Christine Duncan

Precepts & Life Preservers

Tag: dreams (page 1 of 2)

Where Destiny Meets Legacy

Having a calling on your life is such a tricky thing, am I right?

The world and the interwebs and every other book seems to be focused on this. Pursuing what you love. Chasing your dreams. Fulfilling your destiny. Going after your passions. Getting your hustle on and running full-bore into that one special thing.

Comment sections and group feeds and bible study groups are filled with questions about our calling. What if I don’t know what that is yet? What if I know what I’m to do, and why, and where, but God hasn’t revealed how and when?

What if I only think this is my calling but I’m not hearing Him correctly? What if I’m hearing Him say one thing, and my insides keep saying another? What if I’ve confused the two?

So I’m reading my Bible, and I’m in 2 Chronicles, and like all sequels, I’ve always just given it a once over and moved on… and why do we do that with the very Word of God where He has submerged each part of it with the same holy richness as the other more popular parts?

But He does, and I’m getting it, so I’m there. And right away we are plunked into the middle of a scene with King Solomon and God. And I notice something.

The first thing God wants us to know about callings is that you can’t make ‘what if’s’ your jumping off point. Our what ifs always block things like trust and willingness and stepping out.

‘What if’ can put a hitch in destiny.

But instead, He’s waiting for us to boldly claim what is already ours.

And this very thing is on my heart so much while I enter into my second year of blogging. Lord, I want to boldly claim what is already mine somehow. So how?

In 2 Chronicles chapter 1, Solomon hitches his calling to something much more important and revealing than a bunch of what ifs. He doesn’t give what ifs a second glance.

Instead, he steps into the holiest of places within his kingdom, known for being the meeting place of Moses with God in the desert. And he asks God to provide the one thing he needs to make his calling complete.

He shows God that he’s going to use the legacy that’s been left to Him (by David, his father) to fuel his destiny. And his destiny then to fuel a continuing legacy.

Our calling is closely tied to the legacy we’ve had left for us. Good or bad, amazing or lacking, the legacy we’ve been left with can fuel how we believe God for our future. And do we continue that legacy, or begin to ask God to shape a new one?

And Solomon, knowing there’s nothing bigger than walking in God’s will and has seen where God wants this to go, approaches the Holy One. This is important.

This is where Destiny meets Legacy.

Every time.

And I have to stop there a moment. Our what ifs do not necessarily mean we’re including God in our questions. I can be so caught up in questioning my destiny that I take eyes off of the One who holds it.

I can ask all those things about my calling and about what God might want to do… and forget to actually approach the Holy One himself.

Talk about shooting ourselves in the foot and going in circles. That can put us back in a spiritual desert for another 40 year wander.

We have to have some faith. And come before the One who knew us as we were being knit together, one cell at a time, and believe His plans for us, and that when He’s ready, He will fully reveal them.

Where Destiny Meets Legacy

This is the first thing Solomon does. Seeks Him out.

And God, delighted it seems with this first bold action, initiates an exchange that reveals both His and Solomon’s intentions.

God’s intention is to reveal faithful provision. Solomon’s intention is to seek it.

So God asks him in verse 7 to request what he needs supplied.

I want to highlight something here.

He doesn’t guarantee He’ll supply it. He does ask him to ask.

Our priorities are not always God’s priorities. And our being able to approach the throne doesn’t mean everything is handed to us without Him regarding the ramifications of our requests.

Ramifications that can harm or hinder our calling. And we should never despair when we get a no. It means He knows something we don’t. Solomon understands that his legacy he’s stepping into came with many a ‘yes’, but also many a ‘no’.

So Solomon acknowledges that God has kept His promises to his own father, and to the nation as a whole, and asks, not for the temporary and material solutions, but for the one thing needed to complete a calling with success and within God’s purposes.

He asks only for wisdom. His heart’s greatest desire is God’s holy wisdom. Nary a ‘what if’ in sight. I pray we never confuse what ifs with wisdom. For they’re nothing alike.

If he knows anything, he knows everything that seems possible before him hinges on wisdom. And it gets God’s stamp of approval, big time. A kingdom leader rich in wisdom instead of wealth and glamor and prestige.

A King whose insides match up with the heart of the Almighty.

God honors that and then some.

So I ask myself, does my calling match up? Will my insides match up with His, be in step with His, and further His purposes first?

Those are much better questions. That take us from legacy to destiny and back again.

We know Solomon’s legacy. He was the wisest man in the world. No one has come close since. And God blessed the socks off him with the richest kingdom ever seen. Which Solomon promptly turned around and put to work for God again.

And how I pray, as we pursue our own calling, that it be with His agenda and not ours. With His purposes and not ours. With His methods and not ours. And that with every confirmation He gives, that we give back and then some.

What is your calling today? What is your destiny today? Is it wisdom? Is it His heart and only His? Will we stop mulling and start approaching? Will we let Him shape and design and mold our futures?

Oh the things He has waiting for those who place every hope and purpose in Him!

Right where destiny meets legacy.


Today’s post is linking up to all the goodness over at #CoffeeForYourHeart with Holley Gerth! I hope you’ll hit the hashtag above and join us!

 

Gaining Traction

I once had a dream years ago that I was in a marathon.

Stop laughing. *wink*

I remember it all clear as day. I was in the right running gear. I had a number assigned to me. I was jogging on the spot near the front of the pack waiting for the starting cannon….

Yes, I said cannon. It was, after all, a dream. I have odd dreams, okay? And for the record, it shot out giant balls of blue cotton candy…

So anyway, the cannon sounds and everyone starts jogging and I notice I’m not moving. And when I look down, the street is actually smooth hard glass that we’re running on.

And I watch, helpless, as everyone gets farther ahead without issue but no matter how hard or fast I run, I’m still back at the starting line.

I couldn’t seem to get any traction.

I have no recollection of how the rest of the dream goes, sorry, but what I do know is that I often start feeling like this in real life.

Can a girl get an ‘amen’?

I want to declutter my house or garage. But no matter where I start I can’t seem to sort through things in one spot before they pile up in another. I get one area tidied and decorated and then turn to see all the stuff from the first area now in a useless pile in the next corner!

No traction.

I want to start planning meals better or revamp the budget better. Get ahead of things. And then I have a chronic D week, or we get thrown a financial curveball, or something comes up we forgot about and wham! Our plans are out the window before they’re even started.

No traction.

And lately, my personal fave is my attempt to blog less on-the-fly, or less ‘organically’ as all the young folks call it these days, and to actually use a blogging planner and have posts written weeks in advance, and when that still hasn’t happened, I try to at least have themes planned out, and when that fails, I settle for just the day before so I can use that magical little button called the scheduler for a change.

But no dice. Weeks go by and I’m still barely caught up and feeling like my brain is just barely treading water.

Zero traction.

Zip, zero, zilch, nada, niente, nope, nuthin’… NO traction.

And I’d be okay with that if at least there were cannonballs of yummy blue cotton candy every time I tried but let’s face it, that ain’t happening either.

Here’s the kicker.

Sometimes this exactly describes my faith.

And I know we’re human. I know life isn’t simple and we can’t get down on ourselves. That we can only do what we can with the best that we have. And I know sometimes it’s my choices and habits. And sometimes it’s that pesky mood disorder flaring up once again. Sometimes it’s my approach. But there are days where I feel like I’m on the glass surface, and everyone else is seeing results spiritually speaking, and me….?

I’m reading but not gleaning anything deep.

I’m praying but not getting answers.

I’m worshipping but not making the connection.

There are days I’m spiritually running and not getting anywhere.

No traction.

So what do we do? How do we continue on? How do we get any kind of grip?

God’s begun working out some things that have been “slipping me up” so to speak, and there’s three I definitely think He’s zeroing in on as I keep going in my own personal race to the finish line.

1) Doubt. It stops you in your tracks.
I know there are days when the glassy slippery path is simply doubt. And doubt never has power to move us forward. Doubt keeps us guessing what will go wrong, instead of what God can accomplish. Doubt swells in the heart, and tries to eat up faith. Jesus asks in Luke 24:38 “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?” It is not just a matter of the mind anymore, it’s purely a matter of the heart.

Our faith needs to cling to His faithfulness, living out Hebrews 10:23 boldly, and suddenly we have traction once more. “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” Time to make the choice to believe. A matter of the heart. I have to admit, I have days my head interferes with my heart and it’s choices. And the slipping and sliding starts and I get nowhere. I have to hold, cling to hope that He is greater even than the greatest doubt.

2) Fear. It always paralyzes.
This is the biggie for most of us. Fear that we’re missing out, fear that we’ll never have enough faith, fear that maybe He’s forgotten us, fear that we’re not going to be able to keep going, or find shelter, or… fear tries to wipe out trust.

You name it, fear likes to interfere with it. We even know fear doesn’t come from God, that it’s based on the manipulations of the enemy. Fear has to go! We have assurances from the King of Kings and it doesn’t get much better than that. So the panic that maybe we’re not christian enough, the anxiety that we’re not on God’s radar as much, and the worry that we’re never going to reach His potential while life throws everything at us, will stop when we take that first shaky yet bold step of faith.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”, is this mega promise from God to us in Isaiah 41:10 and He has yet to ever renege on a promise issued from His heart to ours.

3)Lies. Lies will keep us distracted from the truth.
The big lies that do the most damage sound like; “I’m never going to be as together as those other believers.” “I’ll never have every scripture memorized, I’ll always be struggling.” “All those believers have figured out the perfect faith… I’m still trying to remember where the book of Jude is located, and don’t like saying prayers in front of people, everyone has the perfect words to say!”

We know none of this is true. None of this is the way we measure faith, because the story He’s weaving looks different and is at different stages for every believer. We all have struggles, hurdles, and moments of feeling insignificant. But He has come so that we may have… lies? fear? doubt? No.

3 Reasons we can't gain any traction in our walk with God.

He has come so that we may have Life. Abundantly.

And when my faith feels like it’s treading glass and getting no where, I will trust that He is working something out beneath the layers of my life, that He is restoring, sorting out, and replacing the old me with the new me founded on Him.

No more fears, and lies, and doubts as my compass for whether my faith is progressing.

Only my relationship exclusively with Him.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5,6

No more dreams or nightmares about being left behind. Instead, true assurance that He will provide a better road to travel.

We take our first step, and move beyond the start, and with each step we become a little closer… to Him.

Don’t look now, but we’ve got traction.

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Linking up today with the lovely and inspiring bloggers at the #RaRaLinkup with Kelly Balarie and the #TellHisStory linkup with Jennifer Dukes Lee!

When It’s Not What We Hoped For

Sometimes we just don’t get what we want.

What are we going to do about it?

Isn’t that the question of the century?

A memory came flooding back to me the other day. I was 11 years old, so excited for Grade 6 music. This was the year we got to pick an instrument of our own, for the first time ever. I had been waiting patiently all winter, through the vocal portion, until the spring when we would be introduced to those magical, shiny, gleaming instruments that would make us sound like the Boston Pops from the first note.

I was sure there was only one perfect choice to make… flute. It was silver, sleek, light, tiny, and you would feel like the pied piper. I had seen an orchestra play during a class trip, and at my church. Anyone who played the flute looked poised, lithe, had long glorious tresses like Rapunzel, did pirouettes everywhere they went, and had delicate hands with rosy fingertips.

Clearly I had been thinking about this.

They finally announced that the next Monday we would get to select an instrument. I was primed. I would get to class early. I would sit near the front of the ensemble area. I would practice raising my hand faster than a bullet.

I would come down with the flu.

And by the time I got back to classes, four whole days had gone by.

And all the available flutes had gone bye-bye.

I was devastated. My dreams of being a flute diva dashed to smithereens. My hair would never grow actual glowing tresses, my gangly limbs would never survive a pirouette, Andre Rieu would never hire me to perform while in a puffy ball gown. I would be an eleven year old has-been.

You think it’s funny, but you’ll weep along with me when I tell you what I wound up with.

Not the sax, not the trumpet, not the clarinet, not even the oboe, and certainly not the timpani ( I still have wicked rhythm, seriously). Nary a trombone or tuba left behind.

Yep, you got it.

French Horn.

Now, no offence to horn players everywhere, they have a magnificent sound when not being played by 11 and 12 year olds with no power in their lungs, and the stupid horn weighs more than they do without being in the case.

It sucks, I tell you, to need a forklift to get your homework back and forth to school. Not only that but then the 12-year-old Zane who sat beside me, who spoke a lovely German a la heavy spitting, took a shine to me and kept telling people we were the “Cool Curly Horns” which was far from cool of him and a far cry from the life I had envisioned.

The mantra that ran through my head every time I hoisted that instrument onto my lap was, “This is not what I hoped for!!!

So how about you? What kind of things have you envisioned? And what do you do when you know life has removed all the options you would gladly settle for, and has inserted the unexpected and the less than ideal.

Have the Zane’s of the world spit their way through the wrong declarations over your life? All the flutes are gone and you’re left with something big, awkward, hard to handle, impossible to be impassioned about?

I’ve realised that feeling of seeing the french horn is the exact same feeling I had when I was told that from that same age I had been living with chronic depression.

Definitely not the life I had hoped for.

When it’s not what we hoped for,  we wind up having a decision to make.

Do we let it destroy our passion, our dreams, our story, do we let dashed hopes leave us in a pit of despair?

Or maybe, we change our tune.

Maybe we change where our hope lies and what we hope for.

Maybe like the Psalmist, we could place our hope in the only unshakeable, unmovable, unchangeable Hope we could ever need.

“Yes, my soul! Find rest in God; my hope
only comes from Him.”
Psalm 62:5

The huge, honking instrument of despair in my life right now could be my dysthymic disorder. I could get up every day and place my hope in being healed. In being freed. Place my hope in God touching me.

And He obviously could, and might.

But that’s the wrong kind of hope.

when it's not what we hope for, dreams, hopes, music, God

That’s heavy and awkward, carrying all those finite hopes around. What I need is to make Him my Hope, period. I need to place all my hopes directly in Him. I need to know He remains faithful when my circumstances go south. I need to base my life on the fact that God will always be able, period.

And even more amazing,  that my situation looks different to His eyes.

Where I see no hope, He sees opportunity.

Where I think I see no hope, He sees my story bending miraculously to His will and to His heart’s desire for my life in new and mind-blowing ways..

Where I think I’m hopeless, He sees the chance to mold, and shape, and rewire, and repurpose.

We’ve made the mistake of thinking each day is about our circumstances.

Time to change our tune.

This hoping and not hoping, this life, is not about our circumstances.

This is about what we do with Him.

We choose to take eyes off the circumstance, and place eyes hungry on Him.

We choose to keep our hearts out of the hoped-for outcome, and lead our hearts deeper into Him.

We choose to take every dream, every goal, every step, every choice, and lay it before Him, and bathe it in Him.

And we make life about Him, while the rest recedes.

“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13)

“Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all you that hope in the LORD.” (Psalms 31:24)

When it’s not what we hoped for, that’s okay. We have a new song to sing. A new note to resound. We have a life about the true Hope.

What kind of earthly hopes, so easy to get hung up on, need to be swapped out for Him, and only Him, today?

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Tucking this post into #BelovedBrews with the Faith Barista, and I hope you’ll wander over, read and scroll through, and join us for a day of encouragement and a little spiritual whitespace for your soul.

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Expect The Unexpected

Today I’m happy to share a post with you by a new friend and guest blogger Karlene Arthur from www.whileiponder.com.
She has this incredible, and tender heart towards God, and it spills over into her thoughts and her interactions with others. I’m so glad to be sharing the blog with her today, and think it’s uncanny how she’s written a post that spoke directly to my own sense of expectation for the new year.Uncanny I tell you.

Without further ado, here’s Karlene and her heart’s take on what’s to come in 2015… please leave her a comment below, and I urge you to check out her other lovely posts at
While I Ponder, and make her feel welcome!

Broken Appointments and the Unexpected

by Karlene Arthur (whileiponder.com)

Here we are again, a new year has brought us the chance to start over! New Year’s resolutions – did you make some? Personally, I feel like 99% of the time I set myself up for failure when I do. It has me wondering if 2015 will be any different.

Now, I am not saying New Year’s resolutions are a bad thing. I like the prospect that January 1 brings. A new year can give a fresh sense of purpose and renewed mindset. It opens us up to new possibilities. It is a good time to clear out the clutter, whatever that may be, and set our intentions on living life to the fullest.

Expect the unexpected.

If your 2014 calendar looks like mine, you had a few broken appointments. I’m not just talking about those rescheduled meetings (or the doctor’s appointment I totally forgot about that one day). My last year’s calendar held plans and a dream or two. I set goals. I made resolutions. Some of those materialized. Some did not.

Part of the responsibility for broken resolutions may fall to us, at times. I do not have a problem acknowledging that I am incapable of meeting all my goals and commitments, including New Year’s resolutions. The past confirms it is not ALL going to happen according to my plan.

What I occasionally do have a problem with is acknowledging that God may block the completion of a goal, commitment or resolution in my life, or that He brings things into my life I was not expecting. He uses this to teach me lessons, like learning to wait on Him and trust Him more fully. It is not what I planned for or wanted to happen. It is not always welcome.

Expect the unexpected.

What is it you are promising yourself this time around? What are you expecting in 2015? Somewhere, someone is saying, “This year, I will lose weight, get in better shape, and live healthier.” Maybe they are thinking, “This year I’ll finish those projects I’ve been putting off, get more organized and stay on top of things.” Or perhaps you’re saying, “This year, I’ll take more time to enjoy family, take that trip we’ve always talked about and read that stack of books accumulating on the bedside table.”

Expect the unexpected.

Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43.19 [Amplified Bible]

Has the past year been a tough one? For me, personally, life happened and it dealt some blows. In spite of it, God was good. He was everything I needed. He met needs. He provided. He comforted. He even gave me some of the desires of my heart. He also taught and continues to teach me lessons along the way.

Expect the unexpected.

What did your 2014 calendar look like at December’s end? Were there lines drawn through and words scratched out? Did broken appointments bring disappointment? Did they take your joy, cause you tears, or kill a dream? It was not what you planned. It was definitely not a part of your New Year’s resolutions back in January 2014.

The enemy of our souls is out to destroy everything good in and around us. Broken appointments may come at the enemy’s hand, but let us focus on God and His ways. When the enemy has heaped his worst upon us, God is then in a position to do His very best for us!

 “Always keep moving toward what God has for you.

You may have to crawl to get there, but keep crawling.

You may have to cry a lot of tears along the way, but keep walking.

You may get knocked down, but get up and keep going.

Don’t let anything keep you from keeping your appointment!”

  • Bishop T.D. Jakes (Woman, Thou Art Loosed!)

 

Expect the unexpected.

Look up, friend. A new day is here. Make your plans and set your goals, but do not fail to trust in God. He is walking beside you. He is standing by, ready to teach and guide. He has appointments for you to keep in the New Year. As you move through the rhythm of life, let Him surprise you. Let Him bless you. Let Him work all things out for your good.

Be watching for the unexpected in 2015!

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