[Moses said to Joshua] “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)
Are you working on a dream? Do you have a vision for your life and your life’s work? Do you sometimes find yourself measuring your efforts and success against those who have gone before or are ahead of you in the pursuit of their dreams? As if dreaming is a race rather than a journey.
I definitely do. And it can be quite a battle of my own will to work slow and steady. To focus on the work and not at the backs of the dreamers who have passed me.
Some days I’m discouraged by the waiting. Waiting for my turn. Waiting for my time. Waiting for my tribe. Waiting for my audience.
Some days I’m discouraged because I feel as though I’m racing too hard and losing my breath. Trying too hard. Taking on too much. Trying to keep up.
Some days I’m discouraged because I send my words into a seemingly empty space. That no one is interested. That no one notices. That I’m wasting my time.
Some days, dreaming is more discouraging than invigorating.
And those days tend to be the days that God shows up in mighty ways, drawing my attention away from me – my dreams, myself, my efforts – an drawing my attention to Him. He uses His words to pierce my doubt and heed His promises: I will personally go ahead of you. I will be with you. I will neither fail you nor abandon you.
And those tend to be the days when I need to pause and rest in Him and recall who placed this dream in my heart and who provided me with the gifts and talents to live out that dream.
And that puts all of this dreaming and building and vision-living back into perspective.
I once listened to a podcast message discussing the art of creativity and the process of writing a book, something I am doing. The conversation came around to what about if a writer goes through all of this writing and editing and pouring out of herself into her work and then that work ended up in a drawer.
Now, before you react too strongly, I should tell you that their conversation was couched in the idea that the creative process, the writing and the pouring out of self for me, is something that is done in partnership with the Creator Himself. The daily creating, the writing, is a gift given to me and one that I am able to give back to God. It becomes an act of worship, a time of holy wonder.
And so, if my work only ended up in a drawer, would I still consider myself successful? As difficult as it may be, I think I would. Because honestly, isn’t my purpose beyond me? Isn’t my purpose, and by extension, my privilege, to help bring the Kingdom to bear on this world?
But I also honestly believe that when I am working in partnership with the Creator, He has a plan for my efforts that are beyond me. I believe that He goes out before me and that when I follow Him, I will find the breathing room I need for me and my dream.
When I approach my dream, my message, my writing and my launching, with this in mind, discouragement is no longer a factor. Fear dissolves. Because it’s no longer about me or what I’m trying to do. It’s about what I’ve already done: spent time in holy work with the Creator.
There’s no empty space.
There’s no waiting.
There’s no racing.
There is no comparing.
There is only creating.
In the presence of my audience. My audience of One.