by Jordan Lee Dooley
Tell me if this sounds like you: You need to let go of something, but you continue to hold on. You wait for the perfect plan before taking a leap. You want certainty that you’re making the right decision and that everything will work out once you do let go.
Maybe you’re starting to sense that the new city you so looked forward to moving to isn’t the right fit for you, or perhaps the degree you’ve spent years in school preparing for no longer feels like something you should continue. You keep pushing forward on the same path because you feel guilty for giving up on a dream.
Even if letting go is the best decision, that doesn’t mean it will be easy. I want to give you a few helpful steps so that, when necessary, you can make room for God to do a new thing.
Don’t just settle for what works; aim for what lasts. My friend Bob Goff said this to me recently, so I’m passing this lesson on to you.
This is simple yet so difficult for so many of us, including myself. I didn’t make the decision to let go of my first business, SoulScripts, overnight. I wrestled with it for a long time. You may be similarly trying to discern the right decision in the pursuit of what lasts.
However, when we’re faced with the disappointment of a dream not living up to our expectations, the most important thing we can do is to step back and ask, “What matters most in this situation?”
Let’s say you’re feeling unsettled about the guy you’ve been seriously dating for years. Even though you want to be married, you may identify that what you value most in a relationship is a shared faith. Knowing that you and your current partner aren’t on the same page with that may be what prompts you to consider letting go of a good thing.
Clarifying what matters most is vital for making a wise decision with confidence. Dare to believe that when you release something, you free up space for new dreams to grow in your life.
Before making a rash decision, consider who you can seek wisdom from, whether you ask God for guidance, consult trusted mentors, hold a meeting with your inner circle, or all the above.
When I was deciding whether to step back from SoulScripts, I asked a few trusted mentors for their advice. I explained to them what was and wasn’t working and admitted that I worried I was quitting instead of persevering. After hearing what was going on, they were able to provide sound advice. This gave me confidence that taking a step back was a healthy, necessary decision.
One of the hardest parts of letting go of a dream is the unknown. The endless what-ifs can drive us into analysis paralysis. There’s no way to predict the future, but we can make a plan. Having a road map allows us to move forward with clarity.
When I decided to let go of SoulScripts, I didn’t know whether my online community would be supportive or upset. I didn’t know whether it would be closed for one month or forever. I didn’t know whether I’d miss it. All I knew was that I needed to let go if I hoped to see what God had in store for me.
The only thing that gave me peace and confidence was making an action plan for (1) how I would see the decision through and (2) how I would move forward. My small team and I decided we would close the shop with a warehouse sale and set a clear timeline with to-dos.
I also took some time to clarify how I would steward all the open space in my calendar once the shop closed. I planned to pour into other commitments, such as speaking engagements and writing the book I had started but struggled to finish.
As you face the decision to let go of a dream or another good thing, plan to do something you’ve always wanted to do, like writing a book or training for a marathon. Peace of mind can come from knowing you have something to look forward to after you let go.
These are just a few key considerations when it comes to letting go of a dream or another good thing, especially when it seems as though you’re almost where you wanted to be. I can’t tell you that it’s going to be easy. But if what you’re currently doing doesn’t align with what matters most to you, I can tell you that whatever decision you’re facing, there is a way forward. And looking back, I can say with confidence that there is something beautiful—dare I say even better?—waiting on the other side, even if you can’t see it yet.
Adapted from Embrace Your Almost: Find Clarity and Contentment in the In-Betweens, Not-Quites, and Unknowns. Copyright: 2022 by Jordan Lee Dooley Used by permission of WaterBrook, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Jordan Lee Dooley is the national bestselling author of Embrace Your Almost and Own Your Everyday and is the host of the top-rated podcast SHE. She is also the founder of the Own It Academy, a digital education company, and SoulScripts, a words company known for its phrase Your Brokenness Is Welcome Here. With Embrace Your Almost, she’s on a mission to teach women how to make the most of the middle and pursue meaningful goals that align with what matters most.