The wound is the place where the light enters you.
– Rumi –
– Rumi –
– Alan Cohen –
Trusting in the Lord to lead us means we don’t have to see the plan, run the spreadsheet, have all the long-range steps mapped out. We just need to follow Him and the mystery becomes clear and the sun shines brighter than we ever knew it could!
I can’t speak for you but I know that I have sometimes wished “it wasn’t to late to do . . . ” fill in the blank. Gosh, how many times I “got smart too late.” There is good reason for the cliché about hindsight being 20-20. It is for that reason I was struck by a quote I read earlier:
As I read this quote I thought of an example of “never too late” one of my priests mentioned in a sermon. It seems a lady in her 80s decided to surrender to the Lord and follow Him in her life. Many may think “at that age?” but as I recall He used her and many were blessed. “Never too late.”
Author Margaret Mitchell penned “Gone With The Wind” simply to fill time while she recovered from an injury which was slow to heal. She’d never written a book. She needed something to do to occupy her time. The rest, as they say, is history. It was the only book she ever had published in her lifetime. “Never too late.”
I rea a book once in which a testimony was shared by a man who’d lived a life which . . . well, it was filled with dishonesty and abuse of others for his personal gain, damaged relationships with wife and family . . . it was well beyond the traditional age of retirement when he became a Christian and turned his life around seeking the Lord’s will for everything he did in his remaining days. He died surrounded by loving friends and family and having been a vessel of blessing to many folks who were inspired to give their lives to Christ by his example. “Never too late.”
As I write this, I can think of many who’ve embarked on new lives which surprised their families and friends. Some were young and chose a path which wasn’t what “everyone” expected but which was their passion and true purpose in life. Others, having spend “a lifetime” rushing and stressed and focused on secular and societal values, changed their approach, their focus and their lives and felt like they’d been reborn! “Never too late.”
In Luke I:13 we read “But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.” We know from this familiar story that they were too old to have children, and had never been able to conceive. We know how the story ended. “Never too late.”
Many many people have been praying for me for a while now. Not sure what people really think is “going on” with me, but close to 5 years ago I got a chance to change my life and took it. Along the way, I found life changing in ways I never dreamed of. I also found scary “this wasn’t what I planned on” things happening like not finding a job, not having health insurance . . . but along the way vast blessings have come to me like an amazingly new and deep relationship with Jesus which to say the least makes any scary unexpected things SO WORTHWHILE. I have also recalled and begun to realize dreams I’d had many years ago which have become goals and which the Lord is blessing and using for His purposes in my life. “Never too late.”
It is amazing how easily we can live lives which are not what our true passion or purpose was ever meant to be. Bits and pieces of happiness can come but true and lasting joy comes when we go deep within ourselves and seek what “might have been.” As the quote above told us, it is never too late. For me, doing this meant giving my life totally to Christ and living His way. It meant doing what He leads me to. It’s not always an easy choice to make as I walk an unfamiliar path. It can upset those who are used to my life being more in tune with their own needs, and it sure is difficult to give up things I have always been certain I couldn’t live without to live an uncertain “wow, I wish I could” or “surely, it’s too late to do” sort of life.
Know what? My life would terrify a lot of folks, but I sleep better than I ever have, and smile more than I ever have. I feel more loved than I’ve ever felt. I am still learning how to live as my authentic self and am still learning how false the old message was . . . the one which still taunts me with “it’s too late for that.”
It’s never too late. Never!
There are a lot of young people in my area looking at colleges and making final decisions which will impact their life for many years to come. Thinking of that reminded me of a time of life quite a while back when I did the same. Whether you are 16, 50, or 80, this message is from me to you. Follow your very own dream. Do not let the sensible plans and urging of people close to you cause you to follow their dreams. Listen politely and learn what you can from them, but ponder what is in your own heart and follow your own passion. Where your passion is, therein lays the answer to your ultimate choice. It may not be the “something” that you are to spend your remaining decades of life doing, but we focus too much energy on living what others say we should, and what we think makes sense in decades to come. If you put too much thought and energy into what life might (or might not) be many decades from today, you miss the vast and thrilling opportunities that face you at this very moment!
How do I know this? I know it because I spent much of my life, thus far, focusing on what was sensible and what society, teachers, guidance counselors, and family approved of and far too little on what the passion of my heart and my ultimate driving force deep in my soul was telling me. As a Christian, I know that what I’m that passionate about can only be from the Lord. I know this now. There are people my age who are thinking “how many more years until I can retire? I want to retire you” and the fact that I’m looking deep within me and chiseling away at years of brick walls which hid the dream that I once had really scares them. They truly worry. They think I’m crazy. They make sense. Their points are valid. There is a huge list of “but what about” in what I’m doing. In the very near future, as human eyes see it, some of those “but what abouts” may come to life for me. However, what my passion is brings me life as sensible pursuits never have. I face the dreaded “losing it all” with more smiles than fears. I’m shooting for the moon. If I miss, as the cliché says, I’ll land among the stars!
How did my life get to this point? Let’s go back to the beginning. My family never had much money. My home life was so wonderful though that I never knew this. Thinking back, friends who wanted to be at my home actually had a lot more of the “stuff” we are supposed to crave than we ever did. Yet, they were happier hanging out in a place with no diamonds and flashy things . . . no new technology and glamorous baubles from trips to exotic places. I never missed any of that stuff. Was I supposed to? It was in high school as friends got new cars bought for them and considered one college over another that I suddenly stumbled and landed on my butt and was somewhat bruised by a reality that changed the look of my happy childhood into a young adulthood of “not enough.” I ruled out college, though nobody said I had to, I stopped dreaming about what I “wanted to be” in life, and looked at sensible options which could provide immediate, or near immediate solutions to a problem I suddenly saw in my happy life. Sure, someone could have shown me other options, but I was quiet and serious and determined to do the sensible thing which was get a job right out of high school and begin decades of doing what “made sense.”
At one point in my 20s I thought about the dream and dabbled in it as a hobby, but success in the career I landed in kept getting in the way. You see, a high school teacher suggested a friend of his consider me for a clerical job and I got the job. No more thought went to the dream I’d had since I was 3 years old or so. No more thought to do anything as foolish as trying to make a life as an artist and writer. That was the dream. Dreams are for other people or so I thought. So I took the sensible job as a clerk and after that brief time in my 20s of playing at my old dream, I realized I was good at other people’s dreams and kept getting promoted. Soon the dream was buried under brick walls of sensibility. Eventually with a title that had “vice president” in it, the dream was so deeply hidden that my soul might have still known it was there, but I’d forgotten it.
A shock hit my comfortable and sensible life after 25 years and many promotions. My company was sold and I found myself laid off. Did I remember the old dream and see this as an opportunity? No. I found a similar job at another firm. Sensible Martha doing what she was good at, and all who knew me sighed with relief. Oddly, this time I realized how unhappy I was with the successful career I’d had for so long. Another layoff and another opportunity to change came along. I took the same sort of job in a new firm once again, but this time I also looked for a way toward a new life. I eventually sold my home and moved away from all that was comfortable and familiar. This time, I’m following my dream of long ago, or trying to. I don’t know where the story will end and even I can see what the world keeps reminding me of. The life I’m living makes no sense . . . or so they seem to think. Know what? Following my own passion and working at what I was “made for” is worth all the strange looks and whispers “they” think I do not see and hear. I might have to be a wee bit sensible in order to be enabled to follow the dream, but that’s okay. I’ve found it after a lot of chipping away at those brick walls of sensibility. I’m not letting go of my passion this time. I’ve found myself after many many years of being what others urged me to be.
I urge you, my readers, to find your dream – your passion, and make it a part of your life. I encourage you not to wait until later, much later, as I did. I do not regret 25 years of success in someone else’s dream for regret accomplishes nothing. I believe that those years may even have helped me evolve into the person I am today. I am, however, going to live my passion, finally. It won’t always be comfortable and I might not always sleep well, but I’m finally following the path I am meant to follow. I urge you to do the same.
Wow, today has been a day of disappointment and weak faith, but God led me to this post and as soon as I read it, I knew why. Like the author, I did well in a life that wasn’t for me. The Lord has another plan for my life and my failure to continue on the path I used to follow has led me to redefine success just as this writer has done. Read this for it’s about something a lot deeper than graphic art, architecture, or writing a series of popular fiction.
via Inside My Head