Story Excerpts

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Real Goal

When I began to actively pursue a writing career, I started taking a serious look at my motives.  Was I writing for my own glory?  Was my goal to show the world what I could do and bask in the praises and compliments of my readers?  Was it simply to publish the story I had worked on for years so I wouldn't feel like I'd wasted my time?

Of course my answer was no.  I long to make a difference in this world for Christ.  I want to write stories that will draw people into a closer relationship with Him.  But how can I know for sure that I'm being honest with myself -- answering from my heart and not from my mind?  My books aren't published yet.

As I pondered these questions, God dropped something in my spirit that I will never forget.

Prove your desire to minister by doing it.  You have the opportunity to impact lives for My sake right now.

I knew His challenge went further than a blog, although that was definately part of it.  He was coaxing me out of my comfort zone, and drawing my attention to the opportunities He gave me everyday.  Everyday, I have the opportunity to bless and show kindness to rude people on the highway and in the store.  Everyday I have the opportunity to show God's love to hurting and lonely people.  How is my desire to touch lives through my stories any different than loving people in person?  After all, story-telling is just a tool.

Though I do drop the ball a lot, this new perspective on "the goal" is changing my life.  Every time I leave my house or get on the Internet to network, I try to recognize and seize opportunities for ministry.

A trip to the grocery store never fails to provide me with the most interesting opportunities.  Just the other day, a woman drove her cart in front of mine and said, "I was here first!"  Her glare dared me to challenge her.  I didn't.  I gulped back my shock, smiled and said "okay".  A "Jesus loves you" would have been in order, but I didn't think about it at the time.  Hey, I'm a work in progress. :-)

What kind of opportunities do you have?  Any interesting stories?


Gabrielle Meyer said...

The opportunities to share Christ's love are endless! I just read Hebrews 13:2 this morning: "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it." and it made me think of exactly what you are talking about today! In a culture where we don't open our door to strangers or invite passerby into our homes for meals any longer, how can Hebrews 13:2 still apply? By demonstrating Christ's love for others in our daily interactions and activities.

A big one that comes to mind is while I am driving. Whether my fault or not, occasionally someone will give you the evil glare on the road. When it's my fault I try to mouth "I'm sorry" or look contrite - but when it's not my fault, it takes a LOT of will power to offer the same attitude. Even though I may never see that person again, the last thing they need in their life is more hatred and anger, so I try to smile and demonstrate forgiveness (even when they think it was my fault and I know it wasn't!!)

How awesome that I read your post today! Confirmation on the Lord's Word is amazing.

Jessica R. Patch said...

I try to be conscious at grocery stores and see who has less items behind me and offer them a chance to go ahead of the me--the crazy lady with way too boxes of cereal and snack cakes. LOL I always use the same cashier as well. Building relationships even at the store is a big deal!

Loree Huebner said...

I love your heart here, Gwen...and your goal.

Over the years, I've become bolder at work. Some say I have a mini ministry there. I see many people who are sick, or have someone dear to them who is sick. I pray with them sometimes. Other times, I just see someone and lift them up to God, because I don't know what is wrong, but I can sense it...and He knows. If you can't do something for someone, you can always pray for them.

You did the right thing with the lady at the store. Kindness kills...and something I've learned over time is that some people are on medication...unfortunately, it makes them numb to situations. They don't realize it. Just let those pass with a silent blessing lifted up for them.

Rissi said...

"Hey, I'm a work in progress."

Aren't we all!! =)

Brandi said...

Awesome post. Writing is such a solitary endeavor that it's easy to forget that God has a purpose for what we do. Often we think of our stories as our creations, when really God is the source of the inspiration.

I'm aware of my attitude when it comes to driving. My picture is next to the definition of "road rage" :-) God is working on me. I'm mindful of the fact that there are people behind the wheels of those vehicles in front of me. I need to respect and value them as much as I do my own time.

Gwendolyn Gage said...

Hi Gabrielle! I agree, it is hard to show love to mean drivers. And Hebrews 13:2 is spot on. You just never know. How cool that you were reading that scripture the same morning that I posted this!?! Wow, God's timing is always perfect.

Gwendolyn Gage said...

Hi Jessica, I hear ya. It is important to build relationships within our communities and stock up on cereal. LOL! I tend to think that the cashiers don't recognize me since they see so many people everyday, but then, I do talk to them, which is rare courtesy these days. :-)

Gwendolyn Gage said...

Hi Loree! Yes, the workplace is mission field all its own! I'm so glad to hear that you recognize your opportunties and take time to pray with your co-workers. And you're right, praying for someone -- whether silently or with them -- is powerful.

I never considered that some people might be suffering the effects of medication. That makes sense. :-)

Gwendolyn Gage said...

We are, Rissi! We are. Ha ha :-)

Gwendolyn Gage said...

Hi Brandi, I agree -- God is at the heart of our writing inspiration. :-)

I know too well how hard it is to be loving and patient with a driver who doesn't drive the way I want them to. I've found that it really helps me to pray for the driver and bless them. Then the devil gets mad and sends me the worst drivers. I've learned to laugh at him and say, bring 'em on! I'll just pray for them and do damage to your kingdom of darkness!

Heal Now and Forever said...

A Jesus loves you might have sounded patronizing bringing more anger from her, not settling and validating as you meant it. Saying it in your mind can be more productive, not always, just here! You did great!

Gwendolyn Gage said...

Hi HN&F, I can see what you're saying. Yeah, some people might take it the wrong way and think I'm insulting them, but that doesn't mean that they don't need to hear it. Whether they feel insulted or not, it doesn't change the fact that Jesus really does love them. Thanks for stopping by!