Beyond Our Dreams, Not Our Desires

Posted by on Aug 21, 2013 in Gary | 13 comments


I had a chance to get an update on a friend’s story early this summer. (It was at our new It’s Your Time Weekend). I was struck by the interaction of God in his life. I was both inspired and enlightened by it.

Michael Williams came to one my first Calling Intensive events about eight years ago. During a small group time, he shared various pictures that captured his heart (from the Picture Exercise) and then narrowed it down to several that felt core to who we was, though he wasn’t sure why.

The first picture was of a basketball player who had been passed the ball to take the final (almost full-court) shot as the ending buzzer sounded. The ball swopped in and his team won the game. He had turned the game around for his team. Michael shared this picture and back-story with tears in his eyes.

The second picture was of a rough, weathered cross on a mountain slope. It commemorated the death of thirteen smokejumpers who died in the Mann Gulch fire in 1949 written about in Norman Maclean’s book, Young Men and Fire. He explained that as the men ran for their life during the fire “blow-up”, one man improvised by creating a “circle of safety” by setting an escape fire in front of him. He encouraged the other men to do the same, but staying with their trainin they refused and were overtaken by the flames. This also brought tears to his eyes.

As we pressed him on what God may be saying through these pictures about his calling (his God-intended effect), his heart erupted with something like, I want to be that man who the team turns to to turn things around and who creates circles-of-safety in dangerous situation.

In the years to follow, Michael was asked to head up a struggling hospital where he was an anesthesiologist. He did…and he turned it around.

Just recently, has was asked to take leadership of a medical university that was facing some significant difficulties.

In the midst of all of this, Michael is one of the most humble, sincere, caring men I know. God has given him both the desires of the heart and the strength of heart to handle the assignments He has given him.

So, here is the inspiration and enlightenment I received from his story:

We need to –

Pursue God and our heart

  • This is not a one way, one thing or one time process. It will be through retreats, time alone with God, worship, being in the company and counsel of others, books, movies, personal ministry times and so much more. Seek them all. The first answer to every question should be, “Come to Me”. Matt. 11:28

Pray toward the revelation God has give us

  • It so easy to simply think and dream about what we desire, but not ask. We need to continually ask and listen. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Desires of your heart, literally means “that which the deepest, truest part of you continually seeks or prays for.”
  • For the sake of conscience, I need to admit to you that I can overlook the first two (intimacy with God and prayer). Leigh is my greatest encourager and example of these.

Prepare for the appointed moments

  • There are two elements of waiting on God. One is not losing hope or heart. The other is actively preparing for that moment. Preparation often involves studying, experimenting, formal training, feedback, reading and being mentored. All of this is life-giving if its in the pursuit and deepening of your heart’s desire.

Participate with God

  • When an opportunity presents itself, whether small and obscure or large and risky, walk into it fully with the presence of God. When God gives us an opportunity, we need to fully invest in it, multiply it as Jesus emphasized in the Parable of the Talents and then more will come.
  • “The master answered, ‘You did well. You are a good and loyal servant. Because you were loyal with small things, I will let you care for much greater things. Come and share my joy with me.’” Matt. 25:21 NCV

Let’s pursue, pray, prepare and participate together.


13 Responses to “Beyond Our Dreams, Not Our Desires”

  1. Gary, as someone who has just stepped off the cliff from corporate America into a consultancy/partnership, I love this post (as I do all of them). I’ve followed God’s call to this point, have goals in mind which he gave me five or so years ago, and am trying to be faithful with the small things. I expect Him to do great things. Not chasing the money now, just seeking the best for clients. I appreciate the encouraging post.

  2. Scott Wilson says:

    I’ve lost the dreams and desires I had. I need God to awaken then in me. I am just living day by day without them. Ecclesiastes is where I am right now. I want what these other men found. I haven’t given up. As you said, wait on The Lord.

    • Mary Smith says:


      I am so blest by what you have shared. You are obviously in a very special and precious place right now . . . Not giving up, but waiting on the Lord.

      Your act of waiting on God is a testament to the faithfulness of God.

      Your choice reminds me of the story of David. After being anointed by Samuel to be king of Israel, David waited on God to fulfill His plan & promise . . . even through the numerous attempts of Saul to end David’s life. And God was fathful to fulfill His promise to David and Israel.
      It was in the “waiting on God” that David became that “man after God’s own heart” — Those were God’s words describing David . . . What a beautiful way to be described by God!

      God bless you as you wait on Him!

      • Scott Wilson says:

        Mary, Thank you for your insight. Like Peter said to Jesus “where else can we go” My hope is in Him. I always feel like the correct door to open is close by, but I keep walking past it. I haven’t recognized that that is the door to walk through. Thank you once again for your encouragement.

    • Scott, you have honored us with your honesty. Thank you. I agree with Mary Smith’s words to you. Nothing is lost or diminished, just needing to be fought for and discovered. Let’s talk by phone. Email me with good days and times. Gary

      • Scott Wilson says:

        Thanks Gary for your offer. I will touch base with you in early September.
        You do make a difference in people’s lives. Thank you for fighting all the battles that come your way. I pray for you, your family and ministry all the time. You make our lives much better. Thank you. .

        • Tom Spitnale says:

          Scott – I echo Gary. I feel honored to eavesdrop on your honesty. And I share, in some ways, with your struggle. I do have a strong sense of God’s purpose in my life, both in the arc of my story and in His particular call “today.” But I somehow feel stymied, incapable, hesitant — fearful — of it. Stuck. And wondering if the door will open…or if it is (and has been) wide open already, and I’m simply afraid to walk through. I pray the Lord give us both the invitation and permission to live into our desire…the vision to see it for the calling that it is…the faith to believe that His desire really is to see our true desires fulfilled.

          • Scott Wilson says:


            Having a strong sense of what He has for you is got to be encouraging to you! I think that is where our faith needs to kick in, and take that step towards it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.

  3. Alan Thomas says:

    After the Calling Intensive in Rome, Georgia there is not one day that has passed without thinking of and experiencing the truth that was set before me. The biggest change is while I am actively searching for what Father has for me I am not exhausting myself chasing it. There is so much more clarity today than just a few months ago. I have started working within an hour of my home instead of 5 to 10 hours away. I still am selling life insurance but the settings I find myself in are down right amazing. There are so many that need encouraging that I come in contact with every day. God is allowing me to recognize many of those that need that encouragement the most and to offer it. I am finding energy that I did not know that I had and a peace that was never present for me before.
    Thank you for what you have spoke into my life and for what you do each day. Our friend Jeff Andrechyn said it best to me when I described myself as “just an insurance salesman”. He corrected me and said that I am the son of the King disguised as an insurance salesman! If that doesn’t get you fired up your wood is just plain wet. I had never heard that before but I know that it applies to us all when we are doing what God has called us to do.

  4. I am always so encouraged reading these posts, encouraged to stick at it, to pursue what God has for me, to really look at my heart desires and believe that His desire is to see my desires fulfilled, as someone else put it.

    I recently had an amazing conversation with a couple I haven’t seen for 7 years, and in a moment of clarity I heard myself say “all I want to do is write songs!”

    I love to hear about how the Calling Intensives bring about real changes, I’m making a personal goal to attend one. I live in Spain so that’s a challenge God will have to work on for me!

    • Hi Craig. You could take the Online Calling Class. The Intensive level call goes through all the same exercises as the Calling Intensive retreat. I’ve had people from South Africa, England, Norway, Brazil and Australia take the core using Skype. The next one begins September 17th.

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