On a Friday night in early March of 2016, I found myself exhausted on my couch after a week’s worth of triathlon training. Early that winter, I decided I was going to chase down another Ironman finish in the summer of 2017 and was going to use the next year and a half to get there.
As I sat on my couch that evening, there was one thing which became clear to me — I hated the entire last week of training. But my feelings drew deeper than hate. I no longer had the mental edge in my tank to pursue this “dream” one more time. It just didn’t feel right. I can hardly even explain it to this day.
It this most unexplainable moment I wanted to make sure my heart took notice of what my mind was telling me. As I thought more about it, something else began to stir inside of me. It was this desire to write.
”You’ll Write Books.”
Years ago, writing was a passion I wanted to pursue. “You’ll write books,” my friends declared over my life, in college. Even back then I remember there being something to the pitter patter of my heart anytime anyone would mention it.
Each writer as a story about how they first got into writing. This story is mine. On that Friday night, my heart took a turn, and I began to pursue that burning in my heart I once felt years ago in my college dorm. I never thought it would turn to where my life is driving me now.
Moments that change everything.
Life is full of moments in which you and I will look back on and think…
“It was there, at that moment where everything changed.”
That night on the couch was one of those moments for me.
The next day, I woke up and set a timer for 20 minutes. I wrote whatever came to my heart or mind and when the timer stopped, I did. I continued this exercise for the next several weeks. In early May of that same year, I was speaking with another writer about what I was doing. She shared an intriguing factoid with me. She told me it takes a writer around 100,000 words to find their voice.
“Hmm,” I thought. “Maybe there is something to this?” So I set my next goal. I would spend the summer writing 100,000 words. At the end of the summer, I would see if it was something I enjoyed. This time around, I pushed the timer to the side and decided 1000 per day would be my benchmark.
On labor day, 2016, I finished.
Learning to chase down your dreams
I don’t tell you that part of the story to get a pat on the back. I share that with you because sometimes we have to chase down our dreams and see if they stick.
We have to send dreams to the lab of our lives in trial after trial to see if they give us the results our hearts hypothesized weeks or months earlier.
Mine did. So I kept writing.
But even after 100,000 words, I was left with more questions than answers. I was still trying to find my voice. I decided I needed to run this down even further.
A Much Needed Community
I decided to put some skin in the game. Sometimes you’ll find it necessary to do that with your dreams if you want to see if it works.
I joined a fantastic community called Tribe Writers who have a passionate leader named Jeff Goins. I soon found myself at home with likeminded people who just wanted others to start paying attention to their work. As I explored the community further, I saw that it was never about “look at me.” I found it to be more “look at this.” We are artists looking for others to pay attention to the work pouring out of our hearts and minds to a world in desperate need of hope and what this art represents.
Through completing the Tribe Writers course, I started a blog. I then began having more conversations about what I should be writing and found myself starting another blog which fit me better.
Looking back on this entire process, I found myself in the delight of God. I just continued to pursue whatever may be forming inside of me and what it one day may become.
I then had lots of conversations…
As 2017 continued to roll on, I started having more and more conversations. I talked with those closest to me about who I am, what I wanted to write about and what I wanted to do.
Through each of these threads, I began to notice something. It’s something each of us will miss if we’re not careful. It was God at work in my heart. What I didn’t see back then but see in 20/20, technicolor now is God was pushing me this direction.
At first, I didn’t move. Why? After hard-learned lessons in my own life, I am not a guy who likes to leave or abandon too quickly. I love my job and what I have been privileged to do for the last 15 years in serving as a youth pastor. Even still, I kept on pursuing it.
God, what are you doing here?
As 2017 wore on, I began to ponder — God, what are you doing here?
He was masterfully teaching me the art of letting go — surrender, and trust.
Life often doesn’t happen at the speed I want it to. But within the same breathe I can tell you life on God’s plan and purpose has ever failed to leave me in amazement, either. I suppose I’m not really in control like I thought I was. Ah well, life is more fun this way.
In the late fall of this past year, more conversations with those closest to me along with the leadership at my church turned me into a place of decision in my own life. I decided it was time to pursue this call to write, speak, and create in the entrepreneur space, full time.
On May 31st of this year, at 34 years of age, I will leave the staff of my church and pursue the call on my life outside the four walls of the only career I have ever known.
And that is why I decided to quit my job and career and pursue my dream in 2018.
Because God is calling me.
I get it. You don’t have to remind me this is where a lot of people get off the bus with all this “God talk.” I’m not naive in thinking that. But for those of you who may find yourself rolling your eyes at the words above, give me one more sentence of your attention:
The same God who is calling me is the same one nudging you.
See, you wouldn’t have made it this far down the article if you didn’t think there was something to what I am saying.
Sure, you may be thinking: “Leave a stable job and career that you love to pursue this?! You’re either crazy or a freaking genius.”
I’m probably a little of both. But I don’t deserve the credit here. All I did was take one step of obedience. All I did was decide to stop racing triathlons. All I did was set a timer and start writing. All I did was set a goal to write 100,000 words. All I did was join an amazing writing community. All I did was start a blog and hit publish. All I did was sit down and have over 100 conversations to run this down and get to the bottom of this dream.
God did the rest. And by the rest, I mean the heavy lifting. See, I don’t have the time to tell you the number of doors God has opened up in response to every step I have taken. I’m undone — entirely undone by what God has done here. And you can laugh, roll your eyes and turn the other way, and that is fine. But what I can tell you more than anything is this — I have more peace than I ever have in my life.
And you want to know how I got that peace? By relinquishing control. That is where God does his greatest work — in surrender.
2018 is going to be an incredible year. I hope you’ll stick around and watch what God does. He tends to put on quite a show if we take notice.
It was healthy and authentic relationships which have helped me to pursue my dream in 2018. We all could use a little help with our relationships. Let me help you get there.
Visit Ben at BenWeaver.org