I’m excited to share my dear friend Grey Zachary with you all today. She, just like many of us, has suffered the painful death of a dream. But she also has much wisdom to share about how to handle that grief. Be encouraged, friends.
You can be anything you want to be… Except when you can’t…
When you were little, I’ll bet you were a bit like me. You had big dreams!
You could picture yourself living the dream. You even worked for it. Maybe you trained with all your might and drilled daily because you knew that your name would be on the back of a pro jersey someday. Or you gave the most gracious and witty acceptance speeches the world has ever heard into your bathroom mirror.
No? You weren’t that grandiose?…Was it just me?
When I was little I had a dream. A big dream. I wanted to be a Christian recording artist. The voices and melodies I heard from my parent’s stereo transported me. Because of Christian music I fell in love with Jesus before I could even ride a bike. And I had big faith that with Jesus ALL things were possible. As a teenager, I would pull out the cover of my cd’s and study the lyrics. The Christian singers and songwriters I listened to discipled and encouraged me. I wanted to do that for others. It was my only dream… Ever.
Of course, I had no idea how to pursue this. I just sang anywhere and anytime I was asked. Church, school, weddings, funerals, etc. Eventually, I attended a phenomenal college for music and worship arts, but…
It was too late. I already had grown-up responsibilities: a mortgage to pay and a family to nurture. Sure, not everyone in the recording industry is single and child-free, but I just didn’t know how to make it all work.
I had to choose. No. I wanted to choose a career that made sense for me AND my family. For me, I chose right and I chose well, but that doesn’t mean it was easy.
I struggled to let go of that dream. It haunted me. Even when I wanted to let go I felt the longing. It was like grieving a break-up. I didn’t want to think about it, but everywhere I looked something reminded me of what might have been. Every time I discovered a new artist I would think, that could have been me.
Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick…” Holding out hope for something that would never happen was hurting me.
I had to do something. So, I prayed. Eventually, I stumbled through these steps:
I Told The Truth.
(This was the biggest step.) No one knew how deeply I longed to sing. When asked, I would just put on my Sunday school face, smile, and say something churchy about it just not being God’s will for me. But God told me that it was okay to admit that I had a broken heart over this. God told me it was okay to be sad. Christians, we don’t have to be happy all the time!…The things we keep hidden cannot be healed.
I Made It Official.
I had to say goodbye to my dream. I couldn’t hold out for hope anymore. I did this in prayer, quietly and privately. I named it and began the process of letting go. However, the loss of a dream can be a little like losing a person. We never really let go. We just cope with the loss.
I Got Some Distance.
This step took me a couple of years. I couldn’t listen to the radio much or even play my guitar much. I had to stay away from the things that stirred up the dream. (Now, I can sing again. I have even written a few songs just for me, and I share my voice and my heart in any church or back porch that welcomes me.)
I Was Surprised By A New Dream.
There was something almost miraculous about the letting go process. I, gradually and naturally, began to dream a new dream. This one included time and space for my family. Letting go of the old made way for a new thing, a better thing.
I Began to Dance With My New Dream.
I explored, planned, and pursued my new thing. I am loving the process, but this time I am holding on loosely so the new thing doesn’t become like the old thing. I am preparing to let go again if I have to.
Maybe your dreams were more practical than mine. Your dream may have included college, marriage, and a house in the suburbs. Or Your deepest dream was to raise a large family and educate them in your home. What was your dream? If you weren’t able to reach the stars, how did you cope? What was your process?
If you haven’t healed yet, let me recommend this: simply, tell the truth. It is okay to grieve a dream. It lived in your heart for many years. Honor it. Have a funeral, write a eulogy, say goodbye, and stop reaching for it. God has something new to birth inside of you. You will be so very surprised by the new thing.
Grieving the death of a dream creates space for God to inspire us to dream a new dream.
Take a listen to Reaching by Carolyn Arends
Don’t miss the other great posts in this series:
And coming Soon:
Laying Down the Dream
Dreaming is all Dandelions and Daffodils
(re)Designing the Dream
Living the Dream
Dare to Dream Again
Grey Zachary is a Disciple of Christ, Red Shoe Woman, Wife of an Army Chaplain, Mother (Bio & Step), and a Texas A&M Student of Psychology. She holds a certificate of Modern Music Ministry from Visible Music College and a license in Cosmetology. She is a writer and new blogger. After working many years in several fields she discovered that she is passionate about one thing, people. Grey is excited to begin helping others create their best world one friendship at a time. Find her at greyzachary.com.
For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne Eller, Thought Provoking Thursday, Susan B. Mead, Faith Filled Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith and Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Friday, Good Morning Monday, Soul Survival, Monday Musings, Rah Rah Link Up, Tell His Story, Woman to Woman Wednesday, Women With Intention Wednesday, Sitting Among Friends, Testimony Tuesday, Planting Roots.