Is This the Year?

Is This the YearIs 2014 the year that you are finally going to write that book, buy that house, become that professional or start that business you have been dreaming of?

Do you have a dream?
Perhaps a more important question is: Has God given you a calling for your life? “Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God” (Ephesians 4:1).

You’ve heard pastors describe being “called into the ministry.” But calling does not necessarily mean becoming a pastor or missionary. It may mean opening a restaurant, homeschooling your kids, or writing the next New

York Times Bestseller.
Calling may be unrelated to your vocation. Was The Apostle Paul a missionary who made tents or a tent-maker who “reasoned” in temples (Acts 18:3-4)? Tent-making may not seem like doing God’s work, but it financed his ministry and gave him flexibility to travel. Are these two works not both callings God used to accomplish his purposes?

Callings may be seasonal, like a relief pitcher in a baseball game. God may raise you up to accomplish one mission, and then release you when you have played your part. It may be great or it may seem insignificant. You may see fruits in this world or the next.

What is God calling you to do? Will you trust him and his call? “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope’” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Can you really do this?
“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).

Does your dream seem daunting or impossible? By all accounts, I shouldn’t be a writer. I am, after all, a CPA. I never considered writing or received formal training. No vocational or spiritual gifts testing suggested it. But here I am, writing for a newspaper with one book out and another about to be published.

My writing career started in early 2007 as a function of being obedient to the call… not a voice from heaven, but the prompting of a friend. God used Pat to speak into my life. She encouraged me to record my funny stories. After reading a few, she encouraged me to put them in a book. Not everyone encouraged me. Mom said I couldn’t write a book because I wasn’t a reader. I wrote it anyway. God had placed it on my heart. It was up to him what he did with it. By February of 2008, I was holding my book, A Funny Thing Happened on My Journey to Heaven. Funny, huh?

After reading my book, Mom said, “Wow, you can write.” I didn’t really believe her, because that’s what moms are supposed to say. However, since then, I have received hundreds of messages from readers that my book has encouraged them and helped them in their own spiritual journeys. Only God could use a CPA to minister through writing. But then again, isn’t that God’s M.O.? His bestseller is full of unlikely candidates (like Rahab and David) who obediently answered his call and accomplished his purposes.

The only difference between me and a dreamer is getting it done. “Many Christians estimate difficulties in the light of their own resources, and thus attempt little and often fail in the little they attempt. All God’s giants have been weak men who did great things for God because they reckoned on his power and presence with them” (Hudson Taylor).

What if you fail?
In her book, Pursue Possibilities, Susan Goodman explains that fear, pride and guilt comprise the “negativity triplets” that keep us from pursuing opportunities. Are you afraid of losing money or being viewed as a loser if you fail?

Failure is relative. Thomas Edison invented 1,000 light bulbs that didn’t work. He said, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.” Henry Ford failed and went broke five times. Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times, holding the strikeout record for decades. He said, “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”

“Success is simple. Do what’s right, the right way, at the right time” (Arnold H. Glasow). What is success in the eyes of the Lord? Faithfulness, obedience, and perseverance. “Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed” (Proverbs 16:3).

How do you bring your dream to reality?

Ask God to reveal His will for your life. Write out the vision of what you believe God is calling you to.

Share your vision with trusted friends.

Ask them to pray with you and for you. Seek confirmations from them.

Make a business plan.
There are many do-it-yourself business plans on the internet.

Count the costs.
They may be money, time, or forgoing other activities and comforts. Zig Ziglar explained, “You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.” Jesus described the costs of being His disciple this way: “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?”(Luke 14:28).

Avoid partnerships.
There may be a time and place for them, but in my experience with business clients, they rarely work.

Check your ego at the drawing board.
Are you going to do this in your strength or God’s? Be sure to acknowledge God as the boss.

Determine how much is enough.
What’s a homerun? Know that. Otherwise, success may become your idol, and you may become addicted to pursuing it instead of God.

Trust God’s timing.

Look for God at work.

Thank God for his faithfulness.

“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude” (Zig Ziglar).

What is one goal or dream you plan on pursuing this year? We want to hear about it! Email us at [email protected].

Patricia Hartman works with business, tax, and divorce clients and volunteers at the Single Mom Ministry of Sheridan House Family Ministries. Find out more at and on Twitter @trishahartman.

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