“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.
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. ~ Psalm 90:12 (NIV)
I’ve never really paid attention to Leap Days in the past. Oh sure, I’ve watched the Amy Adam’s movie. And when I was eight, I fantasized about asking David Cassidy to marry me, and him not being able to say no. (Oh, and I would have taken Shaun, in a pinch. I wasn’t fussy.)
And when I was younger, and in a job I hated, I resented the extra day of work. Couldn’t we just leave February with 28 days and be done with it?
But now, I’m looking at this extra day as a bonus. Oh sure, work still needs to be done and errands run, but there is something inside of me that longs to do something different: to take this bonus day and refuse to let it march by.
In sixth grade, our teacher, Mrs. Lawrence, had us write letters to our future, eighteen-year-old selves. I was so surprised to get that letter from my parents. It was full of hope and excitement from eleven-year-old me, and it served as a reminder at eighteen, when I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders as I was making decisions about my future. I’d learned a lot, I had a lot of people in my life who loved me, and that I had a great capacity for hope.
So I’m going to recapture a little of that this Leap Day.
I’m going to send my future self a letter. My Leap Day 2020 (doesn’t that sound so futuristic, like we’ll all be flying around in cars that year?) self.
This will not be a list of goals that I should have accomplished, but a list of things that I’m learning. My hopes and my dreams.
Things I’m planning on including:
Bible verses that are meaningful to me this year.
The way I feel about my relationship with Roger.
Why I’m proud of my kids.
My thoughts about how I’m growing as a person, and where I hope to be in 2020.
Who I hope I’m growing into.
No – it’s not a list of goals, but it is some ideals that I want to become. I know, that just by writing them down, I have a much greater chance of seeing them realized than if I just keep them in my head.
I don’t know how this is going to turn out. It could be a colossal waste of time. Or it could just turn out to be something pretty fantastic.
If this is something you want to try, head on over to https://www.futureme.org/ and write yourself a letter. And perhaps let your kids write one too. How fun would that be?
Give your future self something to look forward to.
Speaking of giving yourself something to look forward to…
Have you gotten a ticket to an upcoming Finally Clutter Free event yet? I’ll be in Merced, CA this weekend and Modesto, CA on March 5.
Get more information and links to get your tickets here.
Warning: February 14th can be a hard day for any woman not living inside the pages of a fiction novel or in an Anne Hathaway romcom.
We spend so much time here at Clutter Free talking about how to declutter your home, but we all know the truth:
Decluttering starts with our hearts and minds. When we can be focused and intentional about what emotions and thoughts we let in (and which ones we keep from taking up a chair and sitting down for a cup of coffee) it goes a long way to practicing peace.
And yes – emotions are at a high when bad things happen – a death, illness, financial trouble.
But I find that when the world tells us Valentine’s is “supposed” to be a great day — filled with flowers, poems, secret admirers, and declarations of undying love, well—that can set us up for disappointment in a way no crisis can.
This has been a struggle for me in the past.
The friend who got 2 dozen roses delivered to work and my total haul was a card I got from a coworker.
When I was going through my divorce and wondered if I would ever have someone to love me again.
The time the guy I was dating broke up with me on February 13th. (True story.)
Following are five suggestions to help you begin de-cluttering your heart before Cupid’s arrow hits you between the eyes this Valentine’s Day.
1. Avoid the Comparison Trap – It’s easy to fall into the idea that Valentines’ Day “should” be a certain way. The best way to stop comparison is to disengage from social media, at least for this day. That way, you won’t be tempted to compare your situation with someone else.
2. Take the Air Out of the Holiday
Want a perfect recipe for disaster?
Try to get a reservation on Valentine’s Day
Pay a babysitter on Valentine’s Day
Expect flowers on Valentine’s Day
Why not celebrate your love on a different day?
First, it lowers crazy expectations.
Second, it’s easier to find someone to help you take care of the kiddos.
Finally, you can actually get a reservation somewhere if you want to go to dinner. (Or do like we do, try a great, but cheap ethnic food place for Adventure Dining. All the romance, but my guy doesn’t have to wear a tie!)
Go for fun instead of tradition and make the holiday your own.
3. Practice Peace – Valentine’s Day can be fun, romantic, and yummy (if there’s chocolate involved), but it can also be stressful. Did I get the right card? What time is dinner again? Too many things to juggle and your joy can get zapped. Practice being mindful that God is peace. And since He lives in you, you have peace.
4. Celebrate Life Everyday – We can hype the idea that we are celebrating the day of love. But really? Are we? Showing loved ones love does not have to be on Valentine’s Day. You can show love and appreciation everyday. Celebrate the beauty of everyday joy and love.
And on this Valentine’s, instead of waiting for others to show their love, go out and create some. Bring some candy to the janitor at your kid’s school, take a balloon to your next door neighbor who lives alone, and spend some extra time snuggling your dog.
Don’t wait to be adored. Go out and create loving moments.
5. Practice Being Happy for Others – Someone else is going to have a nicer dress, a cooler card, and the bigger flower arrangement. Be happy for them. This may be exactly what they needed after a really rough time in their marriage or in their life. Practice having an inner attitude of positive feelings and thoughts about others.
If this a holiday that can be hurtful, don’t be hard on yourself. It is for a lot of women I speak to. But, don’t let bitterness ruin your day. Think on these verses that can put your day in perspective.
If you need a boost and a confidence builder for your Clutter Free lifestyle, Kickstart to Clutter Free is the perfect way to get started. In just 14 days, Kathi gives you simple steps in getting rid of 500 things. We’ve been hearing from people all over the country that are having great success with the Kickstart eCourse. Find out more here.
When was the last time you made time for yourself? Like literally planning nothing? Now sure, you may write on your calendar ‘get pedicure’ (that counts) but there is this GLORIOUS thing on a calendar called white space. Have you heard of it?? It is literally that… space for nothing. You should try and add some white space to that busy calendar of yours! (for inspiration check out this podcast we did last Finding Whitespace during Christmas)
Assignment: Find one way to refresh and recharge yourself. Here are some ideas;
get lunch with a friend
take a long hot shower
read a book in a cozy chair with a hot cup of tea
browse Pinterest mindlessly for one hour guilt free
watch a great Christmas classic on TV
call a friend and talk for long enough it felt like a visit
choose 2 days next month on the calendar for white space
Lest you be tempted, today is not a catch up day, it’s a RELAX day. You deserve it once in a while. Besides, you will be so much more effective when you do.
Need some fun inspiration for ideas for an upcoming gathering? Evite has a new look (similar to Pinterest) and you can just take one hour and aimlessly look! How fun is that? Click here to browse.
Pat Layton is a busy Speaker, Author and Life Coach specializing in “Dream Design” for women. Her post abortion recovery bible study Surrendering the Secret was published by Lifeway in 2008. She has recently published a bible studies gift book series called Born to Bloom, A Surrendered Life was released by Baker books in August 2014 as well as her latest release (March 2015) called Life UnStuck “Peace with the Past; Purpose in the Present and Passion for the Future”. Patricia K. Layton, Wife of 37 years, Mom of 3, Mother in “love” of 2 beautiful young women and “G” (grandmother) of 5 (3 boys and 2 girls).