You may have clicked on this article to see if you really read that title right. You might be thinking, What do you mean? Of course I was made to follow my dreams!
It’s what we grow up being taught, right? “You are your own person, and you will be happy if you do whatever it is you want to do!” From a young age, we are taught that the primary purpose of our lives is to do whatever it is that will make us happy.
And what could make us happier than following our dreams? If we want to grow up to be a famous singer, CEO, President, or whatever else we want, that is what we should strive to do. At least, that’s what we think.
Before we go any further, I want to say that it isn’t a bad thing to have dreams and aspirations. If you aspire to start a business one day, that’s awesome. If you desire to play music professionally, that’s great.
The point isn’t that your dreams are bad. The point is that you weren’t made for your dreams. If we live with a mentality that we were put on this planet to do whatever we think will lead to the most fulfillment, happiness, and glory for ourselves, we are sadly mistaken.
So why were we put on the earth?
Look at what Isaiah 43:6–7 says —
I will say to the north, Give up,
and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the end of the earth,
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.
God made each and every one of us for one ultimate purpose: to glorify Him.
The way He chooses to glorify Himself through each of us might be different. For example, God may get the most glory out of someone being a teacher and another person being a salesperson. And many times, the desires of our hearts (aka “dreams”) can also be the things that God has designed us to do that will give Him the most glory out of our lives.
So why do I say that we aren’t made to follow our dreams?
Although our dreams might be the very things that God has planned for us, they also might not be. God’s plan for your life isn’t dependent upon whatever it is that you want to do. Instead, the dreams and aspirations we have should be carefully considered in light of what God’s will for our life is.
This is why Jesus tells us that following Him means denying ourselves (Luke 9:23). Following Jesus means that we recognize Him as our Lord. And if Jesus is Lord, that means that He calls the shots in our lives. It means that we are willing to lay down our plans if it means following His will.
God might interrupt your dreams. You might dream of being the CEO of a large company one day, but God might have different plans. So when God’s plans come in conflict with your dreams, what will you do?
When God calls you to sell everything you have worked so hard for and move to a remote village to preach the gospel, what will you do?
When God calls you to move away from your dream house in your perfect town so that you can proclaim His name in the inner cities, what will you do?
We have to know that our dreams can be good things. But we weren’t made for them. So when God calls us to leave our dreams behind for the sake of His glory, we have to be willing to obey.
Finding God’s will for your life isn’t as simple as looking up and seeing a message He has written for you in the sky. Don’t think that the words “BE A DENTIST” will show up behind the clouds as you’re considering a career to pursue.
Instead, walk closely with the Lord. Read your Bible daily. Pray regularly. Attend church and be deeply involved in Christian community. Listen to the testimony of the people of God when they speak into your life. Consider your motivations in the decisions you make. See that the force driving your ambitions and goals is a desire to bring honor to Christ.
The Lord will direct your paths as you stay rooted in the word (Psalm 119:105). His intentions toward you are loving, and He will be with you no matter where He takes you. So live your life motivated to follow Him, not your dreams. We’re better off that way.