Okay, so it’s 2 a.m., and I’m still awake. Not tomorrow but the next day, I am expected to show up at my job at a “respectable” hour and resume my “normal” activities, and I suppose the powers that be will expect me to wear clothes. Not that I’m not wearing clothes right now. I do make a habit of wearing clothes. However, I suppose I will have to wear something somewhat professional. I’m not sure wearing shorts, flip flops and a Memphis tee is considered acceptable.
One of the reasons why I have been unable to sleep is because I HAD to finish the book The Heart’s Journey Home by Jen Stephens. If you’re looking for a great read with characters that you will welcome into your heart, then this is the book for you. The plot is well crafted with twists and turns that made me feel both angsty and satisfied. I won’t give away too many details because I don’t want to spoil it for you, but let me whet your appetite.
Have you ever felt as though your faith has dwindled to almost nothing? Have you ever felt as though you are ABSOLUTELY SURE what God’s plan is for your life, only to discover that the plan you’ve been banking on isn’t God’s plan at all? Jen’s characters suffer these moments of doubt—and trust me, the book is built on a foundation of reality. If you aren’t already going through exactly what these characters are going through, you can probably relate to similar circumstances. What I really like about this book is the way the author gently weaves in Truth that speaks directly to the reader’s spirit. This book spoke to my spirit!
Being a rogue English teacher, I adore playing with words and literary elements. I like themes. I like quotes, and I like Biblical allusions. I have found that certain periods of my life rest on particular themes. The past few weeks I’ve been dealing with courage and stepping out in faith. Someone told me that if you don’t like your life, change it. So that’s what I’ve been doing, trying to overcome some fears and to improve my quality of living. In fact, I have done some pretty bold things in the past three weeks, things I would have never done during any other period of my life. (Trust me, all of these activities have a G rating. G as in God approved.) However, this week I have felt as though the plug has been pulled on all my enthusiasm. I’m not sure why.
I used to be a major American Idol fan. One of my all-time favorite “Idols” is Jason Castro. What can I say? His spirit and personality are so adorable. His dreadlocks are so adorable. And I personally really, really like his singing. During one performance, Jason apparently felt a surge of boldness and chose to sing an unconventional song, “I Shot the Sheriff” by Bob Marley. An indignant Simon Cowell blasted Jason on his choice of song. Speaking in his most pretentious voice, Simon asked Jason, “What were you thinking?” Jason replied with his signature smile, “I was thinking Bob Marley.”
Good answer. Jason exercised his freedom to sing what he felt moved to sing. That’s how I’ve felt during the past few weeks. I’ve experienced the freedom to be myself. But looking back now at all the so-out-of character G-approved things I’ve done, I can only ask myself, “What were YOU thinking?” Honestly, I really was thinking Bob Marley. The funny thing is I even have the tee shirt to prove it. On Saturday one of my newspaper students gave me a tie-dyed tee with the words “One Love” on the back.
One of the crazy, out of character things I’ve done recently is to write a book and start a blog and write about the book in the blog, not knowing what—if anything—will ever come about as the result of my efforts. I feel like Peter, who tried walking on the water. We know what happened to him. I can relate. Here’s the conversation I had with myself: “Dude, I think I want to write a book. I can write a book. I have faith. I’m just going to walk right on out there and write that book.” And I did! I went to Starbucks with my trusty laptop and settled into a corner, and with Bob Marley serenading me in the background, I wrote a book. Then I finished a book. And then I realized, “What am I going to do with this book?” I have no publishing house, no editor, no agent. And then, like Peter, I found myself standing out there on the water with no life jacket. Here’s a revelation. I can’t swim!
So I asked myself, “What were you thinking?” I feel pretty sure that’s what Peter asked himself, but I don’t think his answer was “I was thinking Bob Marley.” But Pete and I share a similar problem in that both of us took our eyes off the source of our faith and ability—Jesus. There was NOTHING Peter could do to make himself stay upright. There’s nothing I can do to make this publishing dream float. This is a God thing. So there.
Have you taken a step of faith lately and are now asking yourself, “What were you thinking?”
I have a couple of suggestions that might help. One, find a copy of The Heart’s Journey Home. Read it. You may find answers woven within the pages. I did. Two, share your thoughts here. You may help others who are going through similar situations and you might reap some much needed prayer.