Death of a Dream

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.

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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.

Holding out hope for something that would never happen was hurting me. @GreyZachary Click To Tweet

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.

Grieving the death of a dream creates space for God to inspire us to dream a new #dream. @GreyZachary Click To Tweet

Take a listen to Reaching by Carolyn Arends

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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

And coming Soon:

Laying Down the Dream

Dreaming is all Dandelions and Daffodils

(re)Designing the Dream

Living the Dream

Dare to Dream Again

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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.

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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.

41 thoughts on “Death of a Dream

  1. Grey this is a cautionary tale for parents who say to their children, “You can be anything you want to be.” It’s really not true! Circumstances, gifting, and the plan of God all hold sway over our dreams, and you’ve given us so much insight into this with your own story.

    1. Applying my story to parenting opens an entirely different can! LOL!
      I agree that parents should use wisdom and show our little ones how to handle disappointment. However, I also believe that parents are at their best when they support and encourage their child’s dreams/talents with all the energy and resources available. As parents, we are our children’s launching pad. 🙂

    1. Often, life does that and God is giving us new dreams to replace the old ones all the time. It is what God does. Isaiah 61:3 over and over and over… 🙂

  2. Liz & Grey –
    Liz, thank you for sharing Grey with us today. I found you at #MondayMusings
    Grey, way to be transparent and share your heart. It is so very difficult to have a dream die, but I so love that God redeemed it, by giving you a new one and that you described it as dancing with your new one…. Blessings to you both.
    Also, I would love if you would consider linking up to my NEW Thursday Party #TuneInThursday it stays open until Sunday. You can find it here: http://debbiekitterman.com/blog/
    (Please feel free to delete the link if you feel it is inappropriate to post here).

  3. These are wise, hard-earned words, Grey. I’m glad you were able to find peace in the process of letting go of your dream to be a Christian recording artist. I’m also glad you are singing again. 🙂 Your story reminds me of my favorite quote by Corrie Ten Boom: “I’ve learned that we must hold everything loosely, because when I grip it tightly, it hurts when the Father pries my fingers loose and takes it from me.” I’ve had to give up some dreams, too, and this picture helps me do it. (Thanks, Liz, for having Grey here today!)

    1. Wow! Lois, I love Corrie Ten Boom! I was not familiar with that one. I read The Hiding Place when I was fourteen. So many of her stories in that book have shaped my life. I’m waaay overdue for a re-read! Thank you for sharing and thank you for your comment!

  4. Grey-wow-I did not know that anyone else has had the exact same thing happen. I went through this just this last summer. I had a deep desire planted in my heart when I was 8. I have tried to make recording happen so.many.times. God kept calling me to write, but I mostly fought Him on it. I had many months of the death of a dream in my heart. My husband and I are supposed to be writing songs to do at church but it seems to go on the back burner. I finally surrendered all to God, but I can’t say I’m completely healed from it yet. Just too many years of yearning. I enjoy writing more and more as I step into what God wants now. Thanks for sharing this. Thanks for this series, Liz.

    1. Thank you for sharing your story with us! For me, admitting how badly I wanted it was the first step toward healing. You are on your way! Today, I will pray that you be surprised by a new vision/a new dream sooner than you might expect!

      1. One more thought. (It came to me just as I began to pray.)
        Don’t rush yourself. Letting go can take time. You and this dream shared a lot of life together. Be patient with yourself. ❤

  5. Love the way God is so gracious in molding and even planting new dreams in our hearts. The places I am I never would have dreamed I would be…but wouldn’t trade them for the world. He is god. Thank you for sharing! Dropping in from the #MondayMinutewithGod over at Planting Roots!

    1. I am so glad you have experienced God’s faithfulness, Kori! We may not know why our first dreams don’t come to life, but we know who will work it all for good. God is the good maker!

  6. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your heart! I am finding that in every season, there are old dreams that must be let go of, in order to move into the next season. And just as you found out, He does have new dreams there, but it can be a hard process to grieve those old dreams. I am so thankful that God walks through it all with us. I’m Blessed to be your neighbor over at #TellHisStory this week!

    1. Thank you for your words, BettieG! I agree that God set it all up this way. Life to death to life to death to life. God is faithful to make all things new.

  7. I love this story. Not the hard places you went through, but the realness of it. Not every dream is meant for chasing. This: “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.” can be the hardest part. The recognition that you have the ability to choose. And choose we must because living in a life of unreachable dreams is heartbreaking. You chose and came out whole and able to reach for a new dream!

    1. Becky, you’ve got it! I had a choice, and I had the freedom and ability to continue to pursue that dream. Honestly, I believe God would have met me there too if I had continued in that direction. God is everywhere and His grace is sufficient. I just wanted a career that would also provide time and resources for my growing family…I wanted it in my head, but it took time for my heart to catch up. God was with me every step of the way.

  8. I love your name, Grey. 🙂 My son’s name is Greyson, and we often call him Grey. 🙂 Fun name. 🙂 — Beautiful encouragement today, thank you. When we see life one way and God sees it another, that letting-go is not so natural, is it? Beautiful reminder that when we let go of what wasn’t to be, we can then begin to “dance” with what was. Lovely testimony, Grey. (And, — now I’m curious what the new dream is?! *smile*) — Thank you for sharing Grey with us, Liz — and for faithfully sharing your heart with #ChasingCommunity. I appreciate you, sister. ((xoxo))

    1. Thank you for your words, Brenda! And, yes, having this name has been fun! I was blessed to inherit it from my grandmother. I am glad you get to enjoy it also! 🙂 And I agree that letting go is the first step toward a new dance. If you would like to know more about my new dream check out http://www.greyzachary.com 🙂

  9. Grey, this is a subject we don’t talk about much, but so very important. Grieving the loss of a dream, relationship, want, or need can bury us deep in our spiritual growth. Feeling stuck in faith often sometimes comes down to this. I’ve been pursuing a dream for the past 6 years. At times I’ve asked God, “Am I being faithful or foolish?” I’m learning to hold it with open hands and it makes such a difference.

    1. Oh, Ginger, I asked myself and God that question so many times! Though I didn’t really hold my first dream with open hands and it broke my heart. You are so wise! Thank you so much for sharing!

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