“If God can do this for me, He can do it for anyone.”
“What if you gave up on your dream today, and tomorrow was the day that it came true.”
“Never let your dreams die!”
You’ve been working so hard – maybe it’s a business, a ministry, a relationship – and you realize it’s not happening. You keep praying and hustling and for some reason, some unknown reason, the thing that you knew was supposed to happen, the thing you felt in your bones was God’s will for your life, is not happening.
I’ve felt this several times.
- The job as manager of a bridal boutique when I was in my early 20’s.
- My first marriage.
- A radio show. (For two different major ministries.)
Oh there are many more. But these three? I remember where I was standing, what I was wearing, who I was with when that particular dream died.
One of these dreams was killed for me. It was a long painful death that caused me a lot of hurt and heartbreak. And the other two? I had to be the one to let it go – to make the decision that these particular dreams were over and it was time to move on.
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 I had those voices inside my head (and later, on Facebook) that 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.
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 prayer for, prepared for, and invested in? How do you say goodbye? Here are some hard steps I’ve needed to wrestle through:
1 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 many times we try to explain away disappointment instead of feeling out way through it. It is good and right to grieve a dream that will never happen. It is important to acknowledge this was important to you. And then, there is a process of letting go. For me, this process involves praying, reading God’s word, talking with trusted people (my close circle of friends, my husband, my pastor,) 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.
1. Denial – refusing to let the dream die
2. Anger – Feelings of injustice that the dream is being taken away
3. Bargaining – Trying to make deals with God to get the dream back
4. Depression – Mourning the loss of the dream
5. Acceptance – Moving on and making room for a new dream.
But I believe for those of us who know God, there is a 6th step to grief.
6. 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.
2. Spend some time wrestling with God. It might be worth examining whether there was a reason 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.) Psalm 139:23 says “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” That is a bold verse to pray, but in order 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.
3. 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.” Maybe, this is not the right time, the right method, or the right person. The dream is alive, but the way is different.
4. 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 that they are not part of God’s plan for my life.
And that is just fine with me.
When you see the other areas where God is moving and growing you, it’s easier to give up the things that no longer matter, that are no longer important. It’s so much easier to let a dream die when you have a record of all the great things He has done.
5. 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?
What dream have you had to let die?
Many women find it easy to pray for the concerns and well-being of others. But when it comes to praying for themselves, it’s another story. If you are letting go of a dream and want to pray through your grief (which I highly recommend) Praying God’s Word for Your Life is a great tool to walk you through the experience.
In this book, I give you simple strategies that will:
· create a habit of praying with renewed boldness
· generate the desire for consistency in her prayer life
· provide proper expectations to see her prayers fulfilled in God’s ultimate plan for her life.
I admit, consistency is not one of my “gifts”.
For most of my life, every week I had a new, “better” place to keep my keys. (Sadly, I was never, ever, able to find my keys, so the test of “better” could never really be proven.)
I used to consider myself free-spirited. But as I’ve gotten a little bit older (and hopefully, the teensiest bit wiser), I’ve seen that “free-spirited” is really the self-indulgent way of saying “flaky”. I do some random things and hope they work out in the end.
And when it comes to finding my keys, well, that has some built in consequences when I’m being free-spirited.
But when it comes to real life? Sometimes those consequences take a little longer to show up.
As I’ve looked at people who I want to be like when I grow up – the ones who are spiritually mature – the ones who as doing what they know God has called them to, one of the traits that I see over and over again is consistency.
Recently, I had a budding author ask me to share the inside secrets of becoming a published author. (I get this question all the time: “How do I get published?”) But she, and most other people, don’t like the answer.
“By writing every day, going to writers conferences, and learning everything you can about the business. “
She didn’t have time for that. She wants to be published this year.
That is what led me to share this post on my personal Facebook page. About the people who show up. Consistently, every day.
Are you ready to receive all that God has for you?
I believe that one of the most overlooked and under-appreciated traits of people who are doing big things in this world on behalf of God is faithfulness.
Those who show up every single day, not knowing if they are going to succeed or not, but knowing that they are doing the right thing.
The people who work hard at building up what God has called them to, but also recognize that building into other people, every single day, has eternal rewards we may never recognize here on earth.
I’ve seen it happen again and again. We think we are ready for the next big step, that we will just “catch up” when big things happen. But we need to be preparing and building in advance every, single day for what God wants us to do in the future.
By being in His word so when the big things come, we have the wisdom to know what to do with them.
By being grateful to Him for the small victories, so when the big things come, we don’t forget who those victories belong to.
By practicing faithfulness in the small things so that when the big things come, we don’t forget who we are being faithful to.
By investing in others, so when the big things come, we don’t forget whose family invested in us.
There is no shortcut to faithfulness, which is what leads to wisdom. It needs to be practiced in the “little things” times, so that when the “big things” come, wisdom is second nature.
God has big things for you.
Are you ready?
If you’ve been waiting to get Praying God’s Word for Your Husband, the ebook version is only $.99 through March 5. You can get it on your Kindle, Nook, etc. Get it on Amazon here http://ow.ly/EbeVd.
What People Think
“Thank you Kathi Lipp for writing what women think and feel. Before this book I thought I was praying for my husband but I wasn’t. Praying the Word of God is the best and only way to truly pray. There is nothing like inserting my husband’s name and my name in those verses. Thank you! thank! you thank you!” – Chance Perard, Amazon Reviewer
This week Kathi has been flying all over speaking to audiences so we decided to go into the vault and bring back a favorite. We can all use a reminder to come closer to especially as we head into the holidays.
Do you want God more than anything else?
After a quick trip down memory lane (does anyone else still use Elizabeth Arden Sunflower perfume like Kathi does?), this week’s guest, Lisa Whittle, author of I Want God, shows us how to find spiritual revival in the midst of our crazy, scary lives. She helps us see that a close, deep, deconstructed relationship with God is not only possible, but is actually simple to get. She tells us how:
• We can get over our fear of revival and get started on a journey to go deeper with God in a real way.
• The disconnect between our desire for God to deconstruct us and the fear that he will can stand in the way of our spiritual growth.
• To allow yourself to fully feel the God hunger within you and then to do something about it.
• Christians can hop off the roller coaster of passion with God for a truly, deep relationship with our God.
Download Lisa’s free 7-day Wanting God devotional to start your own soul revival. Plus, tell us in what area of your life your heart is crying for God most and you will be entered to win a free copy of Lisa’s book I Want God.
Are there areas in your life where you don’t have the freedom to do what God wants you to do?
Are there things in the past that keep you stuck where you are making it hard to move forward?
In Life Unstuck: Finding Peace with Your Past, Purpose in Your Present, Passion for Your Future, Pat Layton helps you get past stuck and on to the life you were created to live. Listen as Kathi and Erin ask Pat questions on how to get Unstuck.
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds. -Theodore Roosevelt
Perhaps it takes a purer faith to praise God for unrealized blessings than for those we once enjoyed or those we enjoy now. -A.W. Tozer
Thanksgiving is a time when the world gets to see just how blessed and how workable the Christian system is. The emphasis is not on giving or buying, but on being thankful and expressing that appreciation to God and to one another. – John Clayton
Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse. – Henry Van Dyke
Dear Lord; we beg but one boon more: Peace in the hearts of all men living, peace in the whole world this Thanksgiving. – Joseph Auslander
Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude. -E.P. Powell
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. -John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Remember God’s bounty in the year. String the pearls of His favor. Hide the dark parts, except so far as they are breaking out in light! Give this one day to thanks, to joy, to gratitude! -Henry Ward Beecher
If we meet someone who owes us thanks, we right away remember that. But how often do we meet someone to whom we owe thanks without remembering that? – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving. – W. T. Purkiser
“Gratitude can transform common days into Thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” -William Arthur Ward
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into God’s presence with singing!
Know that the Lord is God! It is he that made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him, bless his name!
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures for ever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
Praise the Lord.
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who have pleasure in them.
Full of honor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures for ever.
He has caused his wonderful works to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and merciful.
He provides food for those who fear him; he is ever mindful of his covenant.
He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the heritage of the nations.
The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy,
they are established for ever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant for ever. Holy and awesome is his name!
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
a good understanding have all those who practice it. His praise endures for ever!
We Give Thanks
Our Father in Heaven,
We give thanks for the pleasure
Of gathering together for this occasion.
We give thanks for this food
Prepared by loving hands.
We give thanks for life,
The freedom to enjoy it all
And all other blessings.
As we partake of this food,
We pray for health and strength
To carry on and try to live as You would have us.
This we ask in the name of Christ,
Our Heavenly Father.
– Harry Jewell
And just for giggles…
What we’re really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets. I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving? -Erma Bombeck, “No One Diets on Thanksgiving,” 26 November 1981
What is born from the restless moments in your life?
Jennie Allen, the author of Restless and Anything and the founder of IF Gathering, believes that God burdens our souls with the people who he wants us to reach. Listen in as she gives you simple tools and ideas to:
• Be faithful where God puts you, regardless of how big, how small or how chaotic your dream is.
• Move in obedience when God gives you a burden in your heart.
• How to help raise up a generation of people that love Jesus with our entire hearts so that we can be unleashed to move in big ways for His kingdom.
Listen as Jennie Allen shares her heart behind the IF Gathering and get some ideas on how you can become part of it. Plus, head to IF: Table to sign up to host your IF: Table.
What is IF: Table? A place to gather women and share a simple meal and dive deep with people over real stories and Christ centered conversations. A time for a whole lot of laughter — and maybe a few tears — but time spent that leaves us with glad hearts. Full hearts. Grateful hearts.