This week, a dream died.
I thought it would be much harder to let it go. I could have pitched a fit, cried, screamed, and fought back. I really could have…I know how to do those things, well.
This dream was tucked inside a lot of prayer. It was chock full of good intentions, overflowing with vision, and nestled amongst some very well laid plans.
The thing about this dream was that it was born as an offering. I never really took full possession of it. I owned it in the sense of doing the work and exerting the effort, but this dream came to me on a whisper of caution…it wasn’t mine to keep.
From the moment this dream took root in my heart, God was preparing me to let it go.
I can admit that to you in hindsight. Don’t think I was smart enough to figure it out from the get go. I had subtle hints, gentle nudges, and an unease in the very depths of my heart that told me that this thing would only ever be a vision. But, I kept pressing on. I thought maybe God would change His mind and let me have it. Nope.
This dream was never paired with peace. But, I can’t honestly say that was its fatal flaw. I’ve been taught as I’ve grown up in the Lord that if the plan didn’t bring peace, then it wasn’t blessed by God. I don’t think that’s always the case. This dream stretched me. It was completely outside of my comfort zone. It made me take risks, push the limits, question the culture, and maybe even rock the boat a little. None of those things bring me peace…ever.
I don’t think God’s goal for me this go around was peace. I think He wanted to teach me that sometimes He needs us to work really hard at something, not for the thing itself but for the more lasting lessons…growth, surrender, and the really big one…trust.
This dream went up in flames, but among its ashes are priceless treasures. God’s fingerprints are on each jewel I pull out of the dust.
He showed me that it’s not failure when you give it your all and in the words of Teddy Roosevelt, “dare greatly”. I understand that there aren’t always absolutes and guarantees. I know that I am my own worst critic and I’ve got to stop being so hard on myself. Seriously, I’ve got to stop!
I see that some walls simply can’t be scaled because they are just bigger than you. Some things are so entrenched in tradition that there is simply no freedom to move them.
I see that every dream comes on the wings of grace and sometimes God asks you to let it fly. It’s cliche…but if He gives it back to you, only then was it truly yours. Sometimes, He breathes fresh life into it.
God loves to make His dreams for us come true. But often, we take off running, waving to God as we run by Him pursuing our dreams, instead of His. Sometimes He needs us to stop and listen to the purpose of the dream. Others times He needs us to slow down and catch His vision (not our own). And, sometimes He needs us to all together get out of the way and let it go.
My role was to trust Him with my dream and in this case, His role was to rescue me from it. And when He whispered the final “let it go” I heard Him loud and clear and I opened up my hands and released it on a prayer.
This was my prayer – Lord, set me free to serve you honestly and trust you without boundaries.
And on that prayer, a new dream was born. It’s not perfectly laden in peace either, because hard things often are not. It’s from Him and I’ll hold this one loosely too because I’ve learned that His dreams for me are much greater than the ones I dream for myself.
Dream with Him, not ahead of Him.
** On my dream path, there are often dark moments wrought with self doubt, anxiety, and fear. These words of encouragement, from those who have walked the path before me, are a healing balm to my soul. I read these often, pin them where I can see them, and I ask God to help me keep my eyes fixed on Him. I have no doubt I’ll continue to do so on the journey ahead. I hope they refresh you too.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Teddy Roosevelt
The Set Me Free Prayer
“Jesus, set me free from others expectations of me, my perfectionism that stresses me out and the fear that seems to be my constant companion. Instead, would You be my constant companion? Replace my worry with winsome faith. Replace my fright with settled joy. Replace my striving with true, relaxing peace. Amen.”
Mary DeMuth www.marydemuth.com