I’m taking a few deep breaths here, and laying my heart out as part of Holley Gerth’s, God-sized Dream team. Today, we’re taking a huge leap of courage, and sharing our dreams. So with sweaty palms, and my heart pounding, I share this with you–
Last year I nearly squeezed the very life out of my dream. I wrote about it many times, and cried about it many more. I came the closest last year, to my dream that I have ever been, and after months of hard work, (and a hard season of refining), I watched as the first real door to the hallway of my dreams, quietly closed in front of my face.
I wish I could say that I handled it with strength. But the truth is less shiny than that. I crumpled a bit. My eyes dulled and my passion for writing took a hiatus, as I grieved what felt like the end of a life-long dream.
But God wasn’t finished with me. (Praise Jesus) The reality is, the dream I found myself chasing, that hallway that I thought would lead to the penthouse of accomplishment? That was just the lobby–maybe even the basement entrance. My dream to write and publish a book has been life-long, and this year, in less than a month, I will in fact, publish a book.
On my struggling days, I’ve told myself, this one doesn’t really count. Because this book will be self-published, I’ve discounted it’s legitimacy. And to all of my other, self-published writer friends out there, I know how egregious that statement sounds. It’s a lie from the enemy. It’s that voice I have to battle every day as I pursue this dream, the one that whispers all variety of ugly lies to me as I write–that my story doesn’t matter, that no one will read it anyway, that since I cannot write as well as________(insert any number of talented writers), that I may as well quit. It’s the snake that spits the venom of inadequacy my way as I fill in that line on Amazon that names the publisher, as myself.
The thing is, the failed opportunity of last year has led to 2 other publications, a number of other connections made, and this self-published book. Last year, my dream of publishing looked one way to me: Big publishing house, nice advance, best seller list, work-wide notoriety, the end. God graciously revealed to me (through much pain and hardcore refining) that, that dream, that ridiculously prideful version, was hideous, and not worthy of my pursuit. God was quite clear in the way that He disciplined me, and stripped me of myself.
He humbled me like never before and when the dust settled, when I emerged from my prayer closet, I didn’t even want that old dream anymore. It makes me sick with shame to even admit that I thought that’s what my God-sized dream looked like.
I handed that trash over to Him and walked away from it with total peace. I started dreaming again, but this time, with Him in the forefront, instead of myself. I ask Him for the dream, for the direction, for the opportunities that will bring Him glory.
And then the words wouldn’t stop coming. The real story, the real dream starts with this book coming. God has laid a burden on my heart to tell the hard truth, the one that most people would rather not hear. In this day and age where we clip and paste the portions of the bible to fit our liking, I know God is calling me to be real. To be honest. To speak about the hard truth of following Christ. To live in full color, the continual dying to self.
I won’t be the one who writes fuzzy, feel good books about joy and happiness–not right now anyway. I wish that were the message that burdened my heart. The message I have to share doesn’t have a pretty bow on top but rather wears a crown of thorns. It’s bloody. It’s intense, it’s costly, and maybe only 8 people will ever read it. But I know that the only dream worth pursuing, is the one where I follow God’s lead. My version is always horribly inferior to His.
My book in February is the first step into this God-sized dream. I hope you’ll be there with me, because while I am pretty uncertain of a great many things, I know this: this book, it’s a beginning–not an end.
Has God given you a dream? What does it look like?
Sharing this post with other beautiful dreamers, and my fellow dream team friends, over at Holley’s place today.