Over the summer I wandered into a tiny children’s bookstore. It was full of all the very best kinds of things: glossy picture books and thick, story-filled chapter books, and it smelled like new paper–the very best smell.
The owner was there. We chatted about favorite books and raising readers and all the joys of getting lost in someone else’s world. I’ve always loved to read. Always, always. And this bookstore owner was a kindred of mine down to reading aloud chapter by chapter in the last dusky moments of a day.
I wanted to be her. I left that place bubbling over with all kinds of ambition to open a little bookstore. I dreamed of the perfect location. I dreamed of all the things I could do: writing clubs, reading clubs, smelling books all day long. I wanted to be her.
There’s a reason. She followed her deep-down, not-going-away dream. I asked her while we were there how she ended up there. She had started six years earlier. Six years before with a dream and a business plan. Six years of not changing her mind.
With a handful of months now gone, I understand that I wanted to be the dreamer in her. Not the bookstore owner. That was her dream. My dream is something different. The truth is that I want to follow everything that makes me feel alive instead of investing in one passion. I’ve declared we should move to Africa! To the heartland! To the big city! To a farm! I have a heart for everything but endurance for naught. This was God’s great gift to me in calling me to walk beside my husband: he puts my feet back on the ground and keeps me tethered to who I am in Christ.
There are lots of things I’d like to do but six years from now I hope I can look back and see that I made the hard and narrow choice, that I knew my own God-given dream and that I was faithful to it. It feels a little selfish to think this way but I’ve been reading Emily Freeman’s new book A Million Little Ways and I’m beginning to understand that maybe it is actually disobedience to keep stuffing, ignoring and belittling the heart God has given me instead of simply sharing it.
I don’t know how to end this except to say that I am going to stand on my wobbly passion legs and try some scary things this year. And I hope I’m not alone.