Guard Your Dreams

Recently I self-published a book called “Bear the Mouse with Allergies and Asthma.”

It’s been a dream of mine to write for as long as I can remember. I’ve always loved letters that make up words, word games, the library, and bookstores. I used to write stories as a child. I would proudly show them off, only to get made fun of.

In third grade my teacher asked us to write a book report about a hero. I wrote about my dad, the only hero I knew at that time.

I’ll never forget the embarrassment and confusion when I received the report back with a big “F” across the top of the page written in red pen and many exclamation points “THIS IS A COP OUT!!!!!!!!”

Being a third-grader I had no idea what a “cop out” was – I just knew it was something not good.

I remember in 10th grade English class I squeaked by with a D. Every paper I wrote was not received well.

I gave up writing after that. Although I still loved to read, and read everything I could get my hands on, I stopped writing stories. I was confused on how I could do so terribly at something I loved.

Fast forward many years later and I was sitting at a women’s conference. I heard the speaker say “Good readers make good writers.” That planted a seed in me, and I actually started to entertain the idea that I could possibly write.

After that conference I felt I was in a funk. I had no creative outlet, whatsoever. I felt frustrated and stagnant.

I decided I would do some life coaching with someone who was objective, and didn’t know me on a personal level. After asking me what I did as a child that made me happy, he suggested I start a blog. That suggestion gave me hope, and something to dream about. I decided I would start that blog.

What I learned along my journey is people will have something to say if you share your dreams with them. Even your closest friends may have something negative to say.

When I shared my book idea with some friends I had a lot of unsolicited advice. I had my own visions on how things should look, and they had theirs. Some people even made negative comments about my story.

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

Tell God all your dreams and ideas. He’s waiting to hear from you. After all, He is the one who put those dreams and gifts in you, and He has great wisdom.

Protect your ideas and gifts at all costs. Don’t second guess yourself. Don’t let people talk you out of your dream. What area have you struggled in, or people have come against? That may be the area you are called into.

1 Peter 4:10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:

Finally, don’t wait any longer. Someone else needs what God created you to do.

The Middle

What does the middle of your life look like? I am talking about the hard parts in your life.  The part between “Just Married” and “Happily Ever After.” The part when your whole world disintegrates before your eyes.  

The part of your life when you are working away, thinking you were going to retire at the job you were at, putting away money in your 401k regularly, and then one day you have a meeting and you no longer have a job.  

The part when you think your health is great, and suddenly you find there’s a health problem and there’s some tough decisions you have to make.  

How about when you are going through a hard time in your life, and a pandemic strikes, and you find yourself isolated and alone, without the usual comradery with friends, leaving you lonely?

When I think about trials the word perseverance comes to mind.

The definition of perseverance by Merriam-Webster is: Continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition the action or condition or an instance of persevering.

I looked to see what God’s word says about perseverance.  

James 1:2-4

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness and let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.

One thing I do know is that “the middle” is not a fun place to be.  When I think about the middle I envision a long brown dust-filled road, uneven and with some rocks covering the ground.

I have learned is that when you are in “the middle” of your life the best thing to do is to stay focused on the good things that are in your life. Your friends, the health you do have, the random acts of kindness that others show. The silly things that happen daily. And rest. Read God’s word. Talk to Him. Find some good sermons on Youtube, and listen to them.

God says in Isaiah 55:9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares The Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

The middle is not a fun place to be, but once you are through it, you can look back at that dusty well traveled road, and know that you are an overcomer. Because that’s what God calls you.

I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown. Rev 3:11