What are your plans?
To graduate college?
Earn 10k a month?
Meet your favorite social media influencer?
Take your dream solo trip?
Find THE one and put a ring on it?
These types of goals take some serious planning and action. If you’re motivated enough, you’ll probably google all the ways successful people have achieved dreams that are similar to yours. And you’ll hear advice like this:
“Write it down”
“Put it on your vision board”
“Surround yourself with like-minded people”
“Just do it”
“Pray about it”
When I was doing my own research, I noticed right away that much of the advice relies heavily on you and the actions you’re willing to take. There is, however, only one that comes with the best type of guidance, especially if you’re serious about turning your dreams into reality.
Ready to discover what that is? Well, first let’s talk about . . .
The challenge with doing it all on our own
When Alexis Nacman (an overachieving straight-A student) started college, she decided to major in rehabilitative sciences and planned to stick to it (because that’s what overachievers do).
“I told myself, ‘Fake it ‘til you make it!’ I didn’t want anyone to worry about me.”
She had a vision and she was determined to pursue a degree in physical therapy, but, by herself, she struggled to pass her classes.
“Those were the moments when I found myself thinking, ‘Is this career even for me?’ If I can’t even make it through undergrad, how am I going to make it through actual PT school? I was really hard on myself. I’d question my worth and my capability to be successful. Those questions would then spiral into negative thoughts that would make me feel depressed.”
Alexis isn’t the only one who has ever felt this way. Many young adults silently carry the pressure to succeed and live up to what they see online, which often leads to feeling overwhelmed and discouraged when things don’t go their way.
This happens in a number of ways. While some, like Alexis, willingly shoulder the pressure themselves, others are forced to do so by circumstances. Let’s take Maynard Binaday as an example. He lost his parents at a time when he needed guidance the most.
“It was hard adjusting to this life without mom and dad. I had to learn everything on my own. Adult things. Getting my first job, applying for college, applying for financial aid…”
Only 18 years old and with so much life ahead of him, Maynard had to learn how to be an adult on his own. A pretty tall order considering he was just at the cusp of adulthood.
Then there are the people who feel powerless over their current situation or future. This can often happen with young people who are too young to make decisions for themselves, like Angie who panicked after hearing that her family was moving to a new town, school, and country.
“Big changes remind me of being thrown into the water in hopes that you learn how to swim. It is so sudden, the instant that you’re thrown in the water, it completely surrounds you, and you have two choices. You can either let a sense of panic overtake you, and let you drown, or you can learn to embrace it and float.”
Depending on yourself VS Depending on God
Setbacks, disappointments and problems are inevitable. But my experience has taught me that there is always hope. Dreams can still be achieved. In the Church Of Christ we are frequently reminded in the worship services that even when things get tough, not to depend on ourselves but to always (and I repeat always) seek out God’s help.
“I’ve got my parents to thank, especially for teaching me how to pray, for teaching me to work hard, and for teaching me to build that relationship with God. Because, you know, even though they’re gone, even though they’re no longer with me today, I know that God is watching over me.”
Maynard was just entering high school when his parents passed away, but prayed to God for guidance. And today he’s happy because he graduated from college and is now a teacher.
Alexis met her goals with God’s help, and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Rehabilitation Science. Today, she’s not sure she wants to be a Physical Therapist anymore and her plans have changed, but she’s not freaking out about it. In fact the whole experience taught her a lesson she can apply to every aspect of her life.
“It’s okay for things not to go my way. The world isn’t going to end because life didn’t match up to my expectations. God has a plan for His people and it’s always better than what we pictured. We just have to trust God completely.”
While Angie survived (and thrived) after her family’s big move she learned that things in life are always going to be uncertain, but she’s learned to be okay with it.
“If there is one thing I have learned through living this life through abrupt changes, it is that God stays with us through our lowest moments, and therefore we have no reason to doubt His plan. The things He plans for us are beyond our human capacity to understand. Our relationship with God as members of the Church Of Christ is the most reliable thing we have in this life. So by trusting God, you are never disappointed.”
Alexis, Maynard and Angie may have had different circumstances, but each one had to choose between relying on themselves to figure it out or look to God for guidance. They’re the same options that are currently in front of you right now.
Praying puts God in the driver’s seat.
There’s a blessing that comes with praying to God. When I was in college, I was introduced to the idea of working in the media for the Church. Growing in the immigrant community in Kalihi, Hawaii, moving to the mainland (AKA the United States) seemed like a dream too big for this young island girl.
So I did a couple of things.
- I talked to my high school counselor on what I needed to do to transfer to a school in San Francisco. (You can hear all about this part of the story on Making Changes by the way)
- I prayed to God. A lot.
I knew I could only do so much with the work I put in. The rest would require God’s love and blessings. I am living proof that answered prayers puts God in charge, adding an essential layer of protection and direction in our lives. Something we all need, right?
I’m not alone in feeling this way about prayer. Members of the Church Of Christ understand the reason why they’re able to accomplish anything in their life:
“When I am successful, when I am able to do something that is beyond the ordinary, I make it known that it wasn’t me. I always return the glory to Him. I never boast about anything that I do. And when people see that, I just hope that that inspires people to open up their heart and to let God work through them.” – Emani Thornton, Member of the Church Of Christ, Gen Z
The key to your success is a plan guided by God
We’re constantly making new plans in our lives. And whether they are long term plans or short term, there is only one key to the success of the plans: It’s including God in them.
I can list story after story of individuals who have seen the power of God in their lives, and in the plans they make. In fact, it’s what I love most about working on Faith Speaks, a program that features stories of individuals who have chosen to look to God’s guidance to overcome life’s big problems, or like in your case, to accomplish big dreams.
So, take a few minutes and watch a few of the stories that specifically talk about how God can make any plan you have better:
- God’s Plans are Better than My 10-Year Plan
- Overcoming FOMO By Putting God First
- I’m Confident in My Decisions Because of God
- Lessons on Faith Through Football
Recently we featured 18 stories from young adults around the world sharing how God has helped them overcome loss, face anxiety and depression, find love and yes, you guessed it, live a life of purpose with God guiding their plans. So, make sure to check it out.
You can watch them now on the INC Media app.
Ready to see what God’s guidance can do for your dreams? Want to know what it means to receive an answered prayer?
You don’t have to figure out this step on your own. Set up a time to speak with a minister in the Church Of Christ. There’s a lot of advice out there, but there’s only one way to get the guidance God has in store for you.