If you’re reading this on the day it’s posted, I’ve just finished up the first day of a week-long series of preaching in Amsterdam, Holland. You’re also reading this 10 days after I collaborated with fellow artists to create what may become your favorite music video. I appreciate you if you’re happy for me, but I’m not saying this to impress you. Frankly, I’ve grown numb to the approval/dismissal that once motivated/paralyzed me.
No, this isn’t about that. What I want you to hear is this:
I saw this stuff 11 years ago, and if it weren’t happening to me, I wouldn’t believe it either. I hope you’re remembering the same moments in your life…when you saw glimpses of what you were born to do.
Jesus told us the Holy Spirit would tell us “about the future.” I’m finally starting to see how that could be happening in those who seek God’s voice:
Desire is how God tells you what he’s going to do in your life in the future. He gives you a desire for something that doesn’t exist because you haven’t made it yet.
“Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him.” Phil. 2:12-13
I thought the word “vision” was reserved for weird folks whose lives seemed to be easy and straightforward. Like Jesus’ mom, I kept my “visions” to myself. I figured out I could get their weight off my chest without technically telling anyone by writing them down, so I did.
I started to love music because I could envision corresponding narratives while I listened.
I started imagining speeches or presentations that would result in people I’ve never met or seen hearing about something I said or did.
Again, I’m not saying this to impress you. You’re most likely not impressed, and I’m most definitely not interested in that kind of feedback.
This matters because of the glimpses you’ve seen and heard within yourself. My forever-curious heart thinks you should see that come to pass. I’m hungry to know what God looks like through the lens of your dreams.
“God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him.” I’m trying that in you. In fact, the world needs to see what you’ll make. Anyone with an appetite for God’s heart must have a parallel appetite for your dreams to come true because the only time we’ll see God for who he truly is when we see his desires for his children coming to pass. I’m overjoyed and informed when I see others succeed. I want to see you succeed—I need to see you to succeed.
If that’s going to happen, you must pay attention to verse 12: “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” This part confused me until I started to see 14-year-old Arvin’s dreams show up in 25-year-old Arvin’s itinerary. Be advised:
- You’ll be full of fear and trembling as you’re finally given the opportunities you’ve been talking a big game about—the moment after you’ve said “Amen,” when you look down at your notes and look up at the group of people who asked you to come preach for them. Or when 50+ people are looking up at you, expecting you to explain your vision and tell them where to go and what to do. My dad tried to tell a younger me that’s what it’d be like, but it’s only this year that I can tell you what it feels like to see your dreams come true—it feels like fear and trembling.
- The second time you find yourself full of fear and trembling is when the “movie theater” in your mind comes out with a new, even crazier idea. What does hearing the Holy Spirit tell you about the future feel like? Fear and trembling. It’ll catch you off guard, too. Right when you’ve seen something that was once impossible come to pass…BOOM! New dreams show up. You start to see the scale and scope and it’s not long at all before you find yourself buried in fear and trembling.
At this point, any response but humility feels impossible. You’re full of desire to create what God’s shown you and fully aware of your helplessness in making it happen. Desperate for the dream and ruined for anything less, you find yourself grateful and also utterly dependent on the one who showed it to you. I’m certain that for us dreamers, God would have it no other way.