The Journey of a Dream – Sistas Team
In the lead up to Sistas Women’s Conference 2017, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of the powerful messages we heard at Sistas 2016 and how they can set us up to dream bigger and bolder than ever before.
In her message “Doorways, Hallways, Gateways”, Ps Charlotte Gambill speaks about the three phases of journeying away from a place of disillusionment with a dream. She draws from the story of the woman who made space in her house for Elisha—the man of God—to stay (2 Kings 4:8-37, 8:1-6).
Doorways (2 Kings 4:1-17)
In the story, Elisha desires to see the woman blessed for her kindness. Although she declines to name anything that can be done for her, Elisha’s servant sees that she does not have a son and that her husband is old. The servant calls to her and she stands in the doorway.
Ps Charlotte points out that this is a doorway into a room (i.e. dream) that the woman had looked into and for a long time and had given up on. She had become so tired of waiting that she decided to lay aside that expectation. So much so that when Elisha tells her that she will have a son, she exclaims “No, my lord! […] Please, man of God, do not mislead your servant!”
Although the woman did not believe, God was faithful to the promise given through Elisha: she gave birth to a son the following year.
God often calls us into doorways of dreams where we may have grown weary of waiting and asks us what we want. Out of frustration, we may have “packed up” that dream up in our thinking and refuse to respond to the invitation. We say “Don’t get my hopes up again”. God is calling us into a doorway of possibility where our life is on one side and His voice and our (seemingly impossible) dream is on the other. We have to decide whether we’re willing to stand on the threshold of it again in expectation.
Hallways (2 Kings 4:18-37)
In this segment of her message, Ps Charlotte addresses the issue of a dream that has been realised but is now starting to go awry: it was birthed and came alive, but it is now dying, floundering, not working, or not looking like it was supposed to look.
At this point we may ask: “What is going on? Why did they betray me? How have I ended up here?”
This is the hallway of our faith: the transition between where we’ve been and where we’re meant to be—the empty place that appears to be void of all other purpose.
The woman from Shunem had seen her dream come to fruition in the form of a son whom she had loved and raised and invested into, only to see him die in her lap.
Ps Charlotte extracts some valuable lessons from this story:
- Not to leave our baggage or disappointment in the hallway, but rather to take it back to the place where our hopes were reignited and lay it down.
- No talking in the hallways. She teaches us that talking in our hallways is a bad idea for two reasons:
- The hallway is the place of transition—the place of confusion—and we should be mindful that if we’re encountering someone in a hallway, it’s because they’re also in the hallway. Confusion added on top of confusion is not a good idea. The woman couldn’t handle her husband’s grief in addition to her own.
- When we talk in our hallways, we don’t get to our gateways. If the woman had stopped to share the problem with her husband, she would have delayed reaching the solution to her problem. We should also remember that by waylaying someone in a hallway, we are preventing them from getting to their own gateway. Often what we say in the hallways is based on what we’re feeling in the moment but, as Ps Charlotte says, “When you get your place of healing, what you said in the hallway has now left you and is travelling with someone else.”
- No loitering in the hallways. Some of us are stuck because we have made what was meant to be a temporary passing place our permanent address. Get up, get moving, and get to the One who has the answer.
Gateways (2 Kings 8:1-6)
As a result of the woman seeking the answer, the boy comes back to life. Over seven years later, the woman, who has left Shunem to avoid a famine as instructed by Elisha, returns for her gateway moment. Telling her story to the king results in her land, her house and the value of her crops being restored to her.
Sometimes we don’t see our gateway moment until months or years later.
Ps Charlotte encourages us to remember that “In every sorrow, God will extract seed and plant it in your tomorrow. But if you don’t keep going, you’ll never bump into your harvest that came from your hopelessness.” Keep looking for the gateway.
For further reading and reflection:
- As you spend time with God this week, ask Him to show you if there are any dreams or hopes that you have prematurely shut the door on.
Is it scary to you to hope again? If so, why?
Evaluate whether you think your response is logical or not.
Read Psalm 33:11, Isaiah 55:8-13, and Genesis 17:15-18:15 and 21:1-6.
- Have you ever had an experience where a dream that you’ve had has come to life, only to then have it torn to shreds or start to unravel? What was your first reaction?
Did it occur to you to take it back to the place where you had clarity on it?
How long do you think is a reasonable amount of time to look down at the problem before laying it down to go seek the solution (i.e. God)?
- Ps Charlotte warns us to be very careful who you talk to when you’re in a period of transition. Sometimes when we’re going through something, it can be tempting to share it with anyone and everyone—especially with those who are going through something similar at the same time. How can you remember in the moment that this may not be the most helpful course of action?
- At the end of her message, Ps Charlotte says: “God’s not asking you to deny your feelings. Vent them at the feet of the answer. Express them at the place of healing. Get before someone who has wisdom, not more worries.”
Take some time today to vent any feelings you’ve been holding back to God. He is the only One who has the power and wisdom to deal with both the feelings and the root cause of them.
By the Sistas Team