So it was a completely lovely weekend.
We pretty much only came indoors to bathe, sleep, and grab the camera when Hattie so perfectly captured Josh’s likeness in chalk.
It’s surprisingly accurate.
We squeezed in a little trip to the river too. Josh let the girls reel in some whoppers, and Christian and I savored getting a little sunshine on our pasty legs.
There was also the wonderfulness of watching the Easter sunrise with Josh and a cup of hot tea that made me wonder why in the world I didn’t do this kind of thing more often.
I didn’t get a picture of it, but it was joyous.
Smooshed in between all that loveliness, however, was also a 2 ½ hour stretch I spent at one of my favorite coffee shops, bent over my computer.
I had been looking forward to those couple of hours all week long. I knew what I wanted to write, and I was excited to get it down while it was still fresh.
I made arrangements with Josh to watch the kiddos indefinitely. I don’t know how long I’ll be gone, I had said. Who knows? I might really get going and not be able to stop. I even packed a banana for extra energy.
I wrote, and I rewrote. I edited. I cut and pasted like a madwoman.
And then I reread what I had written…and it was awful.
The whole thing made me want to bash my head against the wall.
It was like that time when we were dating and I tried to write Josh a poem about how much I loved him, and after he read it he smiled all politely and patted my hand and said something like, “That’s sweet.”
It was that bad.
So I packed up my computer, headed home early and gave Christian the banana.
(Like he needed the extra energy.)
The discouragement that followed went deep, and it said ugly things.
You can’t do it, Hannah.
You are not capable.
The time you’re wasting is selfish.
Give it up.
So I was trying to find a Bible verse to console myself with later, some place where God says only floofy, happy stuff like, “You’re wonderful, Hannah! Don’t believe the lies! Your dreams will still come true!”
But that’s not what I found.
I found King David, who was leaving the massive undertaking of building the Temple of God to his “young and inexperienced” son, Solomon. God had given David the plans for the Temple and every detail in it, but the actual construction process was now in Solomon’s hands. (1 Chronicles 28)
David encouraged his surely overwhelmed son, saying, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you.” 1 Chronicles 28:20a
I wanted to just hang on that part about God always being with Solomon, and Solomon never having to be afraid or discouraged. I wanted to cling to the truth that if Solomon didn’t have to be uncertain about his ability to construct a temple for the God of the Universe, then surely I didn’t need to be discouraged about a little manuscript I was trying to write. If God had it for me to do, then He would give me the strength to do it.
And, yes, while that’s all true, again I don’t think that’s fully what God wanted me to get this time.
Instead, He seemed to be pointing quite persistently to three tiny little words tagging along at the end of a sentence.
“…do the work.”
See it up there? Go back and reread it. It’s in there. No denying it.
Do the work.
I am part of a generation of dreamers.
We have been told by the world since birth that if we follow our hearts and pursue our dreams, we will be happy.
We have grown up watching televisions that further assure us that those who are the most valuable and happiest are those whose dreams have come true. They are now famous or rich or both because they followed their hearts.
So where past generations valued hard work and practicality, we now value a four-chambered organ in our chest, and doing whatever it is it tells us to do.
But here’s the trouble with that:
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9
Apparently, our hearts cannot be trusted.
Let me be clear. I don’t believe that there is anything wrong with having dreams.
God is the author of hope and joy and promise, and every dream I’ve ever heard of falls into those categories.
But when I sit down at my computer and expect it to be easy because it is my dream and I am following my heart, then I am headed for discouragement.
That is simply not how it happens (no matter how many bananas I eat.)
I have to do the work, and I have to trust in God to do the rest.
Even with the plans Solomon had been given, he still couldn’t build the Temple on his own.
Nor can I write anything worthwhile on my own.
And God does not expect me too.
If God has given us the dream, then He has also given us the gifts to accomplish it.
If He has given us the gifts, then any dreams realized should be to His glory, not ours.
Our dreams have come from Someone greater and always point to something greater, and are, therefore, ultimately, not about us.
Not about me.
I’ve got to do the work, and then I’ve got to give the glory to Someone else.
What a wonderful reminder! i surely needed this at this moment. It isn’t about the dream, it’s about working the dream. Working, hard, daily, but working nonetheless. You have made some things clear to me in this moment and I am so thankful God is using you. May can’t get here soon enough!
I know! I’m so excited too! 15 years later…it’s time for a visit!
Now I am sure that what you wrote is GREAT! It motivates me to read your heart. I have always read over the “do the work.” part of that verse. Makes me wonder what other things I have sculpted for myself. We have to do the work!! God is going to accomplish things through you friend. So good to read this today!
Thanks, Ang. 🙂 I know you know how this feels. We are in this “dream” business together!