I didn’t understand why it wasn’t working. I thought for sure God had asked me to become a coach and create a coaching program to help others understand their God-driven dream and how to release it into the world.

I spent months working on videos, putting them into an online course format, and readied myself for a successful launch with huge impact. But what followed was an aftermath of questioning, doubt, and pain as I faced the crickets and zero sign-ups: I failed.

I almost gave up. I wondered, maybe this was a self-driven dream instead of a God-driven dream?

Processing this in the aftermath of failure, it pushed me to seek answers to where I went wrong. And what I discovered has helped me avoid the same mistakes, and I want to help you avoid them as well.

The following are 6 signs you are pursuing a self-driven dream instead of a God-driven dream:

1. Pursuing It for Money

When I first set out to be a coach, I wasn’t necessarily doing it to get rich. I truly wanted to help others and felt like God was leading me to be a coach. But as I continued on this path, figuring out how I would launch my first program, I got sucked into money-driven mentalities as I followed what the “guru’s” taught to make it more profitable. Ultimately, in God’s mercy, He allowed me to fail because He knew the status of my heart shifted and I was no longer pursuing this dream for the right reasons. Recognizing the state of my heart, I repented, reassessed my reasons for doing it, and took a simpler approach. This time truly listening to where God was leading me. My next launch was extremely successful and has continued to birth multiple coaching programs for aspiring authors, as well as personal and spiritual growth coaching for women. Although I’m successfully making a profit from coaching, it’s become less about money and more about how I’m impacting others and changing lives.

I’m constantly checking my motives to ensure that I’m not pursuing this dream to make more money, but to truly make an impact and make positive change in others.

God continues to bless me financially through my efforts as I prayerfully follow His lead. So, double check your own motives as you pursue the dreams that have been placed on your heart. The Bible states “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” (1 Tim. 6:10, NIV) If your love for money pursuing this dream overrides your love for God, you may be pursuing a self-driven dream that will lead to destruction of your heart.

2. Ignoring the Holy Spirit

When I first set out to be a coach, it truly felt like the Holy Spirit led me into it. It wasn’t something I ever thought about pursuing, but during multiple times of prayer, asking God for confirmation, many verses pointed me to this new dream. God specifically revealed parts about my character that showed me how I was created for this role. So, I pursued what God was leading me to pursue, but as I continued to work towards this goal, I found myself ignoring the Spirit as it tried to direct me to a different offer as a coach. I started pursuing what I felt like would be best, which as you know, led to failure. Ultimately, I was sidetracked by my own self-led pursuit. Thankfully, I re-directed, letting the Holy Spirit lead which has produced multiple successful and impactful programs as I utilize my gifts in this world. What is the Holy Spirit telling you? Sometimes, it can be difficult to discern what the Holy Spirit may be saying. It usually takes intentional times of prayer, stillness, and reading the Scriptures for confirmation. Make sure you get still, and truly listen to what path or plan God may be leading you to. (Romans 8:14, Psalm 46:10, 1 Tim 3:16-17)

3. You Lack Passion

Many years ago, I started pursuing a network marketing company business. I wasn’t really passionate about the products. My main motives of pursuing it was to make money (goes back to problem #1). As I continued on this self-driven path, it led to much disappointment, lack of joy, and unfulfillment. The next several years, I took more time to explore what I loved, which led to pursuing a vocation as a writer, speaker, and coach. I feel renewed excitement and passionate for my job as I teach others how to discover their purpose and calling (pre-order my book Refine and Restore: Revive Your Heart, Release Your Purpose!), as well as coach aspiring authors to share their messages with the world. I believe that as we seek God for love and understanding of ourselves, it will ultimately lead us to God-driven passions we are meant to pursue with Him. (Psalm 37:4)

4. At The Heart Of It, You Want To Make A Name For Yourself

When we pursue self-driven dreams, at the heart of it, we are more focused on increasing our own name instead of increasing God’s name. John 3:30 states, “He (God) must increase, but I must decrease.” It’s pretty simple, and yet we often trick our own hearts into believing that we are not trying to pursue this dream to fill ourselves with worldly significance. The thing about making a name for ourselves, it never lasts and will never leave you fulfilled.

So, ask yourself the question: are you more excited about the title this dream would give you or for how God will use your gifts and talents to bring glory and honor to Him through this dream?

Your honest answer will help you see if it’s a self-driven dream or a God-driven dream.

RELATED: Three Reasons You Need a Good, Healthy Dose of Fear

5. It’s Not In-Line with Your Unique Gifts

We all have talents and gifts God wants us to use in this world. You may be good with numbers. Or maybe you have a strong ability to persuade others with words. Maybe you’re naturally nurturing and always look for ways to help others in need. Maybe you are an amazing cook, love teaching, or enjoy creating things. But what if you’re not really good with numbers, and yet you’re in a job or pursuing a career that requires you to add or make mathematical assessments? You don’t really love it, but you pursued it because you knew it was a decent job. Or maybe your parents made you feel like this is what you ought to do? Maybe the job you thought you’d love you are starting to realize is not really in line with what you’re necessarily good at and it’s becoming more and more draining to you. This is why it’s important to take time to explore what you are good at, what you may be gifted to do, and then make adjustments to pursue the work that God has ultimately wired you for. (1 Co. 12:1-11)

6. There’s Little Risk Involved

The difference I’ve found with self-driven dreams and God-driven dreams is that typically my self-driven dreams are safer and more practical than God-driven dreams.

In the Bible, God is constantly inviting people to pursue what feels impossible to them. Jesus asks Peter to come and follow Him, so he leaves everything behind to follow Jesus (Matthew 4:19). God asks Moses to lead people out of slavery (Exodus 14). God promotes Esther to become a Queen, but she faced a difficult decision that required risking her life to save her people (Esther 5). Recently in my own life, my family and I took a risk that required my husband quitting his job (without another one in sight), moving out of state, investing in a 60-acre ranch to turn into a weddings, events, and retreat center, and embarking on a dream we never really saw coming! And yet, it’s been thrilling, humbling, and exciting as we utilize our gifts for God in the ways we see Him asking us to be used by Him.

What dream in your heart keeps surfacing? Is it prodding you or swirling around in the back of your mind? Does this dream feel a bit scary or impossible? Does it connect with your character and the way God has created you? Are you pushing aside self-led desires (money, fame, titles) and letting the Spirit lead in your life, compelling you to this dream? The time is now to pursue the God-driven dream that’s in your heart and let Him lead you toward the next small step to release it into the world.

{Want to understand your Purpose? Download my FREE mini-ebook Purpose today!}

Rachel C. Swanson is a best-selling author, speaker, podcaster, and accredited life coach. She’s passionate about refining away the barriers that are holding others back and restoring their hearts and minds back to God’s truth. Her newest book, Refine and Restore: Revive Your Heart, Release Your Purpose, releases October 2019. Married for twelve years to her husband Jeff, they recently relocated their tribe of “Wannabe Triplets” to the rural hills of Southern Idaho.