. . . and then some more . . . More life. More Jesus.

When You’re Afraid of Your Dreams

Last year in Germany, God pulled me through a season of ripping off chains I didn’t even know I wore. Chains that looked like fear and anxious and opposite of peace.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

He used abrasives sometimes. Like morning bus rides full of Germans and afternoon bus rides with people I did not understand.

Other times, He gently peeled away the layers of my afraid. Like when I’d walk into the butcher shop and she would greet me with happy words and smiles and helpful hands. Always helpful serving hands. Even though I couldn’t understand most of her words, the Metzgerei’s friendliness helped peel away pieces of anxiety chains so I could know what real life means.

The kind Jesus promised I could have if I’d trust Him and fear God alone.

So a few weeks ago in church, when we studied the story of Barak and how afraid he was of doing what God asked, I really didn’t think I had many fears left.

Until the end of the service when it was time to name my fear.


It was a fill-in-the-blank deal. We each had a piece of paper that read just like this: “I fear ____________________” And we were supposed to write down what we were afraid might happen if we do what God asks.

I sat in my church seat and asked God if I still had fears I needed to hand over to Him.

Then He gave me an answer in the form of a thought, and I knew what I needed to write on that line.

I fear screwing up my kids if I go all-in with my writing.

I have long dreamed of being a writer and a speaker, writing a best-seller someday, speaking to groups about real life in Jesus Christ. But until recently it has only been that. A dream.

And now suddenly it seems I am faced with the realization that the dream was actually put there by God. And it’s what He wants for me.

And all the what-ifs of those dreams becoming reality are starting to surface.

I already knew that following Jesus meant giving up my life, trusting Him with every ounce of everything I have. So I thought I was denying myself by offering Him my dreams. Because I know He called me to be a wife and a mom first. And in my head I haven’t been able to reconcile the two.

How could I be both really well at the same time?

What I had not considered was the truth that following Jesus means offering Him both. My dreams and my family.

I’m not the one who decides. He is.

I’m not saying God wants me to deny my family. But I believe He is calling me to trust Him with the time issues that will be required of me if I go all-in with pursuing this dream.

I have long struggled with the idea of doing ministry so hard I ignore my kids and my family. Or I make them hate God for calling me to it.

But until that morning sitting in church, I had not considered that trusting God with my dreams, denying myself, might just mean He helps me keep it in balance. He doesn’t let me turn my writing or my dream into an idol that steals time from my family.

I had not considered that by denying my full-on chasing of the dream for fear of making it an idol, I was making my family an idol all its own.

I hadn’t even thought about the fact that by not going all-in as I pursue this dream to make Jesus known, I have been disobeying Him and trusting my own understanding of how I think it’s going to work.

What about you? Is there a dream God has given you that you’ve been scared to chase? Is there a passion you have that you’ve long ignored because you thought it would be selfish to pursue it?

Do you think you could trust God to figure out the details?


**I’m thinking of doing a Wednesday series here about dream-chasing. Do you like that idea? Let’s talk about it in the comments.


14 Thoughts on “When You’re Afraid of Your Dreams

  1. My full-fledged dream is to pursue speaking alongside writing in the context of ripping chains off of those of us who suffer from chronic illnesses. i am terrified to eve nstart thinking about it. Even though I know God is in it

    • I always thought I was just sort of being selfish if I actually pursued my dream. But I’m starting to realize God’s the one Who put it there and wants me to chase it. Do you know what scares you about your dream? I wonder if realizing that might help? I have no doubt God is in that dream of yours, my friend. He uses you already. Mightily.

      • Failing in a public manner. Have you seen The Princess Bride. I fear the dream that Buttercup has. That there will be some crotchety old lady screaming “BBBOOOOOO!” at me.

        That is an extreme picture, but to remove the drama, I am afraid of ridicule. Of being told I have nothing to offer. Of not measuring up.

        When that happens with my writing (which is about once a month), I am able to just ignore it, or delete the comment, or take some time to process the emotions before I respond. I can’t do that when I’m in front of someone.

        Here’s the crazy thing — I know God is in this dream too. I just have to push through. It’s so debilitating though.

  2. Today I sat down to write out my dreams, my goals, my fears, my hurts. And then I checked my email and here you are!! I used to fear what my ministry would do to my kids, too, but then I realized that they are learning that they are not the center of the world, God is. They are realizing that following Jesus is the most important thing- then loving and serving others. Now I dream of changing the world and rescuing children so that they are not sold for sex. Rescuing children so that they don’t lie awake being terrified of the night and hungry and afraid of the people that are supposed to protect them. These thoughts keep me up at night. I fear not knowing what “all in” looks like and missing it! What I want more than anything is to live passionately, purposely so that God gets the glory!

    • Diane, every time I sat down to write this post, you were at the forefront of my mind as an example of what I want to be like as I do this all-in dream-chasing thing. I knew you would have some amazing wisdom to add to this discussion. And I love knowing you.

  3. Oh, girl, you’re speaking to me! Wide-eyed and listening…

    Deb Weaver

  4. Our dreams are put there by God for a particular purpose – to glorify Him. The path has cleared, all you need to do is follow it. God’s ways always lead to success.

  5. Brianna, your post speaks to my week! I’ve been wrestling with a calling to write and fighting the fears. I started to realize I’m still holding on to other expectations and dreams, and trying to control outcomes, if that makes sense. I also want to jump ahead when I’m further along in the dream-chasing. I see how I need to let go, put everything at Jesus’ feet, and be faithful in the tasks He calls me to do today. So I decided to make a more concrete plan for the present and trust in the goodness of the Lord. Because the details will come. He is always faithful.

    • Laura, thank you for this. Why is it so hard to leave our dreams at Jesus’ feet and then be faithful to what He’s called us to? I love your decision to do both. Thanks for sharing it.

  6. Genevieve on January 31, 2014 at 1:59 pm said:

    I have a dream of doing something with music that while the dream is different from what it was back then, it’s still a carryover from when I was an unbeliever. I feel that God is calling me to do something I don’t want to do and have very little passion for right now because I’m still grieving the loss of my old dream. This makes me feel selfish because in my mind it means I don’t love Him enough to forsake that dream and go after what I think He wants me to do. I’m afraid of making Him mad and grieving the spirit. How do I deal with this?

What do you say?

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