Listen: Sheridan Voysey chats to Katrina Roe about what he’s learnt from broken dreams.
When Australian radio host Sheridan Voysey moved from Sydney to the UK, he went from being a celebrated national media figure and author, to a nobody.
At least, that’s how it felt to him.
He and his wife Merryn had received the devastating news that their 10-year quest to have children had failed, and they’d moved to Oxford to try and build a new life.
The former host and founder of radio’s Open House program, describes the feeling of being unknown.
“No radio jobs were opening up, publishers were turning me down because I wasn’t known over there, nobody was inviting me to speak at conferences,” he said. “And there was a deep sense of ‘who are you, Sheridan?’”
So this month, when Sheridan addresses audiences in Australia on the topic of broken dreams, he’ll be speaking from great empathy and experience.
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He’s presenting his one-day conference From Broken Dreams to New Beginnings in Melbourne, Sydney and the Sunshine Coast, to bring hope to those who have experienced the devastation of broken dreams and lost hopes.
- I Found Hope After My Broken Dream: Sheridan Voysey’s Private Pain
- Sheridan Voysey: My Journey To Resilience
Lessons Learnt from Disappointment
Sheridan told Hope 103.2’s Katrina Roe that living in Oxford is now a dream come true, with natural beauty, historic buildings, beauty, and the landmarks of literature and academia all around.
But he had some tough lessons to learn when he first arrived.
“The biggest personal thing for me was to really re-discover that I’m a child of God,” he said. “I knew that theologically, I knew that practically, I knew it in my mind, but I didn’t really know it in my heart, that was the biggest discovery for me.”
Writing Resurrection Year, a book published in 2013 about starting again after the loss of a dream, helped Sheridan to make sense of his pain.
“I read through 10 years of journals to try and piece the journey together and work out what came out of this, where was God in this,” he said. “It was a very good exercise to then be able to join some dots.”
“You don’t always get closure on why you didn’t get the thing you prayed for…but it can be redeemed.”
He says while there are many questions still left unanswered for he and his wife Merryn, the biggest lesson he learnt was that God can create new beginnings.
“You don’t always get closure on why you didn’t get the thing you prayed for, the dream you’ve really pursued and given years of your life towards,” he said. “But it can be redeemed. It can be recycled, if you like. If you go through a broken dream, and you don’t get what you want, and you think your whole very identity and being is being picked away because you can’t be the mother you wanted to be or the father you wanted to be, or the graphic designer or artist or musician or whoever it was that you wanted to be, and you think ‘that’s the end of me’, it’s not.
“In fact it can just be the beginning of a new you.”
A Multitude of Broken Dreams
After going public about his infertility journey, many of Sheridan’s listeners and readers began opening up with him about their own experiences.
“Some of them were similar, some were couples that have tried everything to have a child, or maybe a second child, and haven’t been able to,” he said. “Or for other people it was not getting married, and they really wanted to. Or not getting a particular career, or their art not making it to the masses. Having a career and then losing it has been the other one that’s come through.
“It might not be the same details of the story that we share, but the emotional and spiritual journey is very similar. There are feelings of anger, frustration, a sense of crushed identity; every dream carries with it an associated identity. So there’s a sense of not being who you want to be, maybe not being who you used to be.”
He’s hoping his conference will inspire not only those who have struggled with these kinds of issues, but also those who simply want a day of inspiration.
”It’s for anyone to come and see what God can do with something you think is the end of the road,” he said.
No Easy Answers
Sheridan stressed that the Broken Dreams to New Beginnings conference won’t provide pat solutions.
“We’re not going to wave the magic wand and all your problems are going to be gone,” he said. “I hope, by the end of the day, though, there will be a sense in which people leave, going, ‘this is not the end, this can be the beginning’.”
The conferences From Broken Dreams to New Beginnings are free and are presented by the Our Daily Bread ministry, whose devotional is read by 100 million people around the world.
The conferences will be held in Sydney at Thornleigh Community Baptist Church on Saturday, May 13, in Melbourne at Mitcham Baptist Church on Saturday, May 6, and at Lifepointe Baptist Church on the Sunshine Coast, on Saturday, May 20.
Register or find out more at the Broken Dreams to New Beginnings event page.