Dreaming Isn’t All Dandelions and Daffodils

Dreams can be difficult.

They aren’t all sunshine and rainbows, or to keep my alliteration going, dandelions and daffodils.

As much as we’ve talked about chasing our dreams, I really hope I haven’t painted a romanticized picture of what that looks like. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. Often we look longingly at people who have achieved dreams without seeing what it took to get there.

Like we discussed in Doing the Dream, accomplishing our dreams can be grueling work. But even beyond that our dreams may demand difficult decisions.

Chasing our #Dreams may demand difficult decisions. Click To Tweet

A few months ago I wrestled with this.

I had been invited to speak at a women’s conference in California. The planning began more than a year out. My husband agreed with my desire to participate. I accepted the invitation and my excitement mounted with every detail we hashed out via Skype over four time zones and on two continents. Even my kids were fired up for me. I purchased plane tickets, prayed for the planning and the attendees, and practiced every chance I got. I auditioned countless outfits. I was finally getting the chance to do what I’d been dreaming of for years.

Then about a month before the conference, we received the schedule for my son’s confirmation classes and discovered his first communion was the same weekend.

I was devastated.

My husband and I deliberated. We prayed. We consulted our Pastor. We weighed the options. Finally we talked with our son. By the grace of God he wasn’t nearly as torn up about it as I was. That made this mama’s heart proud (and a little wounded, too).

I went to California carrying a message of hope. It was beautiful to see the dream God gave me come to life. To watch Him move in their hearts. To feel Him move in mine. I helped the women create a tangible reminder of what God had already accomplished in their lives. I missed my family terribly and couldn’t help but shed a few tears when I knew my son was participating in an age old sacrament for the first time.

It’s too soon to tell if this event will eventually drive my son into counseling, but I believe we made the right decision. Even though it was hard. And my son learned about responsibility and sacrificial service.

Sometimes we run into choices that feel crippling:

     A basketball game with my boys or writing the next chapter.

     A long run or Saturday morning cartoons with the kids.

     Reading research material or children’s books.

     Forking over funds for a training course or saving for college.

You get the idea. Whatever your dream is, there are things you’ll have to do to achieve it and choices you’ll have to make in its pursuit. Here are five steps I use to work through tough decisions.

Pray for wisdom.

God’s Word promises to fill us with it. He will be faithful to lead and guide us when we commit to following Him. Sometimes God will give you an option you hadn’t yet considered.

Mine your motives.

This is one of my favorite phrases. Ask yourself why you want to do something or why you would choose not to. Honestly assess your motivation against Scripture.

Talk it out.

Have a conversation with all parties affected. Consult a trusted advisor. You may be surprised at what God has laid on the heart of someone else. Sharing your struggles not only deepens your connection with those involved, but helps them understand your motives, and potentially softens the blow of disappointment.

Make a decision.

At some point, you just have to choose. Dreams aren’t accomplished by wringing the hands. We have to decide one way or the other and then get back to doing the dream in light of our decision.

Pray for peace.

Once you’ve decided, ask God to fill you with His peace. If He doesn’t, you might need to start the process over again.

God uses hard decisions to draw us closer to Him, to remind us we can do nothing apart from Him, and in some cases to prepare us to stand firm when faced with greater challenges.

Not all of the answers will be obvious. Occasionally they may seem counterintuitive. Sometimes we’ll choose the dream. Other days different priorities will rule. We might miss out on good things. Or we may choose to be present for those but squeeze in work late at night or early in the morning. Remember, God-given dreams will never require us to abdicate responsibilities He has already given us. But that might not always look like we expect. I can’t choose for you. I’ve struggled myself. All I can do is remind you to include God in your decision-making process.

When dreams demand hard decisions pray, mine your motives, talk it out, decide, then pray again.

When #dreams demand hard decisions pray, mine your motives, talk it out, decide, then pray again. Click To Tweet

Don’t miss the other great posts in this series:

Daring to Dream

Discovering the Dream

Dreaming with a Dose of Discernment

Doing the Dream

Dreaming Doesn’t Mean Discontent

When Drudgery Dulls Dreams

When Dreams are Delayed

Death of a Dream

Laying Down the Dream

(re)Designing the Dream

Defending the Dream

And coming Soon:

Living the Dream

When the Dream is Daunting

Dare to Dream Again

For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne EllerThought Provoking Thursday, Susan B. Mead, Faith Filled Friday, Grace and TruthFaith and Fellowship FridayGrace and Truth Friday, Good Morning Monday, Soul SurvivalMonday Musings, Rah Rah Link Up, Tell His StoryWoman to Woman Wednesday, Women With Intention Wednesday, Sitting Among Friends, Testimony Tuesday, Planting Roots, and Fresh Market Friday.

34 thoughts on “Dreaming Isn’t All Dandelions and Daffodils

  1. Oh my goodness, yes! Those decisions are so hard. I have some encouragement in that area. I used to agonize over milestones missed with my boy. (Oh, the inner-struggle!) Sometimes I felt like a terrible mother if I had to miss a school program, ball game, etc. The funny thing is, now that he’s turning 17 this month, he doesn’t remember most of the those times I felt guilty for missing! Or, he shrugs it off as no big deal. That’s turned out to be part of his mellow nature. Me? Not so mellow:) Thank you for these steps, Liz! They will definitely help with balancing life and feeling confident with those decisions we make. Love love love this series!

  2. I feel this tension so often — the choosing between two very good things, the moments away from my boys that feel like abandonment to me but feel like independence and adventure to them. Your words remind me that we need a close following in order to discern our path. So glad to hear about your trip to California!

    1. Thanks, Michele! You’re so right! I do hope that’s how my boys will learn to see the times I am away. Besides, I do think I little “man time” is good for all of my boys, my husband included. Blessings!

  3. Mine your motives – I love that phrase. I’m going to steal it 🙂 I’m really good at analyzing and processing my thoughts, but “mining my motives” sounds way better 🙂

  4. Hi Liz! I love your perspective on this. This is a tough topic because I don’t like making tough choices. But you’ve really helped me to put things into perspective, and your comment about your son going into therapy made me laugh out loud!

    Your fellow linker over at Arabah joy’s blog party,
    Tiffiney

    1. Tiffiney… If this doesn’t send him in search of a good counselor, I’m sure there are plenty of other ways he’ll think I ruined his life. 😉 Blessings to you and your’s!

  5. I’m sure God’s grace will cover the opportunities you had to miss, Liz. Yes, it is so hard when we have conflicting events! I feel your pain. You’re right that dreams aren’t always easy; they come with difficult decisions. But thankful that God is with us all the way.

  6. Hi Liz,
    You are an amazing woman of God. What obedience and courage to take that step of faith as well as make that sacrifice. Thanks for the inspiration.

  7. So true- dreams often involve making difficult decisions. It can be so hard when both choices seem good and whatever decision we make we can feel like we’re missing out on something. It is so important to pray and discuss with others.

    1. Life is so full of choices and I think it helps to have a strong sense of priorities and the eternal value of our every action. Blessings!

  8. Yes, making those decisions is difficult. But deliberating over our decisions through prayer is a wise choice of action. I’m praying for more discernment and that I apply His wisdom as I move forward. Thanks, Liz!

  9. Mine your motives! I absolutely love this, Liz! So true as it talking it through. Often we think we know someone’s input, but really don’t until we talk it over. Thanks for the practical tips!

    1. It’s a phrase that really resonates with me in SO many situations!! And yes, it is so important to communicate with others instead of guessing… blessings!

  10. Liz, what a great post, and your story about your son resonated. In pursuing my dream, I’ve had to say no to some things in order to say yes to this dream. I so appreciated your five steps. And the mine your motives step is key, isn’t it?

    I’m so glad you had the chance to speak at the conference. And that your family supports you! That’s such an important piece.

    1. I do think it’s the key… it all starts in the heart! I’m so thankful for my hubby and kids who support this… such a a blessing!

  11. Oh what hard decisions we have to make. It’s easier when we are confident in our calling. We can trust that God is leading us in the right direction and that he will take care of those other things that tug at us.

  12. Thanks for acknowledging that chasing your dreams is hard. I’m at the stage where some new dreams are just beginning to take shape, and I know not to expect all dandelions and daffodils (love this phrase!) but I also know if the dream is God’s will, he will see it through.

    1. Amen, Bella! If we don’t acknowledge the challenges associated with dreaming we won’t be prepared to go the distance when things get difficult! Blessing upon your new dreams!

  13. I love your illustration of choosing between your God-given Dream of serving Him and your God-given beloved son’s milestone. I can’t help but think of Abraham and Isaac and what a difficult decision to choose between two of some of the closest things to your heart! So grateful that you have the wisdom and words to share these insightful steps when standing at a crossroads. Thank you for sharing!

  14. Thanks for these comforting words, Liz. Up until this year I was a homeschooling mama. Now that two of mine are adults and the last one went to a private high school for the first time this year — I feel torn between the person I used to be and the writer I’m becoming. I want to be both, but the writing thing takes so much time — I sometimes miss the girl who just worried about cleaning and cooking. It’s good to be reminded that there will always be this tension in big and small ways and that God is ready with help. Thank you, Liz. ((xoxo))

    1. I too think about what it would be like to not have this dream. About watching TV mid-day. About taking more naps. But I cannot imagine not writing. God is always there to help us! Blessings!

  15. Good and practical tips on making a decision. Some decisions feel like they’re bending your brain out your ears. So often, it’s my temptation to put off making the decision. That doesn’t really solve anything… I linked this post to my recent post on seeking God’s guidance.

    1. Yes… Me, too! In fact I tend to put off a lot of things that seem unpleasant. But that doesn’t ever really make them any easier to deal with, does it? XO

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