I imagine my face glows when I talk about my latest writing projects. I’ve always loved reading and creating stories. During my childhood summers when my friends were at the lake, I was in the library. Looking back, I can see hints of the dreams God placed deep inside. But the contentment I feel when I use my talents and follow my dreams is uncommon to many.

One afternoon I saw a wistful look in my friend, Stacey’s, eyes as she squeezed a few minutes out of her busy day to talk with me over a glass of tea.

“I wish I had something of my own,” this mother of three small boys confessed. “Some type of special purpose I knew was from God.”

As Stacey spoke, I squinted and looked closely. Yes, under that baby food stained t-shirt she did have something of her own. Stacey’s heart was filled with dreams lying dormant, waiting to be awakened.

Sometimes we, like Stacey, don’t know our dreams are there. We feel incomplete but don’t understand why. Other times the fulfillment of our dreams is stunted by outside factors—not enough time, not enough energy, and too many duties filling up our days—especially with kids.

But most of all we just need permission. Permission to slow down. Permission to discover our deepest purpose. And permission to follow God-breathed dreams even when we still have kids at home. I’ve written books and articles while raising kids, and although there are times I feel guilty for not being able to watch a movie with them, or we have pizza for dinner…again, I’m a mom most of the time. We sit around the table at dinner. I take time with each child each day. We serve together, we laugh together. And once I started following God’s dreams for me, I’ve also been an example to my children of what following God-dreams looks like.

So what are God’s dreams for you? Here is a good question to ask: “If I could be doing anything for God’s kingdom what would it be?”

A second question is as equally important, “What is God asking me to do NOW in this season that I’m in?

Once we have given ourselves permission to dream, the next step is granting ourselves freedom to follow through. This acronym can help:

Find time to spend with God. Ask Him to show you how to make the most of your potential.

Research the area you want to pursue. For example if you desire to develop your talent in art, discover what’s available at your local community college, or call art supply shops for information about classes.

Expect to make adjustments to your schedule. Focusing on God’s calling for your life will not be easy. Make a list of your daily responsibilities and decide which are important and which ones are simply time consumers. Also, decide which duties follow the path God has called you to. Sometimes even good things are not the right things. You may teach Sunday School and run a food ministry, but perhaps that leaves you unable to follow a deeper desire which is to work with the elderly.

Enjoy the process of striving toward your dream. Oswald Chambers says, “We have an idea that God is leading us to a particular end, a desired goal; He is not…What we call the process, God calls the end.”

Develop relationships with others who share the same talents and goals. Be available for encouragement and prayer.

Openly communicate your dreams to your family, and ask them to do the same. Brainstorm ways to help each other reach toward God’s best. While you are working toward the dreams God has given you, help your husband and children do the same.

Make daily appointments with God to ensure you are on the right track. Many of us have the tendency to take our dreams and run toward a direction God never intended. God will never ask you to follow Him in a direction that will harm your family. It’s easy to get excited about your calling, but remember that as you take care of those in your home, God will be watering your dreams and breathing life into them in ways you can’t see.

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