Just the other day, we were having a conversation with a dear friend who asked us a very good question. She said, "How did you know the dream/vision you are pursuing is from God? How did you fight through the doubts and know it wasn't just something selfish?"
In all honesty, it was quite a long process. Devin and I both spent years working through it in our own ways and with our own perspectives. I personally struggled with the "is it sourced in selfishness?" and tried to discover if the longing for something like the Ranch was really just a desire to have horses in my backyard.
I thought it through and asked myself, "What would I do if I did just have horses in my backyard? Would that be enough?" I finally came to the point where I knew God had truly given me a purpose and a calling and that I would not be satisfied with just having horses on our own property. There were a few factors that helped Devin and I both get to that confident understanding, and we would love to share them with you.
1. People - We have both had so many conversations through the years with fellow believers who have either traveled a similar path or had wisdom and a valuable perspective to share.
2. Prayer - Nothing can take the place of hours spent pouring out our hearts to God and asking Him to guide and direct every step. We may not have always received the clarity we sought, but we certainly did learn that God is so faithful when we are obedient to Him.
3. Passion - In the dry years of waiting and wondering, I asked God several times to diminish the level of passion. While He did often give me peace as I waited on His timing, the burning, overwhelming need to pursue this dream was always present. I felt as though if I did not run after this vision with my whole being that I would wither away. For Devin, he felt as though he would be disobedient if he did not step out and take the risk of following this call.
As I said before, we were a bit slow in working through our questions to get to where we truly believed this vision was sourced in God, and it took us a few more years to see through our doubts and fears to be willing to step out in faith. One of the most valuable pieces of wisdom we discovered along the way is that our doubts and fears were founded in an incorrect view of success. We originally thought that Bright Side Youth Ranch would be successful when the grounds were full of horses and kids and families. However, what we learned is that success is the act of obedience. It just so happens that the obedience is a daily thing. Every day I am faced with new and seemingly insurmountable objects, but as I trust in God and obey His call, I find that He is right there helping me through it all.
The years of waiting and going through this process were often difficult and challenging, but isn't it true that some of the best things in life require effort and time? All of the wise counsel, honest conversations with God, and the passion that would sometimes bring me to tears are treasured moments stored in my heart.