The dream God had for Joseph was one of leadership. His nighttime dreams were simply images of his life being lived out with his family. Not surprisingly, Joseph’s family was not supportive of his dreams. “His brothers responded, ‘So you think you will be our king, do you? Do you actually think you will reign over us?’ And they hated him all the more because of his dreams and the way he talked about them.” (Genesis 37:8) In verse 10 his father, who favored Joseph more than the others, responded negatively as well: “‘What kind of dream is that?’ he asked. ‘Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow to the ground before you?’”
From the moment Joseph knew what his dreams meant to the moment they were fulfilled; his life was full of drama because of them. His brothers sold Joseph into slavery instead of killing him. He was in prison, out of prison and back in again. Yet Joseph had God’s dream for his life to be a leader; it never wavered despite what others around him said or did, or what his circumstances were. Joseph held tight to the dreams of his heart and built his values on them. Once you determine your dream, it’s vital you do the same. Otherwise the drama between knowing the dream and the fulfillment of the dream will derail you.
How do you stay on track?
1. Be Faithful In Serving Others
While you’re waiting to see your dream become reality. Knowing you have a dream from God can often make you believe others should just step aside and make a way for you to do it now. But Joseph understood while God had given him the dream, God also had a time-line known only to Him. Others weren’t going to automatically accommodate it. It was going to take time. During the waiting, Joseph faithfully served others.
“The Lord was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master. Potiphar noticed this and realized that the Lord was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did. This pleased Potiphar, so he soon made Joseph his personal attendant. He put him in charge of his entire household and everything he owned…All his household affairs ran smoothly, and his crops and livestock flourished. So Potiphar gave Joseph complete administrative responsibility over everything he owned. With Joseph there, he didn’t worry about a thing—except what kind of food to eat!” (Genesis 39:2-6)
Because of his faithful service, God began to make Joseph’s dream come true even though it was probably not on the schedule Joseph had planned, or in the way Joseph imagined. Often when you have a dream, you get sidetracked from serving faithfully right where you are because you’re in pursuit of something bigger when all along God wants to use you in your present circumstance to lead you to something bigger.
2. Place Others Ahead Of Your Agenda
This requires you to be secure with who you are and who God created you to be; because how you treat others when pursuing the dreams and passions God has given you is a reflection of how you think about yourself and how much you trust God. Jesus said this about greatness: “The greatest among you must be a servant. But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:11-12) God put Joseph in a position of leadership because of his faithful service while in prison, even though he was falsely accused. “Before long, the warden put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison. The warden had no more worries, because Joseph took care of everything. The Lord was with him and caused everything he did to succeed.” (Genesis 39:22-23) By serving, Joseph was living his dream regardless of his circumstances or position.
3. Continue To Do The Right Things
Look at current circumstances as training ground preparing you for the fulfillment of your dream. Eventually Joseph went from the prison to the palace, ruling all of Egypt next to Pharaoh. Ultimately, his family did bow to him (over 40 years later), but in a situation that reunited his family and saved their very lives. (Genesis 41-50) In the end, Joseph was able to say, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” (Genesis 50:20)
Next Steps For Your Dream:
You will never fully realize the dreams God has placed in your heart if you wait for perfect circumstances to use the gifts God has given you. Joseph’s dream wasn’t realized by manipulation or self-promotion. He continued using his gifts and talents wherever God placed him. He never saw his circumstances as a dead-end road to his God-inspired dream of leadership.
Take the 3 steps listed above to stay on track with your dreams today!
(Excerpt from my book Life Palette, Chapt. 4)