Do you remember being a kid and finally getting a little money that you could spend however you wanted? Do you remember all the dreams you had of all the things you were going to buy?
However much money you had, if you were like me, you lost your stinkin mind. You were thinking that you had a blank check (great movie btw) and you could buy the world!
I remember my mom taking me to Walmart (because we weren't in the 1% that could afford to shop at Toys R Us). I wasn't interested in action figures or in AC Remote Controlled race cars. No way. I had my own money. I was a baller. I was going for the Walmart jugular and that meant one thing: The Electronics Department.
Somebody hold me back! Don't let me do it! I'm about to...GET. IT. ALL!!
This was in the glory days of Pokemon, the Sega Genesis, & the coveted Nintendo 64! I was convinced that I was about to hit the jackpot. I had a dream of owning a pimped out Gameboy Color Pocket and if I had money left over, I was going to be the proud owner of a N64! Popularity, here I come! I was about to use my $10 to take over the world!
Wait...What? $10?! Yup. I was horrible at math. I settled for a used lame racing game for Gameboy. Things got crazy once I had to start figuring out how expensive things in life are.
I recently went through something like this again. You see, I had this dream to be a part of full time ministry at a church in Dallas, Texas. Like my elementary self, I didn't know how much it would cost me.
I felt Jesus was guiding me to move to Dallas while I was living on a farm in Mississippi, preaching to some cows that would chase me down every time I was around them, trying to disciple my demon-possessed dog, & serving with my dad's missions ministry.
I sold what I could, packed up my 02 Ford Mustang, said my goodbyes, and I left for the big city. The original plan was to just move there and hope to find a job when I got there. I remember hearing over and over again a quote I had heard by Pastor Wendell Smith, "Faith is what honors God, and what God mostly honors." So full of what little faith I had and with my leadership's blessing, I set out for Dallas.
It was some of the most brutal seven months I ever could have imagined. I thought my $10 faith was enough to make a Sega Genesis dream come true and I was completely wrong. It doesn't take only faith to make a dream come true. It takes faith AND a few other things.
What does it take to make a dream come true? It takes:
It Takes Faith.
Don't get me wrong, it all starts here. You have to believe that Jesus loves you and wants the best for you. I said it didn't take "only faith." It takes faith and it takes some more things. But if you don't have faith, don't even kid yourself. You don't have a chance. You've got to trust God with your life and your future. And that faith will be tested.
It Takes Perseverance.
If you're going to step out in faith, you better be ready to deal with what comes with it. Opposition is guaranteed. This is how it'll usually go down. You'll be excited and full of hope and then everything will calm down. You'll get tired of hoping. You'll get tired of explaining to everyone about how you'll full of faith and hoping for the best and just trusting God. You'll get tired of talking about it and think you're trusting God with your dream. Then, when you think you're in a good place and you're satisfied with only Jesus and you could never have your dream come true and He would be enough. That's when all hell breaks loose. I'm serious. Problem after problem will go down. And you'll have to really see if Jesus is enough because you'll find yourself in a test. If you find yourself with one massive problem in your face, guess what? You're not in a test. Because you'll never take a test with only one problem. Multiple massive ridiculous things will be stacked against you. And you'll have to seek Jesus like never before and hold on to Him and not quit on the dream. Because even though you're in the test and you pass it, seeing a dream come to life will cost you.
It Takes Sacrifice.
It will cost you more than you currently have to receive the dream. You're not earning your dream. If the dream was from God, you cannot earn it. You can only receive it. This is what it cost me to see my dream fulfilled:
- It cost my car which was broken beyond repair. I was carless for 4 months, bumming rides, taking Ubers, & walking whenever I had no choice. #RIPMustang
- It cost me jobs when I couldn't get one anywhere. I filled out over 250 applications and even Walmart, Costco, & In-N-Out wouldn't hire me. I couldn't even get people to call me back.
- It cost me friendships when the stress of me making the move to Dallas was too much to support and life in other places got too busy.
- It cost me relationships with family that didn't want to see me suffer and grew distant because they didn't want to hear the news of how hard things were.
- It cost me respect and my reputation when I was labeled as a nomad, a wanderer, a uncommitted person, & a few other less savory things. I was minimized and marginalized to my face & behind my back.
- It cost me hunger when I couldn't afford to buy food. I sometimes fasted for days because it was a "spiritual" way to be starving (too bad I didn't lose more weight).
-It cost me opportunities for relationships when I stuck to my commitment to have a financially stable full time job instead of getting into a relationship with some really incredible girls that any man would be incredibly favored to call their own. I believe God gave Adam a job then God gave Adam a wife and wanted to honor God's process over my culture's process for falling in love (I didn't always guard my heart well and I truly regret not being a stronger man in that).
- It cost me clothes that I sold at Plato's closet for gas money or the ones that I have that are worn and frayed.
- It cost me job opportunities at other churches outside of Dallas. Some incredible opportunities with wonderful friends came up but I knew that I had to stay the course in Dallas. A friend of mine would always text me and tell me "this place is looking for this role, you want it?" And every time I'd have to tell him, "Don't cave." Because I believe the principle that "caving kills what God is trying to cultivate in you."
- It cost me health insurance as I went without it and haven't been to the doctor or the dentist or gotten new glasses in over a year (Obama care doesn't really care).
- It cost me my savings and everything I had put away for future comfort. I am truly blessed to be able to say that I gave to God every penny that I had in every account and savings and was %100 broke by giving and not by poverty.
- It cost me coffee! So many cups I missed out on and the joy that coffee brings! I was brutally forced to suffer the pain of either drinking Starbucks coffee or no coffee at all. #coffeesnob
- It cost me a home. I told my mom that I'd be homeless on the streets of Dallas before I'd give up on what God called me to. I got behind on rent and was evicted. The truth is, I was in the wrong because I didn't pay my rent, no matter how the situation played out. I couldn't get the money together and with no car and no money, I found myself facing homelessness for the first time in my life. Thankfully it didn't last long, as my dear friends (who I consider family) stepped in and allowed me to stay with them until I could get back on my feet.
Here's the whole of it. Every measure of faith, every measure of perseverance, and every measure of sacrifice is about one thing, and it's probably not the the thing you think it is. It's not about the dream. It's about the dream-giver. It's about the joy in Jesus, the grace in His eyes, & the truth that He is way more invested in our dreams than we ever could be.
I experienced Proverbs 13:12 over and over again. Hope deferred makes the heart sick; but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life. The dream fulfilled isn't status, financial blessings, or being out of poverty. The dream, the life, & the joy is all found in one place: Jesus.
You know how I took my $10 and tried to buy a Sega Genesis but had to settle for a used game? Well when I got home, my parents called me into the living room and opened up a brand new N64 complete with Goldeneye & MarioKart Racing! My parents made the dream come true, no matter what I put towards it. They did it.
I started my job a few weeks ago as a full-time ordained minister of the Gospel at Gateway Church as a Men's Ministry Coordinator. My faith, my perseverance, and my sacrifices didn't buy this dream for me. My Heavenly Father gave me this dream. Jesus opened this door for me. The Holy Spirit led me to this place. And as thankful as I am for the gift of this dream, I'm overwhelmingly thankful for the gift of Jesus & the relationship that I have with the Father through Him. That relationship is the true & better dream.
In His Solution,