Grief comes in different forms. Many times we try to cover up our grief. I have found this to be especially true when it comes to grieving a life time-line or goals that didn’t come close to happening. No one died, nothing tragic was reported on the news… no, just a dream in my heart quietly disappeared. At the same time, yes no one died, but those feelings of sadness are so valid! When we grieve what didn’t happen we wipe away the possibility for bitterness and create the clarity to pivot. When grieving a lost dream, we need to take the time to feel the sadness in order to move forward.
Before I started my career in broadcasting, I had one goal. That was to graduate college. After that the world felt pretty open. When I got my first job in radio I fell in love with the medium. I felt so excited to get up and go to work every day. I lived for the live show adrenaline. I was surprised how much my personality was made for the media world. My dream was to have my own show someday. I just needed something to say and an opportunity. I worked so hard at that job. I really loved it. However, because of many different reasons I had to step away from my position as a host of a one minute radio feature and my full time job as a sound engineer in a major market radio show. I left to finish my schooling, which is a great thing! However, there still comes a wave of sadness. I don’t think I was fully prepared for the range of emotions I would feel stepping away from my dream of becoming a radio host.
Maybe today you have your own grief journey with a dream. I think that’s the risk of dreaming big dreams. When your dream doesn’t come true and it actually becomes a nightmare, the emotions that come with it can be like riding a wave during a storm. This could be the dream of starting a family, having your own kids, having your own company, getting a doctorate, having the career of your dreams… Whatever dream is that has been lost, your feelings are valid.
Here’s a few mantras that have helped me through the grieving journey after a lost dream:
- What God has for you is FOR you.
- Look for the root of the dream. Find the why behind the dream and continue to do this in other ways.
- For something new to take place something old needs to die and it’s ok to grieve that.
- God will use your dream for something better.
Lastly, take some time to remember a past situation where God helped you pivot in life. I like to think that Joseph did this time and again when he found himself in slavery, then in prison and then through a famine. I wonder if he looked back and remembered when God was with him, provided for him, and gave him new dreams (Genesis 37-50). Were there dreams you had to let go of? Did it hurt? Did God bring you through? When you are grieving a lost dream go through the process for the sake of finding clarity on the other side. If you’ve been through a hard season in life and you can look back and see the hand of God brought you through, hang on to that hope. God will bring you clarity again. He’s done it before.