Moving from Broken Dreams toward New Opportunities

Everyone have some broken dreams to some extent.Things don’t always turn out like we thought they would; even if we have given our best effort, we still can have broken dreams. Some dreams are for ourselves personally, other dreams and aspirations maybe for our family, career and other things. Some of these expectations are spoken, while some of them are are hidden deeply in our heart and soul. Often though, life has a way of throwing us off course on to detours and disappointments. It is vitally important for us to know how to navigate from broken dreams and transition into new opportunities. Here are some ideas that I have found helpful.

BROKEN DREAMS DO NOT HAVE TO DEFINE US. They don’t have to define us but they can become part of a catalyst to refine us. This can be a time to turn your pain into gain. There is so much more to our lives than our disappointments. If you constantly dwell on the negative experiences you have encountered, they can define you and become your identity, trapping into all kind of doubts, fears , and frustrations keeping you from living a balanced life. A more healthy response would be to come to a place of acceptance, make peace with your past then grow and learn from it.
DEALING PROPERLY WITH BROKEN DREAMS CAN HELP US TO CLARIFY OUR PRIORITIES. They make us realize and reevaluate what is really important to us. Sometimes we make such a big deal in our minds about what we have missed that we forget how blessed we are with what we still have in the things and relationships that really matter. Dealing with broken dreams can be a time to simplify our lives and readjust our priorities and schedules to live a a more focused and purposeful life. This allows us to let go of the unnecessary and a time to focus on what is most important. The recovery from the pain of unfulfilled hopes and aspirations is a process that takes time, taking control of our response to it and doing what we can to adapt and adjust is the key to moving on from the land of broken dreams. With the help of the Lord; and others that love us, we can continue on the path to wholeness and new opportunities… “The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength.” – Isaiah 58:11

Great Things about the Sea, Sand, and the Sun…

Recently, my wife and I got to spend some time on the coast of South Carolina. I really enjoy these experiences. For some reason, you do not have to force yourself to relax once you get there. The ocean envelopes you and invites you to rest, relax, recharge yourself emotionally and physically. It also gives your mind a break from the normal busy routine back home. It is a good opportunity to take some time to reflect on your life, and allow God speak to you in a special way. In fact, that is how my spiritual journey began in the 1970’s when I became a Christian at a church beach retreat. Now, years later, I am still yearning and learning more about how much God really does love us.
Here are some things I have been thinking about…
WE CAN NOT EVEN FATHOM HOW MUCH GOD LOVES US.
Psalms 139:17-8 describes it this way… “How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand…”- (Psalm 139:17-18). Think about that, even if you pick up a handful of sand on the beach, you could not count all the grains of sand. If you love someone, you think about them often. People may forget us, but God never does stop thinking about us. It is just incredible how much God desires such a close relationship with you and me.
GOD IS WITH US EVERYDAY.
Just as the tide washes the beach clean after each day, so does God’s grace and mercy does our soul. Each new day is unique, with no footprints of where we have already been. It is a new start. We can also trust God to get us through difficult days. “ You make a way through the sea and paths through the deep waters, but Your footprints were not seen.” – (Psalm 77:19)
GOD’S LOVE IS AWESOME LIKE THE OCEAN.
God’s love is not limited, it is readily available at any time in our lives. We can count on that no matter what. I like what Amy Grant said about God’s love… “Salt water is the greatest component of our world, yet some people have never seen an ocean. That does not change the ocean, it is constant and powerful, and like the love of God, whether we are immersed in it, standing on the shore, or a thousand miles away, it remains.”
SUNRISES AND SUNSETS REFLECT THE BEAUTY OF GOD’S CREATION.
There is nothing more majestic in nature than a beautiful sunrise or sunset, especially at the beach. It is so colorful, and displays the the awesome power of the sun. They remind us of the importance and power of God’s light in our lives. C.S. Lewis said that “I believe in Christ like I believe in the sun. Not because I can see it, but by it I can see everything else.” May we each day sense God’s presence, guidance, and perspective in our lives as we reflect God’s light and love with people we meet, from sunrise to sunset. Jesus noted to his followers that we are to be a light in the world, by sharing our faith an making a positive difference. Let us let God’s light and love shine through us today!

What is the anchor in your life?

An anchor is most helpful for boats and large ships to keep them from drifting or being destroyed by storms. We too need an anchor in our lives to keep us from being harmed in the storms of life that we all encounter. It can provide stability to keep us safe.
The Bible describes Jesus as the anchor of our soul. The first Christians used the symbol of anchor with a cross on the top of it to remind them, that regardless of the storms they encountered in life, Christ was the anchor of their souls. They could weather the difficult times by trusting in Him and also we can too today.
I can not imagine how difficult my life would have been without Jesus as my anchor. There have been times as I experienced the difficult winds of stress, not knowing what to do, yet somehow He got me through the storms okay.
I do not know what particular storms you may be facing right now in your personal life… but I do know you can not go wrong by trusting the Lord, even when the storms of life cloud your perspective. You can trust Him to be your anchor.

What is the next step? …when you do not know what to do.

I know for those who know me, they may find it difficult to visualize me performing at a dance recital. There are such things as “dancing bears” but I am just not one of them…Except when I was about 7 years old, my mom talked me into to taking tap dancing lessons for a year. So there I was, in my little sailor outfit on the night of the big performance. Back then, music and sound technology was limited to a microphone and a record player. The record started and I started my little routine and then the unexpected happen…The record player needle got stuck and played the same music over and over…so I just did the same few steps over and over again…then they moved the record player needle ahead…I was in suspended animation like a hummingbird until I figured where I was supposed to be and I improvised my way into that part of the dance routine and finished my performance.

As I have encountered other challenges in my life, I’m reminded that sometimes you just gotta keep doing what you are doing where you are at right now. Interruptions happen, your plans can suddenly change and disappointments can upset your life. One way to keep calm is to keep doing what you can and need to do while you consider other options. One of the gifts that God has given you and me is the gift of perseverance.. to keep going even when we don’t know what to do and we are discouraged.

” We can rejoice too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope in salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.” – Romans 5: 3-5 (NLT)

Sometimes… we just got to keep on keeping on until we know the next step.

What we need to do in times like these…

-There is so much pain and suffering around us

-Things don’t always turn out how we had hoped for ourselves and others

– We struggle with feelings of helplessness and hopelessness occasionally

– As much as we love and care for someone else, we can’t always fix it for them

– We can feel numb by it all, where we just do not know what to think and say

When we go through dark times in our lives, we do not need to doubt what God has already taught us in the light…

GOD IS WITH US IN SPITE OF WHAT WE MAY FEEL.

In spite of our emotional emptiness (which is normal when we have dealing with a lot of stress) we need to be reminded that GOD is still with us. We may not feel close to Him but God is not limited to our feelings and we can trust in Him anyway. Remember “The Lord is near those who have a broken heart”-(Psalm 34:18).

LET JESUS WALK WITH YOU THROUGH THIS VALLEY.

God who created you, knows best how to help you to navigate through this difficult time. Jesus is our source of salvation and eternal life but also for peace during He said when encouraging his first followers… “I have told you this so that you will have peace of heart and mind. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows; but cheer up, for I have overcome the world”- (John 16:33). He wants to be a part of our daily life. Jesus is also described as the Good Shepherd. He knows what you need right now. Ask Him to guide you specifically along the path that is best suited for your unique situation.

WE WANT TO “GET OVER IT”…BUT FIRST, WE NEED TO “GET THROUGH IT”.

This is a process and not usually a quick fix. Billy Graham said…”Time alone does not heal, but it is what we do that time, does help us heal.” It is important to be real and proactive. Get help, talk to a trusted friend or counselor. Find things to read or do that recharge you in a positive way. Focus on what you can do today, instead of being sad about what you can not do right now.

STAY CONNECTED to those who love and support you. This not a time to go rogue or completely solo. Check in with family, neighbors and friends to see how they are doing. Do something good or positive for someone else. This does not necessarily have to be big. Simple random acts of kindness can have a big impact.

Remember that God’s grace is stronger than our negative thoughts and regrets. God’s peace is more powerful than our hurts and disappointments… even in times like these, we do not need to doubt what God has already taught us in the light.