Meme with typewriter and the word: Publish

@JeanneTakenaka

In May, I participated in a twelve-day Instagram writer’s challenge. It was both stretching and fun. We were given a different word each day and created posts about those words relating to our writer’s life. 

As I contemplated each word, I discovered correlations between writing life and real-life. I’ve expanded on the original posts, and I’d love to read your thoughts on these words as they relate to your life as well. This is my final post with this series. 

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Have you ever had a dream that felt so big, so out of reach, you never thought it was possible to achieve?

From the time I was fourteen, I’ve wanted to be published. I set the dream aside for decades because of . . . well, life. 

And fear.

At first the idea of writing a full-length novel—with characters, plot, and setting—overwhelmed me. The fear of failure cast a large shadow in my thoughts. 

And then there was the fear—of my dream never coming true.  

Picture at sunset of sailboats sitting on a dock at sunset

So, I focused on living real life and left this dream on a shelf somewhere in the back of my heart. Until about nine years ago, when God prodded it front-and-center in my mind. He gave me a character’s name and the bare bones of a plot that wouldn’t leave me alone. 

It’s funny how, when God plants something in our hearts, we can’t stop thinking about it. 

And though I thought I’d be published within two years of starting to write (you have my permission to laugh),  I’ve yet to achieve this dream. But I’ve learned that God doesn’t give dreams solely to make them a reality.

Meme: the words: When our Father gives us dreams . . . He refines our character, teaches us how to depend on Him, removes us from our comfort zones, and helps us learn our true identities as His kids" with a beach sunrise backdrop

When our Father gives us dreams, He refines our character, teaches us how to depend on Him, removes us from our comfort zones, and helps us learn our true identities as His kids.  

In nine years, I’ve grown as a wife and mom, as a friend, as a person. I’ve learned to say no to some things so I could say yes to writing and laying a foundation to be published. 

An image of a small hand holding onto a fence made of knotted rope

God’s given me opportunities to confront my companion—rejection. In entering contests, I’ve worked through sometimes harsh comments about my writing and story. I’ve learned how to pick myself up after an agent rejected my manuscript. God has taught me how to give each disappointment to Him.

When editors told me my story was “overdone” I navigated the thoughts and the heart-hurts that rejection instills. I learned how to set that story aside and begin a new one. Painful? Yes! But these opportunities have also taught me that God is in it all. 

Two sailboats sailing on choppy waters

God walks beside us when rejection hits hard. He filters His truths into the lies rejection whispers, and He offers us hope. When He gives us a dream, He sees us through until the end.

The Lord has taught me about balancing “writing life” and “real-life.” With a husband who travels for a few weeks at a time, setting aside time to work on my story is sometimes difficult. With boys who have gone from early elementary school to high school in the span of my writing years, we’ve grown through many pains, character lessons, and joys. 

A close up a part of a footprint in the sand near a sea shell

God reminds me often that these years with my sons are flying past. In two short years, Peter will graduate from high school. God reminds me His timing is perfect, and that my first ministry is to my family . . . which means my writing goals have not happened on my timeline, but on His. 

The Lord reminds me of the necessity of being fully present and engaged with our sons. They were the gift I prayed for over many years. Why would I misuse my time with them?

Image of a sailboat sailing with a mountain-y backdrop

Being published is still an aspiration. Instead of the flat, straight path I expected to travel, God’s led me on winding trails, up rocky mountains, over rickety bridges, and through barren deserts. The thing is: He’s led me

If we’re honest, I’d bet most—if not all—of us have dreams hidden in our hearts. We have a choice. Take them out and commit them to God . . . or horde them where no one can see them, and nothing can happen to them, even their fruition. 

When we entrust our dreams to our trustworthy Father, we can be assured He’ll walk with us in the fulfilling of them. He’ll challenge us, stretch us, and remove us far from our comfort zones. Because it’s in those uncomfortable places where we truly learn to depend on Him and to grow with Him. 

Image of a sea gull in silhouette with a beach sunrise backdrop

Though this dream still feels big, and kind of out of reach, I’m moving forward with my Father. He guides my steps exactly where He wants me to go. And in this, no matter what I face, I am reassured. 

What about you? What’s one adventure you have undertaken that took you completely out of your comfort zone? What do you do when your dream feels unattainable?

Click to Tweet: God walks beside us when rejection hits hard. He filters His truths into the lies rejection whispers, and He offers us hope.

I’m linking up with #TellHisStory and #RaRaLinkup

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