4 things to do when it seems that God didn’t fulfil your dreams

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4 things to do when it seems God didn't fulfil your dreams #dreams #brokendreams #trust #trustingod #trustinggod #faith #drawingontheword #dotw #delightyourselfinthelord

In the Disney animated musical movie Tangled, there’s a song in there called “I’ve got a dream“.

During the song, various characters lament how they all have dreams to do different things in their lives, but something often holds them back. This may be that they have some disability, that people typecast them or overlook them because they look like villains, or because of other circumstances in life.

Do you have a dream? And how has it worked out for you?

Sometimes we can feel disappointed when life doesn’t work out in the way we had hoped. Perhaps you dreamed of being married with a family by the time you were 30, but you’re past that age now and that never happened. Or you wanted to be a musician, but faced rejections and could never get your foot in the door. Maybe you felt God calling you to be a missionary or get involved in a certain ministry, but were beset by illness or injury, making it seem impossible to do the very thing you planned.

Or maybe you thought you’d live a very normal life, but one small mistake or wrong decision completely changed things forever. Now you feel like you’re trapped, in a dead end, or burdened with responsibilities you never thought you’d have.

Perhaps you prayed that God would change your situation and answer your heartfelt prayers, but now it feels like it’s too late.

What do you do when you think life should’ve turned out differently and your dreams haven’t materialised?




1. Don’t put your happiness in your dreams

4 things to do when it seems God didn't fulfil your dreams

Sometimes we believe that if only we can achieve a certain dream, then we will be happy. Finally, we’ll have the acceptance or respect or sense of identity that has eluded us all these years.

However, when our happiness depends on these things to give our life significance, then we’re placing them above God. We’re saying that He is not enough for us in order to be happy. Only something else can bring us the meaning we seek.

That’s when we make our dreams into idols. As Tim Keller writes in is book Counterfeit gods, an idol is:

“…something we cannot live without… It is anything more important to you than God.  A counterfeit god is anything so central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living.”

I’ve written about this numerous times before. Idols can also include our dreams, on which we’ve pinned our hopes and expectations for a better life.

God isn’t there simply to fulfil all our hopes and dreams like a genie. We can’t present him with a wishlist, making demands of Him, and then when it doesn’t work out, we end up blaming or abandoning Him. The most important thing for us is our relationship with Him and becoming more Christ-like in character.

Sometimes we need to examine whether we’ve made our dreams more important than our relationship with God. If so, that may be why He has not allowed certain dreams to come to pass.


2. Be thankful and embrace the life God has given you

4 things to do when it seems God didn't fulfil your dreams

If we keep living in the past or keep wishing things were different, we will unable to move forward. Our life may not be the way we planned, but God can still bring good out of it.

We don’t have a time machine and can’t turn back the clock and undo our mistakes or decisions. But we can learn from them and move forward.

One way to move forward is to be thankful for what God has given us. It may not be ideal, but we can still be thankful in our circumstances. That doesn’t mean being thankful for our circumstances, but learning gratitude even when our situation isn’t what we had hoped it would be.

Now that doesn’t mean that we don’t mourn over what could have been. There is a time for grieving. It’s part of the healing process. We can give our broken dreams to God in prayer and tell him how we may still be struggling to let go of them. We know that God cares for us, and that no concern of ours is too small or insignificant for Him.

However, part of moving on means accepting that even if our dreams never come to pass, God will still be sufficient for us.

As Habakkuk 3:17-19 says:

17 Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Saviour.

Even when life doesn’t work out as planned and our dreams may have died, we can still rejoice in God for who He is and for what He has done for us on the cross.


3. If God has given you a dream, trust that He will protect it


Although it can seem as if your dreams may have died, if it is God’s will, and if it is a dream He has specifically given you, He can still bring it to pass. In fact, He is able to protect that dream even when everything all around seems to be burying it.

The image above was a prophetic picture that a woman drew for me nearly three years ago, accompanied by a few Bible verses. She had a ministry of prophetic art, and sketched this during a healing prayer ministry session at church. The picture is of a snow globe. However, unlike a regular snow globe where the snow is on the inside, here instead, the snow is falling on the outside.

After asking God for the interpretation, she told me that the city inside of the snow globe represents a dream that God has given me. The snow falling around it is everything else in the world that has fallen on it, threatening to bury it. However, the dream is protected by the glass of the snow globe.

Although many things have threatened to destroy the dream, like the snow globe, God is protecting the dream and not allowing it to die or to be buried.

Psalm 18:42 says

So I pulverized them to powder and cast them to the wind.
I swept them away like dirt on the floor. [The Passion Translation]

The woman told me that the significance of this verse was that all the things that have threatened to destroy the dream, God has pulverised like powder and cast them to the wind.

I won’t go too much into Psalm 18:2-3, the other verses given to me, as most of it is more specific to me and not relevant to you. However, the woman indicated that verse 3 meant that all I needed to do was call on the Lord. Once I had done what was needed to be done, God would bring this dream to life.

Now, I’m not going to apply this prophetic picture universally to your situation and make a rule out of it. The picture was given specifically to me as a word of encouragement. What applies to me won’t necessarily apply to you.

However, I’m sharing this with you in the hope that it might also speak to you as well. The main message for you to take away from this is that God can protect your dreams like that snow globe, if it is something He has given you.

Psalm 37:4 is a verse that is especially important to me. It says:

“Delight yourself in the Lordand he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Sometimes people interpret that verse as if God is like a cosmic genie. As long as you delight yourself in Him, He will grant you anything you wish – whatever your heart desires.

However, that doesn’t really fit with what we know of God’s character and how He wants us to put Him first in our lives. Simply granting us whatever our heart desires can result in receiving something that isn’t good for us. It can replace God as the centre of our lives.

The better interpretation of it is that when we delight ourselves in the Lord – i.e., spending time with Him and in His word – God gives us or places in our hearts certain desires.  These originate from Him in the first place. They are often our dreams and ambitions that come from God Himself.

God may have given you that desire or dream in the first place. If that dream was part of His plan, you can trust that He will still protect that dream even when everything around seems to bury it. He can still bring it into reality when the time is right.


4. Trust that God has a plan even when things move in another direction

4 things to do when it seems God didn't fulfil your dreams-min

Although God may have given you a dream, He may not always bring it about in the way you thought.

>> In this article here, I wrote about how solving the Rubik’s cube can help us understand how God can work in our lives even when things don’t seem to work out as planned. 

You can read about it in more detail there. Briefly put, when solving the Rubik’s cube, sometimes you have to move pieces out of order. This happens even when it seems like you’ve almost solved all six sides.

In a similar way, God can move pieces out of place even when we think we’re near our goal. It might seem to go against reason or accepted wisdom. However, God sees the bigger picture and what needs to be done. We can trust that even when things don’t seem to work out, God still has a plan for us.

The Parable of the Three Trees is a fictional story about dreams that seemed to be buried. There were three trees, each of whom had certain hopes of doing or becoming something great. The first wanted to be a treasure chest filled with precious jewels.  The second imagined he would be a mighty sailing ship to transport kings and queens around the world. The third wanted dreamed of becoming the tallest and straightest tree in the forest.

Unfortunately, one by one, each tree seemingly failed to live up to its potential. From their point of view, they ended up far from the life they desired. This appeared to leave their dreams in the dust and their hopes shattered. However, unknown to them, God was still able to use them in a very special way to bring glory to Him.

Rather than describe everything again here or spoil the story, I’ll let you watch it for yourself in the video below.

From our own point of view, it can appear as if we’ve failed in the world’s eyes. Our dreams haven’t come to fruition, and there seems to be no way of bringing them back.

Proverbs 16:9  says

We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”

Like the trees in the story, we don’t know the ways in which God can use us for His glory or work in our lives. We may make our own plans, but God may take us on a more roundabout route. Although at the time we may question what He is doing, it may work out in a way we never expected or could have imagined.



Did you expect life to turn out a certain way but are now disappointed with the reality? Have you had any hopes or dreams that seem to be dead and buried?

What has been your response? Have you simply given up, or are you still trusting in God?

Let me know by leaving your comments in the section below. Also, please share if you found this article useful.

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4 things to do when it seems God didn't fulfil your dreams #dreams #brokendreams #trust #trustingod #trustinggod #faith #drawingontheword #dotw #delightyourselfinthelord
4 things to do when it seems God didn't fulfil your dreams #dreams #brokendreams #trust #trustingod #trustinggod #faith #drawingontheword #dotw #delightyourselfinthelord

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This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. This is a really powerful article. I’ve often found when my dreams are not aligned with Gods will, my dreams don’t always work out the way I had hoped. All Christians need to read this post. Blessings.

    1. Thanks for commenting. I’m glad you found that the article had such impact and that you enjoyed reading it.

  2. Good advice! I have found all four of your points to be true in my own life as well. I especially find that the more I can cultivate my thankfulness, the better I can persevere toward the goals I believe God has given me.

    1. Thanks for stopping by to comment. I’m glad you are able to be more thankful and can relate to the article.

  3. Very thoughtful and insightful post! I have that experience now and can look back over my life and see how God used things so wonderful for my good, even though at the time it seemed a horrible turn of events. God is so good at redeeming everything. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

    1. Thanks for the comments. It’s good you can look back on your life now and see things from God’s perspective. At the time when you’re going through a trial, it’s hard to know where God is leading you or why things have happened a certain way.

  4. Very encouraging post! Felt very convicted as a college student pursuing certain things and being disappointed when they don’t come to be. Thank you for the reminder to be thankful for everything He has given us. I love the Disney reference as well as the snow globe analogy! Great writing.

    1. Thanks. I’m glad you felt encouraged and that you enjoyed the snow globe word picture.

  5. Great post, Robert!
    *Personal story related to the content of your post*
    When I was growing up, I wanted to go to a prestigious college and become a scientist. I wanted to be a success at my job and make lots of money. However, that never happened. I work in retail and, though, I did go to college and graduated, I was not able to get the job I had dreamed of when I was a kid. I also thought that I would eventually marry and have children. That hasn’t happened either, and for a long time, I was disappointed in life, envious of those who had happy marriages and families, and self-pitying. However, in the past two years, God has shown me how to be grateful for where He has placed me now in life. Through my job, I am able to meet some amazing people who God has used to help me be successful His way and strengthen my character. I no longer am envious of those with happy marriages and those who are able to bear children, but am pretty content with my role as a single (although I won’t lie, there are times when I still struggle, but they are getting less intense than in the past) and my role in being able to minister to many different people. Your video was also really eye-opening. Thank your for that too.

    1. Thank you for sharing your testimony Patricia. It’s very encouraging to hear how God has worked in your life even if things haven’t quite gone the way you would’ve hoped. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and the video as well. God bless.

  6. This is nothing against your writing by any means but, I feel like these are the standard Christian answers we always give. And, if you stop to think about them, they aren’t true. “Don’t put your happiness in a dream.” Impossible. We are human, we have desires and as much as Christians want to say “circumstances don’t matter” and “Jesus is all you need” – in reality, it’s not true. What about the woman who just wants to be a mom and day in and day out, all her heart longs for is a baby? She may have moments of “ok-ness” but the tears still fall every day when she just wants a baby to hold. The woman or man who just wants to be a spouse? The person who just wants to be healed. How nonsensical it is for us to say…Jesus is all you need. As much as I wish He was, He isn’t. Because when you find yourself in real trauma, and you have done all the things He required: You’ve aligned your will with His, you’ve listened for His voice, you’ve sacrificed, you have no known sin in your life, you’ve waited, you’ve hoped, you’ve tried to surrender as much as you can, you’ve prayed all the words you know how….and He doesn’t come through….it is not enough. And what makes His silence and ambivalence 10,000 times worse are Christian answers about how He’ll work it for good. How is a baby losing his sight at 11 months working out for good? How is someone so lonely they want to leave this earth working for good? (all things currently happening in my friends’ lives.) Or it grows your faith. We say “faith without works is dead” and there comes a point where without answered prayer, faith is impossible.

    1. Thanks for your comment Ashley. I am sorry if you or your friends/ relatives have experienced some of the things you have mentioned. I understand that these things weigh heavily on your mind and that perhaps you believe my post contains standard Christian answers. I can sense there is pain and anguish in some of the things you describe.

      However, I am not however simply writing trite and superficial answers from the point of view of someone who has never experienced some of the things you’ve mentioned. Rather, I have been through, and still am going through a number of these things which I am trying to make sense of all the time.

      There are a few things to note here. First off, I haven’t said that Jesus is all we need in the sense you are saying.

      Second, I’m not saying we don’t hope for a dream to come true at all. Of course we are only human and it’s natural to hope for things. But it’s more about putting all your happiness in that to the extent that it the thing that gives your life its absolute meaning, and that if you were to take that thing away you would feel you have nothing left to live for. That is when it becomes an idol. Should we long and pray for a spouse or a child? Yes, by all means. But if somehow that weren’t to happen, does it mean that your life is now meaningless and that it’s better off to be dead? That’s where it gets into an incorrect way of thinking because that has become the source of your identity and has effectively become your “god”. And that’s what the book by Tim Keller, “Counterfeit gods” discusses in depth, which I definitely recommend reading if you haven’t done so already.

      It’s good that you have commented with individual and specific examples, as I cannot address all of these in the space of one post. Each of these are potentially things one can discuss at length in its own right. It is only by engaging with others in dialogue that people can give more attention to these issues.

  7. God bless you..You have no idea how clearly God has spoken to me through your words.I have been struggling with a horrible situation ,not knowing what to do or where to go,feeling completely lost & traumatised.You have helped lift one of the biggest burden I have ever felt in my life…God answered my prayer through your article.All my love.
    Diana to

    1. Hi Diana. Thanks for your comment. That’s really encouraging to hear how God has used this article in your life. I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been experiencing a horrible situation and have felt lost about it. I’m glad God could use my words to speak to you and provide an answer to your prayer. God bless.

  8. Hi Robert ,
    Your post is really beautiful .But I have been going through this strange situation now .
    Many of my friends and close relatives migrated to different countries for better prospects , and even though I did not have a job I never ever felt that I should migrate and always felt that god will take care of me and give me a job .
    Now when I have a job , all of a sudden I now desperately feel that I should migrate outside my country and now feel that life is meaning less here in my country so much so that I have become desperate to move out and it has become a dream day in and day out , some time i feel it is too late to think to migrate but still want to else i feel i should die .
    why all of a sudden i got this desire to migrate when all these years i did not feel , has god given me this dream and if yes why he is not letting it fulfil .

  9. This is so encouraging. I’m blessed. I know He will fulfill my dreams, at the end it will certainly come to pass. The snow globe has blessed me too. Thanks and God Almighty bless you.

  10. Thank You Robert. Precise article at precise moment in my life

  11. Insighful Post. Going through a very had to understand time right now in my life..dreams..

  12. All i ever wanted for a good single man like me that was hoping to meet the right good woman to share my life with, which God unfortunately didn’t give that to me at all. What did i do wrong anyway God?

  13. I wonder if the three wise men became founders of Christianity in the east. I believe the five pointed star may have been both David’s and Solomon’s as well as the Christ’s star. Daniel Mansfield an Australian mathematician has proven Pythagoras did not invent his theorem. He stole it. The pentagram represents the tau the cross and the trinity as well as love and resurrection and the power to harness release by forgiveness. It is the hall mark in golden ratio on every living created thing in the universe. The symbol for the tree of sacrifice before creation as it is encrypted before any other symbol in the original alphabet of the bible. This wisdom has a feminine gender she is wisdom. She is loved. When men think in right wise they earn the right to lead male or female gender becomes biased to true talent and so people not just talents are buried unless you understand the truth of the pentagram. Phi from adversity is faith not blinded by envy.

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