They can stretch and grow us into all we’re created to be. They can also stir up doubts and questions.
When I talk with people about their dreams and they ask, “But how do I know this is from God?” I usually point them to Romans 12:2, which says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will.”
In this verse, Paul tells us we are to “test and approve” God’s will. In other words, we’ve gotta try stuff. We don’t usually like that approach. It’s scary. We might mess up. We could get it wrong. And yet that is the only way for us to really know God’s will—by experiencing it.
The precursor to that process is to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. In other words, to be committed to seeing our lives from God’s perspective. We do that first by being in his Word on a regular basis. The Bible is not a static text but rather is “alive and active” (Heb. 4:12) so God can use it to show us what we need for our daily lives.
If our dream means pursuing a new opportunity, we can also ask ourselves a series of questions that help us determine whether or not it’s likely to be from God.
These ten questions can be helpful when evaluating a decision or dream:
- Does this fit with my strengths?
- Does this fit with my skills?
- Have my life experiences prepared me for it?
- What do the people I trust most say about it?
- Do I feel an inner tug or “leading” from God to do it?
- Does the opportunity line up with Scripture and what I understand to be God’s purpose for me?
- Are there any possible “phantom reasons” that could be tempting me to say yes when God wants me to say no (e.g., fear, guilt, a desire to please people)?
- If I say yes, what will it mean saying no to?
- If I say no, what will it mean saying yes to?
- When I look back in ten years, will this be a story I want to share?
After evaluating and praying, it’s time to “test and approve.” In other words, you move forward with what God has asked you to do to the best of your knowledge. You stay closely connected to Him in the process, and as you go, you adjust. If you make a mistake, you learn from it. If you clearly see His hand in something, you do more of it. God will make sure we get where He wants us to end up. Our role is simply to be willing to take the next step. We learn and grow as we go. Here’s the secret that can reassure our wandering, wondering hearts…
Dreams aren’t about the destination; they’re about transformation.
This post is adapted from the new You’re Already Amazing LifeGrowth Guide by Holley Gerth. If you want to embrace who you are, become all God created you to be and live intentionally then the Guide is for you. Find out more here.
p.s. This week we launched our God-sized Dreams shop! It contains five downloadable prints created just for you. We hope they inspire you to chase after your dreams! We’d love for you to check them out!