Dreams fuel us and cast purpose. A dream from God that others support can make us feel like we're flying on the wings of favor. But sometimes life trips you up and you find that the very dream you had from God is dead.
I had a dream in my late 20s to start a publication that would proclaim God's work to the nations. I lived out of my suitcase for a year to raise support to fund that dream. I believed in that dream so much that I was willing to lay down my own aspirations for a career or getting married, having a nice home and living the American dream.
Then I got entangled in church strife and was brought before a group of leaders that wanted me to leave. Accusations were hurled and I was betrayed by close friends. I felt very alone. Really alone.
At that moment when hurt and pain consumed me and I wanted to flee, something bigger than me held me steady. I wanted to ditch organized religion and write an expose, but I was held by something bigger than me. Through sobs and gulps of salty tears, I told these leaders that I would do what they wanted.
I submitted to their request even though I thought it was unjust and unfair. I didn't revile or write an expose. I didn't leave the church although I've seen hundreds of people do this after going through a similar situation. I didn't return the hurt and pain.
I did what Jesus did when He was in a similar situation. He was perfect. He was just. And I am not. Yet I did what He did and forgave them. I let go of the people and fell into the arms of the One who never lets go.
That incident led to my dismissal from that dream project to start a publication. I felt lost and disillusioned. Another leader asked me to travel with his team in Russia. I turned them down because I felt scarred from the betrayal and slander.
I turned down the ministry opportunity, but I was insatiably hungry for Him. I was hungry for the One who didn't revile but submitted Himself to the hands of men who used Him as a political pawn of power. I decided to focus on Him alone and forgive those who killed the dream.
"When He was reviled, He did not revile back; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but He entrusted Himself to Him who judges righteously" (1 Pet. 2:23).
During that season of uncertainty when I didn't know who I was or where I was going, I realized how much I depended on people to form what only God could create. The leaders who stopped the dream were doing me a favor because I wasn't ready to carry that ministry.
Many years later, I would thank them for not letting me go. I would not have met my future husband, Jerome, who has taught me how to love. The dream that died has been resurrected many times over as God has opened doors for writing that were way beyond that old dream. He has given me new beginnings over and over again after dreams die and rise in the beauty of His hand.
I pray that in 2016, you would know the supernatural life that comes from giving Him all—all of your hopes, all of your dreams and all of your desires. I've learned—since that meeting with those leaders, which I could have used as an excuse to leave the faith—to hold onto Him alone! To hold onto Him and open my heart to trust again. To keep my heart pure and soft before Him because that's where the issues of life flow from.
So for 2016, let go. Let go of the pain, the hurt and betrayal. Let go of the people who brought the pain or accusation. Let go of the dream. Since that meeting many years ago, the pastor who asked me to leave has come back into my life as a friend. The people who were in that meeting are friends of mine to this day. When that pastor who asked me to leave sent me a prophetic message of encouragement on Facebook, God breathed on me. He breathed in that moment of love and restoration and He wants to breathe on you.
I pray that in 2016 you will see His breath in restoring people in your life.
To me, a restored relationship is a greater treasure than a dream realized. If I had to choose between that dream and the people, I will choose the people. May God restore your relationships with His mark of love. Trust Him way beyond anyone around you has trusted Him. Love Him and love His people. Let go. And let God.
Leilani Haywood is an award-winning writer and online editor of SpiritLed Woman. She just released her first book, Ten Keys to Raising Kids That Love God, with net proceeds being donated to the Orphan Justice Center. Follow Leilani on Facebook or Twitter.
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