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let go


In the cold, damp, dreary cell, after the dinner hour had passed and the quiet of evening slowly and silently settled in, I wonder – as Joseph processed the happenings of the day – what thoughts and feelings, emotions and curiosities wandered through his mind as the sun sank its way into the night. Once the big dreamer, did he still hold out hope for the “someday”, or had he resigned himself to the reality of “today”? Did his faith waiver? Did he still believe? Or did he scratch his head in disbelief, wondering, “how could I have so misunderstood?” I would love to know the emotional journey that took place in Joseph’s heart during those hidden and barren years.

“Joseph had a dream…” Genesis 37:5

Dreams are personal. And we all have them.

Some of us are realizing them right now, in this very moment. And some of us are still waiting, wondering, hoping, and perhaps even on the verge of doubting.

Dreams give us something to reach for, something to anticipate, a salve to the hardships and challenges we face. When we have a dream deep down in our hearts, we have a silver lining when the cloud coverage is thick.

“The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.” Genesis 40:23

If the dream dies, then what? What happens if we lose the silver lining?

The clouds overtake us, and we get lost in the dark.

I wonder if, somewhere between the pit and the cell, the dreams of  Joseph’s heart were laid to rest. Hopeful then forgotten, did he come to a point where he had to let them go? What happened to those dreams?

God is the dream-giver.

For each person God weaves a unique and beautiful dream into the very deepest parts of our souls. And, like Joseph, sometimes those dreams are pretty spectacular. Sometimes those dreams are simple but precious. A God-given dream is always a treasure, a treasure worth any pit or cell in order to realize.

But the dream, God-given and God ordained, can never become greater in our hearts than God himself.

“Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more.” Genesis 37:5

What I notice about Joseph, sincere as he may have been, before the pit and the cell he was quite proud and gregarious about the dreams that he had. There was no humility. The dreams became the stage upon which Joseph was the spotlight. God had very little, if any, part in the drama of the dream. Rather, Joseph relished in the glory. He was the object of affection. And, while God’s plans would prevail, Joseph needed to let go of his pride before he could hold on to the dream.

And so came the pit and the cell.

The pain and the loss.

The clouds without the silver lining.

The dreams that set our hearts on fire are wonderful and beautiful and a constant reminder that you and I were made for more. This is good, and this is one of the most exciting and rewarding parts of following Christ. However, there is a season for letting go.

Before the dream can flourish, we must let it go.

We must allow God to refine us and shape us and prepare us for the reality of the dream. If we don’t, then, we may end up with a very fragile and unsteady product of a dream we made on our own. A dream woven in and out through pride, ambition, and self-determination will start out with a dash and a sparkle, but it will never make it all the way to the finish line. A dream cultivated in humility, surrender and obedience will see the fullness of the sunlight, far beyond the clouds.

When we keep God as the object of our affection, then we are assured that, even if we find ourselves watching the sunset from a cell, our dreams are not dead. We may need to let them go. We may need to surrender them to God. But the story is far from over.

“So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” Genesis 41:41

Perhaps you thought your life would look a little different at this point in the journey. Perhaps where you are is not where you wanted to be right now. Perhaps your dreams seem to have slipped through your fingers.

If so, then let them go.

Surrender your Joseph-like dreams to the will of the dream-giver.

Allow God to reshape and restore. The dream is not dead. It simply must find its course through the hands of God.

Let go.

The path to your “dream come true” will take what you so desperately cling to right now and create something more beautiful, more valuable, and more real than anything you could possibly contrive on your own. A God-given dream deserves a God-given plan.


“And now do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you…But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.” Genesis 45:5, 7

And when you finally find yourself standing in the light of day, surrounded by the reality of what was long ago the seed of a God-sized dream, remember whose capable hands brought you this far.

Then let go again, and let God embrace the glory.

“But in anonymous seasons we must hold tightly to the truth that no doubt strengthened Jesus throughout his hidden years: Father God is neither care-less nor cause-less with how he spends our lives. When he calls a soul simultaneously to greatness and obscurity, the fruit – if we wait for it – can change the world.” Alicia Britt Chole, Anonymous: Jesus’ Hidden Years…and Yours

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