For the past five weeks I’ve been MOST blessed to be part of some holy conversations with a few women about the dreams we hold deep in our hearts. These dreams — they’re God-sized. And that just means that God is the one planting these ideas, these dreams in us. He’s asking us to trust Him enough to go after these dreams.

Following our dreams — doesn’t that sound great? So sweet. So purposeful. So right.

Well, I can tell you it really feels more scary than sweet. More panicky than purposeful. More “are you kidding me?” than right.

So, what are we to do when we feel stirrings that leave us restless, have ideas that seem much bigger than we are, dream of doing things that seem unlikely, maybe even impossible?

Holley Gerth, in her book You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream, says it simply. PURSUE GOD and walk in OBEDIENCE.

I have to tell you Holley’s truth-filled to-do’s have been quite the paradigm shift for me.

I’m to pursue God, not the dream!

I’m only responsible for my own obedience to what He calls me to…not the results.

These two truths remove EVERY obstacle (aka: excuse) for me. As I sit here at my laptop, I am amazed at these profound truths.

My dream, it’s clear, has something to do with writing. And I had clarity a couple of years ago that the purpose for my writing would be to make God known. Beyond these, I have no clue what “writing to make Him known” looks like.

My “vain imagination” can conjure many possibilities — maybe I’m to travel and write about what I experience or it could be I’m to join a team of writers to create curriculum for groups to use or perhaps God wants me to actually write a book (gulp!).

As I’ve pondered this call to write and allowed my thoughts to wander to the “what if’s,” I consistently feel two things — pure excitement and absolute fear.

Excitement because I love writing. I love words. And for this passion to mean something to someone else, for the words that flow out of my thoughts and fingertips to have kingdom purpose — woohoo!  I. Am. In.

Then fear takes over. I catch myself thinking, “What would I have to say that isn’t already being said by a million other writers out there?” And if I let my fear-thoughts take over, I start telling myself I’d never be able to stand up to the critics…that I would hate the sacrifice that comes with calling…that I would fail…..

The past five weeks has helped me face these fears head-on. If I’m honest, I have to say those same fears are still there, but now I know that everyone feels fear when they’re looking their dreams in the eye.

The catch is to do it afraid.

There’s a section near the end of Holley’s book that emphasizes this very truth. I’d love to share some of it with you:

The pull to be with [God] is just too strong… ‘Do it afraid! Push past the fear! Overcome the anxiety!’

I want to settle in and rest here, in the place of comfort. I want to be content. But God isn’t calling us to settle; he’s calling us to follow.

Follow him into unchartered territory.

Follow him into new relationships.

Follow him into taking risks and chasing dreams.

…He’s calling us to ‘Do it afraid!’

The idea of pursuing God means that if I am doing everything I can to seek Him first, to surrender all I am and have to Him every day, then I’ll be able to discern what He’s calling me to do. All the how’s and when’s, all the what’s and what if’s will be revealed in His purpose, His way, and His timing.

When I discern the how and what and when…each day…then I need to step out in obedience and take the next step He’s revealed. (“Be a light unto my path” has whole new meaning to me!)

Today, for instance. All week I’ve looked forward to this Friday because it’s the first day in a very long time that I didn’t have my calendar totally booked. I actually had a day that I could do “whatever I wanted.” I have chosen to sit in a coffee shop, headphones in, journal open, and spend some precious alone time with the Lord.

And I had to be obedient to be here. I could have succumbed to all the temptations that beckoned me anywhere but here. That obedience — it’s so key. Without it I will never have the discipline needed to write.  There will always be the things of life to call me away from the keys of my heart…and of my laptop. There will always be demands on my time.

But if I don’t really seek God FIRST, then follow in obedience to whatever He is calling me to, then I’m not pursuing Him. I’m pursuing other things.

I’m putting all of this in writing as a way to process all that I’m learning and as a bit of accountability! (yikes!)

There are so many great truths in Holley’s book. I’m sure you’ll hear more about them over the next few weeks and months, but another thing she said is that we have to be willing to RISK. Risk our security. Risk failure. Risk criticism. Risk change.

But when we RISK in obedience to what God is calling us to do, it’s really FAITH. We’re trusting the Creator of the Universe with our gifts, our hearts, and our callings. And when we step out in faith to pursue Him, our dreams come into focus. We know what we’re supposed to do. And He will give us the courage (and everything else) we need to do it!

All that to say…just putting all these thoughts and truths in writing is RISK for me. But I know if I don’t start taking some risks, I’ll only live in regret.

So…here goes…

Taking the risk, stepping out in faith,

Shelley Johnson


Published by Shelley Linn Johnson

Lover of The Word. And words. Cultivator of curiosity about all things Christ. Lifelong learner who likes inviting others along for the journey. Recovering perfectionist who has only recently realized that rhythms are so much better than stress-inducing must-do's.

10 thoughts on “Dreams

  1. Shelley, you are truly an inspitation & definitely have the gift of writing. Stay focused & God will take farther than you can even imagine right now. Blessings.

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