What We Find at the Graveyard of Dreams

Dreams are made of who we are: our hopes, our deep desires, and the things that bring us life. When it seems like our Father asks us to give dreams up, it feels like giving away a part of us. It can, sometimes, feel like a small death. 

Other times what is really frightening is when the ability to dream seems to disappear altogether. We don’t have many choices, a plan is put in front of us…and with it, a life that is very limited. 

I don’t do well with “limited.” I thrive on dreams. And yet, over the past two years or so, my ability to dream seemed to get very small. There were many reasons for this but it was very frustrating. It felt like every idea I had, I had to bury. I could feel bitterness growing every time I stood in front of another little grave. I hated having what felt like a graveyard of dreams: writing projects, ministry plans, a track to run in that I was excited about. Especially with being in a new country, and trying to find my place in it, it was particularly painful to feel thwarted in growing roots here, and in feeling like I couldn’t flourish in particular ways. 

That is why my word of the year for last year was flourish. I really wanted to learn to flourish in this country, not just survive. I thought flourishing was mainly about being who God has made me to be.

A part of me felt shame for not being able to make my dreams come true. Am I just the kind of person that thinks of a lot of ideas but has no follow through? Another part of me was growing resentful about the circumstances or the people that seemed to be getting in the way of being more fully me. And worst of all, it was easy to think this was God’s indictment on me as a person: “If I was _________ (fill in the blank- more gifted, wiser, more equipped, more faithful, or maybe even healthier), then God would use me more, or let me carry out these ideas to completion.”

I say this was worst of all, because anything that gets in the way of us really knowing our Father’s love and his being for us is the worst part of whatever it is we are going through. I am convinced the place where hope goes to die is the place where belief starts to grow that the Father is not for us, where he is distant, aloof, and impersonal at best; displeased and angry at worst. 

We can face anything if we know how loved we are by the Father of mercies…our very own Father. Jesus is the face of our Father showing us he is the God who shares with us, who has no shame in associating with us, and takes our position (or even lower) so that we can both find life and find our Father. 

My Father was hemming me in – before, behind and all around. In doing that, He allowed me to see where my hope was grounded – more in who I was and what I was able to accomplish than in being relentlessly loved. I needed to learn (and probably still do) that flourishing starts with being rooted in the soil of the Father’s love. 

Thankfully, his love for us doesn’t diminish, even when we are suspicious of him. His commitment to Christ doesn’t let him. Because Christ’s life is our life, even a graveyard of dreams in the Father’s hands is a place where new life can spring up. When we think he is far off, He is drawing near and very personally weaving the details of our life – even the death of hopes and desires. In Christ, our Father enters in and takes our frustrations, sorrows, death and sins and makes them his very own. He cares far more about our roots going deep into his delight for us than anything else we could ever accomplish, even if it is for him.

He does care about our dreams… but he wants us to dream knowing where we stand with him. He wants us to be convinced first that no matter what, through his Son, we have every single spiritual blessing and that his will for us has already been accomplished: we are his children in the Beloved. 

Friend, does the death of dreams make you question whether the Father loves you at all? What if that is the means that He is using to show you how near he is? Ask for eyes to see him close, to see his smile, and sense his embrace. By faith, put to death all suspicions about the Father’s heart for you in Christ. Deposit your dreams into his perfectly loving hands and watch what he does. In a very real sense, entrusting our heart and our dreams to our Father is where we find true life beyond our wildest dreams: secure and rested in his love.

1 Comment

  1. Sarah Hilkemann February 16, 2022

    I love this so much, Lilly! I have grieved the dreams that have died, when hope feels like it has expired and there’s no going back. Sometimes they are little dreams and sometimes much bigger. But we serve and are loved by a God who resurrects, who brings life out of unexpected places. I don’t know what that looks like for me, for you, for those in our community. But holding tight to Him right along with you! 🙂 Thank you for sharing your heart.

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