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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What are you willing to sacrifice?

So obviously God is bringing me through a time of testing and challenging my beliefs. Last night, of course, we dealt with my whole workaholic nature. Not that it's fixed, but God's got me there wrestling with it.

Tonight at church, our pastor talked about how our God is a dangerous God. When you make the choice to follow God, and you ask Him to do something in your life, the risk is that He just might make you do it. Ad it may not exactly be the easiest thing in the world to do.

The reason I share this is not to give you a sermon recap, but to tell you something that has profoundly impacted me. See, tonight was a bittersweet night. We celebrated the 11th anniversary of our church. In addition, he announced something I've known for a while, but well, I was not prepared to hear from his lips. He and his family are leaving our church to move to Mozambique and follow their mission calling.

This is a hard, but joyous thing for me. His wife, Amy, is one of my closest friends. She has meant so much to me, I honestly can't imagine my life without her nearby. And yet, I am so thrilled for her that she's getting to do it. To follow her calling and stretch herself beyond anything she's ever done.

In tonight's message, Dave challenged us to think of what it means to serve a dangerous God. I started thinking about what that looked like in my life. At first, I thought a lot about how the reality of my life is that I often try to tame God. I often say, "YES! I want to follow God's calling. Oh, but, this is what I'll do to follow it, 'kay, God?" For a minute or two, I was jealous of Amy's bravery. Of being able to give up everything familiar, everything she loved, and just go.

I wondered if I was really doing that in my life... have I really followed the road of my calling, of the dangerous God, or am I just playing it safe?

Last week, I received a disappointment in my writing journey. Not a rejection. Not a redirection, but the news that the editor I've dreamed of working with will no longer be in her current position. I was heartbroken, because she is one of my favorite people, and I respect her so much. And now we won't be able to work together.

I called my compadres and bemoaned my fate, questioning whether or not this is what God wanted for me. My writing journey has not been an easy one. Three years ago, I made a heart wrenching decision to follow God with my writing. It meant saying no to a New York agent, not submitting requested books to big name New York editors and houses, not submitting books to another editor I like and respect, and pretty much disappearing off the writing radar. Would I have made it big time? Who knows? But I made the decision to give it up because God asked me to. I stopped submitting, stopping pursuing what had been a huge dream for me for a long time. He started giving me direction, and I started listening.

So here I am, in a season where I thought God was saying yes to my writing dream, and despite a lot of really cool things, I have this speed bump. As I thought and prayed about it, God said something to me... "you've trusted me this far, will you continue to trust me?"

The only answer I could give, the answer I have been giving for three years, was yes.

Tonight, though, I had to look at it again... am I taming God? Am I playing it safe? And really, truly, are my writing dreams and the path I am taking in following them, am I doing it with the heart of God in my sight?

Truthfully, I don't have an answer. I'd like to think I'm following God. I've stopped writing for publication, changed genres, started writing again, chosen a more difficult path to publication than I needed to, and I'm still waiting. Still trusting. And still asking if I'm following Him or me. Inside I feel like a great big chicken. And I truly can't tell you anything other than what the journey's looked like so far, and the questions I still ask.

What are you willing to sacrifice? Everything? Or just what feels safe to give up?

Like I said, I don't know the answer. I'm still figuring that out for myself. I'm not sure there is an answer, except that we should keep asking, keep seeking, and keep following, even if we don't entirely know where we're headed.


Kay Day said...

This is really good, Danica. Something I've been thinking about lately, too.

Danica Favorite said...

Thanks Kay. It's good to have friends to wrestle this with.