Once I’d officially given up my pursuit of being a fashion designer, I started thinking about what God wanted me to be when I “grew up.” I wanted to serve him in a big way. I wanted to change people, and I became convinced that I was supposed to do that by being a speaker. I had an interesting childhood, I made a ton of mistakes, and I wasn’t afraid to talk about it.
I started researching how people become speakers at teen events and schools, and I discovered that oftentimes people are invited to speak after someone has read an article they wrote in a magazine.
Well, how hard could that be, right? So I wrote some articles, submitted them, and discovered that writing articles was a lot harder than I thought. Each magazine had specific needs and formats. I had to craft a different idea for each one, and there was no guarantee that they’d even use it! But I kept at it, determined that I was doing something worthwhile and necessary.
Around that time a debate sprang up in our church about the Harry Potter books and whether they were “safe” for Christians to read. Now, despite what you feel about them, I was annoyed. I’ve always been an avid reader, and I knew there were far worse books out there for teens that most parents didn’t even know about. I got thinking, why couldn’t someone write books for teens from a Christian worldview?
Maybe I could.
I pushed aside my article writing and started a novel. Looking back, I did everything wrong. But I got hooked on it. It was so much fun. And I had no desire to go back to the hard work of writing articles.
I started to feel guilty. Hadn’t I decided to serve God in a big way? Hadn’t I dedicated my life to helping teens by sharing my story and what I learned? Writing my little spy kid novel was totally selfish! I was turning my back on something “holy” and doing something that was more fun. And God knew it!
I talked to my pastor about this and he set me straight. He reminded me that God can use anything he wants to reach people. And if I really loved writing this book, he thought I should keep going.
I got thinking about King David and Nathan and how Nathan wanted to point out that David was sinning with Bathsheba, but rather than tell the king he was doing something wrong, Nathan used a story to reach him. (2 Samuel 12) And it worked.
And Jesus told stories all the time to get people to think about deep things.
I decided to keep writing that book.
The thing is, planning is good. But God wants us to experience life, not schedule it. And sometimes we can’t know what he’ll put before us until he does it. And if we’re too caught up in our own agendas, we just might miss out on something pretty amazing. Something better than our own plans.
CS Lewis said in Mere Christianity: “Your real, new self will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him.”
I was trying to plan out who I was going to be. But when I stepped back and went looking for God’s will instead of what I thought he’d find pleasing, I found myself.
Serving God doesn’t have to be taking a vow of silence, becoming a pastor, or going to bible college. It might. But God doesn’t want to bully us into a life of service. He wants us to give him our hearts. To love him above everything else. He wants us to be who he created us to be. Not who someone else already is. And when we find ourselves, we’ll know how to serve him. And if it’s truly our calling, we will find joy in it.
Have you ever gotten so caught up with your To Do list or your own agenda that you forget to seek out your creator? Have you ever struggled with your dream being too much fun or the complete opposite? Leave a comment and tell me about it.