I planned to be an optician. I was fascinated with sight and sure that I could help people by helping fit them for glasses and contacts. After all, the day I got my glasses is a special memory, punctuated by “Mama, I can read that sign.”
The summer after senior year, when I felt like I had a scant three months to make so many choices and decide on a future, a steady job in the medical field sounded like such a good idea. I was newly eighteen and clinging to a good idea–but it was not the best idea.
Sowing a Dream
Nine years earlier, I started my first journal. I had known about words, loved reading, devoured books for years. When I was nine, though, I started writing my own outside of homeschool assignments. That first journal became the soil for a mind searching for good ideas.
Three years after that, a friend looked at me and said, “Let’s write a story.” It had never occurred to me that the stories I loved to read might possibly fall from my own fingers one day, but that notebook we passed between us soon filled with terrible dialogue and cranky prose. And something clicked. I have a box now filled with handwritten and painstakingly-typed pages of short stories unfit for human consumption. But I will never let them go. Those are my first fiction forays.
I wish I had some lightning-strike moment where scales fell off and revelation happened, but it was more a quiet summer spent going over the options, trying to decide, laying it all at Jesus’ feet. I wanted so desperately to trust God with this whole college thing, and so I asked Him over and over what do I do?
When I imagined myself ten years out, I didn’t see a patient’s clipboard in my hand. I saw a pen. So I told the enrollment counselor I wanted a Communications degree. It sounded daring. Especially when she, an English professor, looked right back at me and said the hallway outside her office, where I sat white-knuckled across from her desk, was “littered with the broken dreams of writers.”
I’ll never forget her saying that, nor the sense of conviction that welled within a soul that didn’t know any better. Conviction that said if even if my dreams of writing novels ended up broken, I had surrendered and been obedient. I was determined to hold on to His soft whisper to write, not cling with clutching fingers to the fear.
I am still fascinated with seeing, but a different, deeper kind. A soul seeing Truth on the page. One that so often takes place with a pen in my hand or a keyboard beneath my fingertips.
The Reasons I Rejoice
My prayers sounded like, Are You entirely sure about this? Because You know me–You know how I love safety, security. You know–and yet You’re calling me to this, to writing? You do know, don’t You, the uncertainty of the writer’s life? Are You sure?
I asked Are You sure? in the tone of Are You crazy? And the amazing thing? He didn’t seem to mind.
So what if I hadn’t trusted God way back when I thought my life needed to be decided in a summer? I might be a certified optician now with a steady job, glancing over my shoulder at a dream abandoned, boxed in a closet with those short stories.
But I’m not. Because I did trust Him. He led me to surrender, then He led me right on past to a series of new dreams. I got my degree, but I didn’t wait for graduation day to start my own editing business. Now I help people see how their own writing could be smoother, how to help readers see their points quicker, easier. And after I’d drafted this post, I signed my first publishing contract.
Do you need to sow surrender?
Are your prayers sounding an awful lot like mine? Are You crazy? Is He asking you to give up safety and security for what He has planned–however shadowy what He has planned seems to be?
Is He asking you to surrender dating for a season, to take a semester off from school, to hold off on that project until the baby is older? What if you surrendered today for the hope of tomorrow, this life for the promise of eternity?
I promise, when you sow surrender, you reap reasons to rejoice. The dreams may die–or they may not. Either way, you can trust the One who first gave them to you.