Are your fears holding you back from your dreams?

Originally published Sunday, 30 March 2014.

I also said to him, “If it pleases the king, may I have letters to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, so that they will provide me safe-conduct until I arrive in Judah? And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the royal park, so he will give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel by the temple and for the city wall and for the residence I will occupy?” And because the gracious hand of my God was on me, the king granted my requests. Nehemiah 2:7-8 (NIV)

Two years ago at the end of January we heard my husband had cancer. 

We were fresh off a plane from a seven-week holiday around South East Asia. We had spent the last few weeks dreaming of what the next few years of our life would look like. 

Then came his diagnosis and we put those dreams aside to do the best we could to make it through the hard times ahead. 

18 chemo sessions, a stemcell transplant and 20 radiation treatments later and we’re sitting up and taking stock of the last 730 days. Looking around us, breathing out and going, “What have we just been through? Have we survived? What now?”

Sadly, we’ve begun to realise that we survived at the expense of our dreams.

In many ways we had to. Anyone who has gone through treatment for cancer will tell you that for the person going through it their direct caregivers getting out of bed, putting clothes on, going to work and eating enough to sustain life is a heroic act in itself.

My husband has another scan in six months. We have been warned he might need more radiation but we’ve started talking about how to make every moment count, about what we really want out of life, beginning to dream again. 

And we are talking about what we would do if we weren't afraid of failing.

I shared a few thoughts on this with a colleague the other day. She told me about something her pastor had said on Sunday about how sometimes we need each other to make our dreams come true. She reminded me of the story of Nehemiah. 

Nehemiah was a simple cupbearer for the King but when he heard his hometown was laying in ruins his dream became to rebuild his city. 

As a cupbearer, Nehemiah had few resources, so he took his dream to God and prayed and fasted about it. The king noticed how sad Nehemiah looked when he took him his cup of wine and asked what was wrong. 

If it had been me I probably would have said, “nothing” but Nehemiah took the risk and, praying under his breath shared his dream, his dream to make something out of the rubble. 

At the King’s prompting, Nehemiah told the king what he required. And the Kind ended up giving him everything he needed plus some armed guards. 

Nehemiah was so afraid that the bible records he prayed under his breath as he made the request to follow his dream. I like that because I can relate. Sometimes sharing my dreams takes more courage than I think I have. 

Sometimes it is through speaking our greatest fears that our biggest dreams can become reality. (tweet this)

52 days later, Nehemiah had reconstructed the walls of Jerusalem. 

As I dug into this story I was reminded how God gives me dreams to do something with them. Nehemiah could have held his dream of rebuilding Jerusalem close to his heart and missed out on being part of history. Instead he chose to share his dreams and everything changed.

This story has been challenging me all weekend. Making me think about the dreams God has given me and whom I should be sharing them with. 

Ponder: What dreams do you think God has given you? How would it help you share these dreams if you shared them someone who could help you achieve them?

Pray: Jesus, give me wisdom about the people with whom I should share my God-given dreams. Amen.

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- This was orginally published on my site in November 2013 to read more devotionals like this go to