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“See It and Believe It”

One of America’s best-loved pastors shares his advice on how to make dreams come true.

Joel Osteen

A few years after my dad went to be with the Lord and I stepped up to pastor our church, I was struck with the desire to write a book. Now, this was pretty far out. I’d never written anything besides sermons, and even they could be a challenge. Would I ever be able to write a whole book?

Of course, it wasn’t as if I’d ever expected to be a pastor either. I liked my job filming the services, and talking in front of people made me nervous. Then one Sunday I had an urge to say a few words to the congregation. Next thing I knew, I was leading worship!

I was sure God wouldn’t have put the desire to write a book in my heart if he wasn’t going to help me fulfill it someday, in his time. Until then, for motivation, I set two copies of my dad’s most popular book where I would see them every day–on a shelf by my bedroom closet.

One copy was in English, the other in Spanish. My dream was that my book too, when I wrote it, would be translated into Spanish.

A year went by. No book. Two years, three years, four. It would have been easy to let my dream die. But I had Daddy’s books strategically placed on that shelf. I had to walk by them every single day.

Even when I wasn’t consciously thinking about writing my own book, my subconscious mind and my spirit were moving closer to it. Something inside me was affirming, “Yes, one day I’m going to write a book.”

Studies show that we move toward what we consistently see. Keep something in front of you to remind you of what you’re aiming for.

A businessman I met had a dream of building a new office for his company. He bought a brick, the same type of brick he planned to use for his building. He kept that brick on his desk. Every time he laid eyes on it, his belief in his dream was renewed.

If you’re not reaching your highest potential, it might not be for lack of talent or determination, but because you’re not keeping the right things in front of you. All over your house, you should have pictures, Scripture verses, mementoes that inspire you to make your dream come true.

Say you’re single and you want to get married. Put an empty photo album on your coffee table. Why? That’s where you’re going to put your wedding photos. Consider it a tangible article of faith, a way of declaring, “Lord, I believe that you will lead me to the right partner and that one day I will be married.”

Or maybe you’re hoping to buy your dream house. Add a new key to your key ring. If somebody asks, “What’s this extra key for?” tell them, “It’s for the house that’s on the way.” See it and you’ll believe it!

My brother-in-law Kevin is a twin. He dreamed of having twins himself. He and my sister Lisa tried to have a baby for a long time. They attempted every fertility treatment available. Lisa had several surgeries. Nothing worked.

They were beyond discouraged. They were devastated. One day Kevin found a small package in the mailbox. There were two diapers inside, promotional samples from Huggies.

Kevin could have thrown them away, thinking, We don’t need these, and it looks like we never will. But something came alive in him. Those two diapers had to be a sign. He ran into the house and showed Lisa. “Look, honey, we just got the first diapers for our babies!”

He wrote the date on them and put them on his bedside table. Month after month, they were the first thing he saw when he opened his eyes, and the last thing he saw before he fell asleep.

Several years later, Kevin and Lisa got a phone call out of the blue asking if they would be interested in adopting a baby. “Yes!” they said. The caller asked, “Would you consider adopting two? These are twin girls about to be born, and they need a good home.” Talk about a dream come true!

Proverbs says, “where there is no vision, the people perish.” With no vision your dream will die, and part of you will die with it. Is there something you see every day that reminds you of what your dream is, something that inspires you and ignites your faith?

If your dream is to go to a particular college, buy a T-shirt with the school name and wear it confidently. Every time you see that T-shirt, say, “Thank you, Lord, for bringing my dreams to pass. For helping me become everything you created me to be.”

I learned this visualization technique from my father. He and my mother started Lakewood Church in 1959 in an old feed store. There were 90 people in the congregation. You know what Daddy called the church?

He set up a sign outside that declared in big blue letters: Lakewood International Outreach Center. The sign probably cost more than the building.

Of course it wasn’t an international outreach center. Not yet. It was a little old neighborhood church. But every time my father drove up and saw the sign, he was moving toward his vision.

Do you know what Lakewood is today? An outreach center that touches people all over the world. One year we had a conference and people came from 150 countries! It looked like the United Nations.

You’re not inconveniencing God by having big dreams. In fact, it’s just the opposite. If you can achieve your dreams with just your own strength, abilities and resources, your dreams are too small. Believe big! So big that you have no choice but to call on God.

Remember that book I dreamed about writing? In 2004 I wrote Your Best Life Now. When the publishers read the manuscript they decided to publish it in English and Spanish at the same time. What I’d kept visualizing finally came to be.

It had seemed far out, but God took my dream even further. My book was also translated into French, German, Russian, Swahili, Portuguese–more than 20 languages.

Don’t stop believing. Every dream, every goal God puts in your heart, he will bring to pass. And sometimes, he might even supersize it!


Download your FREE ebook, Rediscover the Power of Positive Thinking, with Norman Vincent Peale.

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