On Wednesdays we are thrilled to fling open the doors to all of YOU! We love hearing your dreaming stories…the lessons you’ve learned, the roads you’ve walked, the dreams He’s planted in your hearts! Today we are excited to welcome Betsy de Cruz to God-sized Dreams…she shares some reflection on what God has taught her through the sometimes-difficult walk of obedience and celebrates what He can do when we choose to keep Him at the center. Thanks for being here, Betsy!
My husband and I embarked on the craziest, most impossible faith venture of our lives four years ago. God called us to plant a new church in a Muslim city where, humanly speaking, no one is interested in the gospel.
We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. That was a good thing because had we known, we probably wouldn’t have said “yes” to God in the first place.
We had a rough beginning. We left the warm security of the church where we’d served seven years. The only people we found crazy enough to join us was a newly arrived Mexican couple who couldn’t speak the local language yet. We barely knew them.
When we started meeting for Sunday worship in our living room, we were nine people, if we counted the kids. Sunday after Sunday we’d sit on the couch and stare at each other, wondering if anyone we’d invited would come. Visitors rarely joined us.
Not exactly a shining start.
We told ourselves not to despise the day of small beginnings, and it took two years for our church plant to gain momentum. I’d love to say we believed God every step of the way, but we didn’t. Sometimes we doubted. Sometimes we cried. God did more in us than He did through us. We learned perseverance, and we learned how to keep God at the center of our God-sized dream.
I don’t know what your God-sized dream is, but I do know it won’t always be easy. If you’re like me, your dream sometimes becomes more about you and your fear of failure than about God and obedience to his call.
Here are 5 ways we can keep God at the center of our dream:
- Be Sure He Called You
Whatever your dream, don’t rush through the first step: take time to pray and ask God for confirmation. We spent a year praying about the church plant before we started. A sure conviction of God’s calling helps us now to persevere when we encounter setbacks.
- Focus on God’s Glory, Not Your Own
When we embarked on our dream, one of the scariest things was telling other people about it. I imagined them thinking, “Yeah, right. You think you’re going to plant a church?” What if we failed? What would people think?
Our God-Sized dreams have to be more about God’s glory than about us. (<====Tweet this.)
If our motivation is to look good, we’ll shrink back when small failures challenge us.
- Keep a God-Centered Perspective:
The first year, I let our church planting dream become my lens on life. If our ministry was going well, I was happy. When things were hard, I got depressed. Finally the second year a light bulb went off.
I didn’t have to base my personal happiness on the success or failure of our house church.
As you pursue your dream, keep your life centered on the One who called you. (<====Tweet this.) Thank Him for what He’s doing. Enjoy your family, friends, and hobbies regardless of how your dream is progressing.
- Look for God’s Cheerleaders
Pouring out my heart to my closest go-to girlfriend helped me stay sane during the first years of church planting ministry. She listened to my frustrations. When I doubted, she encouraged me.
Surround yourself with people who will support your vision and cheer you on when the going gets tough. They might be the life saver you need when you’re drowning in discouragement.
- Believe God for Great Things
Even when fruit is slow in coming, keep revisiting the dream God gave you and believe Him for great things.
Our church started at home. Four years later, we have legal status and a public meeting place. We’ve grown from 9 people to 30. It sounds small, but given our MidEast location, it’s a small miracle!
Have small beginnings on your God-sized dream left you discouraged?
Keep moving forward. God can do great things through our faltering steps of obedience. Perhaps His greatest work is remodeling our hearts as we seek to keep Him at the center of our dreams.
Betsy de Cruz is passionate about enjoying God, life, and dark roast coffee. She lives with her husband and two fun teenagers in the Middle East. Most days she feels blessed and privileged to live overseas; other days she wants to pull her hair out and catch the next plane home. Betsy’s vision is to encourage women to get God’s Word in, so their faith can spill out, even during life’s bumpy moments. She knows what it’s like to have a family blow-up with fireworks during breakfast, and she writes about everyday faith at Faith Spilling Over. You can also connect with Betsy on Twitter and Facebook.
Do you have a God-sized Dream story to tell? We’d love to have you share your journey with us!
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