Who among us isn’t a dreamer? Even the greatest, most glass-half-full cynic has dreams. Dreams are a good thing and believing in and pursuing your dreams can be a holy experience to bring you deeper into the heart of God.

But what happens when we finally take that bold leap into the unchartered lands of our dreams and things don’t work out quite the way we hoped they would? Maybe you put off starting your business, waiting year after year until the day you finally felt it was time, but you didn’t make a single sale for 4 months. What if you excitedly launched your beautifully designed website that promoted a message the world desperately needs only to have nobody visit? What if you created the most innovative and gorgeous clothing line only to have no buyers show any interest in your designs? Maybe you spent endless hours learning the ins and outs of starting your own newsletter and the only person who signed up was your mom? What then? What happens when our dreams fall flat?

The natural response for most people is to try harder. Hustle more. Strive. We sweep up the fragments from the mess we felt we made and hold them tight, doing everything we can to stay in control to not let something like that ever happen again.

On the path of hustle, we become obsessed with how we think it’s supposed to look as our dreams begin to unfold and we have the paperwork to prove it. We have binders overflowing with business plans, timelines, numbers, outlines, statistics, and pie charts to neatly and colorfully give ourselves a sense of comfort. Going after our dreams feels scary and wildly unknown, so in a bid to feel in control, we painstakingly line up all of the facts. The problem is, when we grasp our dreams that tight and move beyond hard work into the land of control, there is no space between our firm grasp for anything else—not even God.

Sure, we may pray, asking God to do something big with our dreams, something far beyond anything we could imagine, because that’s exactly what he tells us he can do (Eph. 3:20). But our prayers end up being little more than empty words when we can’t loosen our desperate, controlling grip on our dreams to release them to the one who gave us those dreams in the first place.

Or, maybe you find yourself at the opposite end of the spectrum and are just plain fed up, sick and tired of being let down by dreams deferred. Here, we buy into the lie that says because this whole situation isn’t unfolding the way we wanted it to, our dream has gone to waste. Let’s pack it up and call it a day.

Either way, what if we have it all wrong? What if our role in the unfolding of our dreams isn’t just to hustle harder or to throw in the towel? What if what we really need to do is something that may feel even more challenging than the hustle and definitely more challenging than just giving up? What if what we needed to do was to surrender our dreams to God?

When we don’t surrender our dreams to God and instead, find ourselves striving, hustling, and comparing, we are keeping ourselves from the peace we could have in this moment—the peace that passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7). Instead, we think we can only have peace when we have _______ (fill in the blank). It could be a certain number of followers, subscribers, income, testimonials, or clients. Only you know what your blank is.

But in truth, the peace you seek is available now. Jesus has come. We have everything we need in him. Every single thing we could possibly seek or want pales in comparison (Col. 3:11). Even if you get your blank, it’s icing on the cake. You have Jesus right now. You have peace right now (Rom. 15:13).

So if you have stepped out into the beautiful, vast landscape of your dream and it hasn’t gone the way you expected, don’t lose hope. Sometimes we get so hooked into how we think our dreams should unfold that we miss the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Surrender your dreams to God and trust that he has not just your good in mind, but the good of everyone, everywhere. Maybe God has an entirely different plan for your dream, something so much better than anything you could have imagined; something that will not just be good for you, but good for others, too. Maybe his timeline isn’t the same as yours, but he only has good things planned for you (Jer. 29:11). He will help you. All you need to do is surrender and still your heart (Ex. 14:14).

Your best is yet to come.

What is your heart longing for? Have you given that thing to Jesus or are you still clutching on? What can you do today to step towards giving your dream to him?

Kylie Howell

Kylie is a counselor, certified life coach, and writer who is passionate about helping women encounter God’s freedom and grow lives filled with authenticity, grace, and peace. She lives in Alabama with her sidekick, a Pomeranian named Bailey Cinderella.

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