200th Post: ‘Traded Dreams’

I’ve always been a writer. When I was young, I wanted to be a novelist; specifically, I wanted to write literature. In my teens and early twenties, I wrote a lot of poetry. In hindsight, it wasn’t very good. My senior year in college, I took a creative writing class and wrote some short stories. My professor was full of praise and encouragement, but depression was beginning to get a foothold in my life. After graduating and going out on my own, my mind was full of stories and idea, but I wasn’t organized and nothing made it out of my head. Depression is an enemy of discipline, and even areas of talent require discipline if you are to accomplish anything.

I have heard people say that anti-depressant medications dull their creativity. When I began getting treatment for depression, I stopped writing poetry and was less interested in writing fiction. Yet, without medication, I never got anything done. When I was depressed, I felt more creative, but it was just a feeling. Once my depression was under control, I had the ability to be disciplined about actually creating something. I began to think about writing non-fiction. Finding myself still single when most of my peers were married, led me to see that the Christian community wasn’t building up singles. For a time, I thought that the Bible didn’t have anything for me. God opened my eyes to how relevant Scripture was in my life, and I wanted to share that with other single believers.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. . . .Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

Colossians 3:17, 23-24

I observed that books geared toward single Christians fell into two general categories: how to snag a spouse and how to live in your ‘season’ of singleness. I wanted to live my life seeking God’s will for me. I was frustrated with the prevailing assumption that everyone’s life was going to follow the same path because mine wasn’t! So, I wrote a book, and I began to see how, all along, God had been equipping me to write non-fiction. I started this blog to get exposure, in the hope that I could get my book published. In two hundred posts, I haven’t changed the world or made a name for myself. I have a small number of people who follow me, and I have reason to believe that some people are encouraged some of the time. Clearly, my efforts are not completely in vain. Perhaps the greatest lesson I’ve learned is that I am not ready for success as a writer. I am far too proud, and sometimes I think God is using this blog to deflate my ego. People may be reading what I write, but no one is hanging on my every word.

One of my favorite Casting Crowns songs is Somewhere in the Middle. The lyrics never stop challenging me. A line in the chorus asks, “Will we trade our dreams for His?” ‘Traded dreams’ seem to be what my life is all about. I wanted to marry, have a family, and write novels, but God wanted me to be single and to write for Him. I still find myself holding tightly to the old dreams, even though that future has come and gone. I need to seek God’s will where He has me, rather than lamenting where He didn’t let me go. ‘Trading my dreams for His’ means putting His glory above mine and before any other desire that I have. His primary objective and His plan for me is to fit my life into the picture of His ultimate plan for bringing Himself glory. I picture myself as a puzzle piece in an enormous picture that God is putting together to display His amazing glory. A puzzle piece is created to only fit in one place. If you try to force it into the wrong spot it messes up the whole picture.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Ephesians 5:15-17

Four years and two hundred blog posts and I am still the same broken woman. Why do I fight God when He molds me and shapes me for the exact place that He has for me? God is God; He will be glorified. Why would I set myself in opposition to His plan? More than that, I know I will be happier if I surrender fully to His plan for me. I have one foot in the door, but I’m afraid to walk all the way through. Corrie ten Boom said, “Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.” Here I am, still clinging to dreams that have passed me by, even as I try to surrender fully to God. As the song asks, “Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender / without losing all control?” I am living “Somewhere between faith and my plans,” not fully embracing the joy of a life surrendered to God. But, when I look back at my early blogs, it is clear that I have learned a lot and grown in my faith. I have fewer answers but more peace with the unknown. It is, of course, fitting that the Bible instructs us how we should ‘walk’ because this is a journey. I suppose this blog is my travelogue as I walk toward being the kind of woman that the blog name indicates I want to be: Chosen, committed, and complete.

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