Dreams, Visions, and a New Year
Around this time of the year is when people usually make vision boards and dream of how they want to start their new year. Whether you are someone who accomplishes the goal of all new year resolutions you’ve ever made or you are more like me and have become quite discouraged from making resolutions, most people have some sort of expectation for something new and great in the next year. Having goals and vision in our lives is essential. Proverbs tells us that without vision the people perish. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had moments where I feel discouraged from dreaming big and seeking vision for the next year. If you relate to that, hopefully there is some encouragement here for you today.
I once heard someone say, “Your plans may be canceled in 2020 but your prayers aren’t. Turn those plans into prayers.” This I have found to be so powerful because prayer is not only an option for us to resort to when our plans crumble but prayer is how we know which way to plan. Business may be shut down but the gates of heaven are still open and God still has a plan for your life. The beautiful thing about New Years and birthdays is that it gives us an extra motivation to push for bigger dreams and goals as it serves as a marker of start and end. But God doesn’t need the start of a year to fill you with vision for your life. Even if you are reading this and we aren’t approaching a new year anymore, having a clear vision is still important. He has written your story from beginning to end and is continuing to bring it to a flourishing finish. While we may be stuck in the middle of a pandemic and its unpredictable consequences, God is neither surprised nor shaken by it. His plans for your life are not on pause or delayed during this year or the next.
As we dream together and write goals for 2021, here are some kingdom truths for you to remember.
Colossians 3:1 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” As you are dreaming for 2021, dream from a perspective in which you are seated by Christ next to the right hand of God. Just imagine that for a second. Next to the throne of God is Jesus, and next to Jesus comes you. It’s incredibly easy, not just in a COVID infested year to dream from a place of defeat and exhaustion. If you are leaving this year and you think “Whew I barely made it past the year,” know that God doesn’t see you as someone who barely cut the chase. He sees you as someone seated on high along with Christ because his resurrection power allows us to come with such a confidence.
Philippians 2:12-13 “... continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” The purpose of setting goals isn’t to bring yourself to completion but to line up with the will of God in our lives so that he can bring us to fulfillment and completion. Paul tells us that in order to align ourselves with the will of God, we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Often this verse intimidates people but Paul here doesn’t encourage us to operate under the domination of fear but out of the awe-filling reverence of God. By this, we are activating our salvation and giving us an active instead of passive faith.
If needed, learn to hope in the right source again. There is a prophecy in the book of Isaiah that says “They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.” (Isaiah 61:4) If you are feeling discouraged from this year and losing the motivation to hope for an upcoming year filled with unknowns, learn to find hope in God again. This prophecy was given while talking about the Lord’s favor on his people. When we believe that His favor is on us, we get to experience restoration and renewal in our lives.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to hold back in pursuing the vision from God. When you have received the knowledge and wisdom of the dreams that God has put in your life, go after them. It is one thing to set goals or to be called by God to go on assignment. It’s another thing to step out in courage.
My prayer is that God’s favor and grace will be on you as you dream and seek vision for 2021.