As women, our dreams matter to us deeply.
We carry them with us everywhere the same way we carry a cherished handbag, or wear a piece of jewelry that symbolizes love. Our dreams define who we are.
Except that one day … we want to let go of them and see them fly.
If you’re like me, you might really enjoy carrying your dreams around with you. But you might also wish they’d just finally get a move-on and become reality. I mean, it’s great to talk about something, but talking about it gets tiring after awhile. You want to see something happen, do the things that will make you feel so good and experience the results with your family, friends and community.
But it’s not happening.
In fact, any time you get close to making things happen, you wind up in a world of hurt, confused and brokenness. Your mind gets fuzzy and you don’t know what to focus on next. All of which makes you that much less willing to step out and try again.
That can end today, if you are truly willing.
If you find your dreams are constantly delayed, consider it a signal from God and your life that something else needs to be dealt with before you can have what you want.
The pause isn’t meant to keep you from having what you want. Not at all. It’s a loving gift that can help you face what’s really going on … and be able to keep what you want when you finally do get it.
Here are four common triggers of delay for women’s dreams. You might have experienced all four, or only be wrestling with one. But when left unhealthy-with the results are the same: frustrated dreams.
Any kind of abuse, whether physical, sexual, emotional or spiritual, is a violation of trust and dignity. An abuser’s actions say, “What I want/need is far more important than what you want/need. Your needs and your dignity do not matter to me.” Abuse is perhaps the most horrifying way anyone can have their dreams—and their dignity—completely de-validated.
Just removing ourselves from the abusive situation is not enough, however. Even if we’ve left the abusive situation far behind, and found some inner healing, the deep-seated consequences can remain. Old stories from that season of life lie deep in our subconscious, sabotaging our conscious brain’s attempts to move forward.
If you are an abuse survivor, you might be less likely to consider your dreams important, unless your “retrain” yourself to think that way. Even if you’ve gotten on the personal development, spiritual growth or self-help train … subconsciously, you might still be living under the idea that “somebody else’s desires trump mine.”
But your desires do matter. Honoring them is the most powerful way you can demonstrate that abuse has not broken you.
The term “abandonment” sounds dramatic, but it can encompass everything from the more stark forms (such as a parent leaving in one’s early childhood years, or a partner walking out) to the less-spoken-of forms, such as a trail of dodgy friendships or a string of unreliable colleagues who leave you to finish those late-night work projects.
I’ve experienced all these and more forms of abandonment, personally. And I can say from my experience: it deeply affected my vision of what was possible for my life. It brought me to a place of deep disappointment and discouragement. For a time I stopped hopping I could do better in my relationships.
When a woman gets abandoned at any stage of life, it triggers a memory of loss with powerful associations in the emotions and the body. If this describes you, then you are much more likely then to expect other things in you life to simply disappear. In my own case, for many years, I expected the good things I got to vanish as quickly as I got them.
I was always waiting for “the other shoe to drop” because abandonment had sent the message that the other shoe was, indeed, waiting to do so.
You might say, “Lisa Maria, I’m super blessed to never have experienced abuse or abandonment in my life.”
If so, I’m guessed you have at least experienced this next trigger of delay: disappointment.
Disappointment can hit unexpectedly at any time and seep deep into our bones. It is all about false hope: that bitter taste we feel in our mouths any time we thought it was going to work out this time… whatever the “it” might be… but everything still crashed and burned.
Disappointment does powerful things if you’ve experienced it. It can tempt you to become isolated and bitter about what’s possible. It can also reinforce neural pathways (yes, literal footpaths in your brain!) that cause you to expect setbacks and failure rather than seeing them as one part of a larger journey that is ultimately successful.
The well-worn pathways in your brain are very powerful. Did you know that you can actually pre-determine your success or failure based on what you expect?
This last trigger of delay might seem to be the most harmless… as in, doubts are very normal for everyone and come from within us, not always from traumatic circumstances outside of us. But doubt can be just as damaging as those more dramatic external circumstances.
When you doubt, you are essentially saying we’re not entirely sure that what you want is possible. This doesn’t put you on a strong footing to actually receive success. In a sense, your doubt (like your response to disappointment) can literally push your intended success away. At the very least, it can lead you to make plans that you never seem to make progress on.
Think about this in terms of relationships. If you begin to doubt a person, you will distance yourself from him or her. That distance will then create a division that ultimately destroys the relationship. If you think of your dream (any dream!) like a relationship, the more doubt you cast on the dream, the less your dream will want to be associated with you. And that goes for all the people and situations who are required to make the dream reality.
All of these four things have one result in common: they cause delays.
Getting to our dreams would be a straight shot if life did not intervene. But it does. And the good news is, what has happened to you in the past does not have to define who you are or what you can achieve now.
Even if you have been struggling for years with the effects of a traumatic experience like sexual abuse or parental (or spousal) abandonment… it is possible to be so fully healed from that experience that you are able to open up to all kinds of good things happening in the same area of your life.
I’ve been on this journey myself for a number of years since a string of disappointments and a divorce I never saw coming. There were times I never thought I’d heal. But by God’s grace, I now find myself stronger and more determined despite my scars.
The remedy for all our delays is always love, as cliche or counterintuitive as that might sound.
By this, I mean radical, one-way love that begins from God, to us, that then manifests in the love that other people show us. And the love we are able to show ourselves because we’re receiving from those sources.
(The more you open up to God’s love, the more you’ll meet people who reflect His radical love back to you … even if you have no one like that in your life right now.)
If you say, “Lisa Maria, I have never experienced that kind of love. As a result, I have shut myself off from all kinds of good things without even knowing it…” then there is good news.
This powerful (and humble) realization means you are ripe for breakthrough.
I wrote a book called Your Wait Is Over which speaks to exactly this situation. Would like a free digital copy that is packed with extras and bonuses?
In it, you’ll find transformative teaching, prayers and journaling prompts to help you take your first step toward healing the invisible blocks and delays that are keeping you and your dreams apart.
Another great way you as a woman can open up is to that love is to speak with a prophetic coach about your experience. It’s my privilege to walk this journey of prophetic coaching with many women! I can share God’s love with you, show God’s love to you by listening compassionately, and help you receive that love in your life … with tangible results. You’ll be amazed what showers down on you in your everyday life when you receive love!
You and your dreams really do get along well. But dreams weren’t made for clutching like your favorite purse. They were meant to fly. And so are you.
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