a phenomenal post. Keep trusting God when it’s hard, especially when it’s hard. He rewards our faithfulness!
Thanks for letting me link up today! Love ya, girl!
.-= Kristen@Moms Sharpening Moms´s last blog ..One Thing You Can Count On =-.
I loved your extraordinary encouragement to find God in ordinary life. Every sentence was choice! Loved rubbing blogging shoulders with ya’, Kristen!
[…] 9/16/10 UPDATE: CLICK HERE to check out the awesome posts that were submitted for this jam! What do you think? Drop a comment and lemme know. Psst… Check out the last Faith Barista […]
What a blessing your post is to me today. Thank you.
.-= Michele´s last blog ..Fear Not =-.
[…] I’m writing about the topic “unexpected encouragement” with a group of other bloggers connected with Bonnie Gray’s blog Faith […]
love this… and it is so true… it’s much easier to lose ourselves in activity then rest into the silence of wondering “is God there?” “is He still working?” and “why can’t I just be in control dagnabbit?”
Control — that’s a great way to put it, Jenny! “Daganabbit”… loved that! 🙂
Thank you for this post. It is such an encouragement to me. I’ve been in the midst of a God-sized dream for just over a year now. It moved so quickly at first, I could barely keep up with God. Then, everything came to a screeching halt…or so it seemed. I’ve sought God for direction on what the next step is to be, all the while, waiting and trusting…and sometimes wondering if He had done all He intended to do with that dream. Would I be content if that was all He chose to do with my dream? Was I willing to let my dream be His plan? As I surrendered my dream to Him–willing to give it up, if that was His will–I came to see how He was still working the dream. It’s still in process…He is still in process of building it and creating the whole picture. And so, I am in that process of trusting Him one step at a time, with no clue what lies ahead…only that He has a dream so much bigger than mine.
.-= Debbie´s last blog ..Expecting the Unexpected at a Baby Shower =-.
“sometimes wondering if He had done all He intended to do with that dream. ” There are so many questions that flood out in our waiting and trusting time! It definitely stretches us to dig — beyond what we would want, but you’re describing what we all feel. Dependence is a daily renewal. Wonderful thoughts, Debbie!
I wrote about the unexpected encouragement I found when I pulled my struggles out from hiding. It’s a similar thing — keep going, keep working at it even when it doesn’t seem to get better, because you’re not alone.
.-= Joy´s last blog ..Fellow Travelers =-.
It takes tremendous encouragement to come out of hiding. Thanks for sharing your post — I know it touches on something we all feel and are continually working on as we encounter difficulties.
Our dreams aligned with His Will + Faith in God =
fulfillment beyond measure, “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think”
.-= Joyce D.´s last blog ..God-Sized Dreams Day 36 91210 =-.
Wonderful post — loved the equation, Joyce!
[…] Bonnie Gray and company as she serves up today’s topic on Unexpected Encouragement in a Faith Barista Jam. Be sure to check out the shots of […]
I just added my link – after finding my encouragement in the Lord, above all else.
He is good!
.-= HisFireFly´s last blog ..Tuesdays Unwrapped – Relief =-.
Thanks for jamming with your addition, HisFireFly. Your alias is perfect as pie for you!
These were such apt words for me to read today. Thank you for sharing. Last night as I wrote a blog post about affirmation and encouragement I was not even thinking about your Faith Barista Jam Thursday. Guess encouragment has really been on my mind lately.
.-= Amy Nabors´s last blog ..Affirmation and Validation =-.
Amazing! God is definitely validating and affirming your newfound passion, Amy!
When you are in a storm and the LOVE of JESUS starts showing everywhere!!
A card in the mail letting you know you are not alone and that you are a blessing and loved. A text from someone you had not spoken to in years but they needed to call to see everything is ok.
It is when you open your door and have not spoken a word to anyone that you were in need and there were groceries waiting and gift cards.
When you have been praying and seeking the LORD and you receive confirmation of that prayer, and a word that edifies and encourages!
When you are broken hearted and feel so deep within a pit, that you find out someone was praying for you and then the LORD comes in and sweeps you up in HIS arms and its then you are no longer alone for the LORD is with you. Giving comfort and peace.
Unseen angels working for the LORD and coming in to help when you least expect it!!!
Wow! Great list .. it’s like an encouragement bouquet … Thanks, Tina!
Ohh how I love this! Thank you so much for this post. This IS my heart at the moment. Walking along, being faithful, keeping at it, using what God’s put before me….TRUST is the word I keep hearing from God. I know that I know he will never ever let me down!
.-= Charissa Steyn´s last blog ..Hearts or Bodies what do you see =-.
“I know that I know he will never ever let me down!” Love this, Charrisa!
On seeing Bonnie’s invitation to share our faith stories, I got excited as I saw this as an opportunity to write, something I love to do. Like in Bonnie’s post for today, I’m in transition too – in my personal and professional life. Being someone who’s always lived life like a process flowchart, meaning accustomed to living life without the desire to entertain any interruptions or deviations, now being placed in a limbo is crucifixion to the my flesh!
In recent times, I’ve been feeling drained – tired of repeatedly trying to work my way ahead, seeing no results, and also lacking zeal to serve God. Basically, I felt I was aimlessly walking in a desert, without signposts telling me I’d reached certain milestones in my journey. I knew if I continued this journey in the same whirlpool of negative emotions, I would faint away. And so I cried out to God. Yes, I literally told God He needed to send me someone I could talk out what I was going through. Someone who would understand me just the way I am and think. This was the entry in my diary at 11pm. Little did I know help was just around the corner – to be more precise, help walked into my room at 11:15pm.
As usual, I didn’t think mom to be God’s rescue worker as I didn’t expect Him to work in a very natural and ordinary way. Mom was finding it difficult to sleep and so thought she’ll check on us to see if we’re awake for a chit-chat. It didn’t take me long to offload my stress baggage and Mom’s words of encouragement were just what I needed – water to a very very thirsty traveller. Like Jesus offering Living Water to the Samaritan woman at the well, I recognized my mom’s wise counsel as life giving.
It got me thinking….why mom? Why did God send mom? I’ve hesitated to share with her some of my inner fears and thoughts as I worried her remedial advice would be subjective based on her maternal reactions to protect me rather than let me explore.
But God knew better. A mother is probably the only person who knows her child through and through. She knows what makes her child tic and what throws him/her over the curve. That’s a mother’s heart and that’s why she’s mom. How much more will God the Father love and counsel us? He’s formed and fashioned us for greatness. He knows our DNA and the wiring of our soul. Building our relationship with him helps us draw on his love, strength, grace and wisdom for living out our lives. I guess that’s what a Father’s heart is.
In my quest get on with life, my relationship with God took a backseat. My tiredness was a result of relying on my own strength and nibbling on God’s graces. I needed to feast in God’s presence, be refreshed and empowered in the Holy Spirit and set forth on living my daily life. I realized I cannot serve God without knowing God’s heart. To know His heart, I needed to know Him. To know Him, I needed to spend time with Him.
Thereafter, excess baggage offloaded, priority redefined – I decided to travel light and walk closely to my Guide. Yes, I decided to come back to the Father and stay close to Him.
Well, has there been a change in my circumstances? A little bit. But I’m not concerned. I know I’m walking closely with Emmanuel. And this would’ve only been possible through God’s encouragement sent my way – unexpectedly.
Sounds like you are finding Emmanual. Through your mom and many answers to prayers. The answers all lead to Jesus. That is true encouragement, Liza! Thank you for sharing such a heartfelt moment from the pages of your faith walk.
This was a great encouragement to me, Liza. My mom is also not someone with whom I’ve confided much, but I’m sensing that she would like to build a closer relationship. I’ve been hesitant for much the same reason you wrote — that her words might be very prescriptive and subjective — but your post encouraged me to build a closer relationship with her and see what God does there. Thank you!
Okay, I left my link.
What an appropriate topic — unexpected encouragement! How we need that! Some of our unexpected encouragement, we do notice immediately. Other times, we have to “look more deeply” to realize that in an unexpected event, maybe even one we didn’t like, we really did receive His encouragement.
Thanks for the encouragement you offer on your blog, Bonnie. And your faithfulness in being able to keep the blog fresh and updated. And thanks for the chance to jam!
Thank you for keeping it fresh with your perspectives! You had me on the edge of my seat – and ended it wonderfully with encouragement! Good one.
This is very timely for David & I. We are tired and pumped…at transition and stand still, yet it’s so fulfilling…frustrated and excited.
You are right Bonnie. Drawing close to God right now is the only reason we can keep doing and trusting.
I’m full right now. Thank you.
It’s both difficult and trying. But, it’s the reality with the process of faith that doesn’t always gets talk about — and a very worthy process that sure to end with finding God fresher. Thanks for adding your voice to it, Jeri!
I am ever so grateful that God is faithful when we are not. I linked in for unexpected encouragement.
.-= Katie´s last blog ..Unexpected Encouragement During Storms =-.
Amazing summer… and amazing faith in finding God through the encouragement you received. You saw the gift giver behind the gifts. Thanks for linking up with your story.
So glad I stopped by today-
I HAVE GOD SIZED DREAMS! I really do, but lately I’ve been wondering if my dreams are really to elevate him or are my dreams to elevate myself? I hope it is Him.
Challenging post and loved the picture.
.-= Amy Sullivan´s last blog ..A Radically Good Read =-.
So glad you stopped by, too, Amy. That’s a question I ask myself too as God has me in the waiting… so many questions that shore it in this process.. and so worth it.. .bringing us closer to Him! Thanks for being part of the community today!
Thank you so much, Bonnie, for that encouragement . . .to keep going in His faithfulness and provision! I was nodding my head “yes!” the whole way through. And how I have enjoyed the encouragement everyone has shared! So here I am, time dysfunctional as always, with my unexpected encouragement. 🙂
My daughter hadn’t rode on Brat for awhile. Instead, she’d began rotating times on the other therapy horses, finding something special in each one.
Back when she rode on Brat exclusively, I’d accidentally given him a static shock to the nose while petting him. I felt so bad! And Brat . . .he wouldn’t let me anywhere near his nose or head after that. Not even as months passed and winter gave way to spring and summer.
But here this week of mid September, forgiveness finally came! He let me touch his nose and face and even kiss him. My daughter had a great time riding on him. And I had a marvelous time running beside them, with the burden of my shocking sin forgiven, feeling free and full of joy.
“. . .be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven you.” Matthew 9:2
.-= Debbie Feller´s last blog ..Paralyzed =-.
What an interesting story, Debbie! I didn’t know how it was going to end… and it settled into a wonderful place of encouragement! Thanks for taking time to share it. Enjoyed it.
Great post> exactly what I need to hear. 🙂
.-= Jennifer´s last blog ..Heres a Toast =-.
Hi Jennifer! Great to see you.. hope you’re well!
“When will I just learn to have faith?” That’s what I was thinking yesterday, when everything dropped perfectly into place after a long week of disappointment.
The week got me thinking, as a parent, my kids are watching all my faith malfunctions in living color. I want to give them a paradign to follow when life doesn’t go their way. I want them to know that God is always in control. Great post.
.-= Alex Marestaing´s last blog ..my movie summer =-.
Hi Alex, I can tell you are a father at heart. I trust your children will see you returning back to God and that is the most precious example we can offer our kids as parents. Because we aren’t perfect, but if they see us always returning to a perfect Heavenly Father, they will do the same too. Thanks for sharing. Glad you’re here.
Let me clarify what I meant by “faith malfunction” 🙂 I didn’t mean turning away from God, I meant just not trusting Him to work out everything when life throws obstacles in the way of our dreams and panicking that things aren’t going to work out (like the disciples in the storm, while Jesus slept). When we show a calm faith in the midst of life’s storms, our kids will learn to trust God calmly as well.
Just thought I’d clarify that. Thanks for the reply.
.-= Alex Marestaing´s last blog ..my movie summer =-.
Yes, I should’ve been more explicit — I meant returning back to *trusting* God! 🙂 Thanks for clarifying, Alex!
Right now I am separated from my husband, after almost 12 years of marriage because of my faith. He is an unbeliever and chose to seaprate and now I am living with my parents for a while and our son Dorian is 11. I am weary. Sad. Angry. Lost. Bereft. Almost like I have been forsaken, forgotten and surely rejected by my husband. Its a time of anxiety because what I believed for & prayed so hard for (my husband coming to the Lord) has not happened…yet, I see God at work, like when he calls me to tell me that lately all people he sells cars to are christians and talk to him about the Lord…I share it with my son, we both pray. My heart is hard and I don’t even care about getting back together. Its all in God’s hands and all I can do is wait and also keep moving forward in whatever God shows me is next…and not loose the faith…
Dear Adaykis, I’m so sorry you’re having to go through something so heart-breaking and life changing. As a child of a single family, I can say with full-confidence, God is bigger than even this. May God bring a special strength and comfort as you help Dorian through this change. Keep on hanging onto Him. He will get you through it all the way. Thanks for sharing your heart. Blessings, friend!
To grow one usually has to push themselves out of their comfort zone. That is true for many parts of life, including faith , at least it has been for me. To find growth in relationships, to keep them growing you cant let them be stagnant, you need to push them, test the boundaries, keep being engaged. That is also true for ones relationship with god. Its not easy to have faith, especially during hard times, but its those times that provide growth in ones relationship with the lord and those times that make us better people, better christians. I used to fear the bad times, now I I have learned to almost cherish them, because it means i have the chance for growth, and the chance to test my faith even more, chance to connect with God. So remember, if the world brings lemons, just go out an open a lemonade stand!
Dear Jon, thanks for the encouragement! It’s a process to grow more intuitive in our response to draw near when it is tough. Wonderful to have your thoughts here on this post!
Hey! Loved this post and all the comments.
When it seems that God is silent – that the dream has taken an unexpected turn or as someone said – comes to a “screeching halt.” It’s just plain annoying. We want and like the giant billboards, burning bushes, and flashing neon lights saying YOU ARE ON THE RIGHT PATH!
It’s frustrating when we get silence or a whisper back. Is it real? Can I trust that nudge or am I making it up myself?
As parents, sometimes we let our kids figure out some of it for themselves so they will “get it” and I wonder if God does that sometimes for us too. Still right there, watching us learn and grow.
Those God sized dreams are real, even when we can only see the step right in front of us. So…
You go Girl! You guys keep writing and I’ll keep reading.
You make me smile – big time!
Amazing comments, aren’t they! They all make me smile — we are all pursuing God in the face of our challenges… and it is faith we are all leaning into. God smiles and is so pleased. What a wonderful, warm community. Thanks for being here, too, Denise with your encouraging words!
There just aren’t words for how much I needed to read this, Bonnie. Plenty of tears, but just no words. Thank you for sharing your heart!
So happy you’re here, Victoria! Thank you!
[…] you for keeping it real. Blew me away. You all served up faith that is fresh and hot! Click here for some incredible reading that’s worth your time (just scroll down to see everyone’s […]
[…] as part of the Faith Barista’s Faith Jam: Keep Faith Fresh on the topic of unexpected encouragement. Please visit her site to read more! Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking […]
[…] week I posted as part of Bonnie Gray’s Faith Barista Faith Jam. The topic for this week is “Letting Go of […]
Beautiful words of encouragement among the post!!
[…] taken the road before to pursue dreams and hopes that were God-given. My plans, even though stepped out in faith and guided by […]
I can relate to your article. I am stuck in life and trusting God to lead me through the transition of life after divorce while unemployed. There is definitely a lot to be fixed that can’t be right now for lack of funds and closed doors. Waiting patiently in the form of knowing you are capable of much and having no opportunity as of yet to build a new life is trust building. I see it as the foundation being layed for the future life I long to live. Watching cement dry is tedious, but it will dry. Then God will provide through the next part of the plan that is framed with trust as well. Sometimes I just need to know nothing is wrong when life isn’t as I plan it. Thanks for reminding me that God is building as planned on schedule in a design He has handpicked for me. I am encouraged too.
[…] September 27, 2010 Leave a Comment Unexpected Blessings A few weeks ago, my friend Bonnie over at Faith Barista issued a challenge for people to write about unexpected blessings which keep our faith in God […]
[…] September 27, 2010 Leave a Comment Unexpected Blessings A few weeks ago, my friend Bonnie over at Faith Barista issued a challenge for people to write about unexpected blessings which keep our faith in God […]