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What To Do in a Season of Dying Dreams?

I just stayed at an Airbnb this past weekend. It was a beautiful place on a river just 25 minutes from my home. We had a great time. But you couldn’t help feel bad for the owner and for Airbnb. The whole world has changed since Covid. Airbnb used to be riding a wave of success. Now they are strug…
By Seth Barnes

I just stayed at an Airbnb this past weekend. It was a beautiful place on a river just 25 minutes from my home. We had a great time. But you couldn’t help feel bad for the owner and for Airbnb. The whole world has changed since Covid. Airbnb used to be riding a wave of success. Now they are struggling to survive.

So many people’s dreams have shattered. 15 years ago, I had a dream of taking young people on a Matthew 10 trip around the world. I called it the World Race. And I just knew it was going to change lives.

When the virus began to spread, we had to bring nearly 600 young people home within a week’s time. And since you can’t get on planes, that dream I had seems to be dying. What should I do? And what should any of us do who have a dream that seems to be dying now? Here are three thoughts:

1. Don’t let bitterness take root

Nothing leaves shrapnel in a soul like a dream that has died. A couple has a dream of raising children, but then they can’t get pregnant. It’s so natural to raise an angry fist at heaven and say, “Why, God?” 

How many of us have nurtured a seed of a dream, watered it with time and attention, only to see it die? 

Maybe it was just the dream of a relationship. When you hope so much for a relationship and see it fall apart, it’s been easy for shrapnel to lodge in the soul.

The thing about shrapnel, I’m told, is that it can move around inside you. If it finds its way to your heart and blocks the flow of blood, it can kill you.

As searing as the pain of a shattered dream can be, letting the resulting grief fester until it becomes bitterness can be worse still.  The shrapnel needs to be dug out, the grief properly observed; words of forgiveness need to be spoken.

Too many of us are walking around with shrapnel in our souls.  Dig it out before it goes to your heart. 

2. Don’t stop dreaming

Dreams are fragile, gossamer things. They are prone to breaking. Martin Luther King famously declared, “I have a dream!” Yet if you look at his dream today, you see how far from reality it seems.

The good news is that dreams also come true. They give our lives purpose and fire our passion. Just because your last dream has fallen on hard times doesn’t mean that your next dream won’t be even better!

The world needs our dreams. It needs new ways of living in a time when our newsfeed keeps giving us a steady stream of negativity. God is a dreamer and he wants to share his dream of a better world with us. If anybody should be optimistic during this season of retrenchment, it is those of us who know God and believe in his dreams.

3. Pursue new dreams

As I look back at some of the hardest times in my life, I see that I often mis-read the tea leaves. There I was in the midst of pursuing a dream and catastrophe happened! A few times I was fired. It felt like betrayal. It felt depressing. 

But in hindsight I see that God was in the middle of it – redeeming the pain, making room for new dreams. He was clearing space in my heart for something else. 

At present I’ve got a couple of new dreams I’m pursuing. Global U is a school for young entrepreneurs. We started it two years ago and this past year was a big success. We’re not out of the woods yet, but the prospects are exciting.

And last month my son started a new business – a food truck. He launches next week. Seeing him make Cheese Louise a success is a dream that I suddenly have time for. I get to be a part because I chose to not stop dreaming.

How about you? What dreams do you have that seem like they’re dying? Whatever happens, let me encourage you – this period of loss is not a signal that you should stop dreaming.

God loves dreamers. He gives dreams to his children to turn into reality. Jesus challenged his disciples: “Have faith!” He wants us to see a better world and make that world a reality.

His challenge to live a life of faith rings in my ears. I pray it does for you as well.

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