It’s Your Dream but You’re Not Alone

I stand in my dimly-lit dining room and it is finally quiet and that’s when it happens. The fear grows and the tears start.

Despite feeling excited about a few different writing projects.

Despite connecting with a couple of other writers and talking about our projects and what inspires us.

Despite a sense of knowing I am where I am supposed to be.

Doubts rise. Fear creeps in on the silence. Circumstances warp my perception and then my confidence.

I no longer see where I’m going but instead I am mired in where I am and where I’ve been. I see messes and obstacles where just moments ago I saw possibility and adventure. My vision of the future is as cloudy as my allergy-laden senses, seeing things in muted colors and blurred edges.

Joshua

Of course this is not the first time I’ve wrestled with fear or doubt when it comes to living out my God-given dream and purpose that centers on writing. The names of the enemies I fight in living out this dream of mine may change: fear, comparison, circumstances, doubt, perfection, busyness, failure, criticism, time, discouragement, naysayers, haters, but the opposition is the same.

It’s all Resistance as Steven Pressfield points out in his book, The War of Art.

Because let’s face it, if you have a dream and you have a pulse, you are going to face various forms of Resistance along the way. The path to success, the path of living out your purpose will lead you through valleys that are as deep and dark as the mountain peaks are high and inspiring.

But here’s the thing.

When a dream is a God-given one, success is already yours.

Because God provides the victory as we participate with Him.

He fights the battles, but we have to let Him.

Does that mean we don’t have to exert our own energy and effort?

Absolutely not.

We participate with God. We follow Him on the path. We heed His whispers of what to do. We trust Him. Just like Joshua did. We follow where God leads and we fight hard alongside Him and we take one battle at a time.

One victory at a time.

That’s a tough one for me. Too easily I fall into the enemy’s trap of wanting to do everything all at once; to succeed right now. But that’s not how it works. That’s not how God works.

Because this is as much about my relationship with God, my dream-maker and dream-giver, as it is about fulfilling the dream He gave me. And each battle provides me opportunity to draw near to Him and trust Him. Sounds fairly simple, but it’s not. At least not for me.

You see, sometimes a God-won victory becomes a me-won victory in my mind. And that quickly translates into me going into the next battle against the enemy, against the Resistance, in my own strength rather than looking to God. And that’s when it happens.

That’s when I find myself standing in my dimly-lit dining room facing fears, facing Resistance, that is bigger than what I can handle. And that’s because I’m not meant to handle them alone or in my strength. In fact, God tells me, Do not be afraid of them, for I have given you victory over them. Not a single one of them will be able to stand up to you. (Joshua 10:8)

All those enemies that slink in on the silence and fill the spaces of your quiet places? They will not stand. And that, my friends, is the good news of living out your God-given dream.

So, with what enemies are you doing battle today? Don’t go it alone. Call on God and also share what Resistance you’re facing today in the comments and I’ll be honored to pray for you.

How Then Shall I Live?

My husband, David, recently talked about having a life verse and I realized that even though I didn’t think I had one, I do. And it’s this one: Whatever you do, live your life in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Phil 1:27)

Phil 1-27

Reflecting on this, I also realized that too often, if I am not diligent, if I am not intentional, life will squeeze Jesus out of my mind. My focus will shift to the things of this world: me, my efforts, my needs, my ability to influence or encourage or stand out. And these things will not grow strangely dim like when I am focused on Jesus, but they grow bigger and more oppressive.

When I read the stories of Jesus, I so often identify with Peter; bold, impetuous Peter. The first to say he believed Jesus was the Messiah and the first to deny Him when Jesus was on trial. The first to be called to follow Jesus and the first to get out of the boat when Jesus called him.

But lately I’ve been thinking about what Peter’s life looked like after Jesus returned to His Father.

Did he just go about his life as if nothing was different for his having known Jesus? Did he go back to life as he knew it before he knew Jesus? Was he satisfied to go back to a life of fishing and mending nets and nothing more?

Or was Peter changed?

Did Peter live out his remaining days in a manner worthy of the Gospel? The book of Acts indicates that he did. His words, his actions, his life and even his death pointed others to the risen Christ and the Gospel of Grace.

And this prompts me to consider how I am living out my days. Am I living with an eternal purpose or with an average purpose? Am I pointing others to Jesus and His grace or am I calling out, “Look at me, look at me, look at what I’m doing.”

If I am honest, too often, it is the latter.

And so today I’m asking myself, what does it mean to live a life worthy of the Gospel?

Today I’m Looking Up

darknessFive-Minute Friday. And go:

It’s Good Friday.

Will you join me for a few minutes over here, by the cross.

Because I don’t know about you, but I need to see Him. I need to absorb this moment, His final moments.

Despite the chaos of life that swirls into a cacophony around me.

Despite the loudness and laughter and bickering of my two little girls.

Despite the messy living room and the surface clutter that beckons me to tidy up.

Despite the myriad demands on my time in this moment, I need to be right here. At the cross.

It hurts to look up, doesn’t it?

Sometimes, it hurts to look up instead of at the world around us.

But right now, I need to look up.

I need to see Him. To see Him in His pain. To see Him in His sorrow. To see Him gazing down with love despite what He is enduring in this moment for me.

For me.

I need to see His last ragged breath and to feel the darkness that descends as He breathes His last.

I don’t want to think about Sunday.

I don’t want to think about colored eggs or frilly dresses or candy or Easter baskets.

I don’t want to think about Hallelujah choruses or rejoicing.

I want to be here, like His disciples, and acknowledge this moment.

Because in this moment, for His disciples, there was no anticipation of the empty grave.

And I need that today.

I need that so that I don’t take lightly that Jesus died for me.

For me.

I need that in the middle of my ordinary life. I need to look up.

Stop

(This post is part of Kate Motaung’s Five-minute Friday at Heading Home. She gives us a word and we write for five minutes. This week’s word: Good)

Truth Be Told

Isaiah 53-5

In the quiet. In the in-between moments of parenting two little girls. In my heart. Truth stirs and beckons to be heard.

Today is the day. Today is the day that the end of Jesus’ life and ministry began.

It began with a meal.

It began with the washing of His friends’ feet.

It began with serving and loving.

It began with grieving and pleading and praying. With praying with such fervor that His sweat was drops of blood.

It didn’t end there, but we don’t know that yet.

In fact, we don’t even know that the end is coming.

All we know as we sit at this table this evening with Jesus and break bread with Him is that we are celebrating. Celebrating the Passover.

But we are celebrating so much more.

We are celebrating His love.

We are celebrating that He walks among us.

We are celebrating God with us.

From where we are today, we know that we are celebrating His sacrificial love. His mercy. His grace.

But for right now, I choose to sit with Him at table and share this moment. To share one more moment with Him as He teaches and laughs and loves.

And later, when He falls to the ground in the Garden to plead with the Father, when He is arrested, when He is scourged, then I will choose to reflect on what it will cost Him. Then I will choose to reflect on all that He lost.

Then I will choose to reflect on all that I gained. That because of His death I am redeemed. That because of His death, I live.

That I live with Him and in Him and that I know Him and am known by Him.