I wrote this article for another blog last week. Forgive me, if you've already read it, but I thought it was worth repeating.
Life after the Plank!
I love the Sea. To me it has always represented life, adventure, freedom, as well as uncertainty, danger and chaos. As a child, I could sit on a sandy beach and stare at the sea for hours on end, but I rarely went too far into the water. You see, I grew up shy and insecure and afraid of life. I preferred to avoid stressful situations at all costs. If I grew up on a ship, I’d be the one down in the hold, reading a book or guarding the cargo, putting up with the loneliness and stale air and rats just so I’d be in my comfort zone. At school, I trembled when I was called in front of the class to give a report. I avoided all social situations, and I didn’t apply for jobs that pushed me beyond my limits. I tried to live the “safe” life, never taken any big chances. Even in my love life. I stayed away from those men who made my heart skip a beat and stuck with the safer ones who wouldn’t break my heart. But I was unhappy, unfulfilled. God had given me big dreams even before I believed in Him—dreams like becoming an astronaut, flying a jet, sailing around the world, writing a novel. Did I do any of those things? I started a few of them, but my fear kept me stranded on my island of safety.
Then I became a Christian and discovered that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Tim 1:7. Oh, I loved those words! They really spoke to me. I wanted to be that kind of person. I mean, we only get this one life to do things for God, this one chance, and I knew from Scripture that God had a unique purpose and plan for my life. Yet years went by and still I cowered, learning, and growing in God, yes, but not answering His call to go forward.
Finally, one day, I gave in to the burning in my soul to write a novel. I didn’t plan on submitting it. No way! I couldn’t stand the rejection. But then God got me laid off from my job. I needed income and I needed it fast. God had pushed me to the edge of a long plank hanging off my ship of safety and he was asking me to jump in. So, I did. (Actually, I think He pushed me!) Was it scary? Yes! Did I get rejections? Yes! Did they hurt? Yes. But I also got a contract! Now, I’m writing my 6th novel and I’m swimming along just fine. I speak to groups, I do book signings, radio interviews, things I would never have dreamed of doing before. I get an occasional heart-sinking review, but I also get some good ones too and more importantly, I get letters from readers who have told me my stories have brought them closer to God. I’m living the adventure God planned for me. Now, I’m wondering what took me so long!
Whether it’s writing a novel and submitting it, or talking to your neighbor about Jesus, or taking that job that scares you to death, or saying yes to that handsome guy or pretty girl who keeps showing interest, or speaking at a conference, if God keeps knocking on your heart to do something, DO IT. Do you want to stand before God after your life is over and hear him say, I had so much more for you, if you had just believed and stepped off the plank.
In fact, don’t step off, don’t wait to be pushed, jump in! Jump into the adventurous, beautiful sea and then rise up and start walking on the water. Take a hold of your Savior’s hand and don’t let go. You’ll experience the abundant life other people only dream about!