A wise friend once told me “It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon”. Those words are stuck in my throat like a pill too big to swallow. Six years, almost seven now I’ve been working on my book-perfecting, adding, deleting, pining, crying and rejecting it. But now that the day is almost here where my dreams will come true and my name will finally be in print, I’m not so sure I’m really ready. I mean, honestly, where do I go from here?
All the research I’ve done about life after the contract signing has sounded even more stressful. It’s like I’ve come to the anticlimactic conclusion that all my work for these last few years has suddenly and abruptly fallen short of my expectations. But honestly, what did I expect? Every writer dreams that somehow their manuscript would find its way onto the desk of an inspired Thomas Nelson acquisitions officer who shrieks at its genius and literally runs to the rest of the powers that be and demands to contact the author and offer them a million dollar contract. If we’re being completely truthful at this point, even those who aren’t writers have probably suffered this same exact scenario because it would be cool to anyone.
But, what is it that I’m looking for with this dream? Sustainability? Sure. Quitting my “real job”? Absolutely. Self-employment? Indeed. But is there something more? We all have a dream, a calling. God wants us to be happy, but sometimes we get caught up in what we believe our own happiness would look like that we forget to ask him what he had in store. When we don’t ask, and we don’t listen to see where the path is leading instead of where we feel it should lead, we find ourselves wishing after a dream that falls incredibly short of the plans God has for us all. No matter how much I dream about being a full time writer, and supporting my family by the talents he’s given me, the plans God has for me are infinitely more than I could ever dream up.
So, when I start to think, to drown really, in the thoughts that God has forgotten me I have to give myself time to stop and think. Can I really believe that he’s forgotten me? Isn’t it really the other way around, and I’ve forgotten him? Now, I know what you’re saying…”I’ve never forgotten Him or what he’s done for me!” And you could be right, but only half way. It’s very easy to remember what he’s done for us, we see reminders of it every day from the cross I wear around my neck to the Ichthys fish tattooed on my wrist. Forgetting what he did for me isn’t the problem…the problem is me forgetting what I need to be doing for him.
What’s that mean? It means listening, caring and loving on those around me. It’s compassion, grace, mercy, forgiveness. If others see God in my actions then I haven’t forgotten him, I am honoring him. Time can stand still for all I care as long as I’m honoring him. What others think of me, even my family at the risk of disappointing them, if I look to God for my approval, then I am honoring him. If I write a book that speaks to his kindness and love and passion to return the lost sheep to his flock, then I am honoring him.
And that is my dream.