When I’ve laid in bed suffering the effects of depression and anxiety, dreams sparked here and there but I had little energy to do anything with them. Still, I fought hard for those dreams to not die out completely. Somehow, I knew that if I refused to give them space in my mind and heart, I would stay stuck in the pain.
My desperation was just as much about the hurt and loss I experienced, and not experiencing more loss, as it was about healing and learning to live with smiles again. If the enemy can get us to stop dreaming, he gets us to stop feeling, loving, creating, giving, and serving. He gets us to stop living for the God of all Creation and seeking our place within it.
Sounds like a dreadful place to me. How about you?
Are you struggling to see that God has more for you than what you’re experiencing today? Dear one, please know that God has not left you. He has not forgotten the desires of your heart or the preciousness of your life.
What do we do when those dreams don’t come true? Even the ones we believe are wholly designed by God and given for good things? Whether our dreams are centered on self or God, the incompletion of them tests our faith. The foundation we’ve chosen to stand on is found out. Solid rock or shifting sand?
How we do keep believing, keep hoping, and keep moving when we feel stuck on the shards of broken dreams?
A dream unfulfilled brings with it a sense of loss.
When something we’ve wanted and desired, something we’ve held on to and put our hope in, has fallen apart or never come to fruition at all we are faced with a very real loss and a powerful human need to grieve that loss.
Loss comes when someone or something dies. Loss comes when someone or something desired is never born. Whether we see it as big or small, a loss is a loss and it impacts our hearts and lives.
The marriage that falls apart, the child who wanders away, the job that never was, the business that never got off the ground, an illness that threatens your abilities, the relationship which isn’t what you thought it was, and the inability of others to fulfill what only God can. Whatever kind of loss it is, it is painful. Yet, we stay stuck in the pain if we don't choose to grieve the loss.
Sometimes, we are living stuck and don’t even realize it. We continue to push our agenda and fight for things to be the way we desire. In doing so, we keep ourselves stuck because we haven’t accepted the truth of our situation.
When we come to accept the reality of not having the thing we want, we face loss for what it is and give ourselves the opportunity to heal and move forward well. God will meet us in the grieving and in the living.
We might even be living out one of the facets of grief, such as sadness or anger, without allowing ourselves to feel and experience the other aspects. Our human tendency is to feel guilty or less-than when loss causes us to weep or rage. We want to shut it all down. But if we don't let ourselves feel what we need to feel, we could find ourselves tricked into believing we're moving ahead before we’re truly able.
Maybe it feels like moving forward one day at a a time because you’ve decided to put on the brave face and push out the thoughts of what hurts, but without choosing to grieve the losses in our lives, we will live stuck. The movements we make are likely found to be in circles and never really going where God wants to take us, into the land of greater peace, joy, and freedom.
Could it be, precious one, there is something in your heart which needs allowance to grieve more completely? Could it be, there's a loss you thought you left behind, but really a grumbling agony has been stuck inside for far too long?
Choose to grieve.
CULTIVATE through GRIEVING:
Begin with prayer and tell God where you’re at. What you're feeling. He already knows.
Grab some paper and a pen and write it out. Whether you enjoy writing or abhor it, this process is powerful for the way it works out our emotions. Write just for you and for God. If you need to get angry, get honest and get angry. God will not leave you. Feel free to destroy what you write when you have written it.
Dear one, I know the trembling of a heart which desires to see more goodness, but fears the pain of badness. Your Father in heaven knows it too. He grieved so deeply for what he was about to endure at the cross, on our behalf, that he wept to the point of bloodied tears in a garden while his friends slept. He will be with you as you go.
If what you’re facing is particularly challenging, choose community. Perhaps a counselor too. Find someone safe to walk this with you. Confess to them that it is time to allow your heart space to grieve what wasn’t and may never be, because you are choosing now to see the beauty of what’s ahead.