I can think of few things as exhilarating as launching a new dream. Pursuing our passion stretches us in ways we could never imagine. We wear new hats, meet new people, learn new tricks, and try new things. It’s pure joy and adrenaline! That is, until the fear sets in.
When God first called me to write, I was all in! I launched my blog, found a community and never looked back. Yet over time, I began to feel discontent with my progress. I started to worry about my metrics and compare my milestones to others. Where at first I was excited just to be writing, I soon found myself overwhelmed, fearful, and anxious.
Perhaps you’ve felt this, too.
If so, I have some good news. It is possible to passionately pursue our dreams without losing our peace. Today, I want to share with you five ways to do just that.
Remember: God Is the Builder and You Are the Tool
If you’re anything like me, much of your fear is centered on the overwhelming task of building your small business or establishing your dream. I believe Psalm 127:1-2 speaks directly to that fear when it says:
Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.
In vain you rise eary and stay up late, toiling for food to eat- for He grants sleep to those He loves.
Friend, this dream you are pursuing? It’s His. He gave it to you and He is the one who will unfold it. He has invited you to be a part of that process- an integral part, yes- but the weight of success is not on you. “Success” is His to define and His weight to bear.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember a hammer on its own could never drive a nail, much less build a house. It relies completely on the power and energy of the hand that holds it. Likewise, you have the potential to build great things but you cannot do it on your own. The source of your strength lies in the God who is holding you.
Prioritize Your Time With God
Another common source of anxiety is knowing what steps to take next and in what direction. The best way to squelch that fear is to connect with the One with the map. In Mark 1:32-38, We see Jesus go from a day of healing into a morning of prayer. Jesus relied on this prayer time to be refreshed by His Father and to remain mission-minded.
The people closest to Him had their own agendas. They saw the response to His miracles and rising popularity as their ticket to leadership and political fame. But Jesus remained connected to His Father and focused on His mission. He had not come to be the King who would break the power of Rome and free the Jews. He came to be the Servant who would break the power of sin and free the world.
Friend, if Jesus needed daily time with God then so do we- never more so than when we are pursuing our dreams. As your dream grows, the people around you will tell you how to grow your platform and build your business and skyrocket your success. Some of those things may serve your purpose, but others serve only to steal your peace. The way to know the difference is to plant your ear firmly against the heart of God and allow His heartbeat to direct your steps. (If you struggle to establish a morning rhythm with God, I created a download just for you. You can find it on my Free For You page!)
Be Diligent to Do Your Part and Confident God Will Do His
For many small business owners, the greatest source of anxiety is the desire to make a big impact. This is an understandable desire- In my case, I write words I believe (I hope) will encourage people and I want them to be read by as many people as possible. The problem is, to a large extent, the impact of our work is beyond our control.
Yes- we can learn and be diligent to use the tools at our disposal (and we should) but we shouldn’t allow a lesser response steal our peace. Ultimately, the impact of our work and the doors that may open as a result are out of our hands.
That’s the bad news. The good news is all those things are in God’s hands.
We are responsible for doing our part. We must write the words, market the products, and publish the posts! But then we must release our work and trust that God will do His part to grow and give favor to our efforts.
Please hear me: I am not saying we do the work because God promises to bless us if we do. Doing our part isn’t a magical formula to manipulate God into growing our dreams. Instead, we do the work out of obedience to Him and offer it back to do with what He wills.
Which leads me to my next point:
Hold Tightly to Your Passions and Loosely to Your Expectations
So much of our frustration stems from misplaced expectations. When I graduated from college, I had three central passions: Women, God’s Word, and teaching. Being the smart cookie that I am, I put those three passions together and concluded it could mean only one thing: God’s will for my life was to become a Women’s Ministry Director.
Imagine my heartbreak, when, after years of pursuing this dream, life took a left turn and the doors to formal ministry closed. After months of shock and frustration, I sensed God wanted to use those same passions to do something new, something I had not expected. Today, I teach God’s Word to women through my writing. I never expected it but I am loving it.
Friend, we must hold tightly to our passions and our giftings. They are often the beacons that point us towards the good works He has prepared for us to do (Eph. 2:10). They keep us going when the going gets tough. But we must hold loosely to our expectations. Dream, yes! Plan, of course! But hold them both with a grip that allows the Lord to take those dreams where ever he sees fit- even if it’s a place we never expected to go.
Make Room for Others
One final source of anxiety is comparison. If comparison is stealing your peace, the best way to fight back is by intentionally making room for others at the table. Be generous with those coming up behind you. Share your tips and insights with people just learning the ropes. Help promote your “competition” when they are running a great sale or give a shout out to a friend who’s just launching their book. The more we can celebrate those around us, the more we can see there’s plenty of room for everyone.
You Can Do This!
God has given you this dream for a reason, dear friend. And that reason is for you to rely more deeply on His strength and to display His glory more fully. Run hard after your dreams keeping in step with His Spirit, and you’ll find all the grace you need to hold on to your peace while pursuing your dreams.
Would you like to Cultivate Peace in other areas of your life?
All this month, I am offering my free, 7-day Faithful Hearts Study on peace. It’s a part of our year-long conversation about cultivating a faithful heart amid a frenzied world. You can check out a sample of the study by clicking here or request your own copy by filling out the form below!