Recently my daughter, Annah, and I had the privilege of going on a mommy-daughter getaway to one of my favorite places, beautiful Maui. I was super excited to share with her, in my opinion, one of the most incredible places on earth and to spend the week connecting with my gorgeous, not so little anymore, girl. I believe one reason Maui is so unique to me is because that’s where I first heard God whisper to me to begin writing. While I was super thrilled to be there with my daughter, I was also desperate to hear from God. In all honesty, I needed a change of pace and I love being around water. It doesn’t matter if it’s Current River, Florida, Hawaii, or just our little pond on the farm, it seems I connect so well with Jesus when I’m near the water. Maybe you too have that special place where you tend to hear him a little louder. For my husband, it’s in the woods while he hunts deer or turkey. He seems to connect more closely with God in the woods. One of my favorite authors, Mark Batterson, refers to those places as “the whispering spot.”
For a couple of years, I have been praying about a specific desire of mine. I really needed to hear from God on this one. It’s a crazy desire, and I’ve prayed so hard for God to make it a reality, yet it hasn’t seemed to happen. So, I began to change the way I approached it in prayer. Rather than praying for God to make it happen, I started to ask Him to remove any dream I had that wasn’t His desire. That was a very hard prayer to pray for this girl, His desire or not, I selfishly wanted this dream. But spiritually, I know His desires are always more incredible than my dreams. And if it isn’t His desire, it’s because He has something far more significant for me. So I kept on praying this same simple prayer: Lord, remove any hope, dream, desire, or vision that isn’t yours.
I was anticipating getting to one of my whispering spots and hopefully learning what God’s desire or lack thereof was for me. Day after day, I would pray my prayer, and day after day, God began to reveal to me things that caused my desire to wither. He highlighted things that I never considered, and showed me things that illuminated the selfishness of my dream. It wasn’t long before my desire became less important to me, and I surrendered my ways, my thoughts, my plans, and my desires to Him.
Fast forward to a couple of days ago, I was standing in a fantastic worship service at church; hands held out as they sang, “Let it rain, open the floodgates of heaven, let it rain.” As they began to sing this chorus over and over, God began to speak to my heart. He whispered gently, “hold open your hands,” so I opened my hands, palms up. He said to me “because you have opened your hands, I can take what I want and give to you what I will.” I’m not going to lie; the tears were close to rolling! You see, I had consumed myself for so long with a dream that wasn’t for me, that I nearly missed what God did intend for me. When we go to God with a clenched fist, He isn’t able to give to us. He needs us to come with our hands wide open, and while He may take some things from us, it’ll only be so our hands can hold all he has to give.
I don’t know what your dreams look like, but I know if you want the answer to always be ‘Yes’ from God, you need to align your dreams with His desires.
Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.
When we are satisfied with the Lord, it’s only then we will want what He wants, and it’s then He will give us HIS desires. So to close I wanted to ask you a couple of questions and share some things I’ve learned along this journey. I am hopeful that this may help you determine if your desire is His or yours. I am praying for you, believing God for fulfillment in your life, and that His desires are birthed within you.
- What is the why behind your desire? If all your why’s began with ‘I’, it may be nothing more than a selfish desire.
- Who pays the cost? And I don’t necessarily mean money, but if your desire costs your spouse and your children significantly and only benefits you, it may not be God’s heart for you.
- Ask God to remove any desire that isn’t His, and then let Him.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6