It was a summer afternoon, and I was sitting cross-legged on my bed browsing lazily through Instagram. It was a beautiful day, and getting a scolding was the last thing on my mind. Actually I do my best to avoid them, because my ego is usually at stake, and really no one has time for that. However, I rarely succeed, because I act out ever so often (ALL THE TIME) and deserve a reprimand, and the scold God was about to lay on me was certainly a well-deserved one. However, unaware of what was coming, I kept about my business of scrolling through my feed on Instagram. An image announcing the launch of a new online magazine by a woman I am yet to meet, but one I have admired for the longest time, popped up on my feed. I immediately opened up the link and subscribed to the new resource for Christian women on leadership and success in the market place. If she is launching something, I’m getting it.
As I read through the first edition, two thoughts dropped on my heart. “These are the women I want to interview, these are the stories I want to share, and these are the messages of hope that I want to write about. This is the kind of magazine I want to write for.” The second thought dropped shortly after, “When would I get to that place? The space in my life where my articles are featured in the media I desire – how soon can I get there?”
God is petty, and he must have been waiting patiently for me to have these very thoughts and ask that question, because He laid it on me like He had been planning it for years. No holds barred! He gave me a few well-deserved strokes!
“Don’t ask me when you will get there when you stopped engaging in the little I asked of you. Same concept! Same idea! Smaller platform!
In the moments following those words, I flashed back to late 2010. I was, yet again, sitting cross legged, but on my brothers’ couch reading a book when Luke 16:10 dropped on my heart, “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.” I understood the verse at a head level, and somewhat at a heart level — responsibility grows as you show yourself worthy of them, you can't expect to be excellent at the big things if you turn up your nose at the little things, and people respect people who show up and get the job done — I knew what it meant. However, it wasn’t until now, many years down the line, and after I have lived out the wrong side of the verse did I truly understand what it meant for me.
A few months after that scripture found a home in my heart, I launched Jostwrite, my freelance writing and editing business. I knew the kind of writing I ultimately want to engage in, but I took on dry and brittle writing projects, because they paid. With my passion in mind, I started Showcasing God; a bi-weekly series interviewing ordinary people living extra-ordinary lives because of Christ, and Jost Start, a monthly series showcasing ordinary people and their entrepreneurial pursuits. I wrote four Showcasing God posts and one Jost Start post, and then I stopped. I quit cold turkey! I quit before I truly started, and the reason why remains an enigma. I bet it was certainly a mix of fear, doubt, lack of motivation, laziness and impatience with the process. Whatever excuse or reason I had, the bottom line was I quit. I loved doing it. I enjoyed doing it. It was my happy place in a hard season. I relished and still relish all five interviews and articles. I looked forward to the interviews and writing the articles, but I quit. I was doing exactly what this magazine was proposing to do, albeit on a small platform, but I quit.
It didn’t end there! You see, for a little over three years or more after that, I stopped writing. Don’t get me wrong, I was writing for my clients and blogging here and there, but beyond that, I was not working on the vision on my heart. I knew the vision couldn’t come alive without faithful grinding, but every morning I chose a task other than writing about the issues on my heart. I held back, I shied away and I got lazy. The answer to my second thought and question was simple, my byline will appear in my media of choice when I commit to the hard work of writing, and when I actively and prayerfully pursue what I want.
Do I like writing? Yes, but not all the time, however there exist angst in my soul when I don’t write.
Do I enjoy writing? Yes, but not all the time.
Would I do it forever even just as a hobby? Yes! Then I needed to commit to doing it long term.
The issue for me was not a lack of confidence in my skills (don’t get me wrong, I struggle with those – I am not immune to them. Phew!), it was more a question of patience, tenacity and faithfulness to do the work whether or not it produces the kind or magnitude of fruits I want. The outcome depends on God, and when it is not as you wish (and it isn’t always), the most important issues at stake are always of faithfulness, trust, excellence and commitment. Lately, I'm left wondering what the outcomes of faithfully writing one more Showcasing God and one more Jost Start would have been. I may not have stood before kings, but maybe I would have. It might not have grown into anything great, but maybe it would have evolved into a new strength, a different talent or something beautiful. Maybe it would have encouraged the hearts of others to stand firm on the promises of God as the people in the story I shared did or maybe encouraged someone else to pursue a dream, chase down a lion, cross a sea, climb a mountain or devour a giant. I have no idea what could have happened. Maybe I would have grown into a better version of me with a more seasoned character.
I’m not sitting around waiting to find out, and the best you and I can do when Christ teaches us a lesson is to get up and go live it out. Go after your dreams – go after them prayerfully and faithfully. Go after your dreams - go after them afraid, but go after them. Be faithful to daily engage the things in your hands and in your heart with the things in front of you. Do not despise the days of small beginnings – you can’t stop mid-way either and expect to arrive miraculously at the Promised Land. Sometime you may not reach the goal or fulfill the dream. Check again - the destination might have been a change in your character not in your circumstances. Be patience with yourself, and be patience with God.
PS: You are Immensely Loved!