This is a guest post written by Leah Warm.
When I was a kid, my best friend and I had a silly game we played. We would close our eyes and think really hard about the wedding dresses we wanted to wear when we grew up, and when we opened our eyes we could see them before us, exquisite in every detail, as if they were a vision. Obviously now as a grown woman, I know that those “visions” were nothing more than little girls imaginations at play, but it seemed so real at the time.
At the tender age of 32, I still have a wild imagination. And I’m also still dreaming of the day when I’ll wear that beautiful white dress.
By this time in my life, I thought surely I would be married and have a bunch of younguns running around, but God hasn’t seen fit to allow that in my life yet. I often joke with my friends that that my baby making parts are “growing cobwebs”. It was was a lot funnier 5 or so years ago, but now that I have attended many weddings for the kids I babysat, it has become a bone of contention. The biggest struggle came when my sister, who is seven and a half years my junior, became engaged. Now all of a sudden, planning a wedding, something I loved and dreamed about, was the last thing I wanted to do. I sank into a depression, and tried to keep it from my family, but the struggle was real. That was almost 2 years ago, but through that experience, God began to show me things that I had not previously been broken enough to see.
I have to admit, I was a little miffed when I heard God speaking to my heart that I was making my dreams an idol. What?! I thought, how can something godly like desiring a family, be an idol? Simple, I was thinking about it more than I was thinking about Him. I was desiring that one thing more than anything. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” God began to deal with me about seeking Him. I wasn’t reading my Bible faithfully or praying that His will be done instead of my own. What if God never sends me a husband? Can I live a joyful life knowing that God is in control and ultimately has a reason for everything in my life? I can if my hearts desire is to follow His course for my life, despite what I think is best.
Maybe you’re experiencing your own cobwebs. It might be a dream that is collecting dust on the shelf of your mind. Something you secretly think is too big for God. Or maybe, like me, it’s so forefront in your mind at all times that you’ve turned it into a god of sorts.
The most recent thing I believe God has shown me is that it’s ok to grieve your dreams. In psychology we learn about the 5 stages of grief and loss. This is usually used in the context of death, but I believe it is applicable in the perceived death of a dream or vision as well. The stages are as follows:
Stage 1: Denial – I don’t have a problem. I’m not resentful that my dream isn’t yet a reality.
Stage 2: Anger – God I don’t understand! Why do these things seem to happen so easily for other people but not for me!
Stage 3: Bargaining – Ok God, if you’ll let this happen in my life, I will read my Bible for an hour every day and I’ll tithe and give more offerings than ever!
Stage 4: Depression – God must not love me. This is hopeless.
Stage 5: Acceptance – Thy will be done.
Experts will tell you that not everyone goes through all the stages and not everyone experiences them in that order. But oh, how I can relate to them.
Maybe you’re stuck in one of the stages yourself, or maybe you’re in what I jokingly call “The Cobweb Stage” where your dream has been sitting in the basement of your mind for so long that you aren’t even sure it can be resurrected.
A small breakthrough came for me several months ago when I randomly came across Habakkuk 2:3 which says: “For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” In short, God was nudging my spirit as if to say, “I’ve got this”. I wrote that scripture on a plaque and put it in my bathroom as a daily reminder to give my dreams (vision) back to God.
I would love to be able to say that I’m speaking from a place of reflection. That I have been through it and came out smelling like a rose. But the truth is, I’m still going through it. One day I’m in stage 5, the next stage 4, then I hear an inspirational message and voilà, I’m back to thy will be done. No matter what place we’re at in life, God is an expert at redeeming things that were long thought to be lost. But first we have to trust in Him that if He says, “Not now”, or even flat out “No”, that there is a greater reason beyond our human comprehension. The things that He “adds unto us” may not be exactly what we had in mind, but we can rest assured that if they are a result of God’s will in our lives, they will be more than we could ever ask, think, or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)