Adapted from: You’re Made For a God-Sized Dream. Copyright© 2013 by Holley Gerth. Published by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, MI. www.RevellBooks.com Used with permission.

Ever since Eden, the enemy has come at us with a million different versions of the same question, “Did God really say...?” And many times those questions are aimed squarely at our dreams.

Did God really say you have what it takes?

Did God really say that’s what you’re supposed to do?

When you follow your God-sized dreams, you’ll face many external obstacles. But the biggest threats are from the inside.

Lie #1: “Dreaming Is Selfish”

“I want to follow this dream,” she says. “But it just feels so selfish.”

From all the women I’ve talked to about God-sized dreams, this is the lie I hear most often. Women are a generous gender. We care deeply, passionately. We’d do anything for the ones we love. We serve selflessly. That is good, beautiful, and true.

But you matter too.

So do your dreams. The enemy knows that it’s often one little word that can stop our dreaming in its tracks: selfish. We come to a screeching halt and say, “I’m not going within ten feet of that possibility.” But if we tiptoe closer to that lie, we can see it for what it really is—a mirage.

“God is love” (1 John 4:16). Everything he does is loving. Everything he places within you is loving. That includes your dreams.

Now, if your dream is to run off to Tahiti with the pool boy and live on a two-hundred-foot yacht, then honey, that’s a whole different story. But if you have yielded to God and you have this nagging desire within you that just won’t go away, then most likely it’s from him. And if it is, then he has a way that you can live it out that isn’t about selfishness but instead is about service.

Lie #2: “I Don’t Have What It Takes”

It seems as soon as we give ourselves permission to dream, comparison is nipping at our heels. We look around and see others who are better, skinnier, more eloquent than us. Before we even get started, we disqualify ourselves. We vow to hold back until we’re “as good as they are.” Before we know it, time slips by and our dream still waits for its turn.

This lie is ultimately rooted in the belief that our God-sized dream is the same as someone else’s. When we decide that’s true, it means we’re competitors because there aren’t enough dreams to go around. But the reality is, even if someone else’s dream looks, sounds, or even feels like yours—it’s not the same.

It doesn’t matter if you think you’re not as good as someone else. You have what it takes to fulfill the dream God has for your life, and no one else does.

You are the only you we have. That means your God-sized dream either happens through you or not at all.

Lie #3: “It’s Too Late”

She stands with a baby on her hip, and three others are causing chaos in the background. Above the noise she declares, “Well, I once had dreams, but now all I’ve got is diapers. It’s too late for me.” I’ve heard retired people, those with chronic illness, and many facing difficult circumstances say the same thing—that it’s too late. Perhaps this is the hardest lie of all. It locks our dreams into a time bomb, and once we think it’s exploded, it seems there’s no picking up the pieces again.

I once knew a couple who longed to have children for years, but it never came to pass. The desire never went away, and in their sixties God called them to be “parents” to many children in a country far away. Now their family is bigger than they ever could have imagined. Like for Abraham and Sarah in the Old Testament, the answer to their prayers seemed a long time coming...but it did come. And that wouldn’t have been possible unless they kept their hearts open to dreaming.

It’s only too late for our dreams when we decide to write “The End” on our stories and close the book. As an anonymous quote my mom has on her refrigerator reads, “Never place a period where God has placed a comma.”

Lie #4: “I Don’t Deserve to Dream”

The tears trickle down her face, and she reaches for a tissue. “But you don’t understand,” she says with a sigh. “I’ve messed up so much. The life I have now is a consequence of the choices I’ve made. I don’t get to have the desires of my heart—I’m paying for what I’ve done.”

I reach out my arms to her and try to wrap her up in words of grace too. “Your dreams aren’t about you,” I say. “They’re about what God wants to do in his kingdom through you. And he’ll use anyone—just look at some of the characters in the Bible! If adultery, murder, and deception didn’t stop him, then what you’ve done isn’t going to either!”

Listen closely, my friend. You have not been disqualified from dreaming. No matter what you’ve done. No matter what choices you’ve made. No matter what’s in your past. Dreams are about the future. We can say these words with the apostle Paul, a man who had murder, persecuting Christians, and a long list of other sins in his past: “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13–14).

Lie #5: “I Don’t Have Time”

At some point we have to decide that the time for our dream is now—no matter what. Because in today’s world, normal never comes. There’s always more to do, another “when I...” to check off the list, another urgent demand to be met.

If the enemy can’t make us deny our dreams, then it seems his next tactic is to make us delay them. Yes, there are seasons for waiting and being still because that’s what God has asked us to do. I’m not talking about those. I’m speaking of the seasons when we let procrastination get the best of us (and we all do sometimes). It’s a great way to hold back the fear that inevitably comes when we actually pursue our dreams rather than just talking about them.

You don’t have to pursue your dream perfectly. You only have to do what you can. Efforts that fall short of your expectations are still always better than none at all. God can fill in the gaps.

Only you know if this really is the season for your dream, and only you can decide to truly pursue it. I love the biblical phrase “for such a time as this” Esther 4:14  because it says so much about right here, right now. It’s not “for such a time as then” or “for such a time as that.” It speaks to today and the moments passing us by that will not come again.

You have time. I have time.

If it’s not the season for your dream, then embrace that and focus on what God has in front of you now. That’s honorable and faith-filled too.

But if it’s your moment to take that step, make that leap, birth that dream, then go for it with all your heart and don’t let anything or anyone block your way (or your schedule).

The Truth That Sets Us Free to Dream

The lies don’t ever go away. Every step of your dream, they will chase you. It doesn’t mean that you’re not spiritual enough or you’re on the wrong path. It just means that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). You are in a battle—expect opposition.

But remember this too: You have already been promised victory. Nothing can separate you from God’s love. And when you’re following hard after his heart, nothing can separate you from his will either.

You, my friend, are on an adventure that’s going to take you to places beyond what you could have even imagined. Places with joy, tears, glory, grace, and most of all, more of Jesus with each step you take.

The “more” your heart has always hoped for is what God has wanted to give you all along.

So let’s get going.

Adapted from: You’re Made For a God-Sized Dream. Copyright© 2013 by Holley Gerth. Published by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, MI. www.RevellBooks.com Used with permission.

Holley Gerth is a bestselling writer, certified life coach, and speaker. She loves connecting with the hearts of women through her popular blog and books like You’re Already Amazing. She’s also the cofounder of (in)courage and a partner with DaySpring. Holley lives with her husband, Mark, in the South. Hang out with her at www.holleygerth.com.

Publication date: March 21, 2013