How to Turn Broken Dreams into New Beginnings
- Whitney Hopler Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2013 5 May
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.
Invest in supportive friendships. Spend time with some friends you can trust to encourage you as you heal from the death of your dream and move forward in life. Openly and honestly share your thoughts and feelings with them, and ask them to pray for you. Do the same for them whenever they need your support.
Ask God to fulfill good purposes through your suffering. The suffering you’ve gone through isn’t in vain. God has promised that He has good purposes in mind for allowing any kind of suffering to enter people’s lives. If you trust God to work in every part of your life, He will fulfill those good purposes. Just as Jesus’ suffering brought about forgiveness and life to all people who place their trust in Him, your suffering will also produce good results if you trust God to use it according to His will.
Take the new risks you sense God leading you to take. Don’t be afraid to start pursuing new dreams. Pray that God will show you whether or not those dreams align with His will for your life. If you sense that that they do, and the Holy Spirit is urging you to take the risks necessary to fulfill those dreams, don’t hesitate to take the risks so you can move forward with those new dreams.
Look forward to new dreams coming true in your life. Just because you’ve had some dreams die doesn’t mean that you won’t have other dreams come true. Remember that God is a good Father who loves to give good gifts to His children – so God does want to make some dreams come true for you. Keep trusting and expecting God to work in your life, making the right dreams come true at the right times and in the right ways.
Adapted from Resurrection Year: Turning Broken Dreams into New Beginnings, copyright 2012 by Sheridan Voysey. Published by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, Tn., www.thomasnelson.com.
Sheridan Voysey is a writer, speaker, and broadcaster on faith and spirituality. His books include the award-winning Unseen Footprints: Encountering the Divine Along the Journey of Life, and the three-volume series Open House: Sheridan Voysey in Conversation. He is married to Merryn, and lives and travels from Oxford, United Kingdom. Visit his website at: www.sheridanvoysey.com.
Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles.Contact Whitney at: firstname.lastname@example.org to send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer.
Publication date: December 11, 2012