When You Pursue Your Dreams and Fail


We tend to pursue our dreams in secret, don’t we?

We tip-toe toward them in our fuzzy slippers and robes during the darkest hours, daring not to make a sound as if we don’t want to wake up the dream slayers — the fears and doubts and uncertainties that are deaf but know we’re coming anyway.

We whisper our dreams softly, don’t we?

It’s almost impossible to hear them ourselves and it’s easy to forget we ever uttered them at all. Instead of living them out loud, we tuck them into our books at night and they sit on our nightstand collecting dust until it’s time to read again, then fall asleep again, then dream again.

Why are we so quiet about having dreams, or speaking dreams or pursuing dreams? Can I share something with you?

I’m tired of whispering my dreams.

Not many people know this, but in the past nine months I’ve had an amazing publisher interested in my book — a book that has been a dream of mine for six years. It passed Acquisitions Committee and then went to Publications Board twice. After the second time, they finally settled on a no.

I’ve been sitting with that no for a couple of weeks now, and honestly I’m okay with the answer. But what I’m not okay with is how I’ve handled the process of this dream.

Because I never told more than a handful of people what was happening during the entire nine months. Somewhere along the way in my life, I’ve believed that in order to have a dream you have to keep it quiet until it comes to pass. Like there’s some superstitious jinx on sharing it that will prevent it from becoming a reality.

But you know what the consequence is for pursuing dreams so fearfully and quietly? We lose dreamers. (tweet) We stop teaching others that regardless of the outcome, it’s healthy to dream. And most importantly, we lose the opportunity to show others how to trust Jesus, even when we pursue our dreams and “fail.”

From the world’s point of view, I have failed in reaching my dream. By not getting a book deal, I can easily become convinced that dream has died and that I need to pursue a more “realistic” dream.

But can I tell you something?

I think I actually succeeded. Because every other time in my life when I’ve been faced with rejection, I’ve allowed it to break me. I’ve taken it personally and let it dictate who I am and what I’m worth. And you know what? This was the first time in my life I didn’t do that.

Can I tell you something else?

Over the past nine months, I wasn’t sure if I wanted God’s will for my life more than I wanted this book. I quite honestly had a very, very hard time separating the two, and it became my constant prayer that the book wasn’t becoming an idol. I wasn’t sure where my heart truly stood on the matter.

And you know what else?

While I’m still saddened and disappointed by this loss, my peace and trust in my Lord has not wavered. Even for a second. I know and trust — even when I cannot see — that He has a plan for me and my life. And I know now, by that nonsensical yet supernatural peace, that I do want His will more than a book.

And my most favorite thing of all?

Through this my daughter has gotten to see that we don’t always succeed in everything we set out to do. That sometimes we can reach out and touch our dreams for a split second, but they can still slip out of our fingers in an instant — but that doesn’t stop our dreaming. It just makes us press in and work harder and believe God more. I am proud that she got to see me cry and mourn, but that I can put my hope in Jesus — the Dream Maker — and not just the dream itself.

Because “we are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan” (Romans 8:28, The Voice, emphasis mine).

So in the end, I think I won.

Why would I stay silent about that kind of success?

I think from now on I’m going to live my dreams out loud instead of tip-toeing toward them in my fuzzy slippers and robe. Not because I’m seeking attention or accolades for myself, but because I don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to spur another on in victory. And maybe if we all saw each other courageously pursuing dreams — regardless of the outcome — we’d find the courage to pursue more of ours, too.

So here’s to beating the drum and marching loudly in the dream parade — eyes on the Conductor as He orchestrates everything to work toward beautiful and good things.

Note: This is not a post where I’m searching for affirmation or encouragement or assurances that my book will get published some day. Just wanted to encourage you, my friends, to look toward the sun and find your dreams and pursue them loudly.

What about you? Do you have any dreams you want to live out loud? Please share — let’s encourage each other to wildly dream and love the Dream Giver.


16 thoughts on “When You Pursue Your Dreams and Fail

  1. Pingback: on coming out of hiding | elevate ideas.
  2. Pingback: In the Quiet | elevate ideas.
  3. Pingback: Dreams, Fears, & Leading by Example | Exceptionalistic
  4. “…regardless of the outcome, it’s healthy to dream.” This is wise and true. And beautiful. This post shouts of finding your true worth not in what we do and accomplish, but in what God does and accomplishes through us. Or, in spite of us. Your words are a balm to my soul this morning, Monica!

  5. Sweet Monica- the first thing that hit me was the significance of 9 months…I trust God is birthing a new thing in you, and that new thing will better prepare your heart for the next stage of Spirit given dreams. Praying. :)

  6. Thank you Monica! I’ve been struggling with dissertation writing and feeling like I’ll never finish school (because, seriously, this is my 13th year of college and that’s just crazy….). Yesterday I reached the point of deciding I needed some serious encouragement to go on at all. – I couldn’t believe how right on time your post was when it popped up.
    I keep asking myself and God why I should pursue anything, especially now. Why dream of something new when current reality is close, tangible, and offers more than a lifetime of activity? I’ve thought of quietly letting some lifelong dreams go… I could smooth over the hours and effort already spent and just chalk it up to bad timing, change in priorities, etc. But would I be abandoning my little dream just because it hasn’t grown up yet? I’m not sure, but I do know I now have the option to hold onto the dream and that it doesn’t hold me. A dream that defines me and relentlessly pushes me onward is not a gift added to my life, it is a master seeking power. It’s good to remember and realign dreams where they belong.
    Thanks again for the encouragement!

  7. Always so inspired by your words of wisdom- so honest and real. Praying that our dreams through Gracewear can make a true Kingdom Impact… Always feels like an uphill BATTLE- learning to Trust more and Fear less- putting on our ARMOR daily. Claiming Victory Today. XO

  8. Great Post!! We do live quietly in our own dreams not want to expose our weakness if we fail. Just thinking out loud….when a dream does not come into fruition we sense a loss and go through a grief process . It makes perfect sense to share our dreams because we do need community to cheer us on and grieve with us. I love the teachable moment with your daughter. Our children are watching, we are their best witness. Love..Love..Love..this post.

    • Thank you, Nellie! I agree — we need the love and support of others both when our dreams come to fruition, and when they don’t. Just because the outcome doesn’t look like we thought it would doesn’t mean it’s a failure — especially when the Dream Orchestrator is in full control. Thanks for visiting!

    • It’s not easy, is it? But I can’t wait to see the encouragement and community that will come from us all sharing authentically about our dreams and pursuits. Thanks for stopping by!

  9. You are so on target. I just started God-sized dreaming with Holley Gerth in January. My dream was to share more of myself. I began with planning a blog/website. I called it “my secret project”. I did not want anyone to know about this dream. After I read your post today, I realized how crazy that is. I wanted to hide my dream to connect with others. Thank you for giving me a push in the right direction. I pray that the right book deal will come to you at the right moment and that you will be blessed during the waiting.

    • Congratulations on your “secret project!” :) I loved Holley’s book and I’m still chewing on so much from it. A dream that is to connect with others is truly a God-given dream. Praying for you and cheering you on as you pursue it!

  10. Beautiful post Monica! I love your bravery and your wisdom. This is such an important lesson in today’s “success obsessed” culture, when most people don’t even know the true meaning of the word.

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