About four years ago, when I was watching The Next Food Network Star, one of the judges commented on a contestant, saying,
“It’s so interesting to me when we find these finalists who are running from the very thing that is in their bones. I saw a lot of passion in her; she just doesn’t have any focus.”
And I thought: that’s me.
As someone who has been passionate about many different writing projects over the years, I’ve wished more than once that one story would stand out above the rest as the only one I should be working on. I heard the judge say that and I instantly wanted more focus.
So I went to my laptop and sat down, determined…
and I stared at the screen.
Okay God, I prayed, my hands hovering over the keyboard, What do you want me to focus on? Which story should I work on?
And then it was almost like I heard…
“Your story, Genny. Write yours.”
It was a whisper in my heart and it caught my attention. I had an instant sense that something significant was going on. I sat up straight and waited for more…
but nothing came.
After a few minutes, I clicked open my writing folder and scanned my list of manuscripts, searching. I opened Journal of a Skinny Girl – a young adult novel I wrote a while ago about a girl struggling with an eating disorder and the power of secrets. (It took me over a year to write, and even though I wrote it as fiction, there were days I typed through tears, remembering when I struggled too.)
Is this the story I should focus on? I scrolled down to Chapter One and read the first line:
Everyone thinks I have a perfect life, but I don’t.
And suddenly, in a strange way, there was my answer–and it wasn’t even necessarily about writing. Those words—that one line—made me pause and reflect. They made me remember all the times in my life that I tried perfect, and how that didn’t work.
It hit me that maybe it wasn’t so much about me finding the perfect thing to focus on, or that one story to write,
maybe it was just about me living my story.
Day to day.
Maybe it was about me approaching the pages of my life and dreams in a way that wasn’t bound to an agenda, intense focus, or my own expectations, but rather with an open mind and open hands, free and available to do whatever God calls.
It’s strange how these realizations work when you have them. I didn’t know it at the time, but that moment was part of my journey toward lessening my grip on my idea of what my dreams should look like, and opening my heart more to whatever God had ahead. (Just months later, I would read Holley Gerth’s blog post inviting women to apply to be part of her God-Sized Dreams Team, and not long after, as part of the team, I’d meet amazing women with amazing dreams… and be struck by God’s hand in it all.)
Because He’s the dream weaver, you know.
When I read my own words that day—everyone thinks I have a perfect life, but I don’t—it reminded me that there’s no grace in having everything all figured out. There’s no grace in being perfectly focused and trying to control and predict every step as I pursue my dreams. There’s human power and determination and planning and perseverance, but not grace.
Grace comes when we can say, “I’m not sure what direction to take,” or, “I don’t know what the next steps are,” or even when we just surrender that crazy urge to plan everything and say… “Here I am, God. Use me.”
And when we do that—when I did that—wow.
Even though I didn’t get the answer I was hoping for that day (really, I was looking for an email from God to pop up titled THIS IS THE STORY YOU SHOULD WRITE ABOUT RIGHT NOW), I got the exact direction I needed.
And here I am, years later, amazed at all the things that have happened since then. The less I’ve focused on my own plans, the more my dreams have been realized. (<====Click to Tweet) Life is a story and each day is a new page, and even though that sounds totally cliché, the ironic thing is, when we stop trying to figure it all out–when we shift from pursuing our passions for our own agenda or goals to being available for God to use us to reach out to others, we start to see—to know—what we were put here to do.
Because, really, our story is His to write.
I guess when you stop trying to study the map so hard, you get to look out the window and enjoy the view. And from this perspective, it is wide and open and beautiful.
Shared By: Genny Heikka