Friday, September 9, 2016

Is It Sinful for Christians to Pursue Their Dreams?

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If you’ve yet to notice, I’m passionate about talking on the topic of pursuing dreams. I believe God has given each of us a gift. We all contain a desire that consumes every fiber of our being — a dream that has our hearts racing when we talk about it, when we imagine the dream coming to pass in our lives. 

And yet, the Bible says that the heart is deceitful (Jer. 17:9). Because of this, there are some Christians who believe it's sinful to follow the dreams that God has placed on our hearts.

My question is this: How does pursuing our dreams keep us from following Jesus? What if pursuing our dreams actually led us into a deeper relationship with Him and gave us the opportunity to spread the gospel?

I'm not saying we all deserve to live the lives we envision, or that we were only created to receive wonderful gifts from God and live a perfect and worry-free life. That's far from the truth. Anyone who knows The Word understands that we, as sinful human beings, never deserved Christ dying for us. And anyone who reads The Word knows that we live in a far from perfect world and will live imperfect lives.

But what if I told you that pursuing our dreams didn't have to do with us at all? What if I told you that it could actually be a part of the ministry work God has assigned for us to accomplish? 

1 Peter 4:10-11 says this (emphasis mine) --

Each of you has received a gift to use to serve others. Be good servants of God’s various gifts of grace. Anyone who speaks should speak words from God. Anyone who serves should serve with the strength God gives so that in everything God will be praised through Jesus Christ. Power and glory belong to him forever and ever. Amen.

The Bible makes it clear that God has given us gifts that can help build His Kingdom — but the only way that's possible is it the gift is put to use. If the gift remains idle, then it's useless. It isn't fulfilling its purpose or reaching its fullest potential. If we don't serve in the areas that God has gifted us to serve, then we aren't fulfilling the calling He has placed on our lives. 

Of course the enemy would want to make us feel guilty for pursuing our God-given desires. Of course he would want to make us believe that it's a waste of time. Satan knows that, if our gift is put to use, God's Kingdom could expand like wildfire. 

What would happen if, as a body, each of us tapped into the potential God has birthed within each of us and used it to spread His Kingdom? How many non-believers could we reach if we refused to settle for a passive lifestyle and instead we invested our time, money, and talents into making God famous?  

We aren't on this earth to simply make money, survive, and eventually pass away. God has given us work to do. How can we know what that work consists of? Often, it is stemmed to the dream placed within; the one that has grasped our hearts and refuses to let go.

That isn't to say that it's possible to become led astray by our heart's desires. This is why we do need to be careful and ask God which dream is the one He has placed on our hearts. Ask Him to give you the desires He wants you to have, and to remove the ones that are not from Him. 

Usually, the work He's given us to do will lie within our Sweet Spot: The area that combines our desires and our strengths. {If you aren't sure where your Sweet Spot lies, this free 7-page ebook might help.} 

Psalm 139:16 (NCV) says,

You saw my body as it was formed. All the days planned for me were written in your book before I was one day old.

Maybe the reason you’ve been drawn to writing is because it’s part of the story God has planned for you, the one that was written before you were born. And perhaps the pen will be the very tool that will allow you to spread His love throughout the entire earth.

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When we have a heavenly perspective of this earth  and when we tap into the gifts and desires and dreams God has planted within us  our God-given purpose will become more clear.  We might not know exactly what He has planned for us ten years down the road, but when we ask Him to give us His vision for our lives, He will allow the fog to dim just enough for us to know which step to take next. And then the next step. And then the one after that.

I challenge you to tap into the potential God has birthed inside of you. Discover those unique tools, strengths, and skills of yours.

Ephesians 3:20 (NCV) says, "With God’s power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine."

Notice that it doesn't say "With God's power working in us, WE can do...". It says with His power working in us, HE can do "much more than anything we can ask or imagine."

Perhaps the error isn't in Christians pursuing their heart's desires but in Christians pursuing their dreams for the wrong reasons. To glorify themselves. To make their own name known throughout the earth.  

But according to this scripture, it's not us who do the work, but Christ within us. We are nothing without Him. It has never been about us, our talents, our recognition, or our success. The whole purpose of this whole dream-chasing thing should be to accomplish the work God has assigned for us to do, the work that is going to make Him known throughout the earth. Because honestly? We would be nothing -- dust and ashes -- if it weren't for Him.

So those desires God's given you? Those strengths of yours? They are your Sweet Spots. And it's there that God’s ministry begins. Don’t ignore the fire He’s placed on your heart or the path He’s laid before you. Instead, ask Him to give you the desires He wants you to have and to remove the ones that aren't of Him. Ask Him to show you how you can use your Sweet Spot for His glory.

Then, watch and see how He takes your gifts and dreams and strengths and uses them to accomplish "immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine..." (NIV, emphasis mine).


Is It Sinful for Christians to Pursue Their Dreams? #amblogging #faith @TessaEmilyHall 

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Speaking of dreams . . . 

If you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you might know that the dream I held since I was 3-years-old was to become an author. I launched this blog in January 2010, at the age of 16, hoping to meet other writers journeying along the same path. I wanted an outlet to share what I was learning about the craft, encourage others in pursuit of their dreams, and to discuss scripture.

You can read more about my writing journey in Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

As I mentioned in Part 3, my YA contemporary romance novel, UNWRITTEN MELODY, will be released this November by Clean Reads! I’m thrilled to share this story with the public. It’s a story that sparked in me when I was 17-years-old. I went into my bedroom, sat in my favorite writing chair, opened up my notebook, and spent an hour or so brainstorming what would become the first version of UNWRITTEN MELODY.

I'm humbled and beyond grateful to have met so many of you who have supported and encouraged me along the way. THANK YOU to all of my readers!

If you'd like to help me further this dream of mine ministry work — and possibly win gifts and prizes along the way — here's what you can do:

  • Join Tessa's Team (my street team). Members receive exclusive, early updates on the publishing process, extra giveaways and contests, etc. 
  • Join my mailing list. In the mailing list, you'll receive updates on the book's journey delivered straight to your inbox! (Don't worry, I never spam inboxes or share contact info.)
  • Host a book/author spotlight on your blog. I can provide a pre-made interview and the blog materials for you to include in a post. Send an email if you're interested!
  • Pin quotes from Unwritten Melody to a Pinterest board. Want sneak previews of the book? Check out its Pinterest board, and don't forget to re-pin the book's quotes! Every week, I'll add at least one new quote from the book. (The street team will always receive first look!)
  • Tell your friends! There's nothing that helps an author's book release more than word-of-mouth promotion. If you enjoy my blog and/or Purple Moon, it'd be awesome if you could let your friends know about Unwritten Melody! The book releases in Kindle format on November 10th. They can follow this blog and my social media accounts (@tessaemilyhall) for updates!

A special thank you to all my readers!

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  1. I think it would be so much fun to have an author spotlight for you on my blog, but it's private. I do have a handful of followers, and would still love to do it - but I won't feel offended in the least if you'd rather not :).

    1. Er, scratch that - it's going to be public in a few days. I'd love to have a spotlight for you there sometime :).

    2. Hi, Savannah! I'd be happy to be featured on your blog. Thanks for asking! You can send me an email with the details at christiswrite (at) gmail (dot) com. =)



  2. Great post, Tessa! =D

    I couldn't join your street team since I'm not on FaceBook. Sorry! =( Is there any way I could without an account?

    I'll be telling all of my friends about Unwritten Melody for sure. =)

    1. Hi, Micaiah!

      I can add you to the list of non-Facebook street team members. I'll be in touch via mailing list when new updates are posted.

      Thanks so much! =)


  3. Thank you for your thoughtful study of God's word on this topic, Tessa. I think we all struggle with this issue, especially when other responsibilities pull us away. It's a juggling act to be a good steward of God's multiple blessings -- but that can be a blessing in itself, if I'll only adjust my attitude and see it that way. Thank you! You've helped me keep writing today.

    1. Hi, Jennifer!

      There are so many reasons why people neglect their dreams, and even feel guilty about pursuing them -- and probably the most popular excuse is lack of time. But we have to remember that the enemy will do anything he can to keep us from walking the path God has planned for us. We shouldn't feel guilty about it, either, because if it's a gift, then it can be used to worship God. I don't consider my writing sessions to be simply a time of fun, but a time spent creating with the Father.

      I'm glad you found the post helpful! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!



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