Mornings are my most favorite time of day. I love waking up a little earlier than my husband so I can enjoy the stillness, read my Bible, and have some sweet time with my Jesus. In the early morning, it feels like the whole world is open to me … there's a spark in the air. I feel sort of like Belle in the opening scene of Beauty and the Beast … waking up in a little village (ok, I don't live in France, but dream with me here!) … and my heart bursting with possibilities and adventures that are awaiting me.
Belle knows that there's so much more to life than what she sees in front of her … the same old baker bakes the same old bread and rolls and absolutely nothing seems to change in her little town. At the end of the scene, she runs to the top of a hill, Sound of Music style, and belts out her deepest desire, which I've gotta say, I second it! “I want adventure in the great wide somewhere, I want it more than I can tell…”
I once read that the opposite of courage isn't fear, it's conformity. When we were little girls, it was so easy to believe in our dreams. We didn't care if wearing a princess dress around town or making up songs about saving the dolphins wasn't cool. We didn't even realize that other people had opinions about our lives. But, something happened as we grew up…in high school, the things that once made us different were now the things we got made fun of for (wait, Pokemon isn't cool anymore?). Dreams get pushed aside in exchange for reality, and it seems like most of us get caught in a sea of conformity. We go to college, we work, we sleep, we eat, we bake the same old bread…just like everyone else, just like every other day.
But life doesn't have to be like that…
I think Belle's heart is a lot like our own. She's bored with conformity. She longs for true adventure, for a life that actually feels ALIVE. For a life that breaks the mold. Just like Belle, I know YOU have some big dreams that were written on your heart and you want to believe that there is something greater out there. That those dreams are within your reach!
Culture wants us to conform. But Jesus calls us to a different place…
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
When we conform, we fail to recognize that we are already part of a great story, just like the one Belle loved – with daring sword fights, far off places, and dragons that were slain! But the best part of the story? The part that we love the most? This isn't just an action + adventure story, it's a love story…and we play a central role.
It's so easy to be casual, to get stuck in the monotony of everyday life that clouds us from seeing real story of our lives: God is WITH us and He wants to take us on a great adventure! Best part? He's got a specific, unique, exciting adventure for each of us that was planned out years before we were ever born.
For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10).
Not only do each of us have a unique purpose, and a very real love story, but we are also smack-dab in the middle of a very real war that's going on in the spiritual realm. Ephesians 6:12 says…
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
So, my Belle…guess what?! Our lives already are “much more than this provincial life!” God has an adventure-packed purpose that was designed just for you! The final battle between good and evil has been won, but we are still subject to the enemy's mean schemes to get us to fall away from God's plan for our lives. We are called to put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18), and to fight the good fight (1 Timothy 6:12).
The enemy is really good at making us believe a bunch of excuses that keep us from going for our dreams. He's good at pulling out our deepest insecurities and keeping us stagnant. If you have a dream and you're not taking any action on it, then it's because the enemy has convinced you to stay stuck. When you realize that those thoughts aren't from God, you can overcome them, amp up your confidence and move forward in pursuit of your adventure! I'll show you how! Check out these three steps that have served me:
1. CAST YOUR CARES.
Cast your cares on the Lord
and he will sustain you;
he will never let
the righteous be shaken. (Psalm 55:22)
Every single-dingle negative thought that you have ever had has NEVER been from the Lord. I'm serious. Any thought that puts you down or makes you feel inferior is a lie. And you know who that came from? The enemy. John 8:44 tells us that the enemy only speaks lies, is a liar, and is the father of lies (God really wanted to get His point across, huh?). Philippians 4:6-7 says
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Every time that you have a negative thought, remind yourself that that thought wasn't from God, and then replace it with Scripture.
I am fearfully + wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)
I was made for such a time as this. (Esther 4:14)
God is within me, I will not fall. (Psalm 46:5)
If you remember that the enemy is doing everything that he can to get you to stop, then you can distinguish between the lies and the truth. Cast those anxieties and fears onto the Lord and allow Him to sustain you! Ask Him to give you a mind to work (Nehemiah 4:6) and then … faithfully work towards building that dream of yours!
Prayer changes everything! Saint Augustine once said, “pray as though everything depended on God, work as though everything depended on you.” When you have a vision in mind for your life, pray that God would search your heart so you are confident that the vision is pure + from Him. The fool-proof way to know it's from God is to see if your dream lines up with Scripture. Once you know that it does, pray circles around this dream of yours – believe that it will be done – and then get to work as if you knew it was inevitable!
Here's the thing, God is not a genie in a bottle! BUT, He does hear our every prayer! If your dream is truly aligned with Scripture, and it is God-ordained, then crazy things will happen. God wants your dream to come true more than you do. God is faithful to say yes + amen to all of His promises (2 Corinthians 1:20)! Even if the prayer isn't answered in the exact way you wanted it (let's face it, it usually turns out differently, because His ways are so much higher!), you can trust that the answer will always be SO GOOD because we have a good, good Father.
Line your dream up with Scripture, and then use Scripture to pray circles around your dream. Jeremiah 1:12 says,
Then the LORD said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.“
Did you read that right?! God is literally watching over His Word so that He can answer His promises to you! When you pray in the Word, He is so delighted and wants nothing more than to perform it.
So pray, girl, pray! Pray in Scripture. Pray with confidence. Pray knowing that you are being heard. Pray knowing that He is hovering over His Word in order to fulfill His promises. Pray knowing that as you work, Holy Spirit will guide you and rewire the parts of your heart that need His alignment. Your job is to trust Him to reveal the path, and to get to work on whatever you can, with what you have, where you are, right now.
If you need some prayer inspo, then grab some popcorn, call your girls, and make War Room your next movie night! If this movie doesn't inspire you to pray confidently, I'm not sure what will!
If you're more of a book girl (I just knew you were Belle at heart!) then this book is a MUST read: The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears by Mark Batterson. This book totally revolutionized the way that I pray and what I believe to be possible. Seriously, if there's one book I'd tell you to read right now, it's that one! 🙂
Girl, wanna know a secret? You have everything you need, right now, to stand firmly + confidently in your God-given purpose. I know, sometimes it feels like there are a million things working against you (that's just the enemy and his silly schemes), but, God designed you with a weapon to fight and to be prevail over the struggle: WORSHIP.
Worship is the greatest weapon in your arsenal, and if you use it everyday, you have a HUGE advantage over the enemy! Worship shifts the atmosphere. I heard my pastor once say, “when our praises go up, His presence comes down.” Jesus LOVES when we worship Him, especially when we are at the end of ourselves. When we feel lost and imprisoned by our circumstances, worship is always the answer. It will change your life like nothing else.
Worshipping Jesus for WHO HE IS is incense to God. Worry and fear is incense to the enemy. SO, Wonder Woman, activate your worship weapon and fight the good fight! Send that incense up to the Lord! You don't need to “feel it” to do it, worship isn't a feeling that creates an action, it's an action that might create a feeling. It's something that we do because God designed us to worship. He designed us to worship Him. If you're not worshipping Him, you're worshipping something or someone else.
Take an honest look at your life, who or what are you worshipping? Are you worshipping the hunt for your future husband? Are you worshipping the lifestyle, hair + clothes of the rich + insta-famous? Are you worshipping the purpose God has given to some other girl? If you're worshipping anything other than the Lord, refocus your worship in obedience to Him. Our obedience increases our authority over the enemy.
When you worship in the weight and the wait of your situation, you are calling upon the ground beneath you to become fertile for a breakthrough. The decision to worship plants seeds of faith and with each note, you water those seeds. EVERY SINGLE TIME that I get lost in worship, I am blessed. Even IF I didn't initially feel like worshipping, I do it, because He deserves it, and I know that it is what He designed me to do. Each time I worship, I have a breakthrough. My perception changes. I smile. I cry. SOMETHING CHANGES.
Worship isn't just a gift to the Lord, it's also a gift that we receive. Worship reminds us of who He is, and therefore, reminds us of who we are in Him. Don't just worship when you need a breakthrough, worship each day, all day long. This is how we fight our battles. Worship, girl, worship!
Our girl Belle might've missed the fact that her “provincial life” was already much more adventurous than she could've imagined, but we don't have to. She didn't need a daring sword fight or a handsome prince to whisk her away because Jesus has already done that. He invites you to live in freedom, to walk in confidence, and to dream BIG! It's time to listen to the desires that Jesus has placed in your heart. To cast your anxieties and fears onto Him. To take His invitation to meet Him in prayer and worship, to carve out a special part of your day that's secret, saved just for Him. To focus your eyes on your perfect Groom, and realize that, in Jesus, you are royalty, born for such a time as this!
Now it's your turn. I want to know, what adventure is awaiting you out in the great wide somewhere? What God-sized dreams are on your heart? Tell me in the comments!
Written By: Dana Marie Arnold