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  • Stephanie Haynes

Death of a Dream


When you were younger, what did you dream your life would be like? Did you dream of being a corporate executive? A chef? A world traveler? A wife and mother? When I was growing up, I envisioned my future adult life as a teacher. From a very early age (second grade to be precise) I knew I wanted to teach.

I spent ten years as a high school English teacher and loved (almost) every minute of it. Everything I did revolved around "my kids" and their education and activities. Hours were given to coaching the cheerleaders, organizing the Renaissance committee rallies, attending plays and sporting events, and running the English department. The last 5 years of my career I was part of a team of teachers dedicated to improving the educational success of our most at-risk students through preparing them for a career in the health industry. I loved that part of my career as a teacher the best. We got to pour into them and as a result they gave us their best, often at a level they didn't know they had. The more I poured into them, the more they responded, and the more value I thought I had.

When we moved to South Carolina, I had to leave all of that behind. Additionally, my husband asked me to stay at home permanently since his new position would provide financially for me to do so and require more traveling from him. I had never in all my wildest dreams ever considered being a stay-at-home mom; that felt like a step backwards on my journey. However, I was exhausted and overwhelmed. Obtaining a new state credential meant filing forms and finding a job right away (which I was unprepared to do) and so I agreed to stay home. It wasn't a joyous relief. Instead it felt like the death of my identity: I had worked so hard to become a teacher that I didn't know who I would be if I wasn't one.

For the next several years it seemed as if my dream of ever teaching again was dead; there was just no way for me to go back. Feeling trapped, but wanting to succeed, I spent many years trying to create a new identity as a stay-at-home mom. Honestly, it felt as if that title meant I no longer had any identity at all. I longed to be important somehow. To make a difference. To be somebody, and all I got to do all day every day involved laundry, diapers, shopping, and cleaning up. At the time I believed that I needed to "do" in order to have value and being a stay-at-home mom didn't seem to be really doing anything. I tried to fill that need for a new identity by serving: whether it was at my daughters school or in the children's and women's ministries at church, but all that did was increase the level of chaos in my life.

I had had a dream all my life of being a teacher. Without that dream to guide me I had no idea who I was which led me to strive for value everywhere else. I am sure you have dreams too. What happens when that dream ends? What happens if those dreams are never fulfilled? What happens when that dream dies and where we find ourselves does not fit in with our hopes or expectations?

The act of cultivating peace begins with a foundational relationship with Jesus Christ, but the strength of that foundation is adversely affected if we don't know who God says we are. My value was in what I did, and when I felt I was doing nothing I believed I had no value, which caused me to strive harder to create one. Even though I had a new foundational relationship with Jesus, I still believed I had to earn my value with him; I believed I had to prove I was worth dying for.

The truth is God loves you. Right. This. Moment. And nothing you have done, are doing or could ever do will cause him to love you anymore, because His love for you is already complete

This week, choose one of the following truth’s and its corresponding verse to meditate on, allowing the Holy Spirit to move in close and establish your value on who God is.

  • You are unconditionally loved right now. "And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God." Ephesians 3:17-19 NLT

  • You are fearfully and wonderfully made, right now. "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14 NIV

  • You are redeemed from all your sin right now. "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect." 1 Peter 1:18-19 NIV

Learning to accept who God says we are is the most freeing, peace-instilling thing we can do for ourselves and all the relationships of our lives. Will you choose to accept His truth about you today?

Join the Conversation: Which one of the above truth's do you need most today?

The above is an excerpt from Cultivating Peace: Revealing God's Peace within Your Chaos.

#personalvalue #cultivatingpeace

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Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina
stephanie@stephaniehaynes.net
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