You have a dream and deep down you know it needs to be a reality. But somewhere between the conception of the dream and the fruition, maybe you got stuck, frustrated or even gave up on the dream. It happens to all of us, but none of us can afford to let it happen.
Dreaming is a way God speaks to our souls about the direction of our lives. It is a yearning He places in our hearts to see the greatness of our destiny and His plans on the earth fulfilled. Sadly many dreams are never realized–not because of hardships, lack of resources or talent, but because of a handful of bad habits. These habits are simple to eliminate, but they must first be identified.
I’m going to give you a list of five dream killers and some simple solutions to get you on your way to seeing your God dreams come to life.
The first dream killer is complaining.
Complaining aborts breakthrough and shifts focus from God to circumstances.
The children of Israel continually complained about their lack of this or that, putting their attention on what they perceived to be God’s shortcomings. They forgot about God’s faithfulness. The result? They were disqualified from entering the Promised Land (see Numbers 14).
Complaining is like a tiny leak in a dam – one small trickle has the power to burst through the floodgates and drown out the evidence of God’s goodness.
Complaining creates a negative atmosphere in your heart and life. Negativity blinds you to your potential, opportunities, and snuffs out hope. It dulls your hearing of God’s voice and truth.
The Apostle Paul gives us the simple fix for complaining:
Rejoice always, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
The second dream killer is distraction.
If the enemy can steal focus, then he has stolen time, productivity, fruitfulness, relationship with God, meaningful interactions with others, and ultimately, purpose and destiny.
Distractions abound in life from social media, texts, emails, spouses, kids, deadlines…you get the picture! All the notifications popping up on our devices prevent us from entering into and remaining in a sustained place of productive focus.
Intentional steps must be taken to reduce distractions.
We can never get rid of them entirely because unknown and uncontrollable forces happen, but we can take definite steps to manage the ones in our control.
Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, I have set my face like stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will not be put to shame. Isaiah 50:7
Some action steps for eliminating distractions and regaining focus:
- Determine to maintain a disciplined prayer and study time with the Lord, no matter what
- Write out priorities – relationships, work, goals, and so forth
- Turn off notifications for social media
- Mute group texts
- Take a break from social media for a determined period (1 week, 1 month, etc.)
- Check email only at certain times and don’t pick up your phone first thing in the morning
- Stick to the priorities – sometimes you have to say no to some things to say yes to other things, like your priorities.
Comparison is the third dream killer.
The familiar saying, comparison is the thief of joy, is so true, but it goes well beyond that. It is the thief of an individual’s unique voice and purpose.
Life is overflowing with opportunities to compare: print media, social media, advertising, and content marketing perpetuate unattainable standards. They relentlessly stalk and invite us to compare our “meager” existence with an ideal. If we find, in the comparison that we don’t measure up, then we feel undervalued, behind, unimportant, and less than.
Our unique perspective is drowned out and trampled when we engage in unhealthy comparison.
God is our standard, and He is our creator. When we are unhappy with the essence of our being, we are really saying we don’t like God’s creation.
But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” Romans 9:20
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. Psalm 139:14
I eliminated one area of comparison temptation by taking a long break from social media. I found that it was stealing my focus (dream killer #2) and it was perpetuating comparison (dream killer #3). I had to turn off the social media voices so I could hear God’s more clearly and find my own.
Two other ways to eliminate comparison are simply to meditate on scripture that speaks to who you are and ask God what He likes about you. You might be surprised at what He says.
The fourth dream killer is doubt and unbelief.
Going back to the children of Israel, Hebrews 3:19 explains another reason why they didn’t enter into the Promised Land:
So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
Complaining (Dream Killer #1) was the fruit of their unbelief.
Doubt and unbelief dilute your potency and effectiveness and rob you of your dreams and outcomes.
For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. Hebrews 4:2
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
There are two ways we can operate in doubt. First, we can doubt God, like the children of Israel did. They forgot all His faithfulness and believed the lie that God would abandon them in the wilderness and let them die of thirst and starvation. They believed the giants in their promised land were too mighty for God.
The second is self-doubt. The children of Israel doubted they could do what God said they could do.
It is a sin to doubt God, His purpose in creating us, and His ability to work through us. He is the one who gave us gifts and talents and a purpose, and He is the one who empowers those gifts and talents. His ability propels us to the finish line of our personal destiny. We are required simply to believe and act in faith.
The fix is simple. Repent of the sin of unbelief, (see Hebrews 3:12) renounce the lie that either God, or you, are unable to accomplish His purpose in and through you; and receive His forgiveness and Spirit to empower you to walk in His plans (see Ephesians 2:10).
The fifth dream killer is failing to make an actionable plan to achieve your dream.
A goal is a dream with a deadline.
Vision without strategy is just wishful thinking. Graham Cooke
Begin with the end in mind. Steven Covey
This step was the clincher for me. All five of these dream killers are from my journal over the past several months. Each one is something God convicted me of and of which I repented.
The final piece of the unfolding plan toward dream achievement was making an actionable plan, but first I had to stop complaining; I had to take control of distractions; I had to stop comparing myself and my voice to others, and I had to repent of unbelief and doubt.
The process of making an actionable plan is simple:
- Think of what you want to achieve with your dream. If it’s a book or other tangible goal, think of a launch date.
- Then from the end, work backward making a list of each task that needs to be completed to achieve the ultimate result.
- Add in deadlines as you go to help keep yourself on track. It may help to have accountability partners too.
Since God revealed these dream killers to me, and I obeyed His instructions, I have experienced a greater level of fruitfulness, and I am well on my way to realizing my immediate dream of publishing my second bible study.
The world needs your dream to become a reality because it is a piece of God’s plan on the earth. We are all counting on you.
Reply and let me know if you have a dream that died but needs to be resurrected? Which dream killer is resounding the most in your heart right now? What do you need to do to slay it?
I would be blessed to hear from you! Leave a comment letting me know your tried and true hacks for slaying dream killers; or which one of mine you plan to implement in your life. What other dream killers have you identified? I’d also love to hear your dream if you feel comfortable sharing!