Perspective, Trusting God, Writing

Dreams: When Dreams Don’t Come True

Meme with typewriter and the word: Publish

@JeanneTakenaka

In May, I participated in a twelve-day Instagram writer’s challenge. It was both stretching and fun. We were given a different word each day and created posts about those words relating to our writer’s life. 

As I contemplated each word, I discovered correlations between writing life and real-life. I’ve expanded on the original posts, and I’d love to read your thoughts on these words as they relate to your life as well. This is my final post with this series. 

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Have you ever had a dream that felt so big, so out of reach, you never thought it was possible to achieve?

From the time I was fourteen, I’ve wanted to be published. I set the dream aside for decades because of . . . well, life. 

And fear.

At first the idea of writing a full-length novel—with characters, plot, and setting—overwhelmed me. The fear of failure cast a large shadow in my thoughts. 

And then there was the fear—of my dream never coming true.  

Picture at sunset of sailboats sitting on a dock at sunset

So, I focused on living real life and left this dream on a shelf somewhere in the back of my heart. Until about nine years ago, when God prodded it front-and-center in my mind. He gave me a character’s name and the bare bones of a plot that wouldn’t leave me alone. 

It’s funny how, when God plants something in our hearts, we can’t stop thinking about it. 

And though I thought I’d be published within two years of starting to write (you have my permission to laugh),  I’ve yet to achieve this dream. But I’ve learned that God doesn’t give dreams solely to make them a reality.

Meme: the words: When our Father gives us dreams . . . He refines our character, teaches us how to depend on Him, removes us from our comfort zones, and helps us learn our true identities as His kids" with a beach sunrise backdrop

When our Father gives us dreams, He refines our character, teaches us how to depend on Him, removes us from our comfort zones, and helps us learn our true identities as His kids.  

In nine years, I’ve grown as a wife and mom, as a friend, as a person. I’ve learned to say no to some things so I could say yes to writing and laying a foundation to be published. 

An image of a small hand holding onto a fence made of knotted rope

God’s given me opportunities to confront my companion—rejection. In entering contests, I’ve worked through sometimes harsh comments about my writing and story. I’ve learned how to pick myself up after an agent rejected my manuscript. God has taught me how to give each disappointment to Him.

When editors told me my story was “overdone” I navigated the thoughts and the heart-hurts that rejection instills. I learned how to set that story aside and begin a new one. Painful? Yes! But these opportunities have also taught me that God is in it all. 

Two sailboats sailing on choppy waters

God walks beside us when rejection hits hard. He filters His truths into the lies rejection whispers, and He offers us hope. When He gives us a dream, He sees us through until the end.

The Lord has taught me about balancing “writing life” and “real-life.” With a husband who travels for a few weeks at a time, setting aside time to work on my story is sometimes difficult. With boys who have gone from early elementary school to high school in the span of my writing years, we’ve grown through many pains, character lessons, and joys. 

A close up a part of a footprint in the sand near a sea shell

God reminds me often that these years with my sons are flying past. In two short years, Peter will graduate from high school. God reminds me His timing is perfect, and that my first ministry is to my family . . . which means my writing goals have not happened on my timeline, but on His. 

The Lord reminds me of the necessity of being fully present and engaged with our sons. They were the gift I prayed for over many years. Why would I misuse my time with them?

Image of a sailboat sailing with a mountain-y backdrop

Being published is still an aspiration. Instead of the flat, straight path I expected to travel, God’s led me on winding trails, up rocky mountains, over rickety bridges, and through barren deserts. The thing is: He’s led me

If we’re honest, I’d bet most—if not all—of us have dreams hidden in our hearts. We have a choice. Take them out and commit them to God . . . or horde them where no one can see them, and nothing can happen to them, even their fruition. 

When we entrust our dreams to our trustworthy Father, we can be assured He’ll walk with us in the fulfilling of them. He’ll challenge us, stretch us, and remove us far from our comfort zones. Because it’s in those uncomfortable places where we truly learn to depend on Him and to grow with Him. 

Image of a sea gull in silhouette with a beach sunrise backdrop

Though this dream still feels big, and kind of out of reach, I’m moving forward with my Father. He guides my steps exactly where He wants me to go. And in this, no matter what I face, I am reassured. 

What about you? What’s one adventure you have undertaken that took you completely out of your comfort zone? What do you do when your dream feels unattainable?

Click to Tweet: God walks beside us when rejection hits hard. He filters His truths into the lies rejection whispers, and He offers us hope.

I’m linking up with #TellHisStory and #RaRaLinkup

30 thoughts on “Dreams: When Dreams Don’t Come True”

  1. The path of life, its twists and turning
    is not that which it seems,
    but born unto a deeper yearning,
    and so it is with dreams.
    The vision parfit we are given
    is not ours to turn away;
    when all is lost, the brave heart riven,
    it’s closer by a day.
    What lies beneath the golden dome
    is the crossing in the nave,
    the church’s heart, the spirit’s home,
    and triumph past the grave.
    Look past dream’s dome and gleaming spire
    to find the Meaning you desire.

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  2. Thank you for your honesty and transparency Jeanne. Your heart is valuable and the lessons the Father has given you, using writing as the motivator, has taught you what is really important; relationship. We may write millions of words but if we miss relationship then we have nothing to say.

    Throughout your journey you have learned the most important lesson of all, He led me. I have heard no sweeter words. This means you have followed Jesus and He has brought you to Himself. Can there be any greater success? Whether you are published or not you already have the reward. That is something to rejoice in. Even if all we ever read from you is this blog then we are nourished for you have pointed us back to the Father. We have an example in you of “He led me”. Thank you Jeanne.

    As one who also has been led, and has an outstanding promise from God, I understand the angst of the process. When we understand that God’s heart is in our transformation from spiritual children to spiritual adults our own desires change. What once was so important fades as He puts in the desires of His spirit. When we flow in these, following His lead and perfect timing, what we thought was dead He has the power to resurrect. Keep following Him Jeanne and He will bring you to the destiny He has prepared for you from the beginning of the world.

    Blessings,
    Homer Les
    http://www.uncompromisingfaith.ca

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    1. Homer, thank you for your encouragement! Your words are a blessing and hold so much truth! And you put it so well: God is more concerned about our transformation into spiritual adults than He is about us getting what we work toward. Although, often that transformation comes in the working and in the yielding of our hearts to His will. Thanks so much for sharing your insights!

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  3. I’m definitely familiar with those twisting, turning paths. So often that is how God leads us when we would rather take the direct route. But, as you say, there’s a lot of learning and growing along the way. Praying for you as God guides you forward. I think you are a wonderful writer and I look forward to celebrating with you one day when your dream finally comes true!

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    1. Lesley, we’re on a similar path, I think. 🙂 The direct route seems best to this “git ‘er done” gal, but God’s “roundabout” ways are always better. I’m praying for you as you walk out your writing journey also, friend.

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  4. “Entrust your dreams to our trustworthy Father… it’s in those uncomfortable places where we truly learn to depend on Him and to grow with Him.” So true and this is such a beautiful and encouraging post. And I’m looking forward to the day when your dream is fulfilled!

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  5. Jeanne, I’ve had to learn the hard way that the struggle sometimes is the path too. God does not always follow the timeline that we want or give us the most direct path to follow. My goal was to qualify to run the Boston Marathon. It took me numerous attempts and I lost hope many times before finally succeeding in the first marathon I ran after my mother’s death. I think she was an angel looking over my shoulder during that race! 🙂

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    1. Laurie, I don’t know if God has ever followed my timeline. 😉 I love that you were able to run in the Boston Marathon! That is amazing to this non-running gal. And like you, there have been times when I’ve lost hope on this writing journey. But God . . . it’s sweet that God gave you the comfort of that acceptance into the Boston Marathon after your mother’s passing. I loved this story.

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  6. Thank you so much for sharing, dearest Jeanne. Your words helped me reflect on the difficult paths we were made to take and the adventurous ones we took voluntarily. Looking back, I see how God has used them both and allowed them at times to cross. There was that terrible accident after which we almost lost our oldest son. Now the anniversary of that date has become a wedding date. Then there was an adoption of three older kids whom we added to our three biological boys. This coming weekend we are sending off another boy to college and yet another to live somewhere else in October. One daughter is heading into high school while her siblings are in middle school.
    Here is my (not final) conclusion:
    God uses us utterly disproportionately to our abilities. He gives us adventures we had not set out on and at times keeps us from dreams we have dreamed all our lives. In all these things He remains utterly faithful. His timing is so different from ours and His ways at times difficult to figure out for our lives. His Word though is steadfast and trustworthy and feeds us along the journey, and (if we are willing) transforms us more and more into the image of Jesus.
    Jeanne, thank you for your faithfulness as a mother, wife and Christ-follower. Thank you for this beautiful reminder!!!

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    1. Heidi, I loved learning more about you. Adoption is part of the fabric of our family’s story as well. You are one busy mama walking through lots of transition right now. Thank you for sharing your truths. I can’t add anything to your words. I just keep nodding in agreement. Hugs, friend.

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  7. Jeanne,
    I, too, have dreamed of having a book published “someday”?? I have had a few small victories like being included in the (in)courage devotional “A Moment to Breathe” and a couple articles here and there, but as for getting a book idea past an agent of traditional publisher? Rejection has been norm. In the meantime, I try to heed God’s calling in writing for my blog audience. If even one person is encouraged, then it’s a victory. God’s timing is perfect and maybe publishing isn’t in my future. Learning to trust in God’s plans and know there is purpose in everything He takes me through…including rejection.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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    1. Bev, the road to publication is fraught with humbling, isn’t it? And yes, rejection. And disappointment. I guess those are some of the rocky mountains and barren deserts we walk through. But I love your perspective and your desire to trust God and write where He has you right now. Your words are beautiful, filled with truth and infused with grace, my friend. Thank you for sharing so honestly here.

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  8. Jeanne, thanks for being willing to share your heart here. It has encouraged me – and others as well, I see. I, like most, have dreams as well. Some that keep me inspired and encouraged and some that are “put away”…for good or maybe for another season. Your honest thoughts have me thinking….perhaps my dreams (all of them but especially those I think are shelved) were placed on my heart for a purpose – or purposes – much more than the actual fulfilling of the dream. My dreams can be used to teach me, mold me and to refine me and, therefore, are of great worth. Even when I don’t’ see them finished like I imagined. Thank you for speaking to my heart today!

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    1. Jennifer, yes. I think God gives us dreams, but He wants us to trust Him to do what He knows is best with them. We get to walk with God toward their being fulfilled . . . in His way and in His timing. Thank you so much for your transparency, friend!

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  9. Thank you for this wonderfully encouraging posts. I’ve been wrestling with the dreams of writting also and wondering if it’s just me or if God is directing me. Thank you for your post. I feel I have a clearer direction now of what God desires even if I’m stumbling through.

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    1. Janis, I’ve had times where I’ve wondered the same thing. I think the best thing we can do is continually lay our dreams before our Father and trust that He will direct us. Thanks so much for visiting!

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  10. Wow! Your insight is profound, Jeanne. God truly has taught you so much through this process. I love how you learned God uses these dreams for other reasons, like refining our characters, etc. That He led you to this point and you recognize the importance of “He led me” is amazing. Thank you for sharing! As always, your photos refresh my heart, too. Love and blessings to you!

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    1. Trudy, thanks so much for your encouraging words. God has His perfect ways of teaching us, of refining us, and conforming us into the image of His Son, doesn’t He? I’m so thankful He’s patient when I’m a slow learner. 😉 Thanks for your friendship! Love and blessings back to you!

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  11. As hard as it is to follow your dream on God’s timetable, He has kept you from putting that dream ahead of family, helped you persevere through the rejections, and I’m sure, seeing your photography and blog posts, given you much joy in the journey!! Too often we tend to put our dreams ahead of all else, so I appreciate your candor in these posts about depending on God and trusting His timetable!

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    1. Kathy, God has been faithful to re-direct my heart when it becomes too attached to being published. And, when He reminds me of His perspective, it makes the seeming delays a little easier to manage. Thanks so much for your encouragement!

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  12. Wow, Jeanne … this right here –> ‘When our Father gives us dreams, He refines our character, teaches us how to depend on Him, removes us from our comfort zones, and helps us learn our true identities as His kids. ‘

    And maybe even more so as those dreams change shape and morph into something we never would have come up with on our own …

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  13. It sounds so cliche, but it really is about the journey, not the dream itself, isn’t it? It’s the steps along the way that create experiences, learning, and changes within and without (& maybe into a brand new dream) and is life itself. Keep on, keeping on, as they say! I’m glad you are, J!

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    1. Lynn, I couldn’t agree more. It is definitely about the journey rather than the dream being fulfilled. It’s in the journey where we learn, are conformed to the image of Jesus, and grow in our understanding of God, His love, and How He wants to work in our lives. Thanks for your encouragement, friend!

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  14. You shared so many convicting words in this post. I loved this right here —>
    When our Father gives us dreams, He refines our character, teaches us how to depend on Him, removes us from our comfort zones, and helps us learn our true identities as His kids.

    That will preach, girl! Whew! I have re-read those words several times and know you wrote them for me. I have undergone a lot of refining and stepping out of my comfort zone. I am so glad you are writing and that I call you friend.

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    1. Mary, thank you for your kind words. The Lord continues to refine me too. He has this way of not allowing us to grow too comfortable, doesn’t He? I’m so thankful for your friendship as well!

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  15. Jeanne, I so appreciate your willingness to grow, to push yourself, to keep writing when disappointments happen and life spirals in directions you weren’t expecting. It’s been a blessing to read your words over time and see how God has been working in your writing AND the rest. Hugs, friend.

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