In a few short weeks, I will join the ranks of the few, the proud, the hungry: The Voluntarily Unemployed. I’ll shut my laptop off for the last time. I’ll sit back in my plush Grandpa office chair for the last time. I’ll scan out of the parking garage for the last time.
No one is making me leave. Actually, some are begging me to stay. I’m walking away of my own free will, for a number of reasons, the most pressing one being that I just need more time to promote my novel writing.
I’ve been doing a passable job of promotion through social media on Nameless, but it’s at the point where four hours of time in the evenings after a full day of work just isn’t enough to get everything done. I haven’t held any events. I haven’t done any signings. I haven’t spoken on it at all. And it’s not going to go any farther until I start investing more time in it.
And I have another book coming out in February. The much-anticipated romantic comedy. That crazy thing has taken on a life of its own, and it has turned out much better than I expected. The beta readers’ reviews are in, and they’re mad about it. So I can’t wait for the general public to get their hands on it. But how am I going to hold down a job that requires 11-12 hours a day and promote two novels at the same time?
So. This is me. Taking a leap of faith.
I’m not normally adventurous. I don’t care for change, and I don’t like being uncomfortable. I guess you could say I really identify with Bilbo Baggins from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit in many instances because leaving the comfort of where I’ve been for the great, wide, unpredictable unknown is scary, but I believe I’ve been called to do this.
I don’t talk about my faith on this blog very often. This blog is about life as a writer and a farm kid. My AlwaysPeachy blog is where the majority of my faith-focused posts are, but faith is a huge part of my life. And I especially won’t avoid it now because it’s the main reason I’m walking away from a very well-paying job.
Did God really call me to write? I believe He has. Dream chasing is a big part of it, yes, and that’s what I’ve heard most often through all this. You’re chasing your dream! You’re making your dreams come true! You’re following your heart! Yes, yes, and yes. I am. But that’s not what this is about.
This is about obedience.
God says plainly over and over again in the Bible that He is to come first in our lives. When God comes first, other priorities snap into place, and life just makes sense. When God comes first, we get what folks call Wisdom, and I really don’t advise trying to get through life without it.
“We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!” ~ Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit
The problem with putting God first is that you don’t always get to do what you want to do. Sometimes you have to do things you never thought you’d do—like plan to make public speaking part of your job description (just shoot me now). But if you do what God has told you to do, He’ll provide what you need when you need it.
God gave me this dream when I was a child, and I’m so fortunate that He’s allowing me to pursue it. But I didn’t get my dream and jump up to chase it the same day. Oh, no. This has been a long time coming.
For my entire adult life and most of my teenage years, I’ve been standing on the starting line in the race to my dream. I’ve paced up and down that starting line, waiting for God to wave that flag to tell me I could put the pedal to the metal, and He hasn’t done it. And there were days when I would get so tired of waiting, so fed up with His timetable, I just didn’t want to do it anymore. And some days I tried to run ahead of Him, but He always kindly smacked me back behind the line.
Until a day just before Christmas last year. I woke up, and it was like God was waving that start flag with everything He had.
And what did I do?
I just stood there, staring at Him.
And that’s when the questions started. You mean, I can go? I can really go? Are you sure? Is now really the best time?
This was not the time I would have picked. There’s too much going on. There’s too much happening. I have too many responsibilities. And to pick up and leave in the middle of everything just didn’t make sense to me.
But He said go. And He kept saying go. And He hasn’t stopped yet.
So I’m going.
I worried and fretted about what people would say and think. I feared that people would be so unhappy with me that they’d kick me out immediately. I fretted that people would hate me or shout at me or yell at me. I grumbled that I would disappoint people, that I’d ruin my reputation, that I’d only hurt my chances of getting a good job again when this crazy idea ultimately didn’t pan out.
But no one has been upset. No one has chastised me. Everyone has leaped for joy! Even people I didn’t think liked me! The support has been tremendous, and it’s enough to make me teary.
Not one person has discouraged me. Not one person has accused me of recklessness. And, of course, that’s not saying I’m going to succeed, but it’s a huge encouragement to know that people really think I can do this. It’s one thing to know what God thinks of you. It’s something else to know what people think of you.
To all of you who have encouraged and supported me, thank you. I can’t thank you enough. Five years ago, I wouldn’t have been bold enough to take this step. For those who read what I write, thank you, thank you, thank you! A storyteller is only a storyteller if someone is willing to listen.
I will work my last day on February 6. After that, I will forge ahead into the great unknown on a grand adventure with the Bible as my only map and compass. And I’m actually fine with that. I wasn’t really looking for an adventure, but what better adventure to go on than living your dream and walking with God?
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit