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I’ve always wanted to experience the ocean. To feel the sand beneath my feet and to listen as the waves crash on the shoreline. The only memory I have of a moment like this is a picture taken when I was just a little girl, standing in front of a sunset sky with blue tossed waves soaking my feet. This picture, held tight by a blue and green turtle picture frame from Florida held much more than a memory I vaguely remember. It was the very essence of being a little kid, care free, with a childlike faith. A time of being hopeful and willing to chase big dreams and seek new adventures, to truly say no dream is too big for my God. As we get older, this feeling starts to vanish and replace itself with anxious thoughts, fearful minds, and wondering hearts pointed towards the future.

At what age do we start to feel timid to the idea of chasing our dreams? My dream is to be a songwriter and to create worship music that empowers hearts and brings people closer to Christ. My prayer life consists of fervent prayers asking for God to make this happen. I have to truly believe that He hears this prayer and believe that He will make a way. Matthew 7:7 that says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” With this promise, we should hold true to our childlike faith, a faith that believes the Lord will reveal Himself for all that is good.

After I graduated from high school and began planning for the future, my ideal lifestyle wasn’t matching up with reality. Everything I had thought I wanted for myself slowly fell out of my hands. Here’s what I’ve learned the about planning for the future: Don’t hold onto what you think you have to have, because God may have another plan for you. Here’s my story.

The place I wanted to go to college didn’t work out so I found myself in a college I didn’t dream about. But, there were blessings. I attended a two-year college that allowed me to end up debt free for my general education classes. That’s a blessing in itself, but it also led me to some of my best friends with whom I experienced so many things I would have never gotten to experience.

After those two years, I had another plan for my life. It was now time to attend the college of my dreams. I felt God pulling me there, but once again, I tried to make it in my own timing. (Unfortunately, I have a bit of a problem with patience.) I did everything I could to be there. I even had my bags packed by the door. But, the door shut and I was told “possibly next semester.” I was crushed. I had quit my job, told all my friends goodbye, and even said goodbye to my church family. I wasn’t ready to explain why I still remained in the same place. Even to myself. I was angry with both God and my own self-seeking, big-dreaming heart. Then I began to see blessings unfold before me.

That same month, I started attending a new church that opened my heart up to a new way of worship and to a renewed faith. I built new relationships. It even led me back to being a camp counselor for a second summer. Little did I know that summer would impact my life more than I could fathom. God would use me in more ways than one to reach the hearts of His precious, beloved children. I was able to lead worship and create music with other staff and campers. I was able to create friendships that I truly believe will last forever.

All of this led me to now—this very moment. I find myself walking on the sand, looking out into the ocean. While writing this blog, feeling the salty air blow against my face, I have finally made it. I’m surrounded by hearts that fill me with truth and radiate God’s love.  It feels as though I can breathe again.

My heart is at peace. I’m no longer afraid of the future. I’m no longer afraid of the hard times, because they are what got me to this very moment. Without knowing the struggles in life, we will never be able to fully appreciate the blessings that follow. Oh, and by the way, in just about a week, that dream school of mine will no longer be a dream, but a part of my present. God is so good.

I say all of this to tell you this.  If you are in a waiting season of life where you feel confined to the same identity; if you feel called, but you have no idea where to begin; if you had all these plans mapped out for your own life, but the doors keep shutting—trust in the Lord’s timing. Trust that He has a plan for your life. That His plan is good, because it is.  Count your blessings, chase your dreams and believe that no dream is too big for our God.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah 29:11-13 ESV

Erica Dutton

Author Erica Dutton

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