Can Someone Else Kill Your Dream?


 Last night I watched American Idol.  I watched as many contestants were eliminated.  Some cried.  Some were angry.  Some talked about how this failure would not take their dream away, yet many responded indicating that this rejection was, in fact, the death of their dreams. They were angry at the judges for not seeing the talent within them and for denying them the dream of their hearts. 

I felt reflective as I watched.  I wondered, “Can someone else kill your dreams?”

I’ve certainly experienced times when people misunderstood my dreams, shamed me for dreaming, called my dreams impossible or foolish.  I imagine we have all experienced that.  

And how have we responded? 

….in anger? 

…in disappointment? 

…in resolve to never give up? 

…in retreat by learning to hide that dream somewhere deep within us? 

…in fear? 

…in rejection? 

Oh, there are many ways we respond to the dream killers. They are probably people who themselves have allowed their dreams to shrivel up and die.  Therefore, they respond in anger or frustration or manipulation when they see a dream living in someone else – especially if that dream has a semblance of their own dream. 

People in the church are typically more likely to be dream killers than those outside the church walls.  Sadly, I’ve found it true so many times. They respond to our dreams with cautions and boundaries. Yet many times the outside world understands dreaming better than the church world. 

It should not be that way! 

Of course, we all need someone to speak wisdom into our lives and give us direction.  That is not what I’m talking about.  I’m talking about the dream killers. 

I remember the first time I knew God has revealed part of His purposes for my life. As I shared a little of that dream – just enough to test the ground to find if it was safe –  and Christians threw water on my dream.  They said it was too hard. They said that it was not good for my family. 

Another time a church leader actually said in response to my excitement, “You’ll get over that.” 

And indeed, I felt that I’d just been dumped with water. 

You know, sometimes when someone shares a part of their heart with us by sharing a dream, it can touch on places within us that have been hurt.  When that happens, it is difficult for us to respond in encouragement. 

The ability to “dream” is part of God’s image within us.  Truthfully, it may be tainted at times by our own selfish desires, and we can manipulate it in so many ways.  But it is part of the design of God. 

I think of the scripture that says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick” and “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  Sounds like God knows about our heart’s desires, doesn’t it? 

From my experience, this is the way it goes. 

God places a dream inside your heart.  You don’t understand it fully but it is BIG! (God’s dreams have to be bigger than human dreams, don’t you think?) 

Everything, and I mean everything and almost everyone, will try to kill your dream. (Most of the time, they don’t even realize what they are doing out of their own wounded places.) 

God Himself tests your dream. 

When it is almost just a faint memory within your heart, the wind of God will gently begin to blow on it again. And we have to decide.  Do we really want to let that dream live again?  What if someone moves to kill it again?  Can we stand the pain again? 

When my husband and I left our church last year, I thought every dream that God had given me had died.  D-I-E-D- died. Forever.  One of the most painful parts was that I had just been willing to let those dreams really live for the first time.  I remember feeling that I had just understood my destiny for the first time.  I understood what it was like to walk fully in God’s purposes. Then my dreams splattered against the wall…shattered, and lay at my feet … mocking me. 

Saying as it were, “You were a fool to believe you understood what God had for your life.  You stepped out in faith, and your faith was not enough. Your dreams were tied to a church, a platform, another person,… and so now they are DEAD! Fool! 

God allowed it. He even purposed the testing of my dreams. 

Can I prove that?  Well, I think so.  God gave Joseph a dream – huge one – and then for 20 years “The Word (that he had been given) of the Lord tested Joseph.”  That dream was crushed so many times it was almost unrecognizable. And that was God’s purpose. 

To kill everything within Joseph that could not be trusted with the dream, but it was never God’s purpose to kill the dream itself.  Can you imagine the endless nights in the pit and in the prison and in a foreign land away from all his family and his traditional religious structures as Joseph questioned the validity of his dreams?  Maybe he even argued with God about it. Perhaps he was angry with God. For if God had not given him this dream,  then, logic says, there would have been nothing to share with his brothers and he would never have wound up in the pit, sold into slavery, thrown into prison, and well, you get it… 

Maybe part of Christian maturity is to finally admit we just don’t “get” God or His ways. Oh, we love to say that His ways are beyond our ways, but we sure don’t like it when we are required to live in the valleys, in the darkness of our souls, in the desolate places.  Yet how many times in the Word do we see God purposely putting people in valleys, dark places, desolate situations?  It doesn’t make for a pretty theology, does it? 

Sometimes we say and it is even reflected in our teaching and in our worship songs, that we will “never let go” of God. Well, I think there have been times when I have let go because I didn’t have enough strength to hold on, but HE HAS NEVER LET GO. And therein is peace… 

He never lets go.  Through the death of my dreams. Now I find I must learn to trust again.  Oh, I have been trusting, don’t mistake me, but I find the level required keeps growing. 

I sat this morning and looked at an invitation to speak at a women’s conference. It hurt. Whereas before I would have jumped at it, I now winced. “God, do you want me to do this?’ The conference is about women of influence.  It is about encouraging women to arise and shine and be empowered by God’s Spirit. It requires another level of trust for me. “God, if I do this, will it require more testing of my heart? More purification?” 

My husband told me this week that a particular situation I was going through was in order for God to bring healing to that part of my heart (he was half-joking and halfway serious). I replied, “Forget it.  I’ve had enough healing for one year! God needs to give me a break and work on someone else!” 

Ever felt that way? But I know that “the One who has begun a good work in me will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus”. So, I don’t have the option to un-enlist.  I will be transformed into His image one day and in the meantime, the death of my dreams and the resurrection of my dreams are part of the transformation. 

It’s kinda good that we don’t understand all that on the front end, isn’t it?  I know I would have run away.  But God leads us into the valley and then He allures us – that is what the Word says – He allures us to Himself.  The endless romance of giving our hearts and then taking a little back, and then He woos us again, and then cycle continues. 

Truthfully, the only way someone else can kill your dreams, if they be from God, is if you allow it. Oh, it will be painful to pursue those dreams. God will lead you through situations designed to kill everything but the dream. But the power of resurrection show itself in the living of the dream again. And resurrection is a hope which cannot die.

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Categories : Dreams, God's Plans


  1. crowned-with-fire says:

    Just wanted to tell the author how great it is to know
    and believe that my “GOD AUTHORED DREAMS” are not dead
    only being rewatered and revived, this time with a little less of myself and a little more of God reborn
    in them. Thank you for shareing your hurt, It is my
    belief that Becouse you and your husband were willing
    to suffer this most hurtful event and thought you were
    seeing the Death of your Godly dreams, Many of us(dreamers) will avoid the same kind of pit falls.
    Thanks for sharing. t & s a.

  2. Tammy says:

    I am so thankful for dreams. I don’t believe that God wants us to settle for mediocrity. We are children of the King. I have been going through a difficult time. Some people have tried to crush my dreams. Reading this blog has stirred something up in me. I’m not going to give up on my dreams! I can not go out and I can not come in without God holding my hand. I know that God is with me and I am going to press forward and have some resolve. I am sooo glad that I read this blog today. It has re-enforced to me, that I must press on. We all go through obstacles in our lives but God is always with us if we will just have faith and have resolve.

  3. Rebecca says:

    This is a terrific article – very uplifting. I have thought long and hard about this very subject. I am involved in the artistic field in which much “dream killing” is carried out regularly by people against those who wish to create something. I have spent long hours wondering why some people seem to make it their “mission” to kill the dreams of an artist, a musician, writer, etc. – anybody in a “creative” field of endeavor. Then I thought about God – the ultimate creator of everything! It was then that I asked myself – who hates God and all that he has created? Satan! I believe Satan and his cohorts hate anything to do with creativity, particularly when it comes from and is blessed by God. Satan wants destruction of all that God has created. He can’t stand the urge to create that has been placed in men by God. I think he motivates others, who may have given up on their own dreams, to try to destroy the dreams of others. So I see this as a spiritual struggle, as you have wisely pointed out. We must continue, as you say, to have “faith and resolve” when it comes to our dreams.

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