In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps (Proverbs 16:9 NIV).
I remember where I was standing, what I was wearing, who I was with when my most fervent dreams died.
Those were some of the hardest decisions of my life.
I was past the point of being sensible. Others saw that my dream was not going to happen. But voices inside my head (and later, on Facebook) told me differently.
“You and God can do anything.”
“Don’t give up on your dream!”
“With God, all things are possible.”
So I kept willing my dreams to stay on life support instead of letting them die with the dignity that they (and I) deserved.
Because even though everything is possible with God, it doesn’t mean God gives you every possibility.
Proverbs 16:9 says, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps” (NIV). In other words, God has a plan.
Oh, I say I want God more than anything else. I know all the right things to say. But I want God through my dream. I want God to do what I want God to do and give me my dreams so I can point to Him and say, “Only God.”
But God promised His presence – not my presents.
So how do you let a dream die? Something that you’ve prayed for, prepared for, and invested in? How do you say goodbye? Here are some hard steps I’ve needed to wrestle through:
- Acknowledge that it was important to you. This is not a time to be the fox with the grapes who said, “They probably were sour anyway.” So often we try to explain away disappointment instead of feeling our way through it. It is good and right to grieve a dream that will never happen. For me, this process involves praying, reading God’s word, talking with trusted people, and honestly—crying.
Looking at the five stages of grief that we go through when someone close to us dies, I think it’s interesting and helpful to note that we must go through those five stages when a dream dies. But I believe for those of us who know God, there is another step to grief.
Hope – we get to hope for better things. Yes, a dream has died; it is worth grieving. But when our faith is made real, we get to experience real hope. If a dream is worth dreaming, it’s worth properly grieving.
- Spend some time wrestling with God.It might be worth examining possible reasons God is withholding this particular dream. Is there something in my life that God is trying to get me to pay attention to? Is there sin that needs to be resolved? Or my favorite – has the dream become an idol? (Ugh – the ugly mirror.) To have true breakthrough and understanding of what God is up to in our lives, we must be willing to confess every part we try to hide from God.
- Understand that there is more than one way for a dream to happen.Maybe the dream isn’t dead – maybe the method is. Maybe you have been working, trying and striving, and God is saying, “Wait.” Perhaps this is not the right time, the right method, or the right person. The dream is alive, but the way is differen
- Pay close attention to the other things God is doing in your life.Ten years ago, I wrote down 50 dreams I wanted to pray over and commit to God. 34 of those dreams have come to fruition. There are seven that I am still praying over. The other nine? I’ve come to understand they are not part of God’s plan for my life.
- Make Room for God to give you a new dream.Just because the dream is dead, doesn’t mean the dreamer is. And the author of our lives? He is alive and waiting for you to take part in His amazing plan for your life.
Pray that God would give you the desires of His heart, so that when you dream, you can live bigger than even you can imagine.
Dream boldly. Great things have been accomplished because God’s people dared to dream boldly. But listen carefully. Is God doing something new in your life that you need to make room for?
Dear Lord, Search me and reveal any way in me that isn’t aligned with Your plans. Help me dream big and boldly, and according to Your will.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
What dream have you had to let die? How did God show you that He was leading you in a different direction?
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