Tag Archives: goals

When You Realize Writing is Not Actually Your Dream

I saw the invite – a save the date, really – and immediately checked my calendar to make sure the day was still free. It was the last time I checked (when there was only the hint of an event), but I had to be certain.

Because when Emily Freeman started talking about this Barn event – an afternoon At the Barn with her family and a relatively small gathering to spend time in soul-encouraging conversation about art, dreams, goals – all I could think was YES.

I’m in.

when you realize writing is not actually your dream

But as I purchased the ticket, I couldn’t help but also stop and think about how I now find myself taking all kinds of risks (of the best kind) with community and events and opportunities – like spending an afternoon with a bunch of fellow blog readers or spending five days getting Wrecked in Guatemala with complete strangers … and then doing it again six months later. All because of this gift of blogging which began as an extension of this gift of writing.

And it’s all in the very same season that I find myself pulling back on the frequency of posts and re-evaluating the purpose of this space.

A couple of months ago, I wasn’t even sure if I should continue blogging. This community is small and I’m not always convinced my words are necessary additions to the noise of this world.

But this community is also growing, and opportunities keep crossing my path to connect with other artists and other Jesus-followers as a result.

And I just know.

It’s not time to give-up this blogging thing yet.

Someday, God may ask that of me, but as I’ve been praying over and carefully considering whether or not that time is now, although the sitting-still long enough to think and write has been hard lately, I find I’m not finished here yet.

I want this space to be a place of restful harbor, filled with peace, where God speaks.

And more than anything, I want to honor and glorify Him in and through it.

So this community is small and the growth is slow.

But it’s His. And it’s good.

I began this blog a little over three years ago with a thought in the back of my mind that someday I might like to publish a book of some sort, but I could go ahead and start blogging without knowing if that would ever happen. I could begin sharing the message that the Lord had placed on my heart. I didn’t have to wait for that.

But somewhere along the way, I began to realize that while writing is a part of me and is a craft that I both love and enjoy, writing (or perhaps more specifically, publishing) wasn’t actually my dream.

The only problem? I didn’t know what was.

But all I knew to do was to keep writing, to keep taking small steps in obedience and faithfulness, and to keep seeking the Lord’s face.

Because that’s always right.

And through the writing, I kept sensing that there was something in all of this, something that I couldn’t quite figure out, something that I still needed to learn.

So now in this season, as my dreams and goals for this life are shifted and refined, I’m beginning to see at least a part of that something.

I’ve sought hard and waited long for the sort of dream I’m now beginning to consider. The one that in intentionally broad and vague terms revolves around orphan care (and no, I don’t know exactly what that means or what it will look like), the one that is so far beyond me and my ability, the one that scares the heck out of me, and the one that feels more like a God-whisper than anything I could dare to imagine on my own.

I’m not against the idea of publishing if that’s where the Lord leads and I suspect this won’t be the last times my dreams undergo some refining, but I also know this dream that’s slowly unveiling finally feels like mine. Like something only the Lord could have orchestrated and begun to reveal. And that makes it worth wanting and working toward and continuing to figure out … because it’s really only just a glimpse of a fuller vision. A hint of what could be.

So I’ll continue to write and I’ll continue to blog in this space.

And I’ll continue to lead and encourage this community to draw near to Christ.

To seek Him more. To know Him more. To trust Him more. To rest in Him more.

Because nothing – no amount of dreaming regardless of how right the dream seems – in this life matters more.

Thinking & Writing

thinking & writing

I’ve been thinking and writing about several topics lately that are just not fully fleshed out, wrestled out, thought out, prayed out, felt out, and written out enough to post on the blog.

Although I’m completely on board with the idea that done is [often] better than perfect (trust me, I know how ineffective it can be to hold myself to a ridiculous standard of perfection), I also know that sometimes certain topics really are worth the extra time and consideration before publishing.

But I can at least give you an idea of a few topics I’ve been spending a little more time on:

1) Calling

A topic that has interested, fascinated, and baffled me for years. This fact is made obvious by my 31 Day Series I wrote on How to Better Understand our {God Given} Callings back in October 2011. My mind has been back there a lot lately. So I’m spending more time with it again.

2) Dreams / Goals

I know Ive mentioned this before. And I’m still thinking and writing about it. It’s just not organized.

3) Singleness

I’m hesitant to write on this and I’m not even a hundred percent sure why. I’m just not sure what value I have to offer the conversation, but I am single. Have been my whole life. And although I hope marriage is a part of my someday future, I genuinely want to live my single years well. With a Christ-like mindset, a servant heart, and eyes fixed on Him.

So while I continue to process and write about these topics (plus a few more) behind the scenes, I want to hear from you. Really.

What have you been thinking about? Writing about? Reading about? Or even listening to?

It doesn’t have to be serious. I have big plans to start reading The Paris Wife by Paula McLain this weekend, so if you’ve been reading any good novels lately, let me know those, too!

Word for this Year: Wisdom

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” Proverbs 9:10

wisdom

I’m not really a fan of New Year’s resolutions. In fact, right around the beginning of the year, I think I amused my mother when I told her that I thought they were silly and arbitrary. Of course, part of her amusement may have been the matter-of-fact and ridiculously resolute manner in which I announced said theory.

It’s not that I don’t have goals or that I think setting goals isn’t a worthwhile endeavor. I do and it is. It’s just that specific New Year’s goals often seem morbidly misplaced to me. Amidst a handful of always rotating task-oriented objectives, I currently have just a few overarching goals (set and revised in the context of life as the need arises rather than linked to a particular day on the calendar that seems to lend itself to such a purpose), but they came into the picture long before January 1 and will endure long after January 1, so I can’t really call them New Year’s resolutions.

Not to mention, in years past when I have attempted to set New Year’s resolutions, I typically have failed to take into account a great deal of reality, so I end up failing miserably at them, and the perfectionist part of me doesn’t handle that well. Even if they are silly and arbitrary, writing them down and calling them resolutions makes them real enough to feel bad about not achieving them.

But although (for now) I don’t set New Year’s resolutions, I am by nature quite introspective and when everyone around me begins to lean that direction, I tend to hop right on that bandwagon and put in some extra thinking, evaluating, and analyzing hours myself.

Sometimes that’s productive. Other times, frankly, it is just not.

But while my goals list is extremely short at the moment, I do have a word for this year.

Wisdom.

And while this word, this goal of sorts, seems pretty near impossible to measure, I know it’s what I need.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5

So I’m asking the Lord for it.

And I’m expecting it.

I don’t know how He’ll work or how He’ll reveal it or where He’ll lead this year.

But regardless, I want more of His wisdom in and through it all.

And so far, this wisdom is literally around every corner … as if it’s begging to be uncovered. Scripture is certainly not silent about it … this wisdom that is ever and fully dependent on its Source. It’s taking my mind captive. I’m noticing it. I’m soaking it in. I’m evaluating where I fall short, where I need more, and where I need to release.

Because while last year my phrase “to seek the Lord” at times seemed more like something I had to do or achieve, this word doesn’t much seem like something I can accomplish on my own at all – by a sheer force of willpower and self-control.

No, this word, this wisdom, requires dependence, trust, confidence. This wisdom requires standing in need and utter desperation, asking for more of His power, more of His grace, more of His presence.

And in the process of asking, I hope to watch Him increase as I decrease.

I long for more of His wisdom. I long for more of Him.

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17

I Want to Live for Christ

I only have one life … only so many days, only so many hours.

It’s so easy to get caught up in possibilities and dreams, to be overwhelmed by somedays, what ifs, and if onlys.

I can’t do it all.

But so what if I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up?

I’m living now … each day, each moment … and I want it to count. Eternally.

I desperately long to hear those words from the Master:

“Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:23)

I want to live this life trusting Him, serving Him, sharing Him.

For His glory.

Not mine.

Because it’s still not about me. It never has been. It never will be.

I want to stop feeling guilty for the choices that I make … I want to own those choices knowing that I have made them according to the only standard for my life that matters at all. His standard.

Considering the urgings of Paul, I want to

“…live a life worthy of the calling I have received.” (Ephesians 4:1)

I want to live a life worthy of the gospel.

I want to press on toward the goal.

I want to run in such a way to obtain the prize.

If life right now mostly looks like working, worshiping alongside a solid ministry team, studying Scripture, loving on two-year-olds in the nursery, writing, investing in rich friendships, and hanging out in coffee shops than I want to do those things … my things … His things … well. Fully invested in His kingdom work.

I want to live for Christ.

“But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14)

{Day 8} Here and There

**this was originally posted on 05/10/12. while behind the scenes i was furiously working on the full application that preceded acceptance with the missions organization. and doubting that i was good enough for the task.**

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

– Philippians 3:12-14 (ESV)

What makes me think if I can’t manage time and priorities here in relative comfort, stability and ease, that I can manage time and priorities there in the midst of potential discomfort and unknown?

What makes me think if I can’t reach outside of myself here to fully invest in others as I should, that I can fully invest there within a limited framework?

What makes me think if I can’t write here from my heart for me (much less for them), that I can write there so publicly?

What makes me think if I can’t find the balance and consistency in the Word here that is right, that I can be consistent there in new and unfamiliar surroundings?

Yet even as I continue to ask the questions, which all really boil down to just one question of my own ability, and begin to acknowledge the underlying fears, I already know the answer. It’s the same answer I received so powerfully and directly on that old hotel room floor in Ocean City six years ago.

I can’t. But HE can.

And as I hear that truth once again, as I not only hear it, but believe it, as it resonates deep within me, the Lord comes in gently and lovingly (though not painlessly) to once again strip me of my pride and self-sufficiency and independence. Because this relationship, this walking with Him, this following Him, was never intended to be that way.

None of this depends on me. It never did. This is not about me at all. It never was.

It’s about trusting in Him, leaning into Him, depending on Him. It’s about surrendering self and sacrificing independence. It’s about acknowledging His strength in my weakness, His sufficiency in my insufficiency, His righteousness in my unrighteousness.

Both my here and my there are His. For His purpose and for His glory.

Here and There

note: while i did have a specific “here” and “there” in mind when i penned this, in some ways, we all have a “here” and “there”. it may be a physical location, a goal, a hope, a dream, or just a what if. but regardless of the what, i would encourage you to to think of your own “here” and “there” as you read. and then rest in the truth of His promises.

What makes me think if I can’t manage time and priorities here in relative comfort, stability and ease, that I can manage time and priorities there in the midst of potential discomfort and unknown?

What makes me think if I can’t reach outside of myself here to fully invest in others as I should, that I can fully invest there within a limited framework?

What makes me think if I can’t write here from my heart for me (much less for them), that I can write there so publicly?

What makes me think if I can’t find the balance and consistency in the Word here that is right, that I can be consistent there in new and unfamiliar surroundings?

Yet even as I continue to ask the questions, which all really boil down to just one question of my own ability, and begin to acknowledge the underlying fears, I already know the answer. It’s the same answer I received so powerfully and directly on that old hotel room floor in Ocean City six years ago.

I can’t. But HE can.

And as I hear that truth once again, as I not only hear it, but believe it, as it resonates deep within me, the Lord comes in gently and lovingly (though not painlessly) to once again strip me of my pride and self-sufficiency and independence. Because this relationship, this walking with Him, this following Him, was never intended to be that way.

None of this depends on me. It never did. This is not about me at all. It never was.

It’s about trusting in Him, leaning into Him, depending on Him. It’s about surrendering self and sacrificing independence. It’s about acknowledging His strength in my weakness, His sufficiency in my insufficiency, His righteousness in my unrighteousness.

Both my here and my there are His. For His purpose and for His glory.

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:12-14 (ESV)

The 2012 Blogging Adventure(s)

As I mentioned here, I’m changing things up a little this year:

1. I have decided to use a new read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year plan for 2012 (the M’Cheyne plan…which goes through the New Testament and Psalms twice and the rest of the Old Testament once). As part of my effort to stay accountable to both the reading plan and to writing, on Tuesday or Wednesday of each week I will be posting a devo thought based on the previous week’s reading {at least for now}. As I have always considered devotions to be the heartbeat and core of this blog, I’m really looking forward to a more systematic approach to the devo thoughts this year, and pray that this walk through Scripture will be an encouragement to you as well!

2. Although I’m technically already a week behind (unless if you count the above photo…), in an attempt to improve in and further my knowledge of all things photography, I will also be doing an unofficial 52-week photo project and posting one photo per week (hopefully on Friday, but that is totally subject to change at this point). These posts probably won’t be super long or wordy (shocking, I know) as they’ll mainly serve to document the photos throughout the year, and I have no rules for myself other than that the photo must have been taken within the prior seven days.

Of course, you can still expect to see recipes and life thrown randomly into the mix here and there as well. Thanks for hanging in there with me and continuing to read this humble little blog…I am so grateful for each one of you!