Wednesday, June 12, 2013

School is not out ... yet!

I feel like a student these days. God has been teaching my spirit so much lately that it mirrors my teenagers road to their final exams.
Cram it in.
Read it again.
Not sure I've got it down pat yet.
Oh, well ... here we go!

It all started with a snag in my spirit that rumbled just below the surface. And it has been there for many months now, or maybe even years. Part of it is my personality bent, part of it is my lack of confidence gained through experience but the hardest part to except is the portion that is God's chosen path for me.

There are three legs to this journey I am on and I will do my best to share them with you one at a time. Today I want to tell you about a movie I watched recently that wedged itself deep in between my heart and my soul. It is titled The Words. Some of you may be familiar with it as it was in theaters last September. You can find it in the movie stores now.

The story is about a writer (go figure!) who wants to be a successful author so bad. He has drive, determination and passion but he lacks ... talent.  The movie pulls you along a road the main character, Rory Jansen probably never imagined he'd take until he started to walk it. Please visit the trailer to be enticed and teased to watch it. But for now, all you need to know is that Rory sees the goal he wants, sees an open path to attain it and takes it without counting the FULL cost.

Sometimes in real life, and in fiction, people make foolish, selfish decisions they wish they could take back. Who would argue with that?

Yet, I am starting to see that sometimes the hard "cost" is actually the path we are meant to take. Now is where we all have a harder time swallowing.  Think back in your own life of a time when you had to endure something extremely hard in order to get to where you are now. Maybe it was a lay-off from a job you loved only to then be led to a better job. Or maybe it was a move? Or what if it was a death of a loved one? Or the death of a dream?

In the extra features on the DVD
of The Words is a bunch of interviews of the cast and crew about the journey to making this script (this dream) become a movie. One of the actors made a comment that felt like a knife in my throat.
"How unfortunate it would be if God gave you the love and the passion for something without giving you the talent."
I am certain it is not only writers who can relate to that statement.  I think of my brother who spent countless years of his childhood playing in every cold, dark and run-down arena across this province with an undying passion and drive to one day be - coaching a pee-wee team?  That wasn't his dream. His dream was to play in the NHL.  And he was good ... but not good enough. Now, you should know that God has used his love and passion for hockey in great ways and God continues to lead my brother down a path he never planned on.  But it isn't the NHL.

It is similar in my writing journey (and many others I follow on line) that passion and drive are important but they are not all you require; especially if you dream of a NYT Bestseller. When we are chasing a dream it is so easy to get blinders on and become narrow-focused. To plow ahead believing this is what God wants for our lives. Sometimes that focus and determination can opens doors and passages we never dreamed of, in both good and bad ways. Like our movie character Rory, he found a way to achieve his dream but the blinders led him into a false sense of optimism - that there was only one way over the hill for him.

As soon as we believe there is one way, one path to take to get over the hill we begin to walk in our own strength and in our own power.  We forget to seek God and to rely on His timing and His purpose. That is what we should label as "unfortunate". Having love and passion for something does not make you special. Nor does having talent! What makes us special is having a God who loves us and who hand-crafts every experience in our lives to fulfill His ultimate plan. Maybe he will use the NHL or maybe He will gift you a best selling novel ... but what he is teaching my spirit today is this:
God doesn't need to give me love or passion or even talent to accomplish in me what He desires.  All he needs is for me to follow him up and down or around the hill. In fact, He might even plan on miraculously removing the hill altogether. I just have to follow.
I know that sounds simplistic and a little like Junior High Sunday School. Don't be fooled. Following God doesn't take us down a straight, easy, consistent or even pleasant road. Often the way God takes us looks a lot like going in the opposite direction then the desired end goal.

Tune in to my next post where I will show you how God used a novel, a woman's retreat and a summer camp to school me further.

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