For weeks God has been saying the same thing to me, over and over and over.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18
But I’ve been sick, and I’ve been busy. So I said, sure God, I get it. I need a vision. Okay. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to hear, I was just choosing not to listen. I decided instead of listening I’d watch the movie, “How to Train Your dragon.”
If you’ve ever seen it you know it’s a cute Disney movie about a square peg named “Hiccup.” Little Hiccup is a Viking with no guts for his place in life. He doesn’t want to kill dragons like the rest of his clan. So, when he accidentally comes face to face with one, instead of being afraid, he sees it as something to be won over, a new friend. Turns out, hiccup is the only one who really knows the truth―the dragons are actually gentle, kind beasts who just want to be loved. The resulting friendship, between hiccup and his dragon “toothless” shows him how to tame his dragon. His true identity is found. Happy ending.
As much as we all want to be the hero, Hiccup, sometimes I think we’re more like the Vikings in his town. We spend so much time looking for ways to fight our dragons that we fail to see that they may not even be the enemy at all. Maybe it isn’t in defeating them that we win, but in taming them that we find out who we are.
I have a lot of dragons to tame. How about you?
While researching the scripture above I found this description in a bible commentary and it really struck me.
“Where there is no vision of God, people cast off restraint and they perish. Where there is no vision of God, there is no fear of God, and where there is no fear of God life becomes cheap. Without a vision of God people have no identity, no boundaries, no direction, no purpose.”
I realized I have been struggling with my identity. Maybe that’s where God was going with this all along…
Maybe, like Hiccup, instead of running from them, I need to start training my dragons. Maybe, just maybe, they are actually there to point me towards my true identity. Maybe, when we embrace the scariest parts of who we are ―and what God has called us to do― our purpose becomes clear. tweet that
One of my dragons is writing. More exactly, my real fear is in owning my identity as a writer. I am quite comfortable with the writing part, but my fear is in sharing the stories. Although I probably haven’t told you before, I write stories. I have words inside me that I know God has placed there for a reason.
But the dragons of fear and failure keep me from sharing. They keep in the shallow end of the publishing industry through intimidation. They tell me I’m not good enough. I have no training. I don’t know what I’m doing. They growl at me that my words will just become a drop in an endless bucket of fiction, never changing a heart, much less the world.
But more and more I’m coming to see that maybe the dragons are my friends. Maybe, just maybe, God is showing me that when I get up the courage to face my dragons I will not only master them, but my true purpose will become clear. The purpose that He gave me, the purpose ―the vision― that will keep me from perishing.
So, if you’re with me, we’re going to face our dragons. It begins with me telling you this:
I am a writer and I have stories.
So what dragons do you need to train? What is holding you back from embracing your true purpose?
Please share your fears and what dragons frighten you most in the comments. I’d love to help you train them!
Been kinda quiet over here, have you noticed?
Well, if you have, I’m shocked. Thanks for sticking around!
In case you didn’t know it, I have moved to a new blog address over at http://www.abeautifulstorydotcom.wordpress.com! If you have a minute give it a look.
Soon I’ll be moving all my content over to the new place. They’ll be archived in a closet somewhere. But don’t worry, it’s still me, and I’m still speaking from the same heart. I’m just doing it in a new place. And although it hasn’t got all the bells or whistles yet, it feels like home.
So come on over and check it out! I’ve got some new posts up and I think you’ll like them!
Peace, love, & happy blogging!
I’ve been watching lately as several people around me struggle. In many ways, I’ve been in the same boat with them, and unfortunately it appears to be sinking like the Titanic. My hearts been hurting and I can see the pain of others in their words and posts on social media and elsewhere. So whether your hurt is coming from the actions of mean people, self-doubt, low self-esteem, or the fiery arrows of the enemy of our hearts, I want to share a few thoughts with you that have been helping me get through.
First of all, I want to deal with gossip. It’s so easy to say we don’t care what others think, but the truth is, it hurts. I know I am a people pleaser, I want to be liked. My nature is to like everyone until they give me a reason not to, so when that grace isn’t returned to me, I am usually stunned. If you’ve been on the receiving end of someones else venom recently, or ever, I want you to do something for me.
Stop. Just stop. just for a moment, stop what you’re doing, thinking, feeling. I know it’s hard, but get outside your hurt feelings for a second and lets look at this objectively. This isn’t going to be easy, but I want you to think about the person who is striking out at you. Can you see them in your mind? Maybe there’s more than one, that’s okay. If you have to, take them one at a time.
Now think about the things they are saying. Is there any validity to what they think? Have you made a mistake that you need to make amends for? Sometimes the hardest thing to do is admit our faults. Ask God to reveal your path, what do you need to do the heal the situation? don’t give up on me here! Stay with me! I’m on your side and I want the best for you. But you have to be truthful with yourself before you can get past this.
Next, I want you to think about where your accusers are. Gossip is ugly. What kind of person capitalizes on someone else’s pain or problem in an attempt to make themselves seem bigger or better? Yes. Let that one sink in. Only someone who feels they are smaller than you or your problem would try to use it as a stepping stone to make themselves feel stronger. If they really need your weaknesses to build them up, they must be sitting pretty low. Try, if you can, to see what might be causing their personal lack. Even if you can’t, I want you have compassion. Pray for them. I know it’s hard, but remember that when you were still in sin, an enemy of God, He sent Christ to die for you. And we who are now in Christ have an enemy in this world who will use everything and everyone he can to hack at us. In reality, they are not the enemy, they are being used by the enemy. Remember, we war not with flesh and blood. Right now, I want you to let them off the hook. FORGIVE! It doesn’t matter if their sorry or not , healing comes when we surrender, accept, and extend Gods grace.
Lastly, investigate what God is doing in you. For me, I know that I will never be able to move into the purposes God has for me until I get a thicker skin. I don’t need to be hard, but I have got to learn to find my security in who I am in Him, not in what the world thinks of me. We have got to stop trying to fill a black hole of emotional need with the world. It just doesn’t work. Lean into the one who loves you, find your peace in Him. Let him nurture you and nurse your wounds. Get some time alone with the lover of your soul who gave His life for YOU.
Two scriptures have been helping me find my center through this all and I want you to get them inside. Meditate on them and BELIEVE them. When the enemy brings back your pain, tell him you aren’t believing him any longer. Believe the word of God and the truth that is for you.
Read Romans 12 and pray it for yourself, and over the lives of others.
Can you imagine what it was like to see the sun set on Saturday?
One. Whole. Day.
Without him. Surely, the whole world felt empty. Barren. Dead.
Friday, there couldn’t have been sleep, just weeping, grief, deep dark in the tomb grief.
Then, Saturday. A day so long it could have spanned the universe. A day that ripped, poured salt in the wound, emptied the soul of the only thing it ever needed, the reason He came.
A whole day lost in a sea of no hope.
Where could they have gone to escape the pain?
What could they have done to assuage the gnawing ache?
The one, The One, who calmed the oceans, the storm, no longer there to calm them.
They didn’t know. They couldn’t.
The didn’t believe. How could they?
But, Come Sunday, He came.
Back to them, to a dying world now given the gift of life.
True life, eternal.
He came back. From the gates of Hell and depths of defeat, he came back as a victor, our Savior, our Grace. Our gift.
Walk out of your tomb and see Him.
Feel the holes in His hands and feet.
Be, with Him. He is here.
When I was in Africa I cried. I learned to
Cry. In fact, I became so accustomed to crying, that after the second day, I stopped even wearing make-up. For a thirty year veteran of mascara, that was an interesting change.
The group I was with probably had no idea. They hadn’t known me prior to the trip so there was no before/after comparison to be made. But I knew.
At first it was a little odd seeing my reflection au natural. Maybe, scary even. I’m often told I don’t look my age (thank you Loreal, Revlon, Almay) but always by those who are seeing me at my best. Or, at least my most prepared.
But something happened in my worn, broken moments in Kenya. A part of me that had been covered for years, maybe forever, became visible. Maybe it didn’t just come out of hiding, made it just came into existence, there, on that trip. Lost in that country on the other side of planet earth I found someone. I met her. Me. The person I was meant to be. The one who doesn’t need three meals a day, a fancy house or car, a soft bed…a clean toilet. She certainly doesn’t need make-up.
Yet, here she is, back in the good ‘ol US of A, warm bed, clean house, make-up and all. And I wonder, is it ever going to be enough?
Does it ever feel like enough? My crystal palace? Will it satisfy? Because it hasn’t since the day I walked back into a plane and flew across mountains and oceans and landed back in my life that is warm, and safe, and clean, and good. Complete with make-up to hide who I really am. Who I was made to be. Who God made me.
So who is that?
I am strong.
My body could work ten times harder than I push it.
It could survive on probably one third the food I feed it.
I could withstand more germs, more dirt, more work.
I could live with less stuff. Way, way less. I think I could happily get rid of 70%, give or take, of what I own. Maybe more. I took a suitcase to Kenya and half of what I took I never needed. I did just fine.
So? Why don’t I?
Hmm. Good question.
One I ask myself everyday.
The timings not right. My spouse isn’t called (at least not that he’s expressed to me) I still have kids in school….
Give me a few minutes, I’ll come up with more excuses.
Truth is, that’s exactly what they are.
I guess the real question is though, if I cry away the make-up now, is what’s left underneath the real me?
Or did I leave her in Africa.
Because I’m pretty sure I liked her better.
This was taken from the blog of the Steve Laube Agency. I do not feel it needs an introduction, nor do I feel it needs my opinion in conclusion. It speaks for itself.
In October 1863 in the midst of a horrific Civil War and only a few months after the Battle of Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed these words:
“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.
It has seemed to me fit and proper that [the gifts of God] should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow citizens… to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.”