Faith or Fantasy
There are several directions I could go with this topic: “Is faith in God grounded or is it fantasy?” or in a general sense “What’s the difference between faith and fantasy?” But what I want to focus on here is how to know if I’m following a God-inspired dream/vision/assignment or if I’m following some sure to fail fantasy coming out of my own insecurities, desire for fame, or some other false motive. Like most important topics there is a tension here, that when properly navigated, produces a favorable result. Let’s look at 2 aspects of this to help us gain clarity.
- God likes faith, faith that is beyond us. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God. We need to believe that God exists and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him. Jesus was constantly stretching the disciple’s faith, as He still does ours today. Hebrews 11 alone shows us there are many, many aspects to real faith, but all of them involve having an inner certainty or conviction about something we do not yet see with our physical eyes. Faith is always about something we do not yet physically see.
I am a big believer in prayerful dreaming. I know that people are most alive and productive when they have an important dream that has a decent to good chance of succeeding. All that we see started as an idea, a dream in the mind of God or man.
Every day people are accomplishing what was once considered impossible because someone decided to take a chance and go for it. That is why it is so important not to squash ideas that seem unrealistic or impossible because with God anything can happen. We need to dream and at times we need to dream big, God-sized big.
- Sometimes people are following fantasies and not God’s will. Proverbs 12:11 says, “He who works his land will have abundant food, be he who chases fantasies lacks judgment.” Romans 12:3 tells us to think accurately about ourselves and not think we’re more than we actually are. I have pursued big dreams that have crashed and I’m here to tell you it really hurts. We’ve all seen people share a dream that will not happen this side of heaven: a five foot tall man who wants to play in the NBA, a person who has no musical talent who wants to be a professional musician, a person with little math aptitude wanting to teach calculus.
This is the tension: “nothing is impossible with God” or with the person who believes in God. People continue to do things others told them they could not do. Every day the once impossible becomes reality. On the other hand, sometimes people get into financial hardship or face financial ruin because they followed a dream and it didn’t happen. Others have lost family, zeal for life, or life itself because they dared to follow a dream that did not work out.
What do we do about it? What steps should we take? Here are my suggestions:
First, build your life on the one unshakeable, certain foundation there is: God Himself. Not your theology or your specific opinions, because they all change as we grow and learn. God and His word are always true, but our understanding of Him and them changes. God will never leave you or forsake you. He is consistent day in and day out (though often surprising to us). All that we see will one day be transformed, but God is eternally unchanging and perfect in every way. So put your full trust and faith in Him and draw close to Him for ideas AND when ideas don’t work out. He is on your side; He desires the best for you, and knows exactly what you need and when you need it.
Second, realize there is some degree of risk in any endeavor. There are few 100% guarantees for great dreams and vision. If you expect success all the time in everything you do, you will be disappointed and discouraged at a deep level.
Third, it’s ok to fail. Everyone, EVERYONE fails many times if they are taking faith risks. It is simply a part of the process; it is part of the price we pay for ultimate success. The average successful entrepreneur fails 3-4 times before he/she succeeds. They see failure as learning.
Fourth, do your best to make sure the dream really lines up with who you are and what God has gifted you to do. I use the phrase, “Shoot for the stars in alignment with who you are.” You will have your greatest success when you get clear on what your gifts are, what your passions are, and then flowing from that base into what big dreams you follow.
Fifth, keep stretching. Some people can handle the pressure of risk more than others. We are wired differently. No matter what your level of faith or risk tolerance, keep stretching. God wants us to do more than we think we can. Go to the borders of what you think is realistically possible and take one or two more steps beyond that. I think you’ll find, you can stand in that new place of risk and dreaming. When that gets comfortable, look out as far as you can see with your faith and imagination and step towards that. Over time you will be amazed at what you accomplish with your life.
Is it faith or is it fantasy? If you are like me, you have had your share of both. I do not think it is possible for someone who dares to dream and take steps of faith to sometimes realize they’ve been chasing a fantasy. However, you can up your true faith percentages by following the tips I gave you. Whatever you do, please don’t give up and become a spectator; the world needs what you have to give.
Mark Furlong is an author and achievement coach with over 30 years of experience. He equips people turn their passion into influence and income by mastering entrepreneurial leadership skills. Go to www.MarkFurlongCoaching.com to get your free audio “Improving Leadership Results Quickly”.