We’ve spent several months now writing about the women of the New Testament, and I have learned more than I ever though I would about some obscure corners of the book of Acts. The most significant thing I have learned this semester, though, has been about the writing itself, the process, the act, and myself, rather than the subjects I’ve researched.
Joining Cindy at her cozy Crestwood home each week for our meetings was profound. Right off, we were writers. We called ourselves that, because, after all, that’s what we were doing, and what better name is there? I had never called myself that before. I kept a journal; that was all. So I learned I am a writer, which is good because I always wanted to be one, and even better, I was part of a community of other people like me.
Before the semester, I had never heard the saying that the the world will make room for your gifting. I have been going through life all this time believing just the opposite. What this means is that I have put desires on hold. There are interests I have not pursued precisely because I thought my little seed of talent wasn’t enough to justify pursuit of a dream. And that it wasn’t significant that I had the desire to begin with. Why even think about writing a book or a blog when there are so many already and doesn’t everyone want to write a book? How boring. How could mine be good enough to stand out? What if it’s not amazing? What if the risk doesn’t pay off? Just because I want to do something doesn’t mean that it’s the right thing to do, it doesn’t mean I should actually do it.
And now I wonder what have I been saving myself for? It doesn’t matter that everyone else is also doing something. If I have my own vision and desire for it, I should do it! It matters for ME that I do it, even if no one else pays attention, even if no one else follows me. God gives us the desires of our hearts. So that means that it’s there for a reason. Why not think about how it could be possible? I have not ever been one to have dreams or a vision for my life and work: if, as I was believing, my gifts and desires don’t necessarily have meaning, then how can you? In a way, I must take myself a bit more seriously to properly live in the abundance of grace my older brother Jesus has bought for me. It’s simply a lie that there is a special group of people out there that will experience fulfillment from seeing their dreams and desires come to reality. There may be specific reasons why some of my own dreams are delayed or never come to fruition the way I would like, but why must I believe they all are doomed? Or worse still, deny their very existence? What rubbish!
As my attitude about my own desires and gifts has changed, I find that I can extend the same generous attitude to others. All this makes it easier to love and encourage those around me. It really is true that we love our neighbors as ourselves. I wonder if Jesus was not so much giving a command as he was stating a fact. I’m sure Tabitha, Damaris and Lydia would agree that is more important than learning the details of their lives. Let their lives remind us that all our lives, properly lived, reveal God’s love to those around us. And living in that revelation is really living!
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Your Turn: What dreams have you left behind or let drift away? What could God do with your gift if you gave it back to Him?? Share you thoughts below. ~ Joni