Your Dreams Aren’t About You

These God-sized dreams we have will come up against much challenge along the way. And some of the biggest challenges come from within ourselves, the dreamers!

In Holley Gerth’s book, You’re Made for God-Sized Dreams, she boldly and unapologetically says, “Your dreams aren’t about you.”

They’re about what God wants to do in his kingdom through you.

What a relief this truth brings to me.

Too many times I’ve made my God-sized dreams about me. Like the time I wanted to be a teacher — I dreamed of it my whole growing-up life. I couldn’t wait to get in the classroom and just TEACH. I pursued that dream single-mindedly, with much passion and fervor.

And I did it. I graduated college and landed the “perfect” job.

Then the reality of where I was hit me. As I stood before these high school freshmen who were taller and bigger than me, I let doubt creep in. As I filled out paperwork, attended meetings, called parents, and GRADED A MILLION PAPERS, I can’t tell you how many times I thought to myself, “This is NOT how it was supposed to be.”

I found myself scouring the Sunday classifieds looking for something, ANYTHING, that I could do besides teach.

That went on for two years.

Then year three happened and things changed. Namely me!

In all my searching and scrambling, I found myself back in church…seeking God. And as I learned more about Him — who He is and how He works — I found a deep love for Him that seemed to have a hunger that knew no bounds. I kept seeking and devouring every morsel of Him I could find.

I changed. And I learned that my dream of teaching wasn’t about me. It was about surrendering to the Lord of my Life so that I could be His vessel…even in the public school classroom. Teaching was a ministry to others!

And in that pursuit of God a new dream began budding in me and I found myself — in the midst of teaching and mothering and wife-ing 🙂 — in SEMINARY. I discerned a call to full-time ministry, and God opened some HUGE doors to make seminary in Houston, Texas possible.

Well…for two years, anyway. Four classes into my very long journey of seminary, God moved us, literally, to Corpus Christi, Texas. And that door to seminary slammed shut. No matter how hard I tried to find ways to open it, God was clearly saying NO.

My ministry in that season was my family. And as we moved to Oklahoma City the very next year, that remained His firm mandate. “Family is your ministry, Shelley.”

It took a lot of faith to, what felt like, give up on a dream of seminary and full-time ministry. But obey I did.

One of the great truths in Holley’s book is that this pursuit of God and dream is a journey.

…eventually we realize that this dream isn’t about where we’re going at all – it’s really about who we’re becoming along the way.

And one day, ten years from when that dream of full-time ministry was planted, it came true. With much faith and trepidation, I accepted the position of Director of Adult Discipleship at my church, where I continue to serve.

I look back at that ten-year journey and see the HUGE truth of what Holley is teaching. Those ten years were full of life-lessons and Jesus-shaping. I thought I knew the path of preparation for the ministry I was called to, but God knew a better way. And I couldn’t be more grateful.

The lessons that came in a few classrooms, numerous living rooms, and in just everyday seeking of God in the ordinary, He shaped me and prepared me for ministry in ways I could never have imagined. And every day as I’ve walked this journey of full-time ministry, God has not let me forget that this dream is not about me.

It’s about what He wants to do in me and through me for the good of others.

Do I feel like I have all I need for the tasks laid before me? Rarely.

Do I trust myself to lead successfully? Never.

Do I rely on God every. single. day? Always.

Because it’s just not about me.

And in this season of sensing a new dream being birthed in me, I need to remember all of this. God has been so very faithful to give me what I need, to lead me in truth, to show me the way. And He’ll continue to do so.

As He calls to you and stirs in your heart that sense there is something MORE He wants from you and for you, step out in faith to pursue HIM. Then follow obediently where He leads.

Pursuing Him alongside you,

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.

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