I am sitting in a coffee shop that normally isn’t too busy…but today it is. To the point that it is really loud. Hard to concentrate loud. Thankfully the Mumford and Sons that is blaring in my headphones is able to at least lessen the impact and give me the ability to write a little bit.
That is important because I need to write. Not just this blog post, but more so what I plan to work on after this. My book. I am writing a book.
The desire to do this began about 16 years ago. I had a breakthrough in my mental health one night and when that happened I heard very clearly that I was “to write my book.” I didn’t know exactly what that looked like I just knew what I heard. I was supposed to write a book.
Over the years I have started and stopped then restarted again several times. I would write out the first chapter and decide that it was horrible. I would delete what I wrote and leave it alone for several months and then start up again just to do the same. I felt that what I was doing was failing my calling.
At different times I could see that I had learned something new that I needed to include in this book so I thought that the timing was just a bit off because God was preparing me or something. And I think that was accurate…for a time.
Last summer, while at the Celebrate Recovery Summit in Nashville TN, I had someone say something to me that threw me a little. She didn’t know what I was working on, that I had any thoughts about writing a book. She didn’t really know me from Adam. But she walked up to me and said, “God told me to tell you that your book will be printed in many languages.”
I just kind of stood there for a second, not sure that I had heard her correctly. About the same time I had been leaning toward writing again but was a little apprehensive because of how many times I had started and stopped before. I was trying to not get too excited about what she said because I have had people say things before, which were very specific, and very inaccurate. For some reason what she said resonated though. I couldn’t get her out of my head.
During that time the idea of starting a project seemed ludicrous. Between the next Summit beginning in a month and the 22 day road trip that my family would be taking across the country I knew I didn’t have time to start anything. I would just start up when I got back from the road trip.
I should tell you that this woman had something else that came up while we were talking. “You need to get going on this soon though or God is going to use someone else.” she said.
So I thought I better get going, but I didn’t think I had to rush. And because I didn’t feel a sense of urgency about the book I ended up procrastinating. “Ya I will get to it.” And I have…sort of. I began writing and went at it pretty good but I allowed the busyness of life take priority. When I realized what was going on I tried to get going again, and decided I would try something new to help motivate me. I had a title for my book in mind for quite a while. So I thought if I get a website that matches the title it will help me visualize my end goal. And that is when I found out that God wasn’t playing.
I did a search and found out that someone else was using the title. The title I knew I was supposed to use. I had the cover image all planned out and everything. And to top it off I saw a start date of the page this person is using and it began…10. Days. After. Summit. I mean, C’mon!! Seriously!?! So I slammed my laptop shut and said forget it then. I guess I missed my chance.
After a couple of days of feeling sorry for myself I calmed down enough to hear from God again. And I believed He asked me, “When have I only given you one chance?”
The door hadn’t been slammed shut. I still can’t use the same title. So there are consequences to my taking so long to do what God called me to do. But just because someone else is using the title doesn’t mean I shouldn’t tell my story. Or more directly, His story in my life.
I still believe that I need to get going. I still think God is going to use it. Will the outcome be different from what was told to me at Summit? Maybe. But that ultimately isn’t the point. It’s not about me. It’s about Him. He has called me to do something and I need to do it.
And just like my headphones are blocking out the distractions of this painfully loud coffee shop, I need to let Jesus be pumping into my brain and my heart to help me block out the distractions of life that pull me from the tasks that God has for me.
I will leave you with this. The story I am telling is one of mental illness. The story I am telling is one of pain and despair. The irony is that sometimes my mental health is what keeps me from telling this story. As a person who struggles with wanting to get out of bed most days and someone who thinks of taking his own life on a daily basis, the story I am telling is one of Hope, my mission hasn’t changed.
And neither has yours. God has something for you as well. You may not know what that is yet, but it is there. You may think you missed your chance, you haven’t. Keep going. Please keep going.
National Director of Mental Health for Celebrate Recovery