Laying Down the Dream

Why would God give me a dream that He knows I’ll never see come to fruition? I’m sure that’s a question my friend Grey asked many times as she grieved the Death of her Dream

Does that seem cruel to you? Like unnecessary suffering and heartache when you might have been content to keep with the status quo before you dared to dream? Is it unconscionable that He would ask you to uproot the very seeds He planted in your heart?

Let’s see what His Word has to say.

God gave Abraham the dream of fathering the nation of Israel. And then He asked him to literally lay down His only son with Sarah, Isaac, from whom offspring more numerous than the stars in the sky were to come. God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. And Abraham did not withhold his son, his dream, from God. (Genesis 22:1-11)

Unless we are continuously surrendering our dreams to the One Who has the power to bring them to life, we’ve made idols of our dreams. If we’re unwilling to let those precious aspirations slip through our hands we might have made their achievement our god. Finding it hard to lay down our dreams might clue us in to a tragic heart issue. Wanting anything more than God Himself is the definition of idol worship.

When we cling to dreams that are no longer ours, we cause more pain than is necessary. We may experience heart ache, financial difficulty, or even fall into patterns of greed or depression. The tighter we hold on to something God no longer desires for us, the more it hurts. A rope let go does no damage, but one held tight burns the hands.

A dream laid down daily does less damage.

We must hold our dreams loosely. We must offer to lay them down. We must give back to God all He has given us.

 We lay them down, trusting God will provide. Just like He did for Abraham. You see, just as he was about to sacrifice Isaac, a ram appeared in a nearby bush. God then allowed Abraham to sacrifice the animal instead. (Genesis 22:12-18) When we lay down our dreams, God will either hand them back to us or provide something else in their place. But by intentionally laying them at the cross daily, we will be reminded that they were His dreams in the first place.

To guard our hearts against the death of our dreams, we must lay them down daily. #Dreams Click To Tweet

I know it hurts. I wouldn’t dare discount the pain associated with the end of an era of dreaming, the struggle that comes with facing the world feeling like a failure, or the fear that can make it impossible to dare to dream again. God sees our aching hearts, too. And if we’ll let Him, He will sooth and soften the broken edges.

When laying down the dream is devastating…

When laying down the dream feels devastating, remember God loves the dreamer more than the dream. Considering His great love for us enables us to both dream big dreams and lay them down.

God loves the dreamer more than the dream. #Dreams Click To Tweet

He gives us dreams and He takes them away according to His will. We may never know why until we meet Him face to face. But laying our dreams down daily keeps them from coming between us and Him.

Use this lovely printable coloring sheet drawn by the incredibly talented Jana Kennedy-Spicer of Sweet to the Soul as a tool to help you visualize laying your dream down. Click on the image to download and print. Color it and write you dream on the altar. Post it prominently as a daily reminder.

Finally, I offer you this prayer and invite you to pray with me, not just today, but every day. And allow the words to soften your heart so that you keep a loose grip on your dreams.

A Prayer for Laying Down the Dream

Dear Father,

I lay my dream down at the foot of Your Son’s cross. I place all my aspirations firmly in Your grip. I trust You to care for them. If you ask me to walk away from the desire you’ve placed in my heart, I will trust You. Never allow me to chase after anything that would distract my heart from it’s affection toward you. I know You love me more than any dream you cause me to dream. I trust you to bind up my wounded heart if You don’t hand this dream back to me.

In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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

And coming Soon:

Dreaming isn’t all Dandelions and Daffodils

(re)Designing the Dream

Living the Dream

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.

36 thoughts on “Laying Down the Dream

  1. Liz, I would ask how it is that you always know exactly what I need to read, but I already know the answer:) Thank you for listening to the promptings of our Lord and following His will. He used you to speak straight into my heart and my current circumstances, friend. (I’m sure that’s true for many others, too.) Thank you!

    1. You and me, both, Elizabeth! And sometimes I think I’d rather He didn’t have me pick back up the things I’ve laid down… Blessings as you follow His lead in your ministry!

    1. It is SO hard, Joe! And it gets harder the more we invest in those dreams. Blessings to you and your wife as you follow God and lay your dreams at His feet!

  2. Liz, wonderful post. The one thing that stood out to me was this > We are often asked to lay our dreams down because we have made an idol of our dream. Something to ponder for more deeply. Blessings!

    1. It’s a hard realization… Even good things can be turned into idols. I have to be reminded daily that God has to be more important to me than even the dream He’s given me! Blessings, Joanne!

  3. This entire series has been SO GOOD, Liz! I’m learning to hold my dreams with open hands. I’ve had my days of having a death-grip on my dreams. You’re right–it makes for an emotional roller coaster. There’s a sacred balance between dreaming and discipling, isn’t there. Somehow, these two ideas go together in ways I haven’t considered before.

    1. There sure is… knowing when to let go and when to persevere is SO hard! I do think God disciples us through our dreams. Something to think about before! Blessings, friend! XO

  4. Beautiful Liz! I had to do this a couple of years ago and I can say that what God replaced my dream with was beyond what I could have ever dreamed of.

    Great word thank you for encouraging us!!

    Hugs, Jana

    1. We have to let go of what we’re clinging to before He can refill our hands, don’t we! It is hard, but WOW so amazing when we see how He provides! Thanks so much for you lovely illustration to help us remember to lay down our dreams! XO

  5. Such wisdom in your post, Liz! Pursuing a dream is humbling, heart-molding stuff. And when we hold to it too tightly, God does have a way of causing us to lay it down. I’m learning that sometimes He lets our dreams die because we’ve defined it for ourselves rather than letting Him define it for us. Your thought of laying it down daily is a powerful one!

  6. Liz, this is so good, my friend. SO good. It’s so easy for us to take possession of something that wasn’t ours to begin with and turn our attention to ourselves. I needed this reminder today. Thank you. I’ve done this repeatedly in the past but it’s a continual process. Love the image to go with it, too!

  7. I agree with you: “When we cling to dreams that are no longer ours, we cause more pain than is necessary.” I’ve recently had to watch someone lay down a dream and it’s been hard. But I know that on the other end, God will open doors for a new dream and new ministry opportunities as a result!

  8. We’ll have so many questions to ask God when we see Him, won’t we? — Or perhaps (probably) we’ll no longer feel the need to know once we’re in His presence. Love that we can trust God always has a reason, even for inexplicable things (humanly speaking). Abraham and Isaac are a perfect example of the “death” of a dream, Liz. Our perspective is so narrow compared to His. I’ve so enjoyed this dream series. Thank you for your insights and for making me think. 🙂 — #ChasingCommunity is so much richer for you being a part. ((xoxo))

  9. Thank you, Liz! This was encouraging!
    My favorite was “The tighter we hold on to something God no longer desires for us, the more it hurts. A rope let go does no damage, but one held tight burns the hands.”

    An unfulfilled dream has been hurting lately and I’ve been holding tight. I need to release and surrender, He has bigger and better plans for me.

    1. Thank you, Julie! If you go back to the death of a dream post, my friend Grey has some amazingly encouraging steps for grieving the loss of a dream! Blessings and prayers for you!

  10. Hey Liz! Glad to see you at Suzie’s place today. This is a call to REST isn’t it? Laying down our dreams. I love your reminder that God loves the dreamer more than the dream. So good. Love the printable coloring sheet as well. 🙂

    1. I was over the moon that Jana agreed to draw that! I don’t always have something that aligns well with her themes, but I thought this did the trick!!

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