Recently I shared my story about why my dream died.
I already wrote that I can’t sugar coat things anymore. And now? The gloves are off.
“What kind of God would stand back and watch a dream–a good dream, for ministry and impact–fall apart?”
That’s what I just read in Me, Myself, and Bob by Phil Vischer (the creator of VeggieTales®).
I devoured his 80,000 word memoir in less than half a day. Seriously couldn’t have come at a better time. (Thanks Brett Burner for the recommendation).
“Why would God want us to let go of our dreams? Because anything I am unwilling to let go of is an idol, and I am in sin. The more I thought about my intense drive to build Big Idea and change the world, the more I realized I had let my ‘good work’ became an idol that defined me. Rather than finding my identity in my relationship with God, I was finding it in my drive to do ‘good work.'”
Writing had become my idol.
It’s humbling when God continues working on you in a certain area that you thought you already learned. Am I right?
“It wasn’t about impact; it was about obedience. It wasn’t about making stuff up; it was about listening. Eventually it struck me that I no longer felt the need to write anything. I didn’t need to have any impact at all. Whatever needs I had were being met by the Scripture I was reading and by the life of prayer I was developing. My passion was shifting from impact to God. It took several months, but what I was starting to feel I can only describe as a sense of ‘giving up’–of ‘dying.’ It actually frightened me at first, because I wasn’t sure exactly WHAT was dying in me. And then one day it was clear. It was my ambition. It was my will. It was my hopes, my dreams. My life.”
It’s as if Phil started speaking directly to me. How did he know I was taking a writing break? How did he know that I felt a part of me was dying inside. My will. My hopes. My dreams. My life.
“God loves you. Not because of what you can do, or even because of what you can become if you work really, really hard. He loves you because he made you. He loves you just the way you are. He loves you even when you aren’t doing anything at all. We really shouldn’t attempt to do anything for God until we have learned to find our worth in him alone.”
Not in the fact that my efforts to write, publish, and market a book have failed. I can only be obedient to publish what He tells me and leave the rest (sales) up to Him. My worth is found in my identity in Christ, not in the fact that churches acknowledge this and invite me to speak.
In fact, no church has asked me to speak on my recent book Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me. The book I spent pouring out my heart and soul. The book that was contracted by another publisher and then canceled. I thought this time would be different. That there would be some spiritual significance to the fact that I literally wrestled over this book for years, and it was finally here.
“The impact God has planned for us doesn’t occur when we’re pursuing impact. It occurs when we’re pursuing God. In 2003, my dream died. And I discovered, once all the noise had faded away, what I had been missing all along.
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul plants for you, O God” (Psalm 42:1).
Let it go. Give it up. Let it die. Let Christ shred your dragon skin and lead you into a whole new life. Trust me. It’s worth it.”
Thanks Phil. I’m trying.
My heart is broken.
Will I ever write again? Should I write to fill words on a page? Should I give up completely and get a day job?
I don’t want to care anymore. I just want to be obedient. I know. Not a flashy word. Not comfortable.
Maybe, like Phil, I’ll have another ‘big idea.’ Maybe not. For now I choose to serve with integrity, not pretending to be somebody I’m not.
I’m a great writer, but I’m not as good at marketing as I thought. In fact, I’m terrible.
I’m learning, like Phil, that it’s none of my business to plan the next 5 or 10 years of my life. Maybe one of the reasons why I can’t-for-the-life-of-me plot out my next life map is because I’m not supposed to. It feels amazing to accomplish all my dreams I set out to accomplish 7 years ago, and even more gut wrenching to see them all crumble at my feet.
I just want to be used by God.
I just want to be obedient (there’s that word again)–no matter if my dreams are resurrected or not. No matter if I write another book or not.
Question: Have you ever experienced the death of a dream? How did it make you feel, and what encouraged you through?
Starting in January, I am looking for women to share their story. I hope my story encourages you to hang in there–even if you have no idea how God is writing the beginning, middle, or ending.
I am not looking for you to tie a big red bow around it. I just want you to share your story.
Before I share the requirements, I feel it is important to prayerfully consider why Jesus wants us to share. Here are 3 reasons why I feel it is necessary share your story publicly:
1. Tell the Whole Truth. ~ Mark 5:33 says, “Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.” This woman had been subject to bleeding for 12 years. She had suffered much at the hands of doctors–even became worse including spending all her money in the process. It’s important to be honest with what happened even if that means sharing about those who hurt you.
2. Healing Happens. ~ Mark 5:34 says, “He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.’” When we tell the whole truth in front of many witnesses including Jesus is where we find healing. Are you struggling to share your story because you need closure, healing, or hope? Consider sharing your story publicly.
3. Don’t go Unnoticed. ~ Luke 18:47 says, “Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed.” Healing wasn’t enough for Jesus. He wanted to know who touched Him. He wants to notice each and every one of us personally. It’s not enough to come to Jesus and receive His touch.
When you and I share the whole truth–we find healing while encouraging those around us! Daughter, is this what you are longing for? What are you waiting for?
Share your story today, and be set free!
If you are interested in sharing your story, please read below. I prefer queries on one of the six categories:
+ Health & Body
+ On Writing
+ The Church
But if you are the kind of person who likes to write it out first–here are the requirements: I am looking for a post between 500-700 words in length, including a 3-4 sentence bio and a current picture. Feel free to contact me to share your story.
[Photo: >>haley, Creative Commons]