Last year in October, I took some time out to relax and pray about the coming year. My husband and I were on a mission trip to Kigali, Rwanda. Anyone who’s travelled to that city knows that it is not as fast-paced as Nairobi and so this helped me wind down, be introspective and plan.

In a previous post, I mentioned how I love to go into life with a plan. So, on a large piece of paper, I wrote down a plan of where I envisioned myself in 2016. It was probably the most sacred time I had ever spent with God, as I dared to dream what at the time seemed impossible.

Some of the hopes I put down were: I would love to publish one scholarly paper, I would love to do grade six theory of music exam {which, by the way, was a retake as I had failed my first attempt}, I would love to work on my second album, I would love to write consistently {you can read a few of my very inconsistent first blog posts here}, I would love to train worship teams.

At the time, these were just dreams. On paper. Impossible. Out of reach.

Nevertheless, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work, and boy did I work! {On a light note, I constantly felt that there was an evil gnome stealing time from my days}.

I believe that work is a gift from God; given to Adam before the fall and is one of the many ways believers can worship God. When we do our work effectively and honourably, we are essentially a huge signpost, pointing to Jesus Christ {Matthew 5:16}

Even when we cannot find employment, God still desires us to put our hands to work. It could mean being the best stay at home mom or dad, volunteering, taking care of the poor, taking a professional course or even starting your own organization. Whatever season you find yourself in today, you can make the most out of it.

When God puts a dream in your heart, He empowers you to work alongside Him to bring the vision to pass. So if you have been asking God to bring a dream to pass and you are not seeing a breakthrough, ask yourself, “Is there something God needs me to do or work on, for this dream to become a reality?”

Sometimes we may be waiting on God, yet He is waiting on us to take the first step. Even as I write this, there are dreams that are dormant in me. Some of these are childhood dreams. Seasons of long waiting, fear of man or negative feedback have caused me to shrink back and give up. The truth is, there will never be another Anne, another Tom, another Wanjiru, and another you…no one on this earth can be a perfect replacement of the gifts, wonder and potential that God has placed in you. The moment we grasp that is the moment we begin to be comfortable in our own skin.

So, I did work, and there were days this year I just wanted to pass out with fear.

God opened opportunities that were well out of my reach and comfort zone. I got to publish one paper internationally and presented another at a music and dance research conference. I did my grade six theory of music exam and passed very well. I trained a couple of worship teams, wrote consistently and this November I am overcoming my fears and insecurities and going back to the studio.

I may not have done all this with flawless grace and trust but then again, God takes the Gideon’s of this world and makes them a testimony of His goodness.

So as we look into the coming year, I pray that you can forget the disappointment of previous years and like me, dare to dream again. Here are a few thoughts that could help you do this.

1. Pray

The very first thing that Nehemiah did when he heard of the desolation of his home country was to pray {Nehemiah 1}. He repented, reminded God of His promises and then asked God for favour and success. We can equally use this model.

We can ask God to forgive us for unbelief. Maybe we do not believe that God is able to bring His word in our lives to pass, thereby short-circuiting faith. Or maybe we have run from what God initially asked us to do.

One meaning of the word repentance from Ellicott’s commentary is “change of mind and purpose.” What ways can we change our minds and purpose, so as to align ourselves with what God wants to do through us?

Lastly, we can ask God to give us good success, such that no matter where we find ourselves, all that we put our hands to do will prosper like in the case of Joseph {Genesis 39:2}

2. Plan

The lack of planning is a sure remedy for failure. Planning is godly and we find instances in the bible where God gave His people strategies to win {Joshua 6:2-5, Genesis 41:34-37}. In the same way, write down your vision or plan, and be specific {Habakkuk 2:2-3}. There are different tools that you can use to do this, the acronym SMART comes to mind.

3. Work

After praying and planning, begin to work on your dream. You could divide your plan into smaller goals and activities so as not to get overwhelmed by a huge dream.

For example, while working towards completing my grade six exam, I set aside a few hours each day to work on problem areas. Because the exam involved a lot of composition, I worked on one question daily. This way, I didn’t have to look at the whole syllabus at once.

Your dream in the coming year could be to lose a certain amount of weight. Work slowly towards that dream by giving yourself achievable goals, say, “I will lose 1kg a month.” This is more practical as opposed to giving yourself a self-defeating goal to achieve.

I hope this helps. Take some time to pray and plan for the coming year.

Wondering where to start with your dreams? I shall be running a webinar series soon that may help you get started. Subscribe to my website for more details.

I would love to hear from you. In the past, how have your dreams become a reality through prayer, planning and work?