Wednesday, May 23, 2012

In the Here and Now

If you're pursuing a dream then you know how consuming it is. Not just your actions to get there, but your thoughts, dreams during the day and at night. For me, as an inspirational writer, I want to use the fiction I write for, not only entertainment, but as a ministry to women. (and men--I've had men read my books and enjoy them. One was my own DH and that speaks volumes as he does not read. Ever. At all. Nada. Zip.) But mostly my audience is women.


The hunger to be traditionally published isn't for vanity, fame, fortune or even validation on my life. It's pretty simple. I want to spread a message of hope. No different than preachers, pastors, evangelists. It's simply in a different way--a way God has graciously gifted me in. Why did He do it? I have no idea. But I am thankful.


It's a long journey to a dream fulfilled.


For me it's been endless hours of writing, sacrificing sleep, events and even physical comfort at times, learning new things, learning social media, spending time on social media more than I might want to. It's been expensive with conferences, books, laptops, smartphone and the list goes on of items I have to purchase to do all the things I need to in order to move forward in fulfilling my dream. My God-given dream.


I've spent more hours in prayer, which is an upside. Some of my most intense and beautiful moments with God have come through praying about stories, characters, the message of hope, the mission of hope, the fruit of spreading hope. 


I've enjoyed surprise confirmations from God through people, places, the Word, and even billboards and attendance sheets, reminding me I'm moving forward. It isn't in vain. Keep going.


I've written 13 manuscripts.  I did it in about 4 years. So you know the BIC (butt in chair) time I've spent. I've learned about myself as God used my own characters to teach me. Some of it hurt, some of it was simply amusing.


And here's what I've been learning of late, because I've yet to see that dream of traditional publishing become a reality. I know dreams take time. I can relate and take comfort from Joseph, a young boy with a gigantic dream, that maybe seemed vain at the time--people bowing. I learned a lot as he grew from an immature teen into the wonderful man who was ready to handle having thousands bow at his feet.


My prayer has been, "God when you're ready. Prepare me to house YOUR fame." I think it's  a daily prayer for me. 


I've learned that instead of obsessing over when and strengthening myself for the future (which is good and I should but not in an all-consuming way) I need to work on strengthening the Here and Now!


I let my future overpower my present. And I've suffered. 


When that realization struck me, after repenting and re-committing, God opened all sorts of opportunities up for me. Or maybe they were there all along and He simply gave me new sight to see them. Probably the latter. God is always up to something, doing something new. Question is: Are we on the same page? 


I'm preparing to teach a new and growing believers' class and I'm writing the material for it! Two things I love. Teaching. Writing.


I've had the opportunity to help as an assistant nursery director while our real one is on maternity leave. (I'll be glad when she's back! ;))


I've been blessed to take a meal to a new mom and the list goes on. 


And I'm happy. I feel satisfied. Fulfilled--even though I'm still waiting while my agent works hard on my behalf. While God works hard on my behalf. They believe in me. In the message of hope. And I'm grateful. 


I'm not so antsy.


I'm not so worried.


God knows best. 


Maybe you're pursuing a God-given dream. And yet you feel dissatisfied. Worried. Consumed.


Maybe you need to ask God what you can do in the Here and Now. Things that matter equally. Things that need done now. While God is working on the future.


“That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments;” Psalm 78:7


**photo credits: freedigitalphotos.net


What do you do when you're not consumed with your dream? Are you doing things in the Here and Now? 

I'm hosting at Living by Grace! Come join in the conversation.

17 comments:

  1. Contentment with Godliness is great gain. :-) One of my fave verses.
    So glad you get to teach and do something you love! And WOW on 13 manuscripts. That is so impressive (and makes me cringe over my stuff). I have not been near so disciplined as you. Have fun!
    As for me, I mostly live in the Here and Now and it would be better for me to give some thought to my future. lol

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  2. Great post. I definitely had a point in time when I was too consumed with being published. Then I felt the nudge to give up writing completely. I had stopped writing about nine months early, when I got my first publishing contract. I think God really taught me to let go of the results and just let Him lead me where He wants me to go.

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  3. You and I are praying the same prayer, lady! I think you'll get a kick out of my post today. In this together!
    ~ Wendy

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  4. Jess,

    Boy, how this post speaks to me! I am all about getting consumed in the future and forgetting to live in the moment (I've blogged about that before!!) God hit me upside the head with a nugget of wisdom from a sermon my pastor preached not too long ago: Tunnel vision makes you blind to everything and everyone around you. THE HARVEST IS NOW.
    So I'm harvesting. Perhaps I'll get to harvest those dreams one day, too, but for now I'm harvesting the byproducts of doing what I love with the people I love and serving and awesome, awesome God.
    Great post!! :)

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  5. Oh so true! Thanks for posting. I am pursuing a dream with my writing but also with my art.

    I long to be back in the classroom teaching art and having more time to write. So I applied to some schools and now it is the waiting game...

    ...and also waiting to hear back from an agent about my MS. Am waiting to hear back from my publisher about another MS.

    Waiting is the hardest part!!!

    So, what do I do in the meantime? Pray. Pray. Pray. Work full time. Run. Read. Write. And now prepare for a mission trip next month.

    Sigh.

    I am fulfilled too. God has blessed me with much! ...but those dreams are still out there!

    Blessings to you!

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  6. :) God brought me to the same place recently, Jess. I wanted to be THERE but He kept whispering HERE...it's so easy when we have that passion (an you nailed my heart's passion--it's exactly why I write too) to let it overshadow what God is doing right now--especially when we can justify how important that calling is "but God, I want to win souls!" Yet our HERE is so much a part of our future. And we cannot give up our HERE to get there--it's just too costly, and in the end, we may not be ready when we finally do arrive.
    It does take the pressure off when we let go, doesn't it?
    Blessings, Jess - have a great week!

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  7. I saw a nice e-mail a while back that went something like this - When God answers our prayers, we have faith in Him. When He doesn't, He has faith in us.

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  8. This is such a good reminder. I can be so consumed with my dream, I forget everything else.

    Excellent post, Jessica!

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  9. Man, Jess, we sound like twins! So many of the lessons you are learning and the prayers you are praying are the EXACT same lessons and prayers I learned and prayed while waiting. It's not easy. But boy....did God ever use that time to draw me nearer to Him. Did God ever teach me that the ultimate prize, my ultimate reward is....Him! Not a book deal. Not a certain number of readers. But Him. How amazing that He is available to us regardless of where we are on the journey.

    May God give me and more and more Him. May God give you more and more of Him. Because when that is truly our heart's desire, then we are in the heart of His will.

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  10. Mine isn't so much a dream right now, but it is a "big thing" that I'm believing Him for. Three times today, He has sent me the message to keep hope alive! It's hard waiting on Him, but I'm believing that in the end it will be well worth it.

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  11. I love you. I love your honesty. I love how real you are. I love how God has used you to speak to me.

    I am such a "future thinker." I often find myself not enjoying the present, because I'm worried about the future. I'm tired of that. Instead, I'm striving to enjoy where I am right now. To see what opportunities he has for me, right now. Thanks for the reminder!

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  12. You gleaned a lot of wisdom, Jess. Thank you for sharing with us.

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  13. Excellent reminder, thanks! We really can lose sight of our present when our eyes are constantly on the future. Blessings to you as you write to inspire others!!

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  14. Wow. Just...wow. What a powerful reminder. Thanks for sharing, Jessica.

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  15. Thanks everyone for your encouragement and uplifting comments! I'm knee deep, okay, neck deep in edits today and a new story is distracting me! Good and bad. :)

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  16. I love this post, Fiend! You're stepping out, writing and teaching exactly where He's called you. Go, go, go!!!

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  17. Beautiful post, Jess! Yes, dreams CAN distract from the here and now. Love your words of wisdom: "God when you're ready. Prepare me to house YOUR fame." It's so nice to know that His timing is perfect! And that He has a job for us to do every day - not just when our dream becomes a reality! You're an inspiration, Jess! Look forward to reading your books, my friend! :)

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