I don’t know about you, but I hate to fail. I hate it with a passion. The feeling that I have fallen short of the goal – even a goal I’ve set in my own mind – has to be one of the worst feelings ever.
It happens every time I set aside a day for yard work. I conjure up a long list of things to accomplish. But no matter how much I actually accomplish in the day, it’s never enough. The list is always longer than the day.
Solomon put it this way: “Just as Death and Destruction are never satisfied, so human desire is never satisfied.” (Prov. 27:20)
Yep. That would be me. Never satisfied.
Sometimes the Truth Hurts
Can I be brutally candid with you about the launch of my new book? I think it will fail to meet my expectations. Here’s why.
I had always dreamed of writing a book. I know, some of you are thinking, I have that same dream while others are thinking, Who needs yet another book?
I empathize with both of you, actually. Now that I’ve written several books, both by myself and with others, the process isn’t nearly as mysterious as it once was. But it is not an easy task — at least not to write something someone will find worth reading.
Along this journey to write A Story Worth Telling: Your Field Guide to Living an Authentic Life, I examined every passage of Scripture referencing faith, belief, or trust. You name it, I’ve probably dismantled it.
And then to tackle such a topic that people much smarter than me have written about for centuries — well, it was a bit intimidating at times.
But the greater challenge was managing my time.
It is not in our life that God’s help and presence must still be proved, but rather God’s presence and help have been demonstrated for us in the life of Jesus Christ. It is in fact more important for us to know what God did to Israel, to His Son Jesus Christ, than to seek what God intends for us today.
The fact that Jesus Christ died is more important than the fact that I shall die, and the fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead is the sole ground of my hope that I, too, shall be raised on the Last Day. Our salvation is “external to ourselves.”
I find no salvation in my life history, but only in the history of Jesus Christ.
One thing I’ve learned on this journey to live a story worth telling is that living by faith is more of a process than an event. Even the most passionate Christ-follower is tempted to settle, to find a safe place where faith doesn’t seem quite so necessary for survival.
The good news is this: God will not let His children settle. For when we settle, we cease to trust. When we cease to trust, we fail to please God.
We Were Made for Adventure
God’s first instruction to us at Creation was to be fruitful and multiply, to fill the earth and subdue it. It was a command to keep moving forward alongside Him, to always be seeking the next adventure. He repeated the command to Noah and his family after The Great Flood.
And yet what do we see within a few generations but an effort to settle down instead of stepping up. In a place that came to be called Babel, they said: “Let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 11:4)
Even though the rest of the world lay unexplored, they chose to settle. They pulled back in fear instead of stepping out with courageous faith. They chose to consolidate their own power so they wouldn’t need to trust in God. Or so they thought.
Every child has a dream of someday doing something they were born to do. For some, it may be playing baseball, becoming President of the United States, or even an astronaut. But dreams can be scary things.
My dream was to become a writer. I didn’t always dare to follow that dream.
I tried. Shortly after my wife and I married, I left my job in retail with the aim of writing a novel that had been on the back burner. I made it about mid-way through before being absorbed by other pursuits. Good pursuits. Pastoring a church, in fact.
And so the dream got set aside.
Someday, you will tell your story. You may tell it here and now in this life or there and then in your next season of existence, after you have “shuffled off this mortal coil.” But it’s going to happen. The question is: will your story be worth telling?
Whether or not your story will be a good one will depend on one thing – your faith.
I don’t mean your commitment to organized religion or your ability to describe a conversion experience in vivid detail. We Christians are good at assuming our story will be good because we once said a prayer to secure a spot in heaven someday. I’m not talking about fire insurance.
I’m talking about faith – doing what you believe to be true, often in spite of what you see, sense, or feel. Faith is what writes your story and determines whether it will be a story worth telling.