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When You Are Afraid To Dream

Are you afraid to dream?

Does the thought of speaking your dreams out loud make you anxious? Are you worried that if you speak them, they won’t come true? Or if you do dream and they don’t happen, do you fear what others will think?

I was afraid to dream for a long time.

But earlier this year something broke in me. Rather, I should say, broke off me.

Fear and shame had a hold of me and so many of my dreams. I believed lies that I wasn’t good enough, smart enough or pretty enough. I didn’t trust that God had bigger and better dreams for me. But … for the first time in my life, I’m no longer afraid to dream. I can’t believe I just wrote that! That’s a huge step of faith right there for me!

Stepping Out

I left my most recent job as an administrative assistant after being on staff for seven years. It was both exciting and nerve-wracking! I had no idea what I was going to do. I just knew it was time for a change. For years, I prayed for a schedule that would allow me to pursue multiple creative outlets — a space where I could learn, cultivate and grow. My creativity had been greatly suppressed, and I wanted more out of life. This dream seemed way too far out of reach. It felt as though I was asking for too much and living in La La Land. Little did I know God had finally opened a door.

A few months ago, I reached out to a local business owner in hopes of being able to hear the heart behind her company. I asked if there would ever be an opportunity to come walk alongside her. I wanted to surround myself with other creative-thinking people to learn from. Her interior design company is extremely innovative, progressive and forward-thinking. I didn’t have any experience or a degree in that field, but I’ve always loved decorating and wanted to know more.

Right before hitting send, all I could hear was … What’s the worst she could say? No? And with that I emailed her. I really didn’t expect her to respond, but she did! A few days later she took the time to meet me for coffee. I pushed past some fears. I chose to be obedient, bold and courageous. Fast-forward to today, and I am now doing an internship with her company. While I’m not necessarily trying to become an interior designer, I get a chance to go behind the scenes and see how it’s done.

I’m learning so much about myself through this process. It’s giving me the confidence to continue to step out. Other opportunities have started opening up. I’m doing things I never thought I’d have the chance to do, things that I was afraid to pursue. So many of my dreams are finally coming to fruition.

Don’t be deceived to think for a minute that these dreams came true overnight, because they didn’t. These are dreams that have long been in the making. Dreams I’ve cried over, pushed down and reignited once again. There were years of disappointment, rejection and betrayal, all of which had a purpose. Now I’m able to encourage others to pursue their own dreams. I get so excited when others share their dreams with me!

Remember God’s Promises

God has placed new dreams in my heart. Dreams that I never thought were possible. Some dreams are still in the waiting. Waiting on Him. And that’s OK. It doesn’t mean that God doesn’t care about my dreams. He does. He cares about every single one of them. I’m reminded of His promise in Psalm 37:4-5:

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. (NLT)

Something that has helped me during this time is to be in constant prayer. Not only do I pray for doors to open, but I also pray for doors to be closed. Many times we see a closed door as rejection. I’ve learned that most of the time, this is God’s way of protecting me. In those moments, I have to trust that He knows best and has something else for me.

Stay in God’s Word

Negative thoughts and lies will still try to creep in. Thoughts of Who do you think you are? or You’re no good still run through my head. The less time I spend with God, the easier it is to become discouraged and doubt that God has something for me. Or I might start comparing what God is doing in someone else’s life to my own.

But the more time I spend in His Word, the quicker I am to replace those lies with His truth. I am comforted by Jeremiah 29:11:

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (NLT)

God has a plan and purpose for each of us.

Speak God’s Truth

Not only is it important to be in God’s Word on a regular basis, it’s also important to speak His truth out loud. There are times I don’t feel equipped in what I’m doing. I continually have to say over myself, “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13 NLT). Speaking His truth is something I do a lot. It’s extremely powerful and completely changes the atmosphere. Any worry, stress or anxiety I might be feeling is alleviated. Choose a Scripture that means something personal to you so you can fight the enemy’s lies.

My encouragement to you today: Move forward, even when you’re afraid. Remember that God is with you. He will lead and guide you as you seek Him. You can find Him by reading His Word and speaking His truth out loud.

Give your dreams to the Lord. Watch Him provide and make a way.

About Karen Hageman

Karen has a bachelor of science degree in human resource management from the University of Maryland University College and a master’s in human relations from the University of Oklahoma. She loves to sing, write, encourage and empower others in their gifts. Having gone through an abusive marriage, painful divorce, and six years of singleness, she hopes that her testimony will bring healing and hope to others. She is now married to the most amazing man. Karen and her husband, Danny, currently reside in North Richland Hills, Texas. They have a dog named Ringo Starr.

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