Dreams Dashed

Dreams are funny things, filled with unclear images and memories. Sometimes the dreams we have are influenced by the last thing we saw or read before we laid our head on the pillow. Some people claim that their dreams are very different depending on what they eat. For me, my dreams can be impacted most by what is dominating my thoughts in the waking hours.

I have day dreams that are more like fantasies. These are the dreams of conscious thought, over which we have some degree of control. In our day dreams, we can grant ourselves our heart’s desire. Sometimes these dreams are shared. One of the most famous speeches of our times begins, “I have a dream…” A dream like this shared can have a powerful impact. For most of us, they are just simple thoughts of a future we envision.

Unfortunately, most peoples day dreams don’t become a reality. They imagine a reality that can’t come to pass for various reasons. Maybe it is their own poor decisions, shooting themselves in the foot. The dream could be destroyed by the choices of others or by what is universally deemed, “bad luck”. For the majority of people, they will experience something different in the future than what they imagined. People’s lives are often defined more by their response when their dreams don’t come true as they are by the dreams they held in the first place.

I suspect many people over the course of the last year have had the experience of seeing their dreams derailed, or perhaps shattered all together. I know that my 2020 began with very different dreams for the future than I currently possess. So, what do we do when our dreams don’t or can’t come to pass? If we look at how people responded over the last year, we see many unhealthy choices. Depression is common and people turn to substance abuses, reality-escaping endeavours and most tragically, suicide.

This suggests that dreams dashed can become nightmares for many. When people find their expectations unfulfilled it seems clear that they don’t have healthy tools to process their disappointment. As a Christian, I find my hope in these circumstances in God. We have the grace to start over and find our strength in Christ. Just being a Christian doesn’t guarantee someone is fully prepped for the end of a dream. Both believers and non-believers can struggle during these times.

Two weeks ago, I wrote an article about the opportunity to “Begin again, again“. In Christ, we are not expected to be perfect, but to be forgiven in Christ for our mistakes and sins. We pursue Him with a whole-hearted devotion and when we screw up, we can trust in His love and grace providing the forgiveness we need.

If you are someone struggling with broken dreams, there are people who want to know about those struggles. As someone who studied counseling, I know about the special calling of people who want to help in circumstances like these. When our dreams get dashed we need to:

  • Stop and breath, don’t panic
  • Talk to a friend or family member or get help from a professional
  • Take time to remember the good that has come before
  • Remember that the God of the universe declared the following for people just like you

17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. 18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:17-18 (NIV)

Today, at the beginning of 2021, I have very different dreams than I had at the start of 2020. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Life changes, we change and our dreams change. That is a normal part of this existence. If you can’t find the hope today that doesn’t mean there won’t be hope tomorrow. If you haven’t yet placed your hope in Jesus Christ, He is truly the God of the brokenhearted and the one who saves those who are crushed in Spirit. The Bible tells us how that salvation may be found.

If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 10:9 (NLT)

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