I’ve slowly been learning about myself that I am a dreamer who is willing to put in the work to make a vision a reality. But I’ve also been learning that while my dreams can be Platonic Ideals, the vision that grounds them to reality—and connects me to my purpose as a follower of Christ—is where my sight seems to fail.
A tangible example is the landscaping of our house. I drew a map out of our entire property and listed everything we need to do to update, refresh, and enliven our property. Not only is it good stewardship, but there are few things more beautiful and peaceful than a well-tended yard. I got down and dirty cleaning out the nastiest landscaping patch we have. It now sits half-finished—we need more ground cover, lining rocks, and river rock. It’s a reminder that desire only can take you as far as your agency allows every time I look out into the front yard.
There’s not much ministry to the world in a well-tended yard, but there is a lot of ministry to my mother. She’s drawn to beauty and color and order. Blessing her in this way not only blesses me, but also blesses God. I’m thankful she can stand in the waiting and still find beauty.
But it’s still prepped as far as I can take it on my own and ready for the moment I can move forward again.
In a lot of ways, my book is the same way. I have a solid query, a very polished draft, and I’m finishing up touches of my synopsis. That is as far as the unpublished writer can go without agency—in this case, a literal agent on my behalf. I hope the message of the book—which, I’ll admit I wanted to infuse a story with Christian themes beneath the surface, not write a Christian book because you’ll reach no one that needs it on the shelf in Lifeway—grounds my vision with the reality of God’s purpose for me. I have to believe that the importance of forgiveness and friendship point to Him in some deeper way than the surface of my characters.
Which makes me turn to what I daydream about doing. On the surface, traveling the world to experience the world is a very selfish act while simultaneously being the best way to expand self and challenge notions. This is beyond important. The image of the Creator is more vibrant and vast and alive than the church in America. Seeing and interacting with that is definitely in God’s purpose.
But I don’t desire to be a missionary. I’ve done the legwork of that, testing the waters. I was never going to be the person living in the rainforest. That’s not my gift or my calling or my identity as a person. So where does world travel and living within a Godly purpose meet? And how can I prep for that exact purpose so I’m ready for the waiting to cease?
My initial thought is that it somehow comes back to writing. Inspiring. But I’m not the best travel writer—in fact, the more I delve into the world of travel writing, I constantly feel like I’m missing that spark, that “it factor,” that makes the destination come to life in prose. I’m a very internal writer, as I’m sure you’re aware. I haven’t found the Venn diagram of sentences where the internality of me meets the externality of travel.
I also believe that God calls us to work and to show excellence in work. My desire to travel in a lot of ways is a desire to escape the life I’m currently in. Which, ironically, doesn’t involve much tangible, receive-money-for-services work. So it would be a continuation of my now instead of establishing a new.
I want to work and I want to travel. I want to show myself worthy of pursuing a life where career meets passion meets change. There’s no way to integrate a future wife or kids without work. There’s no way to pay for plane tickets without work. There’s no way to truly understand resting on the Sabbath without work.
But in my big dream, I don’t know the work found within the vision to get me there. So questions like, “What do you want to do?” leave me in silence. I know what I don’t want to do. I know the work environments I don’t want to be in. I know who I don’t want a job to turn me in to. Everything else is a mystery.
I’ve got a sixty week, round-the world itinerary ready, though. Just in case.