Be careful what you pray for because you just might get it! There’s always a cost for every dream. The bigger the dream, the greater the cost. Don’t stop dreaming, just be sure you’ve honestly counted the cost.
Emily and I each carried a dream for over twenty years. But over the last three, we finally responded by preparing to move our family to Belgium as missionaries with the Assemblies of God. I will be teaching theology to future pastors across Europe while Emily will be ministering to victims of human trafficking. Since we knew most of our support would be coming from churches, I needed to schedule two years of weekly services sharing about our work in hopes of gathering a network of supporting churches and individuals.
For me, this meant traveling thousands of miles every month and being away from family most weekends (and frequently longer) for two years. For Emily, it meant often bearing the brunt of parenting alone. For our children, this meant living in three different states and switching schools three times. While this journey has been exciting, it has also been exhausting.
Altogether, my weekly travel and speaking schedule, three major moves, and Emily’s job of “single parenting” while managing donations finally began to wear us down. Yet, the real source of our fatigue really came from somewhere else. Stress. Like an oppressive cloud, it never seemed to lift.
Progress was slow and hard, deadlines were approaching, and our frequent moves were beginning to impact our kids. The reality of meeting our budget seemed increasingly impossible. Our nerves grew tense as we daily battled anxiety and fear. Worst of all was the menacing thought that perhaps we’d misunderstood our missionary call.
During these years, our faith was sorely tested. Eventually, we learned to be proactive because trying to passively ignore our stress simply wasn’t working. We needed to resist it. For us, this meant choosing between worry and prayer by finding time to get quiet and alone. Only then could we hear God over the distracting noise of our stress.
Though the weight and heat of stress may press heavy upon us, we need not fear this dream killer. God has not left us alone. If we are faithful in the practice of prayer when we’re not overwhelmed, we’ll be able to pray when we are. Yes, there is a place that we can go, where the winds of life can never blow. There we’re safe and tucked away, as we close our eyes and begin to pray. In this place, dreams really do come back to life. Next week, we show our sixth animated poem, Standing the Place of Stillness.
What Do You Think?
What has been your most stressful season of life? Was it hard to be still and pray? Why or why not?
♦ To see the video and poem this post is based on, click here.