When someone else is living out your dream or purpose

Joey Riordan

I was standing in our bedroom when the call came through. I had a pretty clear idea what was happening so I stood still, not wanting to interrupt my husband as he spoke. That, and I needed the privacy to pull myself together.

From where I was eavesdropping it was clear what was unfolding: the Bible College director was calling my husband to ask if he would like to lecture for the Worship unit next Semester.

My heart divided as I comprehended what was happening.

Part of me, perhaps the more Christ centred part, wanted to rejoice with my beloved. I was his wife. This opportunity was an honour for him, I should be happy. But the pain of disappointment felt like a dull ache deep in my chest.

What happens when someone else’s happiness is somehow linked to your own disappointment?

How could I be real, honest and God honouring in this moment? Relationships, emotions, can be tricky at times.

The conversation ended, and I began absentmindedly tidying our small home as though I hadn’t heard anything. My ‘tidying’ took me into the kitchen where the air was awkwardly silent as our eyes met. We’d already had the conversation in our hearts, with our eyes, but now was the moment to speak it out.

Joe went first.

“That was Kaye, from Bible College. She called to see if I’d like to teach the Worship unit next semester.”

“Oh. That’s great. Are you going to do it?”

My forced smile not convincing him or me that this moment was simple or celebratory.

“Well, I’d like to. It’s a pretty amazing opportunity. I wanted to talk to you first. I know how teaching the Worship Unit at Bible College is one of your dreams.”

And there it was.

He said it.

In my heart, I internalised the rest of the imaginary dialogue.

This is your dream Carly, and I’ve just been asked to do it. I never dreamed of doing it, you did, but I was asked instead anyway. Sorry, I know that must be hard for you.’

Lecturing at Bible College, specifically, the Worship unit had been on my dream list since the previous year when we’d finished the unit online. Joe had never dreamed of lecturing at college. It seemed a little unfair. What seemed even more unfair to my increasingly immature disposition (aka falling apart on the inside) was that deep down I knew he’d do a better job than me.

Joe was good at everything. I loved that about him. But it was also mildly frustrating at times too. Times like this. Things always seemed to fall into his lap without him trying. I was the opposite; goal-driven, hard working, often striving for achievement. I chased down my favour, spying it out, sizing it up and carefully calculating how I could seize it.

Now, in this moment I was witnessing my dream of lecturing at Bible college be served up to someone else, someone else who I loved more than anyone else in the world. The situation was completely out of our control and out of respect for me, he was offering to turn it down.

I willed my heart to stop grieving and instead did my best to congratulate him genuinely. A win for him was a win for us.

This story was on my heart today, perhaps it will encourage you in some way. We all deal with comparison, disappointment, moments where we need to be mature and situations that just don’t seem fair. Sometimes we want and pray for something and still, someone else gets it without even trying.

Can I tell you about what happened next?

As the months went on Joe lectured, and he was brilliant. He also invited me in as a guest lecturer which I enjoyed probably more than the commitment of carrying the whole unit.

Through the experience of teaching the unit Joe discovered a passion for teaching which led to him changing careers and becoming a Maths teacher.  His new job gives us more time together and he is much happier. Me? I’m still dreaming up the books on worship that are floating around in my heart. All in God’s timing right?

My point is this: God knows the dreams in your heart. And His timing is perfect. He has not forgotten you or the purpose He created you for. Don’t feel discouraged when it looks as though someone else is walking out your purpose. He’s not finished yet. We don’t see things from His perspective. Trust Him.

Psalm 139:3 says ‘You search out my path.’

I love that. He searches out our path, right where we are at ready to guide us forward to exactly where we need to go. The quickest way to see His purpose unfolding is often not the direct route—its the route where He is leading, sometimes it’s a scenic tour.

He hasn’t forgotten, or made a mistake, or picked someone else instead. All our days have already been written, every one of them, days fashioned for you and me, when as yet there was none of them.

Romans 11:29 says ‘God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable,’ meaning He doesn’t change His mind about His plan and purpose for us.

I don’t know about you, but that’s enough for me. I can trust in His timing.

Believing that His purpose is ever unfolding for you,

Carly Riordan




Carly lives on the Gold Coast, Australia with her husband Joe and their two girls: Beni and Selah. She is a passionate follower of Jesus Christ, a lover of His Church, people and life in general.

Inspired by all aspects of creativity & worship, Carly is passionate about helping people to live a Spirit-led life of worship and see them step confidently into all that God has created them for. 

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3 thoughts on “When someone else is living out your dream or purpose

  1. Thank you Carly for pulling back the curtain a little on your life. It’s takes great courage to be vulnerable in order to show others the lessons you have learnt.

    I relate deeply to your personal story and want to thank you for the reminder of His perfect timing..


    1. Thanks for reading Mary. It’s those times when we realise that perhaps those dreams we have are actually His dreams. Xxx

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