I enjoyed a wonderful conversation with a new friend recently. He shared with me several difficulties he has recently navigated. As he talked, I heard the pain and saw the hurt. He had a dream of helping his single mom who had sacrificed and did so much for him. He had a dream of growing a business with a young, gifted partner whose skill and goals meshed so well with his. He had a dream of landing a contract with a specific organization and for five years slowly chipped away at what seemed far-fetched. He was close to achieving all three dreams and over the last six months all three dreams have unraveled.

He is a tenacious worker with high optimism. His trust in God is high. The hurt is also very real. The unknowns for the future can bring anxiety. As he talked, I thought about a lesson from Kevin Myers’ book "Homerun." Kevin writes, “What plan or dream are you still holding on to in your life or career that God has long since asked you to put to rest? Maybe you need to hold a funeral, grieve, and move on to whatever God has next for you. You will never find the new dream unless you let go of the old one. Something old may have to die, but that may be the only way to allow something new to live.”

Kevin goes on to say our challenge with dreams that need to die is we must be honest with ourselves. We must acknowledge how much the dream meant to us. We must acknowledge the disappointment and pain. We cannot afford to pretend it does not hurt. We cannot simply “forget” and move on. We must celebrate what was good, grieve what was lost and trust what is to come. We must acknowledge that relationship will never be the same. The goal will never be realized. The sweet joy of victory, in that situation, will never be tasted.

Kevin writes, “What do you do when something inside of you dies? You have a funeral. You take all the emotion and intensity of the loss and face it. And then you go get a new dream based on the new reality. Why? Because if you don’t live for a new dream, you end up living in the past! And there is no future in the past. You will never know the joy of what God can win in the future if you are consumed with lamenting what is lost in the past.”

I am so thankful God, through the leadership of the Holy Spirit, uses conversations with other followers of Christ, to bring hope, healing and clarity into our lives. He doesn’t always speak in our time, but he will speak. And when he does, we can choose to respond with gratitude and obedience.

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Is there a dream that has clearly died? Have you acknowledged the hurt or are you ignoring the pain? Are you ready to have a funeral so God can lead you into the future and bring you a new dream? God has the next chapter ready for you!