I read a new book this week: The Journey of Desire, by John Eldredge, based on a recommendation. I’m going to reread it because I kind of devoured it (I love Eldredge’s books) and so I only got the basic idea and a few details here and there.
The book didn’t really teach me anything new. But it put things into perspective and said a lot that I needed to hear. Unfortunately, I took a lot of that the wrong way, as I tend to do, and things that were meant to give hope instead plunged me into despair.
I won’t give away the whole idea behind the book, but I have to beg readers not to let my reaction prompt them to stay away from it. I can’t stress enough that I highly recommend this book for positive reasons. It’s a “it’s not the book, it’s me” sort of thing.
Anyway, one of the ideas behind the book is that our desires are, in and of themselves, good things. It’s how God has set eternity in our hearts. But our desires won’t necessarily be 100% fulfilled on earth, and we cannot plan for them to be so in this fallen world, and so that is one reason why Christians need to keep our focus on eternity and God’s restoration of heaven and earth, because that is the happy ending to the story we are living out in the current world.
Those are positive things, really. But the way my mind works is that I was thinking, OK, so let’s say that I will never become a smashing bestselling author in this world, I will never get married, and I will never do any of the other things that I have dreamed about, like visiting Scotland or India. Eternity will fulfill those desires, but if that’s the case … What the hell am I doing here now?
This question plagued me all day yesterday, and I was so, so miserable. At one point I was sitting and writing out a very sad scene for my Radicals & Royalists sequel, just to get all the grief out of me and into something semi-constructive. Then it ended up being part of the final scene of the book, meaning I know how my second book is going to end, which is very constructive indeed.
Later in the evening, I was reading the Bible, going over some of the scripture that we covered in church on Sunday, and I came across this:
Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith. ~ Galatians 6:9-10
That was something of a comfort. I read it and thought, “OK, that makes sense. I’m here to do good. Christians are supposed to do good. I’ll work on that. Thanks for letting me know, God. One problem: Is that it? Because … I’m sorry, but doing good is not the only thing in my heart to do. In fact, it’s not necessarily something I want to do most of the time. Isn’t there something that I, as an individual, am supposed to do?”
But it was enough to make me feel better today, and when I decided to book a trip to Seattle to visit Kara for Thanksgiving, I was also thinking, “Well, that’s some good that I am very much willing to do!”
Then I pulled out my notebook and looked over the notes and the scene I had written yesterday. Then I started wondering if I had enough to carry into a third story. Before I knew it, my head was flooding with ideas and I was able to write down enough to have the spine of a skeleton of a plot for a third book, long before the second one is finished. And I realized that the only reason I was even thinking about a third book was because I was writing and thinking about the ending to the R&R sequel. But the only reason I was even writing that was because I was so miserable yesterday.
Amazing how God puts things together like that.
And then, as I was writing this post, I received a phone call from a friend, when she told me about some major things going on in her life. Based on what she said, it made me glad that I was single for that moment—not in a “there but for the grace of God” way, but because otherwise I might not have been as available to her as I was today. And if being single means that I can better serve the people in my life, well then, I’ll take it gladly.
Maybe I’ll never be on a bestseller list, or ever get married, or ever get the chance to do a lot of other things this side of eternity, but I think God made himself quite clear about what I’m doing here.