One of the most well-known poems among African Americans is Langston Hughes’, A Dream Deferred. Most of us know or at least have heard:
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up.
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—.
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
The message of the poem is that people should be free to fulfill their dreams. Because when they don’t, as happened to many African Americans at the time the poem was written and before, it’s harmful to people. And it leads to unhappiness.
That’s true, but as with so many things when you’re a Christian, it’s deeper than that. For believers, the real question is what do you do when that dream God gave you, feels like it’s never coming true?
In today’s episode, I’m sharing with you my answer to that question.
This is the last part in my 3-part series about living your dreams.
I began the series with Unleashing Your Divine Dreams with my DREAM BIG framework for making your dreams come true. It’s a step-by-step system that helps you achieve your goals, hopes, and dreams.
Then, last week was all about The Cost for Doubting Your Dreams. During that session, I shared seven reasons why we doubt ourselves, our dreams, and even God. And I also told you what you can do to overcome your doubts.
So, if you missed the first two parts of the series, go back and watch those, too.
Now, let’s dive into today’s topic, what do you do when that dream God gave you, feels like it’s never coming true?
I believe there are three key things you can do.
3 Key Things to Do When It Feels Like Your Dream Isn’t Coming True
Key #1 – Learn How to Fight
Now, I’m not talking about a physical fight – I’m talking about a spiritual fight.
Here’s what I mean.
Scripture tells us in James 1:17 that every good and perfect gift comes from God. God is the ultimate Dream Giver – He placed those dreams in your heart. They are His gift to you.
God loves you and He knows that He can trust you with the gift of His dreams for your life. Never doubt that.
But God has an enemy. And because you’re God’s child, he hates you, too. That enemy is the Father of Lies, the Deceiver, the Enemy of Your Soul – Satan.
He’s real and he’s relentless. He’s on his job 24/7/365. And he uses whatever and whomever he can, to discourage you and make you doubt that your dreams will ever come true.
Maybe God gave you a dream of starting your own business and you started the business, but it’s not going anywhere – you’re not making the kind of money you thought you’d be making by now.
Or maybe, the dream God planted in your heart is to be happily married to the man of your dreams – but you’re not meeting anyone who comes close to your dream, meanwhile, you’re getting older, older, and older.
Your dream might be to be a mother and you know without a doubt that God promised you that one day you would have a child to call your own – but you can’t seem to get pregnant, the fertility treatments aren’t working, and the cost just keeps going up and up and up.
Sometimes, you just feel like stomping your feet and screaming aloud – “God, what’s going on?”
Well, what’s going on is that the devil is busy and he’s doing what he does best.
Ephesians 6:12 is a reminder that, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
So, you have to learn how to fight – on your knees and with your mouth.
Fighting on your knees means praying like your dreams depend on it – because they do. Consistently cover your dreams with prayer.
And if you don’t know what to say, pick up your Bible and start fighting with your mouth.
Luke 10:19 says, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”
Declare that nothing will steal your dream.
James 1:17, that I shared earlier reminds us that: Every good and perfect gift comes from God.
Declare that your dream is a gift from God, and the devil cannot have it!
And in Isaiah 55:11 God says, “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
Declare that God promised you that your dream shall come to pass and if He said it, He meant it, and it shall be!
Those are just three examples – do a word search and find 10 scriptures that you will consistently pray over and speak over your dreams.
That’s how you fight the enemy.
Key #2 – Cultivate patience
When God speaks in our life, we often want to see the promise right away.
But it doesn’t always work like that.
David was a teenager and young adult when he fought Goliath and was anointed king by Samuel. It was another 15 years before he actually took the throne as king.
Joseph was about 17 when he was sold into slavery and he was 30 when he became the second in command to the Egyptian pharaoh, as God promised him.
Kevin Hart may seem like an overnight success – we tend to think that when we see people being successful. But it took 19 years for Keven Hart to reach the success he enjoys today.
God’s timing is not man’s timing.
For Him, 15 or 19 years is no time at all.
There might be a dream God put in your heart when you were a little girl or a teenager and you’re still waiting for it to come to pass.
When you’re feeling discouraged, I want you to remember Psalm 37:7 which says, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.”
Waiting can be hard – especially when you feel like your dream needs to happen right now. But God often uses that waiting time to prepare us for the time when our dream will come true.
It’s not wasted time – it’s preparation time.
Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
That means to trust in God and His promises, and not to lose hope or confidence in the face of troubles or enemies.
It also implies that God will strengthen and help those who wait on Him and follow His will.
Remember, God is still with you and He’s preparing you for the time when your dream will come true.
Key #3 – Surrender your dream
Waiting on your dreams to come to pass can feel disappointing and even cause heartbreak.
If we fall into Satan’s trap, we can believe the lies that God has let us down and that He has betrayed us.
Of course, that’s not true.
And it’s also where surrendering your dream to God comes in.
When you surrender your dreams, you give up what you don’t know to a God who knows everything and who loves you. You can choose to believe moment by moment that He’s sovereign over every detail of your life – and all things in your past, present, and future.
That’s when there’s peace.
In Daniel 3:17, the three Hebrew boys said: “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
God is able to make your dream come true right now if that were His will for you. But even if He chooses not to, continue to trust Him and have faith in Him.
We forget sometimes that just because things aren’t happening the way we thought they would, that doesn’t mean that our dream will never come to pass.
God’s ways are not our ways. Your dream could come true, just like you dreamed it would.
But it might not. God may have another plan for you, and He may take your dream and mold it into something even better than you ever thought you’d get.
Does that mean we should give up on our dreams – absolutely not!
God wants us to dream. He put dreams in our heart for His purposes.
But in our dreaming, He doesn’t want us to exclude Him.
And that’s what happens when we become fixed on our dreams happening a certain way and at a certain time.
Our goal should always be to be in the will of God – no matter what. So, willingly surrender your dreams to Him and trust Him to give them back to you in His timing and in His way.
So, the 3 keys to what to do when it feels like your dreams aren’t coming true are:
- Learn how to fight
- Cultivate patience
- Surrender your dream
When you’re able to do these three things, you’ll experience peace that surpasses all understanding.
And you’ll be able to believe in your dreams again, and trust God to bring them to pass.