Monday, July 2, 2007

Here I Go Again

I've pointed this out before, but I have to do it again. Have you noticed how unique our individual journeys through writing--and through life--are?

This time, I was struck by the different paths and different lessons from my last two guest bloggers--Marlo Schalesky and Jenny Jones. Marlo is all too acquainted with the long road, the years of waiting and frustration. God eventually asked her to let go of her dreams of publication and simply trust him. He asked her to long for him more than for that publishing contract.

For Jenny, on the other hand, publication came about very quickly. She, too, felt God speaking to her through the experience. In her case, he prompted her to expect more, to believe that he was capable of doing incredible things. Jenny mentions being amazed at how "personal" God was during all this.

That personal touch strikes me in both stories. Whatever we're striving for, God will use it to shape us as we need to be shaped. If we're letting our dreams consume us instead of being filled by him, he may tell us to wait awhile, to focus on him instead of ourselves. If we're dreaming too small, putting God into a little box, he may just ask us to step out of that little confined space and see how much he can do.

Likewise, Jesus dealt with the people he met on an individual basis. How many times did he tell someone to lay down their fishing nets, leave their lives and follow him? The "rich young ruler" was confounded because Jesus told him to sell everything he had and give it to the poor, then come follow him (Matt. 19:21). Jesus knew the young man was holding on so tightly to his wealth that he couldn't focus on God.

But when Jesus cast a demon out of a man, who responded by begging Jesus to let him follow him, Jesus told the man, "Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you." (Mark 5:18-19, NIV)

In my own case, I know God has asked me to let go of my publishing dreams, too--maybe not forever. But for a lot of years I held onto them way too tightly. Right now, I'm not sure whether he's going to ask me to just tell my family what he's done for me, or whether he'll want to open up the world and write his messages through my novels.

Either way, I know he has that road planned just for me.