I’d just finished my Chinese takeout with my family. As is my custom, I grabbed the fortune cookie facing toward me. Have you noticed the messages aren’t really fortunes these days? Sometimes they are odd statements or random thoughts, but very few are actual fortunes like I remember reading as a child.
I broke apart the crispy cookie and out tumbled the thin sliver of paper. I turned the slip over and this is what it said:
Make big plans.
I made a quick joke about how its tone seemed a tad aggressive and then didn’t think much more about it. But I did keep it and put it on my night table.
A few days later I found another fortune I had saved. It read:
I began to wonder if perhaps God was sending me a message through these crunchy cookies. Before you go thinking I’ve finally lost it completely, may I remind you that God has used various ways to speak to His people throughout the Bible. (A donkey and a fiery bush come to mind as examples.)
When I was a child, I would dream big. Anything was possible. The sky was the limit. One day I wanted to be a famous movie star, the next a pop singer, the next a famous author. The innocence of childhood is a delicate thing. All it takes is some disappointments, discouragements and a few dream squashers to sow a hearty crop of cynicism.
Do you have dream squashers stomping around in your life?
Let’s discuss the term dream squasher. The first time I heard that phrase it was used by one of my closest friends. A dream squasher is someone who rarely, if ever, has any hopes or aspirations of their own. They do, however, delight in raining showers of doubt all over someone else’s goals. Do you know someone who fits that description? My best advice is to run. Run like the wind. Take your hopes and dreams as far away from them as you can.
I realize it may not always be possible to escape the dream squasher. They may be someone close to you or even a family member. Where can you go when the call is coming from inside the house?! (Bonus points if you can name the movie reference.)
You may not be able to separate physically from them, but you can still do your best to protect your dreams from their negative influence. Don’t be fooled. Their negativity may often come disguised in a blanket of concern for you and not wanting to see you get hurt. They’re telling you all the downsides to whatever it is you want to do or be because you need to be prepared. My favorite is when they stand there telling you they believe you’re talented and they support you, but (insert absolute negation of whatever kindness they just said about you here). It’s a fine line between being realistic and being pessimistic.
It’s frustrating when people close to us don’t support us or won’t dream big with us. Some dreams are harder to achieve than others. Their level of difficulty becomes intensified when we are constantly fighting not only our own internal doubts and fears but those being imposed upon us by so-called friends and loved ones. The good news is there is One who will always support you and encourage your dreams.
How can I say that? Well, you know I brought receipts. (All bible verses, unless otherwise indicated, were taken from biblegateway.com, NIV.)
Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: (Psalm 37:4-5)
Did you catch the key phrase in the verse? We are to delight in the Lord first. He must always be first love, top priority. What happens if we don’t do that? Check this out:
Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. (Psalm 127:1)
You want to create and build your dream into reality? You need Him in it from the start. In my life, when I go full steam ahead without seeking God’s wisdom early and often, it doesn’t go well at all. This doesn’t mean I don’t still feel frustrated sometimes when I have included Him. I still do, but that’s typically because His time table doesn’t match mine. I get impatient and fail to recognize that His timing is always perfect. If I’m being made to wait, it’s for a reason and I just need to suck it up, buttercup. As I often say, I’m still a work-in-progress.
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. (Proverbs 19:21)
Isn’t that the truth? (Well, of course it’s the truth; it’s the Word of God. But you get what I mean.)
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans. (Proverbs 16:3)
Here’s another key point. We are to not only include God in our dream making, but whatever we create or build should be for His glory. Our dreams are not just for us to enjoy. Our talents and abilities are all gifts from Him. We should, therefore, use them for His purposes. If you’re a singer, use your music to touch people and help them to learn about God and His great love for them. I’m not saying you have to be a gospel or Christian artist, necessarily. Just be sure that your dreams are being used in a way that brings Him honor.
But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. (Jeremiah 17:7)
Here’s another key piece to keep in mind. We know that we should seek Him early, make sure our plans honor Him, and now we see we must trust Him. I can tell you honestly I rarely have much confidence in me and what I can do. I’ve seen how quickly my confidence can be shaken or broken if things don’t go according to my plan. I have to remind myself that my confidence is not in me but in the God of all Creation, then I can stand a little taller and breathe a little easier. He promises us this:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Wow. No matter how many times I’ve read that verse, it still brings my heart joy and my spirit peace. He has big plans for each one of us.
Remember earlier in this piece I mentioned a few of my childhood dreams? Well, I’m currently living out some of them now. I’m making my feature film debut as an actress and I’m a published author. That’s two out of three. Who knows what else God has in store?
Be excited. Be encouraged. Be patient. If He did it for me, He can do it for you. Dare to dream big and make big plans. I’ll leave you with this verse. My prayer to you:
May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. (Psalm 20:4)
Until next time: stay happy, stay healthy, stay in the know.
Look forward to hearing from you,