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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Stop Thieves from Stealing Your Dream

When thieves prowl into our minds and threaten our dreams, we have a choice in how we respond. One response is to wallow in the dark side, which leads us to become ungrateful for the dream God has created specifically for us. Ungratefulness is a powerful opponent that steals our focus, and without a bold response to reverse our attitude, ultimately it can sabotage our dreams. Ingratitude is one of the most destructive ways to respond to dream thieves. It may feel like a normal response to pain and disappointment, but it usually makes things harder than they need to be.

Turning our attitude from frustrated to grateful changes our perspective. It opens the heavens and makes us aware that God is actually giving us gifts every day—and that those gifts offer numerous opportunities to unlock our dreams.

I’ve learned to practice thankfulness. I began to express my gratitude for things that seem amazing and even for the things that seem insignificant. That’s a great starting place, and as we practice being thankful for the small things, our minds begin to open us to gratitude for the harder things.

If you are unsure of what to do in your situation right now and your dream seems to be in permanent lockdown, know that the will of God for you always includes gratitude. As the apostle Paul said, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:18, NIV)

In all circumstances—in everything I will be thankful. That’s a powerful key.

I keep a dream notebook for writing down the dreams I have and the hopes, fears, promises, obstacles, and realizations that come in the process. When I feel myself slipping into ungratefulness, the list making in my dream notebook begins. It looks something like this:

I’m thankful for
• the lunch today with friends, the book I read yesterday, the movie I saw last week
• my home, my family, my church
• peace, strength, rest for the battles I’m facing

When the thieves show up in our minds to steal our dreams, we need to be armed with gratitude.

I expected better circumstances. I expected kinder people.

Standing behind these thoughts is the thief I call ungratefulness and the stealth-like destructive work of our own expectations.

This is not what I thought would happen. That’s why I’m disappointed. That’s why I’m dissatisfied.

When we entertain these thoughts, we become even more ungrateful and the cycle continues. Ingratitude dulls and sours our vision. When what we have right now seems as if it’s not enough, our heart disengages from the power of faith and attaches its focus to disappointment and despair.

I did not expect this loss. I did not expect this disappointment or this pain.

But our enemy did not expect that somewhere inside us a whisper can arise: “I will yet praise him.” (Ps. 42:5, NIV) Even though I thought this would be easier, I will praise Him because He hasn’t given up on me.

The whisper becomes a shout as we recognize the power in it.

Even though I’ve had this setback, yet I will praise God and thank Him for what He has done and is doing—even when I can’t see His work right now.

When we start to thank God, our faith moves from a trickle of water to the strength of a forceful river. When we become more aware of His gifts to us and we give thanks for them, we experience joy, and strength emerges. Reality is clearer. I suspect that the unhappiest dreamers are the most ungrateful, a risk you and I can’t afford to take. Gratitude is a much better option.

Excerpted from Unlock Your Dream: Discover the Adventure You Were Created For by Philip Wagner. Copyright © 12/20/16 WaterBrook & Multnomah. 

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