By Pastors Justin and Jacquie Ryan

Just as Covid-19 has altered the world, we too need to be guided by God in renewing the way we dream and set our goals.

Change is something that is inevitable. We can’t escape it no matter how hard we try. The Bible speaks of countless events where adjustment was necessary. This is because we serve a God who moves in seasons and not cycles.

A season is when certain things happen for a defined period of time, and then when the environment alters, we adapt instantaneously to it. A cycle on the other hand is something that is repetitive. Imagine a little hamster on a wheel who is running vigorously and thinking that it is heading somewhere, when in actual fact it is still in the same position. Some of us are stuck in cycles and God wants to push us into a new season.

So how do we know if we are in a cycle or if God wants us to advance to a new season? Our God is a God of seasons. As such, if there is anything this past year has taught us, it would be to Change Our VIsions and Dreams. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 paints this so clearly for us:

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

There are times when we plant and there are other times when we prune or uproot. Sometimes, things in our lives that have been there for ages need to be torn down for new and more advanced things to be built. Just as trends shift, we too need to be flexible.

COVID has taught us to be open to change; to explore new things, learn fresh skills, make adjustments, and step into doing things differently. In fact, for ourselves, about a year ago, before anyone even knew about Covid-19, there were words in the English vocabulary that we were unaware of. Yet these are terminologies that we are using practically every day now. Mask, lockdown, social distancing, Zoom, ID, password, cloud meeting, share link, screen share, they have all become common terms. There is even one called “the new normal”.

We are all doing things that we never thought we would. That’s change! Can I encourage you to take it a step further? Let’s not just go with the flow and do what everyone else is doing. “Everyone is uploading videos, I’ll do that too. Everyone is having zoom meetings, I’ll do the same.”

I am not saying you can’t. If God moves you to do that, then by all means do it and God will work mighty things for sure. What I am saying is, don’t limit yourself to just that. Push yourself forward and explore new things that you can do.  

Ask God to Change Our VIsions and Dreams. In other words, step outside the box. Be different. Do something unique. We serve a God who is creative. Everything around us from the shades of green on every leaf, the spectacular beauty of every flower, the constellation of stars, to the uniqueness of every living creature, it is all the work of God’s hands.

Psalm 104:24 says “How many are your works, LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.”

So if we are created in the image and likeness of God, imagine if we tap into just 0.0001% of that creativity. If we seek that creative spirit in us, we can do amazing things. The problem with most of us is that we are looking at what everyone else is doing rather than asking God what He wants us to do. 

Allow me to encourage you with the many promises that God has given us in His Word, that we are blessed with His creativeness:

He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them skilled workers and designers – Exodus 35:35

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do – Ephesians 2:10

And he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skill to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, – Exodus 35:31-32

The people that know their God shall be strong, and do great exploits –  Daniel 11:32

There is great potential and gifts that God has placed inside each one of us. We all need to transform the way we think, the way we view things, and the way we dream. We have pushed ourselves to do many new things this past one year, from preaching in front of a camera, organizing new events, connecting with people from different nations, finding creative ways to still do missions even though we can’t travel, to even switching our hobby into a business in order to raise mission support. The minute we renewed our thinking and approach, everything else started to fall into place.

Can we encourage you to do the same this 2021 and to step out of your comfort zone? Change is good and change is necessary. Make the most of every opportunity that is presented before you and you will look back at things one year from now and be thanking God for the choices you made. Let’s all walk in 2021 by deciding to Change Our VIsions and Dreams. You’ll be glad you did.

There are 3 essential thoughts I would like to leave you with as you embrace change. We started by sharing that God moves in seasons. This means that we must have God in the picture even when we decide to take on the challenge of moving to the next step. The first thing we need to remember is that although change is good to live a more productive life, not everything in our lives has to change. We need to hold on to our Christian values and never give in to the ways of the world and New Age thinking.

Secondly, we need to always seek God first before we take on anything in any area of our life. He has to direct it. And thirdly, it is to know that God moves according to His time and we need to move together with Him.

So you may realize that change may be needed but it has to be followed according to God’s timing. Never rush or jump into something hastily. In other words, once you are certain that it is God who impresses it in your heart to move, embrace it and run with it. There is a miracle waiting for you! 2021 will be amazing when we walk in accordance to His plans.

About the Ryans

The Ryans have been involved in the mission field for more than a decade. In 2013, the Lord led them to found Issachar Academy where they provide training specifically for missions in a hospitable environment. Besides missions, the Ryans also help Christians recognise and move in their seasons with God.