How to Turn Broken Dreams into New Beginnings
- Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Sheridan Voysey's upcoming book, Resurrection Year: Turning Broken Dreams into New Beginnings (Thomas Nelson, 2013).
Have you ever had a dream you hoped would come true break apart instead? From a dream of parenthood that’s dashed by infertility to a dream about a career that eludes you when you can’t get a job in your field, broken dreams are a fact of life in this fallen world.
Experiencing a broken dream in your life can make you feel as if your hope has died along with your dream. But broken dreams are more than just endings; they’re also opportunities for new beginnings. The sadness and anger you feel can give way to peace and joy – if you choose to trust God to help you move on from the death of your dream to experience a life that’s full of His resurrection power.
Here’s how you can turn broken dreams into new beginnings:
Switch from asking “why?” to asking “what?” when praying about what has happened. It won’t help you to ask God why a certain dream died; He usually doesn’t reveal the reasons why He allows suffering to enter our lives because the reasons are often beyond our ability to truly understand from our limited perspective. But it will help you to switch your focus to asking what you should do now that it has happened. You can expect God to answer that question by guiding you to the next steps that would be best for you to take.
Let Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection inspire you. The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus is the ultimate example of the truth that new beginnings come after the death of something. You can count on God to do something new in your life after one of your dreams dies, if you invite God to do so.
Say farewell to what has been. Say goodbye to your broken dream by accepting the reality that it won’t come true and letting go of what reminds you of it (for example, giving away baby clothes and equipment you’d been saving for a child, after you’ve stopped infertility treatments and adoption plans). Grieve for your dream that has died, and then consider what you hope God may resurrect in your relationship with Him as you move on and pursue healing.
Prepare yourself for change. Expect God to change you into someone who is more like Jesus through the healing process. Prepare yourself to engage with God’s work in your life by focusing less on doing (so you’re not distracted by being too busy with activities that don’t ultimately matter) and more on being (focusing on rest that renews your spirit and helps you notice how God is working in your life). Decide to make the most of the life you have by pursuing the adventures on which God leads you.
Place your trust in God. In the face of the hard reality that God didn’t answer your prayers the way you’d wanted, keep in mind that there are many complexities involved that determine how God answers prayers, and you can’t understand them all from your limited perspective. Understand that God may have withheld the answer you’d wanted in response to your prayers about your dream because, in doing so, God prevented something bad from happening that you didn’t realize would happen if He had granted your request. But God does promise in the Bible that He will work out everything for the good of those who love Him. Choose to that God will fulfill that promise in your life.
Be confident that your broken dream hasn’t broken your identity. The death of your dream may have changed your role, position, or status in life. But rest assured that nothing can change your identity as one of God’s beloved children. Know that you are significant and valuable to God, whether or not your dreams succeed. So don’t base your sense of self-worth on how well your dreams do or don’t work out. Instead, have confidence that your identity in Christ makes you a person of great worth, no matter what.
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