Life At Its Best: Overcome doubts to realize dreams
Doubts and dreams - every one has them. They're two forces that compete for our attention. Of course, if asked, I'm sure we'd all prefer the dreams in our heart to trump the doubts we face.
But as we know, that's not always the outcome. Overcoming doubt takes more than simply desiring victory. It requires consistently choosing faith over fear.
I learned this as a 19-year-old. I'd recently become a Christian when a guy at the university I attended asked me to lead a small group. I knew I was passionate about teaching others, but I didn't feel qualified.
After all, I was a new Christian who was trying to figure out the Bible myself. And even if I did understand it, there was no way I wanted to get in front of all those kids. I declined his offer, but the next week, he called again. Finally, after much resistance, I agreed to try.
I absolutely hated it. The 15-minute devotional I'd prepared lasted only five minutes - every minute filled with nerves, sweat and episodes of awkward silence. I was determined I'd never do it again.
Obviously, God wasn't so convinced. Now, nearly 35 years later, I teach His word to people every week. I'd like to say the stomach pains and sweaty palms went away overnight, but they didn't. In fact, I still get occasional butterflies, but He's continued to use me to fulfill His dream for my life.
It's not because I'm the most talented or qualified; it's because I made a conscious decision to operate in faith rather than fear. I chose not to live in doubt but to believe in what He could accomplish through me. And He's done more than I could ever imagine.
God wants that for all of us. He has a dream for our lives bigger than we could ever accomplish on our own. But it's going to require living with a strong faith.
Building that kind of faith starts with learning to capture God's picture for our life. Second Corinthians 5:17 says, "Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person." God doesn't see us according to the sins we've committed, and we shouldn't either.
Jesus gave His life so that we could find a new life in Him. So we must learn to live confident in His sacrifice and in the access it gave us to our Heavenly Father. Through it, we can now draw close enough to God to get a clear picture of His dream for our life.
Then, we must hold onto that picture of hope. Things aren't going to change overnight. It takes time to develop into the person God says we can be. But don't let negative emotion discourage you from pursuing His dream for your life.
Instead, continue striving every day to move closer to the picture He's given you, and surround yourself with people who will stand with you as you do. In discouraging seasons, remember: When pursuing God-dreams, your doubts won't stand a chance.
Jim Graff is the senior pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria. faithfamilyvictoria.com.