You have a dream in your heart. You fully believe God put it there himself, and you’ll stop at nothing to work towards this dream. You determine in your spirit to work hard, keep your eye on the goal, even doing something every day that will make what seems so out of grasp, a reality for which you’ve longed.
Enter on the scene – a dream killer.
You share it with someone you trust, hoping to hear their wise thoughts and encouragement. Instead you find your dream busted to pieces by the time you walk away, with negative, cynical words. They have other ideas and dreams for your life, yours is surely not one of them. And they don’t mind letting you know.
You look in the mirror, reminding yourself you must will to hold on. The pep talk begins. Yet your mind is filled with such self-doubt and fear. You listen to the lies whispered straight into your spirit, things you’ve heard from the past, broken records in your mind, “You’re not good enough,” “You can’t do that,” “Look at what others have done, you don’t even compare.” You slowly swallow every one, believing them to be true.
You look at the calendar, contemplating how much time has already gone by, how very busy you are, and how long you really need to make this dream happen. You decide to put it off until tomorrow, because seriously, what’s one more day?
Dashed hopes. Halted dreams. Left sitting in the big pile of washed up wishes, now neatly filed in the bucket list longings of “someday I’d like to do that.” Though unintentional and often unaware, many times we go through life allowing certain voices to be too loud. And we fail to listen to the Voice that matters most, the One who quite possibly planted the dream down deep in your soul from the start. We believe the dream killers instead of the Dream Giver.
We don’t have to live this way. We have a choice every day, to listen to God’s calling and believe beyond doubt that he has great purpose for us in life.
4 Big Dream Killers and How You Can Stop Them
From others or even from yourself. When we listen to this malicious chatter, it prevents us from moving forward. It’s suffocating. It’s discouraging. It takes focus off of God and magnifies every weakness we have. We can’t pursue our dreams when we’re filled with negative words and toxic people reminding us “how it can’t be done, why it shouldn’t be done, and 101 reasons why you’re not the person to do it.” The negative mindset can take many forms, but they’re all dream killers – cynicism, sarcasm, jealousy, bitterness, and even this one can be controlling – cold silence.
“The tongue has the power of life and death…” (Proverbs 18:21).
Choose to listen to God’s voice over the voices of others. You have control over what you allow into your thoughts and mind and what you choose to believe.
Quite possibly the biggest threat to your dream. Because if the enemy can get you to doubt yourself, he knows he’s pretty much won. Doubt will leave every longing on the table, with a list of reasons why you’re “not enough.” You’ll look at things from a million different angles, yet still come back to this one dangerous conclusion. You can’t do it. “God picked the wrong person for the job, I must have heard things incorrectly, was it really a dream God placed in my heart or just bad pizza from last night?” You stagger under the weight of all the “not good enough"s.
“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…” (Proverbs 23:7).
Choose to believe what God says about you. He’s the One who created you and put dreams and visions in your heart! He whispers to you, “You have purpose, you are valuable, you are amazing, your life has meaning…”
Paralyzing, gripping, stop you dead in your tracks kind of fear. Fear of people, fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of the unknown – it can take many different forms but they all lead to one result. You get stuck. You won’t move forward.
“Do not fear for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
Choose to trust God. Fear has won, until you determine in your heart, that you will keep taking steps forward, no matter how small. Even with your knees knocking, and your heart trembling, you stare it right in the face, believing more in the power of God over you, than the fear that seeks to hold you back.
The lie – “You don’t have time.” But really the truth may be we don’t want to make time. It seems too difficult. It’s going to cost us something. We’re already weary from other life responsibilities, why add to the madness? Days slip by, into months, then into years. Time we can never get back. “It’s too late for us anyway,” we reason in our thoughts that still seek to urge us on. Or maybe, “I’ll get to it when I really have time to focus on it.” Yet that day never comes, because we mistakenly believe we have an endless supply of tomorrows.
“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
Choose to pray and move forward as God leads and opens new doors. The truth is, we will always make time for what is most important to us. Maybe something else will have to go for a season. Maybe we can’t keep doing everything we’ve always done, in order to focus on achieving our dream.
Joseph had a dream. From the time he was just a boy, God put a dream in his heart. And yet the dream didn’t just “happen.” It was a long journey through many dream killers that sought to crush it all. Sold into slavery by his own jealous brothers, he lived years of struggle, facing temptation, slander, imprisonment, disillusionment. I wonder how many times he felt forgotten. I wonder how many times he wrestled with wondering if he had missed it somehow. I wonder how many days he spent having to choose forgiveness for those who hurt him, having to choose to believe God when nothing seemed to add up right. No matter the dream killers set up in his path, the dream lived on. And one day, it came true.
Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream. Wonderful, glorious, amazing dream. He inspired many by his words of wisdom and life; he helped to change the mindset of generations with his challenge to live free. Dream killers came. They took his life, but they could never take the dream. Because that dream lives on, still free, inspiring, and brave.
Don’t let others steal your dream, giving them control to dash your hopes. It’s too important to lay it down so carelessly. Don’t’ allow fear, self-doubt, negativity, and procrastination to prevent you from going where he has led you to go. God desires to do great things through you. He gives purpose and calling. We only have one chance at this life, make it count, for his glory.
“For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay” (Habakkuk 2:3).
Debbie McDaniel is a pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids and a few too many pets, dramatist and writer. She has a heart to communicate God's hope though the everyday moments of life - the good, the bad, the ugly, and the ones that take your breath away. A lover of every sunrise, forever needy of His grace, this Texas girl finds joy in the simple gift of each new day. Debbie invites you to join her at www.freshdayahead.com, and Facebook and Twitter.
Publication date: January 15, 2015