Destiny starts with a dream in our heart. It might be marriage, family, career or ministry. It might be success as we define it in any area of our lives. It is that thing we feel drawn to pursue. And for most of us, we have the naïve expectation that events will go a little something like this:
God says “do this thing.”
I say “ok.”
I do the thing.
God says “good job. Here’s a puppy and a million dollars.”
Easy peasy lemon squeezy, right? Nope. In my experience, the road to our destiny looks a lot more like dream, STRUGGLE, victory.
Dream. It is the thing that burns in us; that place that will bring us into the fullest embodiment of who we are and what we were created to do. Our greatest passion and biggest joy are found at the end of that rainbow. The dream gets us up early and keeps us up late. It consumes our waking and not-so-awake moments. We know in our BONES that the Lord said “Go” and it is from this place we take our first leap of faith.
Struggle. It usually hits about 5 seconds after we take that first step. It smacks us in the face HARD and makes us rethink the whole blasted idea. To be honest, here is where the faint of heart thrown in the towel. But WE are not those sisters! We know this is the road marked out for us, so we gather our guts and move forward with renewed, yet cautious optimism. But as the days, weeks and sometimes years drag on, at some point, we finally reach the end of ourselves. My trip on the struggle bus has never been a short ride and the mess gets exhausting.
I believe the Lord allows this season because it is here we find out what’s really inside. The Refiner’s fire purifies our heart and soul, removing the dead and creating space for the new. Make no mistake. This is a painful process that hurts like hell, but that doesn’t mean it is the work of the enemy. It is out of His loving kindness these things are allowed to prepare us for what comes next. It builds our character in order to support the destiny; it is the foundation on which everything else is built.
Onward to victory, right? Nope. There is a sneaky little stop along the road to victory that you probably won’t find painted on a wooden pallet on Pinterest. It’s death. Doesn’t that sound super fun?!?! What I have seen in my own journey is that thru the dog fight that is the struggle, the dream eventually becomes bigger than the Dream Giver. The fight becomes my own and my strength becomes my greatest weakness. My priorities shift from “I want whatever you have for me, Lord” to “Just get me there, Lord!” It is at this point that He gently says “Give it to Me. Let go of the dream and let it die.”
Oh sister, this part hurts the MOST. It feels like all the dreaming and all the struggle were in vain. There will be tears and doubt and sleepless nights. There will be shouting matches with the Creator of the universe. There will be Netflix marathons with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. There will be grief.
#grief. Wherever there is death, there you will find grief. It is a necessary part of the story and it cannot be avoided. There is no forward progress without it. Grief is the ticket that buys us freedom. And when we come to that final stage of acceptance, it is here we find peace.
Victory. You might be asking “Wait! Didn’t you just leave us to DIE in the desert with our agony and grief? How did we magically appear at victory?” Because here is the heart of Jesus. He has overcome death and He brings dead things back to life. People. Relationships. And dreams.
Ezekiel 37:5 says
This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you and you will come to life.”
When death and brokenness have accomplished their purpose in us, He can resurrect the dream. He who began a good work in us really will carry it to completion. The tricky part is that victory isn’t actually a destination; it looks a lot like the dream with work clothes on. Just like the journey, the end result won’t be what we envisioned because it is Divine Creator putting the pieces in place. The victory comes when we fall into bed every night completely exhausted, knowing we gave it everything we had that day. We are doing the very thing we were created to do in this world. Even better, we finally understand the joy of being a part of something way bigger than ourselves.