What image pops into your mind when you think of a writer?
A stylish woman with bold frame glasses, a Starbucks coffee, and a brand new laptop? That same woman in a New York City bookstore autographing her bestseller for a line of fans? Do you imagine her buying a 5,000 square foot mansion with her royalty checks?
Or do you picture Nicholas Sparks and his collection of novels-turned-movies?
That’s success, right?
You’re thinking, “No, no, that isn’t success. Success is achieving what the Lord desires for us.”
True. That’s the rote answer. “I only want what the Lord wants.” I say that a lot. Often to myself when I’m discouraged.
But do I mean it? Sometimes. And sometimes I know I’m lying because I know what I really want. I’m aware of the persistent desire rapping against my heart, waiting to become reality. I know which publisher I long to partner with. What kind of house I’d love to buy. The car I’d like to drive.
And the human part of me—the part that I’ll have to battle until I reach heaven—worries that God is going to mess up.
Yeah. I said it.
Sure, I trust that the Lord has my soul safe and secure in Him.
But my life here on earth? What if He doesn’t do everything how I want Him to? What if I end up living in an apartment in town with the same old rickety car and a half dozen unpublished manuscripts on my eight-year old laptop?
I say I trust Him. I go to church, and my heart shouts, “Amen!” when the preacher preaches about how God loved us enough to save us from Hell. Yet I don’t fully believe He’ll control my life like I want Him to.
One preacher described it like this: You kneel before God and hand Him your soul, believing He’ll take perfect care of you. He accepts your soul but points at the other thing in your hand, the miniscule grain of sand in your palm. Your earthly life.
“What about that?” He asks.
You chew your lip and shake your head, unable to relinquish complete control. “I’ll take care of this.” You refuse to let the devil run your life, but you won’t let the Lord either.
I’ve done that. In my heart I’ve said that exact thing. Because I have plans, and I’d hate for the Lord to mess them up. I’d like to keep my grain of sand, thankyouverymuch.
He can have forever, but I want right now.
The problem is we have no chance of success without Him steering us in the right direction. Our lives aren’t anything without Him working in them. Signing a contract with your favorite publisher isn’t anything if you don’t have peace with God. Owning a new home with two acres of land and built-in bookcases won’t be fulfilling if you’ve strayed from the path God created for you.
Living in the mediocre with the Lord offers more peace than living your dream by yourself.
I need to give Him my grain of sand every day. He can do far more amazing things with it anyway.