Most of us lack balance in our pursuit of goals and dreams. We tend toward one side of the work spectrum, either as a do-it-myself laborer or a hands-off fatalist.

The first person takes too much responsibility. She sees her goal or dream as her own responsibility. She believes God gave her the job, and she’d better get to work.

It’s difficult for this type of worker to surrender and relinquish control in situations of uncertainty or delegation because if she doesn’t do the work, it may not get done. She easily feels neglected and unsupported. She feels the job is all up to her, and she doesn’t trust others, including God, to pull it off.

Sometimes she’s scrappy as an alley cat, fighting for what she feels is rightfully hers. A do-it-myself-er may also have a hard time with generosity, believing what she gives away may not come back to her.

Her biggest problem is that she forgets the dream came from God anyway, and He is far more invested than she is in seeing it come to pass.


The second person takes too little responsibility. He figures, if God wants me to have it, he will give it to me. I am not going to work too hard for my dream because it’s a destiny. My life is unalterably headed in a direction I really can’t control.

Christians are terribly guilty of this approach, over-spiritualizing this perspective as “waiting on God”, which sounds holy but often comes from laziness or hopelessness. They stay indoors, checking their watch while futily believing God to bring them what they want or desire. Inevitably, they find themselves unsure of what to make of God and life when the longings in their bellies sit empty and unfulfilled.

[click photo for credit]
[click photo for credit]

Labor toward a dream is strange act of balance. A dream coming tangible is neither all up to you, nor is it merely a wave of the hand of the Fates.

Instead, we have to walk the tightrope of doing the work but knowing our part in it all is still small. With this in mind, we must continually practice surrender. We do our part, we show up, even when we don’t feel like it, even when it takes all our energy, and that meets the DIY requirement. But the work will kill us unless we hand our efforts back to God for the resources we need, the right timing, and all the other variables we can’t possibly plan for.

Don’t derail your dreams with doing too much or too little. Instead do this:

  1. Set your vision clearly in front of you. Know exactly what you are aiming for.
  2. Set achievable and measurable goals and steps that let you know you’re getting closer.
  3. Celebrate your wins, however small or large.
  4. Hand the big dream and all the little steps back to God. The dream came from him anyway so stop trying to make it about you.

I tend toward being the DIY-er, and I really struggle to return to surrender. Which one are you?  Share with me in the comments below.

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