One Saturday afternoon a few years ago, I cried because my dream was too small. At a “destiny” conference presented by Billy Godwin I felt myself growing smaller and smaller as I heard the dreams of other folks and was disgraced by their grandness. They wanted to use their gifts to reach orphans, businessmen, housewives, teens, etc., etc. for Christ. Their visions were so lofty, so glorious, so, well, godly. Just listening made me shrink inside. I almost ran out the door in humiliation.
We were coached to write our personal mission statements, our visions for our lives. And I sat there. Embarrassed. Mortified. Unworthy.
I just wanted to write love stories. With happy endings.
Two friends hauled me up to talk to Billy. In less than 60 seconds, Billy had me in tears. I can’t to this day remember what he said to me in those moments, but in no time at all I realized that my dream was just as valid as everyone else’s. And my mission statement?
As a writer, my God-given mission is to demonstrate God’s steadfast devotion to us by unfolding the eternal truths of faith, hope, and love through creative storytelling.
I try to remind myself of that. Often. But it’s hard.
This past Sunday our pastor spoke of Jesus and the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. I love that story. Jesus suddenly appears as Cleopas and some nameless guy are walking the seven miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus. Jesus asks them what they’re talking about and why they look so sad. They think Jesus has to be the most clueless fellow in the country — the only one who doesn’t know what’s been going on. And they tell Him about His own trial, death, and resurrection. After Jesus opens the Word to them and reveals who He is, they say … “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32)
Jeremiah tells us of his discouragement and determination to shut up, to stop preaching, to stop proclaiming what the Lord told him to say. “But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And I could not.” (Jer. 20:9)
Pastor Tony prayed for us all to have burning hearts and reminded us that it was in the image of fire that the Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost.
I knew everyone else was thinking about being brave for Jesus, about witnessing, about impacting the world in some wonderful way.
But all I could think of was how my heart used to burn for my God-given mission, for writing love stories.
How easy it is to set that dream aside and do other things that play around it, that are sort of “related.” How easy it is to tell myself that it’s hopeless, that no one wants to read what I write, that I really have nothing to say. There’s nothing in me worth pouring out.
Then I think, even if all that were true … could I ever really give up? While the flame may not always be blazing, the embers never go out. They’re waiting to be breathed on, to be stirred …
Kingdom dreams come from our broken past. What the enemy once tried to steal, God redeems. (Jennifer Wagemaker for GodsizedDreams.com)
My dream has validity even in its simplicity (though the “coming true” part is a lot more complicated). I remind myself of what Holley Gerth says …
“There is a message inside you that only you can share.
We don’t get a second chance at it.
There is no back-up plan in God’s agenda.
You’re the world’s one shot at what God has placed in you.”
And I feel discouragement dropping its “dis” … and I remember a recent comment from my friend, Lou, who said … “Your life seems to be full of love stories.”
He’s right. It is.
And doesn’t the world need more love stories?