Monday, November 4, 2013

Sticks and Stones... When Your Quest is Questioned

Okay, so maybe they don't break bones, but they certainly do hurt, and when being pelted with them, one can't help but run and duck for cover.

I mean, really. Right?

The Risk of the Quest
There will always be someone, somewhere, who will doubt your abilities. Who will doubt your sanity of undertaking something risky. Who will honestly be concerned about you, and wish to help direct your feet toward something more reasonable. Something sure. Something safe.

But the word QUEST in itself is not a safe word. describes a quest as: a search or pursuit made in order to find or obtain something: -or-  an adventurous expedition undertaken...

Um, adventurous?  Yeah, there's nothing safe about that word, now is there?

From the moment your foot steps out the front door of your comfort zone, you are now out in the open for any and all opposition to stop you from completing your quest. Here are some of the obstacles which will rise up against you: Doubt, fear, second-guessing, failure. And these are just a few. Let's not fail to mention Trouble, problems, discouragement, and pride. Yes, Pride, especially when our reputations and motives are laid out on the line. 

Ever hear this question? "Just what do you hope to gain by doing this?" or "How long are you really going to keep this up with no results?"

When these questions are allowed to make their way into our spirits, we start to stumble and slow in our steps as we "self-analyze" our reasons. 

Don't get me wrong, it's good to know why your are doing something. Get that firmly down in your heart because that's the rock you will stand on, or hide behind, when the sticks and stones are hurled in your direction. 


Stand Firm: On or Behind Your Rock
There are many, many reasons people will doubt your quest, or you going after your dream. Many reasons. Aside from jealously that you are doing something they wish they could do, there's also the fear of walking the unknown that many people aren't willing to take. Watching you take that narrow path scares them. Sometimes the motives are selfish. Sometimes, not.

The key to withstanding is to know why you are chasing after your particular dream and to be honest with yourself if this is the dream you should be chasing after. Look to the people in your life that you honestly trust to be honest with you. Not just one, you want to get varied opinions. Discuss your heart's desire with them. Even if they are opposed, look at why.

For me, writing is simply risky and there's no regular paycheck at the end of the week. I have to put in many hours without even knowing if what I'm doing will pay off or not. This causes some opposition in my household. However, my family knows this is my heart's desire and has been for as long as we've been a family. So despite whatever reservations they might have, they've chosen to be supportive of me. Some days, when times are tough, that support grows a little thin, but still, for the most part, they are willing to stand with me.

I also look to my God for confirmation and encouragement. I've prayed and prayed and sought out His will for me. If you are a believer, this is where you start. Then go to friends and family.

However, there are still a few who are close to me that simply don't understand why I'm doing this. Why I'm locking myself away from the world to write stories. They will never understand. A couple might even be waiting for me to fail so they can nod their heads and offer a sympathetic, "Well, I knew this would happen, but good for you for trying." 

Thing is, they mean well and I have to look past the doubters. This is MY dream. This is MY path. This is MY time to look to God, to those who do support me, and grasp onto the positive I do have and keep going.

Keep Your Sights on What's Ahead
Make the most of whatever opportunities are available to you.

One of my favorite books, and one of several that inspired the White Road Chronicle series, is Hinds Feet On High Places by Hannah Hurnard. I've read this book many times during my life and each time I do, it speaks to me from a different place in my journey. If you've never read it, I encourage you to find an copy and get to it. Such a deep, touching, fantastic story about finding yourself and throwing aside that which hinders you.

So, in chapter 7 of On the Shores of Loneliness, our heroine Much-Afraid is faced with her relations who are intent on bringing her back to her senses. (Sound familiar?)

I'm only going to give you a few bits of this passage. The section starts out:
"Spies were sent out..."

Of course, this happens at a time when, "Much-Afraid now had to endure a time of really dreadful assaults.  It is true that her eneies soon discovered that this was not the same Much-Afraid with whom they had to deal. They could never get within close reach, because she kept so near to Sorrow and Suffering and accepted their assistance so much more willingly than before."

See? We shouldn't even try to walk alone. We must find those who will help and support us as we travel along on our journey.

"However, they (her fear relatives) kept appearing before her, shouting out their horrid suggestions and mocking her until it really seemed that wherever she went one or another popped up (there were so many hiding places among the rocks) and hurled their darts at her."

They will come. And they will come armed with all sorts of weapons to use against you. Remember what Paul said in Ephesians 6:12? "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore..."

Therefore, buck up and get ready for it, because opposition will come.

Back to our story. Finally, one of the relatives says the wrong thing and Much-Afraid is reminded of something the Shepherd said to her. Something to encourage her during the trials. The encouragement, the power scriptures, the rocks to stand on are there. We just need to remember to use them when we are in the midst of the battle.

"When she thought of this, to Self-Pity's dismayed astonishment, Much-Afraid actually picked up a piece of rock and hurled  it at him, and as he said afterwards to the other three in an aggrieved tone of voice, 'If I hadn't ducked and bolted like a hare it could have laid me out altogether, the little vixen!' 

How To Lay Out Your Enemy
It's simple. You keep putting one foot in front of the other. You don't stop. You don't hide. You don't cower, or make excuses. You know what you want and you go after it.

Do you know what makes a Saint? It's not really their behavior, or being good or special or anything like that. It's that they kept getting back up whenever they fell.

You mustn't stay on the ground for long. Get up. Dust off. Keep walking. Know where your help comes from. Seek out like-minded people who will encourage you. Don't listen to the negative. And certainly don't believe them.

Hey, if it was an easy sure thing, then everyone would be doing it. Right?

You only get one life to find your destiny and live your dream. So get on with it, okay?

Be brave. Walk in confidence. You are going to do amazing things with your life.

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