On Losing Your Dream

Have you ever had a dream die? Ever had something you put your heart and soul come into fruition, only to be lost in the end?

Maybe it was your marriage.

Maybe it was your career.

Maybe it was a new business.

Maybe it was a relationship.

When you lost it, you lost a part of yourself.

Maybe your dream was lost due to the economy. Maybe your dream died because of someone else’s choice. No matter how you lose your dream, there is a death to be mourned.

In 2005, I lost my dream of pastoring the church Trish and I started in 2002. No one took this dream from me, I lost it due to my own sinful choices. When your own failure leads to the loss of a dream, sorrow is also accompanied by shame and regret.

When we returned to ministry in 2009 at Cross Point, I was so grateful for a church that gave me a second chance. Cross Point is an amazing church, led by one of my best friends, Pete Wilson…yet something was missing. Even though my ministry was resurrected, there was a part of my heart that still felt dead.

Over the next few years, I developed an unconfessed resentment toward God. We were a part of an amazing church; leading a growing an exciting marriage ministry; had thousands of people reading our blog each day; writing our first book, yet I was hurting. Despite all of those dreams coming true, they weren’t the dreams I really wanted. I felt like God had issued a life-time ban on MY dream.

I lived with an sense of disappointment for a few years.

A few weeks ago, Trish and I had the opportunity to spend the day with The Joy FM in Sarasota, Florida. We answered questions from listeners live on the air about marriage and relationships. (You can listen to the segments here)

Before we caught our flight back to Nashville, Trish and I spent an hour walking on the beach in Clearwater. Out of the blue, she leaned over and said, “I love doing life with you.” In that moment my eyes were opened to the dream I was living, not the dream I was trying to hold on to. Those words washed over me like the ocean waves.

Eight years after MY dream was lost, God still desired to heal this hurting part of my heart. In that moment, I felt God speak to me: “Don’t miss the joy of my dream for you because of the dysfunctional attachment you have to your dream.”

I bet you know what it’s like to lose a dream. Maybe your dream was taken by a spouse that left. Maybe your dream was lost when you lost your job. Maybe your dream is one or two pay grades and promotions away, and you feel your dream slipping away. Maybe you don’t even know how to dream anymore.

Can I share with you some questions God is bringing to my heart these days?

Are the dreams you are dreaming big enough?

Are the dreams you have only based on your ability to make them come true?

What if the dream you lost just gave your heart space to pursue the dream God has for you?

What if  the dream you have wasn’t yours to keep, but just was yours to manage for a while?

Easter was a reminder that lost dreams can give way to resurrected dreams.

Maybe God is setting you up for a resurrected dream.

14 Responses to On Losing Your Dream

  1. I can identify with this after my affair 100%. My wife and I had to go through the death of the dream we had in the home we were in, in the community we had built, and the life for our kids we had though we wanted and due to my sin…..all that was lost. But God is so faithful and through our years of healing has restored more than what I could have ever asked for, way beyond what I had imagined was possible. But one of the hardest things was mourning what would never ever be again. But it’s in that death that God can resurrect new life and bring beauty to our ashes.

  2. I am so happy I found this site. Unfortunately, my husband and I are in the midst of the mess of his third affair (that I know about). I had sooo many dreams for our family that appear to be dying….I am working through forgiveness…I have let go of the anger and resentment…now I am just left numb…what is next? We did counseling, pastoral care and making each other a priority the last time….what now? Am I expected to just keep taking him back? Parts of me want to just say ok..and keep going status quo but I feel like GOD is calling me to a higher place…He is calling both of us and the same ol thing won’t due!

  3. Matt Payne

    Since our church plant closed 4 years ago I have been struggling with this.

    I dreamed of planting a church since we all were in college. Cindy and I moved to Portland 15 years ago with the purpose of starting a church but after years of preparing it only lasted 4 years. I too had a campus pastor opportunity a couple of years ago which I thought was part deux of the dream but it didn’t go so well either.

    Now I feel lost wondering if it’s that I can’t hear God or if I’m a failure. I know that God did good things during those ministries but I’m struggling to find my purpose and I’m scared to dream again.

    • Justin and Trisha

      Wow, Matt. Thank you for being so transparent and honest. I wish I had more answers for you, but I am at a loss for why things like that happen. I know God isn’t done with you and this is only a chapter and not the whole story.

  4. Robert and Stacey Nichols

    jw, focus on the now, right now because it is the onlything that exist in your life that is constant. “The more you focuse on time (Dreams) past and future – the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.”

  5. Robert and Stacey Nichols

    …So amazing that Trish said, “I love doing life with you.” Just a few weeks ago I said the exact same thing to Stacey. This is what I meant by it when I told her Justin: You’re my battle buddy, I trust and believe in you – I got your 6. Not exactly sure if Trish meant it the way I did; however, I bet we are pretty close. I guess you can say Stacey and I are living the dream by living the “now.” This is where doing life together starts every day for us-the “now, where only the past can be dissolved and your dreams shape the future.”

  6. JW

    What if your dreams have been so crushed you can’t dream anymore no matter how hard you try?

  7. Esther

    This was very timely as I had just had a discussion of letting go of MY dreams and the challenges of that. Thanks for the fresh perspective!

    • Justin and Trisha

      Thanks for sharing, Esther. Praying for you.

  8. JC

    Thanks for sharing, I hope I can find the same renewal in my own life.

  9. Jeremy

    Wow, Justin! This speaks directly to me! You wrote about the very thing I’ve been struggling with the past few years. I’ve been wandering in fog, wondering what was to become of my dreams. You’ve given me a fresh perspective! Thanks!!

    • Justin and Trisha

      Thanks so much, Jeremy. So glad God used it at just the right time.