Do you have dreams in your heart that you want to pursue, but aren’t sure what steps to take to fulfill them? Do you have a burden in your heart to go a certain direction in your life, but feel held back by fear? I’d like to give you some practical tips on how to reach your goals and fulfill those dreams in your life. Let me give you some insight on what has worked for me up to this point!
- Pray, Pray, Pray for direction. All dreams need to be bathed in prayer. Maybe you have no idea what you are supposed to be doing with your life, maybe you don’t even have big dreams. Start by praying! Prayer is necessary in order to know God’s will for your life. Prayer is how we know that our heart is aligned with God’s. It is only when you follow His leading that you will truly have a peace in your heart. How do you know if the dreams you’re pursuing are God’s will? You will feel a burden in your heart to go to a certain place, or apply for a certain job, volunteer at a certain organization, etc. That is His Spirit working within you to guide you. Follow that leading and pray that God will help you take the next steps.
- Write down your dreams and consistently pray over them. Fast if you feel lead to. Now that you have gotten some direction on what you are supposed to do, write it down and pray over it. I wrote down a handful of goals in a journal in January 2017 and I prayed and fasted that God would help me accomplish them. That was the first year that almost everything on my list came to pass. Some of my goals that year were: travel to the Grand Canyon, mentor a young woman, move out of Pennsylvania, and get a full time ESL teaching job (I also wrote down a specific salary that I wanted). Praying and fasting is so important. When you do that, you are humbling yourself and showing your need for God to get involved in your dreams. You are showing Him that you cannot do it without Him.
- Take Action ! My goals were accomplished because of prayer, but also because I had to take action. I trusted God would open up a door for a great ESL job, but I had to put in the work of filling out numerous applications each week. I spent hours every week researching places that I might want to live, researching school districts, and polishing my resume. Sometimes it cost me sleep to fill out applications because of my busy schedule, but to me it was worth it. I had to take action if I really wanted a different job. I felt the Lord was leading me to a change in my life, and I knew if I wanted to pursue this change, I had to get serious and focused, no excuses! After applying to different places for several months, I finally got an interview. I had a feeling (and so did a close friend of mine) that I was going to get this job, and I did! I knew nobody in the state I was going to move to, I had no connections to any employees in that area/ school district, but God opened the door for me. The salary offered was even more than than what I had prayed for. I thanked God for answering that prayer and for showing HE is faithful.
- Find an accountability partner. Let’s face it- sometimes we want to do things but find that the drive and determination inside of us just isn’t enough! We get lazy and procrastinate, or we don’t make moves because of other various excuses. “I don’t have time, I don’t have the resources…” The list goes on. But God has put potential and gifts within you, and He desires that you use them! He desires for you to take a certain direction in your life. It is important that you share your dream with someone else and ask them to hold you accountable. Ask a trusted person in your life to check up on you regularly and ask you how you are doing with your goals and what steps you have taken so far. Tell this person to get tough on you and remind you how important it is that you be consistent during the times you are feeling discouraged or lazy. Last year one of the best choices I made to help my personal life was to meet with a life coach. We met every few weeks and she constantly challenged me not just to talk about my goals, but to take the practical action steps to make them happen. She was a great blessing in my life.
- Find a mentor. Another step you can take is to pray/find someone who has already done what you want to do in your life. Find out how they did it and ask them to guide you and mentor you through the process if they are willing. Do you like fashion? Connect with someone in that industry. Are you passionate about photography? Find a successful photographer and ask them to show you how they got their business booming. No matter what area you are interested in, you can always find someone who has succeeded and who can encourage you. You just have to be intentional and pray and seek out people who can help you. Something I did in the past was sign up for a mentoring program where I was mentored by a Christian woman my age who had already accomplished a lot of what I wanted to do with my life. She poured out so much wisdom into my life, prayed over me, and encouraged me. She also connected me with other Christian women for a bi weekly Bible study, where we were able to discuss different dreams we had in our lives and what steps we should take to follow them. It was such an encouraging time and I’m so grateful that I did that!
- Get rid of the limitations and fears. Your dreams may be very big and you fear that you may fail and get embarrassed. Perhaps your dreams seem too difficult for you to accomplish so you haven’t even tried. Maybe you’re a single mom, and you want to be an author or lawyer but don’t think you can do it because you are too focused on your circumstances and limitations. Maybe you’re broke but want to go to medical school, or you want to be a public speaker but you struggle with being shy. I would like to challenge you to do this- TAKE YOUR EYES OFF OF YOURSELF AND PUT THEM ON GOD. It’s okay if your dreams are too difficult for you, because they are not too difficult for God. We’re talking about the Creator of the universe, who has an endless supply of wisdom, strength, and favor He will place over your life. Don’t place God in a box or limit Him. When we look within ourselves, we get discouraged. Your focus MUST be on the Lord. He will help you every step of the way. He will guide you to the right people and the right resources. You just have to get moving and TRUST HIM. And hey, don’t give up on your dream just because of the time it may take to accomplish it. There are things on my list from 2017 that are still being worked out and have not come to pass yet. I’m still in the process. It may take years for things to change and for you to fulfill some things, but that is OK. God is not on our timetable. Perhaps He has you in a place right now that is preparing you for the next step in your life. BE patient! Trust that He’s got you, and your dreams will come to pass in His timing.
Proverbs 16:3 – Commit your works to the LORD, and your plans will be achieved.