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God’s Plans and Your Dreams

What about my dreams? When you graduated from high school and college, you were told to "believe in yourself,” and to “follow your dreams.” At least I think my commencement speaker did.  It’s the story I’ve told myself since 1979.

Our dreams give us hope that our ideas and passion will drive us toward a difference we want to make in the world.  When our dreams fill us with optimism and excitement about the future, we feel (and believe) that we can change the world!

Beginning in the Bible’s book of Genesis in chapter 37, a young man named Joseph started having dreams of a different kind.  His half-brothers picked on him because his father, Jacob, loved Joseph more than them.

When Joseph began to share his nighttime dreams with his family, it made his brothers jealous and hateful, and his father begins to wonder what the dreams meant.

If you’re not familiar with the story, Joseph is sold into slavery, purchased by an Egyptian, raised to a position of authority, accused of adultery, and thrown into prison.

Perhaps born out of Joseph’s circumstances, in prison, a significant shift occurs.  Instead of telling people about his dreams, Joseph begins to interpret other people’s dreams.  Time in prison gave him a different perspective.

“Interpreting dreams is God’s business,” Joseph told the baker and chief cup-bearer who were his fellow prisoners. ”Go ahead and tell me your dreams,” he told the baker and chief cup-bearer in Genesis 40.

Were Joseph’s childhood dreams his or God’s?  What I love about the story of Joseph’s life is that beginning with his Egyptian master, people noticed one thing as he served: “the Lord was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did.”

Joseph didn’t think, “I have a dream of becoming the ruler of Egypt and saving people from starvation.”

Some dream of being president; when I was a child, I dreamed of being an astronaut and a paleontologist.  (Now that I think about it, what does it say about me to imagine uncovering the past and of exploring the unknown in space?)

I didn’t follow either path, but a fascination with dinosaurs and science fiction is part of who I am today.  Instead, I serve people by helping them find clarity to achieve their vision for growth and impact.

That’s what I want when I serve my clients — for others to notice that the Lord is with me and that any success I have is from him.  I see in this story a principle of helping others understand the dreams God gives them and is available to help them accomplish the goals and dreams set before them—particularly when they are part of God’s grand plan!

Why settle for changing the world?

Only a few people ever change the world.  For the rest of us, it’s important to put our dreams into God’s perspective of redeeming the world:

“Lord, your plan isn't simply to change the world, but to redeem the world.  Why do we settle for change when we can be part of your eternal plan?  I want to be where you’re at work, to align my dreams with your purpose, to be part of a plan so grand that it makes my dreams appear small yet calls me to have a vision that’s bigger than I can accomplish alone.  Show me how I can serve others by helping them understand their dreams.”


Photo by Denny Müller on Unsplash

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