For a while, there was a group of bloggers who talked a lot about "God sized dreams." The idea was a good one--we serve a big God, so why shouldn't we have big dreams? It seemed like an obvious connection, especially to me. At the time, I was searching for what my future should be. I had started teaching, but I was drowning in my first year (an incredibly common thing, but that didn't make it any easier at the time). I was debating graduate school... then deeply entrenched in grad school... then changing programs... then teaching again...
The list could go on, as I'm sure it could for you. The main thing, though, was that I was absolutely convinced that if I believed in a big God, I needed to have a big dream. After all, as God's people we're called to live out His plan for our life, right? That same topic has come up again lately for me. I listen to Dr. David Jeremiah's radio show on my way to work in the mornings, and lately he's been talking about chasing dreams.
His words have been right along the same lines as those bloggers from so long ago, the ones that got me to start a blog. He talked about how we need to figure out what our dream is, our one big goal from God, so that we can pursue it wholeheartedly. He said that we should focus on the goal so that we don't fall into complacency. He talked about being willing to take a risk, bringing up one of my favorite people--Peter. He spoke of Peter stepping out of the boat, taking a risk by stepping out onto the waves. He said that we need to find out what task God is asking us to do so that we can pour ourselves into accomplishing it.
But that got me thinking--was Peter really focused on walking on the water? I'm sure you know the story. It was late (we're told it was the 4th watch of the night, which means the hours just before dawn) and the disciples had been sent on ahead of Jesus while He prayed. The boat was being tossed around, and suddenly the disciples saw a ghostly figure moving toward them on top of the water. When they called out in fear, Jesus spoke and told them they didn't have to be afraid, because it was Him.
Then Peter spoke up. Love him or not, you have to admit that he had a talent for speaking up when nobody else would. Sometimes it got him into trouble because he also had a tendency to speak before he thought. Honestly, this is probably one of those times. Peter called out and said, "If it's really You, command me to come to you on the water."
Jesus's answer was one simple word: Come.
So here's the task: walking on the water.
But what's Peter's focus supposed to be?
Matthew 14:29 says that Peter stepped out of the boat and started walking on the water to meet Jesus. But then, we get some subtle information--Peter saw the wind and the water. He took his eyes off of Jesus, turned his focus to the task at hand, and started sinking.
I've spent a huge chunk of my life worrying about trying to figure out God's plan for my life. I've searched the Scriptures, cried out in prayers, written lots of pages, and talked to lots of people about it. Okay, so not "lots of people." There's probably only a handful of people who hear all my crazy. I keep looking for the next step, telling God that if He just shows me what He wants me to do I'll do it. I've spent a lot of time and energy trying to figure out what my "one thing" is, what "God-sized dream" I'm supposed to be chasing after.
Recently, though, I've had a realization.
I've been worrying about chasing after the plan instead of pursuing the Planner.
Micah 6:8 lays out what God wants from us--
"He has shown you, o man, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To do justice,
to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God."
Yes, I fully believe that God has a plan and a purpose for my life. Ephesians 2:10 says,
"For we are the product of His hand,
heaven’s poetry etched on lives,
created in the Anointed, Jesus,
to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago."
I've spent a lot of time focusing on figuring out what God wants me to do instead of spending my time and energy on getting closer to Him. I need to stop looking at the task--the waves and wind that are affecting my walk--and keep my eyes focused on the One who called me.
**If you're like me and you find yourself identifying with Peter, the hot-headed and out-spoken apostle, you might like my devotional. You can find it on Amazon by clicking here!