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Derailed Dreams and God’s Providence

Derailed Dreams and God’s Providence

I get bored easily. It’s a less than flattering aspect of my personality. In the past, I’ve grown tired of jobs, living situations have waned in their appeal and I’ve lost interest in plans that have taken too long to develop. However, despite my tendency for boredom, I am an extremely loyal person. I have to be very careful to prayerfully anticipate my boredom and seek the wisdom to know when I need to push through it and when I need to move on.
Sometimes owning a café feels like the worst thing. I realize it was a dream of mine for years (I’ve written about that dream previously), but—yikes—it can be so hard and discouraging at times! It’s a business of coffee and food, but it’s also a business of people. I manage my staff and work to make sure people who walk through our door are pleased with their experience—a gigantic task that doesn’t always go according to plan. We have been absurdly busy this past month, which is cause for celebration in this COVID world that has put many out of work; but members of our staff often get sick and miss a shift. And, in the world of a small business, if staff don’t come through, I am the backup plan.
Needless to say, I’m exhausted. I am burned out from my dream. Yet, though owning a café feels less romantic than ever, I need to push through because I refuse to give up and walk away. My dream is now reality, and reality is sometimes hard.
How about y’all? Have you experienced dream burnout? Do you ever wonder why God is allowing your experience to be a little harder than it seemingly needs to be?
I encourage you to sit in that exhaustion and present your emotions to God. He is aware of your current situation. He is a God of comfort, and if you are tired, burned out or discouraged, He is your “refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1, NIV). If you are anxious because you are not sure whether you should quit or persevere through your struggles, bring your questions before Him.
God’s refuge and strength will play out in numerous ways throughout your life—though His ever-present help may look different in each iteration. There are times when it’s healthy and justifiable to walk away from something. There are cases when you need to step back and push the reset button. And there are situations in which the Lord calls you to stay put and continue to work hard to get through it with His constant help. In each one, God’s grace and wisdom is sufficient, and the Holy Spirit is present to guide us.
Here’s what I want you to hear today: Taking a break or even walking away from a dream is sometimes the answer. There is no shame in giving up if that’s what you sense the Lord is calling you to do. Above all, pray for guidance. Seek out wise, godly counsel. Make sure your heart and actions are in line with Scripture. Ask God if there is a new dream He wants to place on your heart. Consider all the good He wants to do through your life beyond this one moment. And trust that the Lord will reboot your spirit and work through you in His time.
Likewise, there is no shame in following God’s call to stick with it even if the path before you is unclear or your journey on it is a painful slog. In both perseverance and endurance, God’s presence, help and goodness are constant.
If you are heavy-hearted, discouraged or feel stuck in a dream, bring it to God. Ask Him for help, wisdom, energy and courage to pursue the steps He may be calling you take. And trust that He is our ever-present help—wholeheartedly faithful, gracious and wise. 

Laura lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where she freelances in various capacities, leads worship at her church and hangs with her adorably photogenic dog named Kimchi. She’s well acquainted with the chaos of trying to determine what to do in life.

Laura went to Bible college, where she explored cross-cultural ministry through classes, conferences and lots of practical application. After college she went to grad school, taught, went to South Korea for a year, worked for Christar, then spent a good chunk of the last decade working with international students in high school and college in the U.S.

She would love to journey with you as you consider missions—because she’s been there. Because reaching the nations is going to look different than it did in centuries past. And she wants you to be a part of it.

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