Don’t let your circumstances stop you from pursuing your dreams

This week’s blog post builds on last week’s entry about pursuing your dreams.

As Christians, the way we pursue our dreams is radically different from the way the world pursues its dreams. If you are a regular non-Christian, when you’re deciding whether to take the risk to pursue a dream, you would naturally look at your circumstances. If your circumstances are positive, if it looks like it’s going to be easy for you to pursue your dreams and the events in your life make it smooth for you to chase your passion, you’ll take the step to go after your dream. But if you see trouble in the horizon and have enemies and obstacles blocking your path, you would freeze and not pursue your dream.

For Christians, the Bible shows us that we shouldn’t let negative circumstances stop us from pursuing our passions. Many times, God uses our set-backs to become stepping-stones for our success.

Take the example of Joseph. When he was a teenager, he had a dream that he would be great and that his whole family would bow down before him. When he told his brothers about his dream, this made them angry with envy. They beat up Joseph and sold him as a slave to some merchants bound for Egypt. Yet Joseph’s difficult circumstance – being a slave – couldn’t put him down. He became highly successful as a slave and his master Potiphar entrusted his entire household to Joseph’s care. But then disaster struck again. Potiphar’s wife lusted after Joseph, and when he resisted her advances, she set him up, accusing him of attempting to rape her. Joseph’s master Potiphar was furious and had Joseph sent to prison. So Joseph was in a terrible circumstance again – in prison – how could he ever achieve his dreams while trapped in a dark dungeon? Yet God used this obstacle as a method to promote Joseph. While he was in prison, Joseph successfully interpreted one of his cell mate’s dreams, so when Pharaoh was looking for someone to interpret his disturbing dreams, Joseph’s former cell-mate recommended Joseph. When he was brought before Pharaoh, Joseph successfully interpreted the ruler’s dream and Pharaoh was so impressed with Joseph, that he made Joseph Prime Minister of Egypt. Thus Joseph achieved his dreams even though he was in the most desperate of circumstances, as God used his obstacles to help take him to the highest level.

Peter was another man who had to learn not to let his circumstances stop him from achieving his dream. During a stormy night, when he was in the boat with the other disciples, Peter saw Jesus walking on water. Inspired by the Lord’s miraculous feat, something stirred inside Peter and he wanted to do something as amazing as what Jesus did – Peter wanted to walk on water too. Peter cried out to Jesus to enable him to walk on water and Jesus invited Peter to join him on the choppy waves. Peter jumped out of the boat and began living his dream – he walked on water, with the liquid under his feat solid as rock. But then Peter started focusing on his circumstances – that he was in the middle of a violent storm – and started to panic. Peter’s fear caused him to sink and he would have been a goner if Jesus had not reached out to him and caught him.

Peter’s experience teaches us an important lesson. When Peter had faith and kept his eyes on Jesus, he could do the impossible. But when Peter focused on his impossible circumstance, instead of Jesus, he started to sink. In the same way, we should stay focused on our God who can do the impossible, instead of the impossible obstacles that block the way to our dreams.