Today my guest post comes to you from the lovely Laura Dudek! I first met Laura at a women’s event we both were at, and after chatting, I knew we had much in common, including being writers and having the same heart for women. Since then, I’ve loved learning more of her heart, and it definitely comes through in her writing here. Laura is the author of four women’s Bible Studies, and her newest one Written: Capturing + Cultivating the Blueprint of your Dream navigates you through the process of bringing your dreams to life. Who doesn’t want their dreams to become reality!? The cool news is that God’s dreams for us are bigger than our own, and He wants to help you discover them! Thank you, Laura, for moving us all in the right direction – towards our God given dreams! Find out more about Laura at her site Laura Dudek. And, be sure to try her Spring Roll recipe she’s shared with us below! In the meantime, here’s a snippet of what you’ll find in Written…
3 Game-Changers for Dreamers
In my own experience of bringing my dreams to life, I not only struggled to recognize the dreams that God was planting within me, but how to accomplish them. I realized that I felt vastly unprepared for the real journey I was on as the pursuit unfolded. After countless discussions with others, I noticed a pattern emerge- that they felt this exact same way- they too wrestled with these same tensions. Many dreamers honestly don’t know what their dream story looks like from start to fulfillment. From the valleys of disappointment and heartache to monumental successes and celebrations, we aren’t equipped with an exact blueprint to show us how to capture and cultivate our own dream stories.
So, Dreamer, if we could grab coffee and have a heart-to-heart about those dreams of yours, this is the game-changing advice I would give you, captured from years of both succeeding and struggling in my own dream pursuit:
Chase God, not Dreams
All throughout the Bible we read that people were pursued by God so He could reveal within them His dream for their life. Biblical leaders like Joseph, Paul, Mary and Abraham were individually encountered by God and walked away with a call to a dream. God didn’t expect them to jump through hoops to accomplish the goal- all they had to do was show up. God created a space where He captivated them to reveal the dream that He had written into their story. A dream from God isn’t manufactured or contrived, it is liberating and empowering. When each of these Biblical leaders walked away from their encounter with God, they not only held a new pursuit for their life, but they embodied a divine confidence and boldness that they would carry that dream to the ends of the earth. The same divine power that captivated their attention to realize a dream would then embolden them to capture that vision and run after it with everything they had.
The difficultly now is to live in a world where contriving and striving are ‘normal.’ In our culture, we created this idea that we control our own success, and that we alone make or break the biggest dream we can conjure up. The phrase, ‘dream-chaser’ is very popular and used in various communities and environments. But the Lord was specific to show me that His dream-chasing is vastly different than what you believe it is. We are not actually made to chase after dreams. We were made to chase after God.
Let your Dreams Breathe
For me, my dream is to be a Christian speaker and write relevant bible studies. At a young age, I discovered that I loved to perform and do public speaking presentations, and I thought that I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher. For years, I had a plan in place: to go to a specific school, get a specific degree, and become a kindergarten teacher- happily ever after, amen! But then when I applied to colleges, I realized I couldn’t afford that school- and one dream got derailed. In my second semester of college (after transferring from my first chosen school… another failure in my mind), I finally got into the classroom filled with kids. And to my surprise- I hated it. Every minute I dreaded being there, and I realized in that year that not only did I not want to be a kindergarten teacher, but I didn’t even want to be in the education field! After switching my degree again, I could have called it all a failure, that all the years of dreaming to have my own classroom a waste. But what I gained in that time was the insight of letting my dreams evolve with my life. My ideas, dreams, and aspirations will evolve, because I am ever-evolving.
It sounds silly, but dreams are like a fine wine- you need to let them breathe. There is this tension to charge hard after a dream and ‘get it right’ the first time. The pressure for quick turn over and high success in a short period of time is real. Dreamers long for that instant success and to see immediate results and rewards. Especially when launching your dream, having to ‘re-do it’ or ‘tweak’ it can often equate to failure.
Over time, aspects of your dreams will come to life, and you may or may not connect with it like you hoped. But it isn’t a waste. In my ‘dream breathing’ season I took the meat and left the bones, meaning, I found the lasting piece from my past dream to keep. In this case, I still loved to teach and speak publicly. But the bone to leave was doing it solely in a classroom context as an elementary school teacher. So I took the meat and left the bones, meaning, I found the lasting piece from my past dream to keep. In this case, I still loved to teach and speak publicly. But the bone to leave was doing it solely in a classroom context as an elementary school teacher. So I took the lasting dream elements, and let God breathe on them new opportunities, ideas, and aspirations. He connected pieces of my heart and personality to these lasting dreams- pairing them in ways that I actually hadn’t considered before college. In the very next season of life, God called me into ministry and revealed the pairing that I could publically speak about my love for my faith! May that be an encouragement to you: there are dreams in your heart that you may ‘miss’ the mark on how it plays out in your life the first time. But God uses that time to dust off and refine our dreams into His vision. Just as you will grow and mature, so will your dreams.
Hidden and Painful Seasons are Valuable Pieces to Your Dream
The enemy delights in tricking you into believing that your story needs to be covered in mud, pieces thrown out, and whole chunks of your story forgotten- just because they are pricked by pain. He works diligently crafting lies of bitterness to make you discount whole seasons of your life simply because they were marked by injustice. But the Lord wrote every part of your story. He created you a dreamer- one who was made to soar and formed to do great and glorious things in His world. Every piece of your story holds intrinsic value, and while some pieces may be painful to look at, there is glory in the pain. There is a lesson, a purpose and an eternal perspective for those pieces too. One of the goals of my ‘Written’ Bible Study is to help you see that all of your dream story in the grand scheme of life is beautiful. Following your dreams isn’t just about ‘getting there’ but about who we are being made into and what we experience in the process.
Dreams aren’t solely about the future manifestation of a specific situation in our life. They are also about the people involved in that situation and who they will be in living in those circumstances. While we can get hung up in the dream pursuit of creating one specific situation before us, God is also dreaming about who you will be when you live it out. God doesn’t simply build dreams of businesses, families, ministries, or careers without also building into the people that will carry those entities. The danger in fixating on just the situational aspect of your dreams is that the process of you becoming the person to stand in that place gets forgotten or devalued. Your becoming process is invaluable, priceless, and the most integral part of your dream pursuit. Remember, God’s dream is you, and He planted dreams within you in order to see more of his kingdom on this earth. So your refinement process matters, and that often happens in the dark moments of the cistern.
Every season of your life is a piece of your dream, and it matters. When you are tempted to throw away entire seasons because of bitterness or you continue to be held captive by its ties, you surrender to the lie that God isn’t in control and He ‘didn’t see that one coming’ to bring about a glorious restoration. Forgiveness is the active surrendering of our mind, heart, and soul to the One who holds everything and everyone in His redemptive hands.
LAURA DUDEK is a Christian speaker and author of women’s devotionals, such as Scars of Grace, Draw the Line, Hello Love, and Written. Laura holds a Master of Divinity degree, concentrating in Pastoral Counseling from Liberty University, and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Religious Studies, and Adolescent Counseling from Canisius College. Laura aims to encourage women to fulfill their dreams and purposes in God, communicating a message that brings women into restored lives and closer intimacy with the Lord. She is also the founder and Executive Director of Rescu for Love, a non-profit organization devoted to raising funds with beautiful products that propel love and inspire stories for all women. She presently resides in Cleveland, Ohio with her husband, Joshua. Visit Laura at LauraDudek.com or on social media, @laurakdudek.
Laura’s Favorite Recipe
SPRING ROLL WRAPS
So in the Dudek home, we eyeball everything! So whether we’re adding garlic or sprinkling ginger, we add to taste! Plus, I’m gluten free, so this recipe can easily be substituted for GF ingredients!
1 tablespoon olive oil
1lb ground turkey
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 small onion, diced
1/4 cup hoisin sauce (GF available)
2 tbsp soy sauce (GF available)
1 tbsp five spice seasoning
1 tbsp powdered ginger
1 (8-ounce) can whole water chestnuts, drained and diced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Spring roll wraps
Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add ground turkey and cook until browned. Make sure to crumble the turkey as it cooks and drain excess fat.
Add in garlic, onion, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, ginger and five spice until onions have become translucent.
Add chestnuts until tender.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
To prepare your spring roll, place a kitchen towel on surface. Add 1-inch of warm water in pie pan or bowl that fits the flat spring roll sheet. Immerse sheet in water and count 10 seconds. Place wet spring roll sheet on towel and place a few tablespoons of the turkey mixture, followed by a thin layer of sliced carrots and lettuce. Roll up and enjoy!