// Lynette Hagin
ARE YOU FULFILLING your dreams? The Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition defines dream as "a strongly desired goal or purpose; something that fully satisfies a wish."
Thinking back to my childhood, those dreams involved natural desires, as well as God's desires.
I accepted Christ as my Savior when I was four. From that moment, I intensely desired to follow God's plan for my life. I looked to Him and continue to look to Him for the dreams He has for me. Yet, I had personal dreams too.
I dreamed of being married. And I knew it was God's will to marry someone who was called to the ministry. I dreamed of having a boy and a girl. I dreamed of getting my driver's license so I wouldn't have to depend on others. I dreamed of vacationing in Hawaii.
Often our dreams are about experiencing a better life or achieving greater things. It's great to have personal goals and dreams. However, the most important dream we can attain is the will of God for our lives.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT) says, " 'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.' " When you begin living God's dream, it will change your life and others. One of my favorite Bible stories is about Joseph. He experienced a dream he did not understand and that took years to come to pass.
Let's look at Joseph's dream.
Genesis 37:3–11 (NLT)
3 Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other children because Joseph had been born to him in his old age. So one day Jacob had a special gift made for Joseph—a beautiful robe.
4 But his brothers hated Joseph because their father loved him more than the rest of them. They couldn't say a kind word to him.
5 One night Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him more than ever.
6 "Listen to this dream," he said.
7 "We were out in the field, tying up bundles of grain. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before mine!"
8 His brothers responded, "So you think you will be our king, do you? Do you actually think you will reign over us?" And they hated him all the more because of his dreams and the way he talked about them.
9 Soon Joseph had another dream, and again he told his brothers about it. "Listen, I have had another dream," he said. "The sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed low before me!"
10 This time he told the dream to his father as well as to his brothers, but his father scolded him. "What kind of dream is that?" he asked. "Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow to the ground before you?"
11 But while his brothers were jealous of Joseph, his father wondered what the dreams meant.
The story of the Israelites being saved from starvation and later being led out of Egyptian captivity began with a dream God gave to Joseph. Was it easy for Joseph as he followed the dream? No, but I believe that if we could ask him what kept him going through his trials, he would tell us "The dream."
Look at all of the things Joseph endured before the dream came to pass. He was thrown into a pit and sold into slavery. He was accused of taking another man's wife and placed in prison, seemingly forgotten. What kept him in those dire circumstances? The dream that had been placed in him by God.
What dream has God given you? You may have become discouraged by circumstances and put that dream on the shelf. Perhaps you've made wrong decisions and have the mentality that your decisions have shattered your dreams forever.
God wants to release you from the prison of doubt, grief, and shame. He wants you to pick up that God-given dream again. He is the God of second chances. You must refuse to allow wounds of the past to sabotage the promise of the future. Look to God, and He will open doors of opportunity and give you the ability to fulfill what He has planned for you.
"The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."
—Isaiah 58:11 (NIV)