On a recent Sunday morning, my pastor talked about the gap between where we are and where we want to be in our spiritual journey, and how we usually know what needs to be done to close the gap. However, more often than not, we fail to take the required action. Since this sermon followed a sermon on giving, I suspect the pastor was sneaking in another stewardship talk to get us to give more. That is, close the gap between what we think we should give and what we actually give. But, I'm just guessing. He didn't mention giving at all. In fact I'm not sure what he said next because I couldn't get my mind off the idea of taking action to close the gap. I realized this idea could apply to most life situations, such as jobs, marriage, parenting, and all aspects of life. This reminded me of a time in my life when I was nudged by another sermon to take action and do what I'd always dreamed of doing.
My dream was to write a novel.
I did more than dream. I started two novels back in the 1960's. One about my experience in the Marines Corps and the other about a bookmobile librarian who traveled around town helping people. I wrote five or six chapters of the first one and a chapter or two of the second one. At the time, however, I was too busy raising kids and working to take do much more.
Many times over the years I'd get the writing bug and try again. I did get a short story published as well as a non-fiction computer book along with a bunch of non-fiction articles. But the novel idea eluded me to the point where I decided to wait until I retired to accomplish that dream.
Still too busy.
That didn't work. After retiring from my full time job with the Austin Fire Department in 2001, I continued to work there part time for a couple of years. I also taught part time at the Austin Community College, sang in the Austin Lyric Opera Chorus, and volunteered too much at church and other non-profit organizations.
About this time, I had read most of the Christian fiction by Jan Karon and could see how my bookmobile novel idea could work. Jan Karon's Mitford Series books were about a sixty year-old Episcopal priest in a small town, while my story was about a sixty-five year-old librarian in a small bookmobile. Also, I saw an increased interest in Christian fiction. Readers were looking for good, clean novels.
It was too late.
Even so, I did nothing about it. I even started telling myself it was too late. I had waited too long. I was too old.
Then, one Sunday morning my pastor, said something like this, "Trust God with your dreams and he will help you achieve them."
I felt strange, as if God was talking to me about the bookmobile novel. I had this life-time dream and I had given up on it and now it was so clear to me that I could do it, with God's help.
I believe what my pastor said came from Psalm 37: 4. "Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart." I'd heard this before, but it had never been clear to me that it could mean achieving dreams.
I didn't have to do it alone.
The only thing that had changed was that I now knew I wasn't alone. I had God on my side to help me achieve my dream. To remind myself of that, I wrote a prayer which I printed and taped to my computer monitor.
Dear Lord, be my source of inspiration. Give me the words you want the world to hear. Help me create the story and the characters to convey your message in such a way as to be desirable to the business world of publishers. Guide my hands and stay in my mind and my heart while I write and while I edit.
Well, it wasn't as easy as that. In the next post, I'll tell you what happened next.