Last week I wrote about my love for the movie Becoming Jane which portrays the life of Jane Austen.
One of my favorite scenes in this movie takes place when Lady Gresham comes to call on Jane in an effort to convince the young and unknown writer to accept the marriage proposal of her nephew, Wesley. Feeling pressured and frustrated with the situation Jane is overcome by a sudden impulse.
“Excuse me,” she says as she pulls out her pen and paper and takes a seat on a nearby bench.
Puzzled by Jane’s behavior, Lady Gresham says to her nephew, “What is she doing?”
“Writing,” Wesley replies.
“Can anything be done about it?” Lady Gresham asks confounded.
I love this scene because I see my reflection inside it. Jane’s writing was her passion. It brought her solace, helped her make sense of the world in which she lived, and while her family and many others could not understand why she dared to make a living by her pen, Jane knew her desire to write could not be stopped.
As a writer I am blessed to have a host of family and friends that encourage and believe in me. However, every now and then, I know my writing habits sometimes puzzle and concern those who love me most.
“Are you getting your rest?” My mom will ask when my work keeps me up late or requires that I rise early.
“Be careful not to put too many demands on yourself.” My big sister will say whenever our conversations about writing, homemaking, and homeschooling converge. “You may not be able to keep this pace forever.”
I know my mom and sister, and others who voice similar concerns, love me and want the best for me. I know they are speaking out of a genuine concern for my wellbeing. What I don’t know is if they could ever fully understand how vital to my wellbeing my writing has become.
In short, sleep or no sleep, demands or no demands, nothing can be done about my urge, my desire, my determination to write. Writing isn’t just my dream. It’s who I am. It’s what I must do.
When people wonder about our passions, when God creates us with a design and a purpose…which, by the way…is something He does for ALL of us, when He plants a dream or a calling deep in our hearts, we are faced with a series of choices.
No: 1: The Choice to Embrace or Deny
I was in the third grade, when I first fell in love with words and the art of linking them together. It wasn’t until I was thirty-years-old that I decided to embrace this love and put my time, effort, and focus into becoming the writer God designed me to be.
This decision changed everything for me in terms of my writing and my quality of life in general. It made the difference between wishing, hoping, and waiting for ‘someday’ to arrive, to ‘someday’ become a writer and actually doing what it takes to become a writer, to be the person I was created to be.
If you’re not embracing your dream or God’s purpose for your life you are denying yourself, God and others the chance to see, and know, and experience what He intended and designed when He embraced the dream of you.
No: 2: The Choice to Sacrifice or Settle
As a writer the one thing I find myself sacrificing the most is sleep. Ahh, sleep. That blissful, nourishing thing we all love to do. The thing is: it’s temporary! Whatever sleep I lose these days will pale in comparison to the ‘someday’ joy I will experience when I hold my first book in my hands or find a life was changed because I was faithful to the work God gave me.
When my eyes open first thing in the morning, scratchy and tired from a late night writing session, my heart leaps for joy when I remember why I’m so tired. When I remember how good, and right, and true if felt to spend the wee hours of the morning lost in a whirl of words.
If a dream doesn’t require a sacrifice it’s not a big enough dream. Don’t settle for what’s comfortable, what’s appealing, what’s convenient right now. Find something worth sacrificing for and do that thing! Go find your God-sized dream!
No. 3: The Choice of Good or Great
Every day, in a million ways, we make the choice between the good life and the great life. While the good life leaves us feeling happy, content and comfortable, the great life leaves us feeling satisfied, fulfilled and whole.
While the great life is guaranteed to take us away from our comfort zones into that which is turn-your-gut terrifying, it is also guaranteed to bring our souls and our hearts to life in a way nothing else can.
God wants this for you. Stop pretending that good is good enough. Don’t trade the great stuff for the good stuff.
So what’s your dream? What’s your God given purpose and design? Whatever it is embrace it, sacrifice for it, and don’t settle for the good when God wants you to have the great.
Some may scratch their heads. Some may call you crazy.
But you? You get the joy. You get the delicious joy of light in your eyes and life in your heart.
You get the joy of knowing that nothing can be done about it.