Why Christians Should or Should Not Pursue Their Dreams

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Certainly, God is in the business of making things fall into place as they should. However, the way they fall into place is often based on the condition and motives of our heart.

As an artist, one who writes, acts, sings and directs, it is easy to think I have what at first glance may seem to be “good” intentions. But we have to have genuine faith in Christ, not in ourselves, if we are going to first please Him and be used by Him for what really matters.

As a Christian and an artist, I can sometimes get off focus and start concentrating on and pursuing worldly desires, not Christ’s desires. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with desiring to provide for your family. In fact, it is a godly desire, since God too delights in providing for our physical needs. However, it is certainly a lesser need and one that should ALWAYS take third place in the life of a Christian.

When Jesus was weakened by hunger, and His disciples left Him to sit and rest at a well while they searched for and pursued their physical needs (food), Christ pursued God’s greatest desire first. He chose to draw a broken and sinful woman to Himself, extend His forgiveness and salvation to her, and transform her life with the power of His love. When His disciples returned, still focused on their physical need for food, this is the lesson Jesus taught:

“Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for *eternal life*, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.””
‭‭John‬ ‭4:33-38‬ ‭

Beyond a doubt, Jesus was more concerned with the eternal souls of a lost village than with His need to eat. Too often we are primarily concerned with how we are going to pay the bills than how we are going to bring souls to Christ.

Our gifts were not essentially given to us in order to earn income. Sure, God can use them to provide financially, but again, that is always third place. First thing we are commanded to do with the gifts God gives us—with all that we are—is to love Him, to seek to please Him. Next, it is to serve others for the purpose of edifying them in love. Lastly, it is to earn income to physically provide for our loved ones and others in need. When those priorities are shifted, we are missing the mark, we are not doing God’s will.

My prayer, my plea, is for every Christian artist out there to just stop and examine your heart and really discover the primary reason for why you are doing what you are doing. If it is first to promote yourself in order to provide for your physical needs, remember that is not supposed to be the primary desire and thus, repentance will be necessary.

Repentance is a change of mind. It is when you agree with God totally and then choose to obey Him. The amazing and beautiful thing about our Lord is that He is faithful to forgive when we repent, and He then pours out His Spirit and gives us all we need in order to accomplish His good desires to save souls and transform them with His love.

As Christians, we mustn’t seek our dreams first unless of course those “dreams” are truly and primarily the goals of Jesus: sharing the gospel and making disciples. In fact, I genuinely dislike the whole, “Pursue your dreams,” and, “believe in yourself,” phrases. 100% of the time, these phrases are encouraging you to put yourself first and to trust in yourself to do what you want to do. Let’s face it, that’s exactly what satan taught Eve, and continues to preach to this day. Jesus, on the other hand, says deny yourself, believe in Him, love others, and put yourself last!

Many self-proclaiming Christians tragically buy into the self-serving dream-pursuit message, and don’t even realize they’re serving themselves instead of Christ; they’re building up themselves, instead of bearing fruit for His kingdom, i.e., bringing souls to Him and/or strengthening the hearts of those who are already His. As a parent, that is certainly something I want to be mindful of.

As much as I love Arrow, I cannot support or enable him to pursue selfish desires. When he’s an adult, if he chooses that route for himself, I will pray for him, but I will not cheer him on. I pray his gifts and his life are always offered up as a sacrifice to God first and foremost. I pray he loves and fears Jesus first and I pray my husband and myself model that example for him for as long as we live. May my goal always be to love the one who loved me first, to give everything to the one who gave everything for me. To live for the one who died for me that I may truly live forever with Him. And I pray the same for you, beloved.

What Giving Birth Taught Me About God

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Giving birth was the most painful, yet beautiful experience of my life (besides my wedding night). God granted all my prayers: that I’d have our baby at the birth center, my husband would be there through it all, that I’d have a Christian midwife, that she’d be available for my birth, that baby would come before his due date, that I would have the pretty sea-themed room, that I’d have a speedy labor—but one He denied: a pain-free delivery.

Six hours is definitely a short labor, especially for a first time mom, but with diarrhea speeding up contractions, coupled with vomiting, I was definitely in serious pain and quite weak by the time it was time to push. And O, did I have to push. It took an hour for our 9lb 1oz, 22 inch long baby boy to enter the world, and with each failed attempt, I grew more and more discouraged. In my mind, I begged God to let him come out already. I was so tired, so discouraged, just wanting the pain and pushing to end already. It took five different birthing positions and several tries. I asked God why He was doing this to me. The baby’s head had been crowning for some time and I was beat. But God’s grace was sufficient for me, and His strength was made perfect in my weakness. Finally, on February 19th at 1:21am, Arrow Jotham Sapienza made it through the birth canal and into my arms.

A day or two after I gave birth, before entering my time of praise and prayer, I read/prayed this passage over myself and Jonathan:

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (‭Ephesians‬ ‭3‬:‭14-19‬ NKJV)

I began my intimate time with the Father by thanking Him, and as I was thanking Him, these words flowed from my heart:

Father, I thank You for the pain. I thank You for the opportunity to be conformed to Your suffering.

I confessed that though that was six hours of intermittent agony, Christ suffered far worse for more than nine hours (and the pain was consistent). During my labor, I was just focused on me; my suffering, but Christ was looking forward to the joy set before Him. He was focused on the Father and on saving us. His love for God and for mankind was what kept Him going.

God answered my Ephesians prayer, and He used my temporary suffering to teach me a beautiful and invaluable lesson: a greater understanding of His love.

My pain was nothing compared to His, but to get a tiny taste of what it was like is an honor and a privilege because now I grasp just a little more how great Christ’s love really is.

My prayer is that God willing, next time around I’ll be thinking of the joy set before me: a child that will be dedicated to God, my gift to Him for all He’s done for me, rather than focusing on myself. [Yes, I plan on going all-natural again at the birthing center. I absolutely love that place! They love you and baby and treat the birthing process like it’s something sacred. And giving birth is. God said the purpose of marriage is to produce godly offspring].

I don’t know what you’re suffering through, but may you likewise come to this place:

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. (‭James‬ ‭1‬:‭2-5‬ NKJV)

May our understanding of God’s love continue to grow so that we can become complete in Him.

Praying for you,

Natasha

I’m 8 Days Away From My Due Date

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I’m set to deliver me and sir Jonathan’s first child on February 21st. If I write all the ways God has provided, and all the prayers He’s answered, this post would be at least 10,000 words long. But here are some:

-Jonathan got a second job for a Christian ministry
-I didn’t have morning sickness
-We got blessed with three baby showers
-We have all the essentials; strollers, car seat, bassinet, baby clothes, diapers, baby wipes to last months, pediatrician who’s five minutes away
-All the nursery wants/needs have been gifted to us; changing table, crib (eventually), crib mattress, lamp, crib mobile, sheets, the cute forest animal-themed decorations we wanted
-We haven’t paid for anything for baby out of pocket, not even my prenatal visits
-We got blessed with a new, quality brand-name mattress (ours has been marked in several places by two different dogs and was causing me pain)
-We were working toward getting out of debt and had $500 left that we owed Jonathan’s dad and then randomly received an unexpected check for $500 in the mail. We’re now debt-free
-Jonathan was approved for not one, but six weeks off paid from his higher paying, longer-hours job to bond with baby

God truly is our provider. He has certainly blessed us incredibly and answered so many prayers. I’m blown away by His love and provision, and by His great care for His daughter and son. All the details He paid attention to, even giving unnecessary blessings. He has fiercely protected me and the baby from enemy attacks, and though I’ve become extra clumsy thanks to the increase in hormones, I haven’t fallen once in my entire pregnancy. Every time I stumbled (which was often), His angels caught me.

I just wanted to encourage you all to pray about everything that concerns you, casting your anxieties on Him because He truly does care for you—practically beyond comprehension.

It’s so vital for us to grasp the depth of His love for us and how much we do not deserve it. As we pray for that revelation, we will be compelled to truly surrender all to Him, to live for Him and obey Him because we genuinely love Him and are so grateful for all He has graciously done for us.

I pray a greater understanding of Christ’s love and worthiness to be worshipped is revealed to you that you may offer up your life—the life He’s loaned to you—for nothing but His glory.

Grace and love to you,

Natasha

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I’m A Christian, But I Don’t Want To Be “Just” A Wife And Mother

My sister in Christ who is in a relationship and preparing for marriage shared something with me this morning that the Lord is working on in her, and it’s worth sharing.

She and her boyfriend are taking premarital classes with a pastor and are in the Love and Respect phase. Sir Jonathan and I likewise read Dr. Emerson Eggerichs’ book (Love and Respect) together during our premarital days. It really opens your eyes to how women need love and men need respect and how to give and communicate those essential actions.

So her boyfriend ends up telling her one day: “The way you’re speaking to me is disrespectful.” She goes to the Lord about it, and He tells her: “Imagine he was Jesus. Would you speak to him the same way?”

This poignant question definitely convicted her. I thought it was such a fine lesson from the Holy Spirit that all women of God should contemplate when speaking to others, especially the opposite sex.

“Don’t be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”-Romans 12:2

In America, there is an ever-increasing feminist agenda that is ironically becoming more and more hostile to the essence of womanhood and especially hostile toward men.

To think this pervasive mindset that saturates the media has no affect on us Christian women whatsoever is to be naive at best, and prideful at worst. But there’s another message that on the surface seems innocent, but is a worldly concept—not a Christ-like one—and that is this whole, “Chase your dreams,” notion. When this notion is not submitted to Christ, it can also tie into that hostile feminist attitude and manifest itself in disrespect.

I’ve seen this time and again with my precious sisters in Christ, and I’ve experienced it too. They desire marriage and children, a godly desire that is engrained in every woman’s DNA no matter how much they try to suppress it, but there’s a competing desire, one that can very well be ungodly.

A lot of Christian women think they need their own ministry or career. They have dreams of using this ministry to make disciples. But when that dream becomes “threatened” by marriage and children, they can get defensive and disrespectful to their male counterpart.

I’m not saying every dream we christian women have is a worldly desire. The dream can very well be from God, but we must be open to His timing. I RARELY see women under forty running a ministry. Most of the time, they’re wives who have already raised their children, and are now freed up to team with their husbands to start a ministry.

God can give you a dream like He gave Joseph, but not fulfill that dream until years and years of preparation and dying to yourself. And if we are not willing to lay that dream down for the sake of serving others, namely, our husband and children, that’s pride and it is dishonoring to God. His Word teaches us in Philippians 2:4 to not only look out for our own interests, but that of others as well, and Christ said in order to be great we must become least of all and servant of all.

The proverbs 31 woman sold clothes and fields, earning a profit, but her first obligation was to her husband and children and that’s really what she was highly praised for—caring for her family and household. But the feminist movement devalues stay-at-home mothers and exalts busy, unmarried, career women. There’s an exaltation of self, and a message that putting your dreams on hold to serve your husband and children is degrading when in reality, it’s extremely Christ-like and fruitful.

There’s no higher calling than making disciples for Jesus. A mother’s role is so critical to building God’s kingdom He makes sure the Word emphasizes her role over and over; Malachi 2:15, Titus 2:4-5, Proverbs 31:27-29, Psalm 127:3.

My prayer is that you would see with God’s eyes, not our society’s; that your mind would be transformed, not conformed to the pattern of the world. Feminism is an exaltation of self, it is not a Christ-like movement of serving others. It’s all about self—my wants, my dreams, me, me, me, and it has become so demonic it is now the biggest vehicle for promoting the murder of innocent babies in their mothers’ womb.

Please keep reading God’s Word. Let Him teach you and give you discernment. Be willing to put your dreams on hold for the greater good of your husband and children. Putting others before yourself is very pleasing to the Lord, submitting to your husband, raising your children to be godly, that is what He desires most because that—marriage—is what exemplifies His relationship with us most. And it is also a great tool God uses to equip us for ministry. If we as Christian women can die to ourselves and serve our husband and children, we can die to ourselves and better serve other women we desire to minister to in the future.

Lastly, let us not forget marriage and child-rearing ARE ministries—extremely important ones. When you study God’s Word, you see just how much He values this ministry. As women, we have incredible worth and purpose, and it’s not for the reasons the world perpetuates.

May you discover the beauty and honor in being a woman who walks in her Heavenly Father’s will.

Grace and peace to you,

Natasha