One of Gavin’s favorite things to do is to go to the park. We are fortunate enough to have several parks and playgrounds in close proximity. The boys have their own names for all of the different parks we frequent: The Green park (the equipment is green), The Colorful Park (you guessed it, the equipment is all differently colored), and The Bumblebee Park (they once saw a Bumblebee there).
I was off work yesterday so after we walked Zachary to school, we decided to go to the “park with the little town”. This particular park is unique because it is set up like a community. There is a road that goes around it with stop signs where kids can ride bikes or scooters. In the middle there is a post office, house, and ice cream shop.
We’ve been to this park several times, but I always forget where to turn. I told Gavin we would just use the GPS to be sure, so that we didn’t miss the road. I followed the directions, but something didn’t feel right.
“Gavin, I think the GPS is wrong. This doesn’t seem like the right road.”
The road made a turn, and said the park would be on the left.
I knew that wasn’t right.
We followed anyway.
As I suspected, we were not on the correct road. However, if we looked through to the backyards of the houses to our left, we could see the park! The problem was, we couldn’t get to it. We were right there, so close! But we had no way to access it.
Thankfully, I was familiar enough with the streets that I knew how to go a different way and get to the access point. It felt so frustrating to be RIGHT THERE and still not be where we were supposed to be.
I actually don’t think the GPS was incorrect. I think I just didn’t pay close enough attention to where it told me to turn. We had gotten distracted. I was showing Gavin the street names, one of which was Jody Drive and another Julie Lane.
“Isn’t that cool Gavin? It’s my name! Well, it’s spelled wrong but, still cool! And look, we should take a picture of you and the Julie Lane one, and send it to my friend Ms. Julie at work! Don’t you think she’d like that?”
Yes, that is how we ended up BY the park instead of AT the park.
I thought I was following directions but I guess I was focusing a little too much on “Jody Drive”.
Since I published my book a little over a week ago, I have been following downloads, reviews, and Amazon rankings. I am naturally a competitive person, so it is no surprise that I wanted it to do well and jump to the top of the charts. And, there is nothing wrong with that. I fulfilled a long time dream of becoming an author, so closely tracking the performance of my book is a given.
The problem comes when I am concerned for the numbers to gauge MY success instead of the hearts God has reached to bring Him glory.
This is a hard admission for me.
I feel like I haven’t even grasped the reach that my book has already had. The purpose behind writing this was to share my heart, and to point people to Jesus. I know God is using me for a purpose, and I believe it was in His plan for me to write.
But maybe it doesn’t look like I think it should.
It’s easy to get carried away and think, “Maybe this can be my full-time job! I might be able to stay home!”
But what if that isn’t God’s plan?
I feel like I took a step in obedience by pouring my heart onto paper and out into the world. I believe that God has a purpose for all of this, and that I am on the right track.
But man, it’s pretty cool to see “Jodi Drive”.
You know, my name on a book? People reading my words? More downloads than I expected?
Yes, that can be a distraction.
So, here I sit. With the park to my left, behind those houses and no way to get to it. I’m so close. Close to His purpose, but still not where I need to be.
No wonder I have not felt the joy that I should over the last week. I’m focused on me.
I can do the right things, follow where He is leading me, and be SO close. If only I could take my eyes off of the street signs and listen to my guide.
I’d see that even when I am following Him, that doesn’t mean things will happen as I have planned them. I’d realize that taking my focus off just for a second might land me on the wrong street. I’d find that it doesn’t matter how much I will things to happen, I am not God.
I share this with you because I think we tend to idolize ideas and fabricate unrealistic lives that we think others have. I look at Christian women writers whom I follow and I envy them. I long to make writing my full time job along with raising my babies. What I have to remember is, maybe that isn’t what God has called me to. Maybe it is, and it just isn’t the time yet. My point is, I cannot make some lifestyle, Amazon rankings, or even spending time with my boys- my focus.
I have to keep my eyes on Jesus. Only Jesus.
After Gavin and I found the right path to the park, I told him about one of my favorite episodes of “The Office”. Michael Scott is following his GPS and doesn’t interpret the directions very well. The voice on the GPS is telling him to turn right. Michael sees a place to turn and insists that is the way to go. Instead of going just a bit further to where the road actually bears right, he turns immediately and drives the car straight into a lake. I showed Gavin the clip and we both laughed together at the silliness and outright idiocy of Michael to drive his car into the lake.
I am telling myself to go just a bit further. Listen to the Lord and stop trying to turn immediately, or I might end up driving headfirst into a lake of my own.
Lord, guide my heart and take me where you want me to go.