Early in my writing career, I ached desperately for success. Anxiety rattled. Fear of both failure and success stilted me. My fingers wrapped around my goal of becoming a “real author” with a fervent (painful) intensity.
My dream had become an idol.
I know this not only because of the stress it spurred in me, but also because I often ignored my other responsibilities (like my marriage) and especially because of this weird fear I had of telling God about my writing (as if he didn’t know!). I never talked to him about it. I didn’t pray for his help. A part of me felt guilty for wanting this dream so badly, so, like Adam and Eve, I hid.
Eventually the activity that used to fulfill me became a sour chore. When I sat down to write, a dread took over. I had to force myself to do what my heart had always delighted in.
I’ve found this to be true in many areas of my life: parenting, being a housewife, homeschooling, marriage. When I crave success in a certain area too intensely, the joy melts away replaced by a sludge of irritable, drudging duty.
Five years ago, while I was watching TV with my husband, my heart stopped. You can read the whole story in my book, Love Like There’s No Tomorrow: How a Cardiac Arrest Brought My Heart to Life. I died and through a team of glorious life-givers, God brought me back.
After I woke up from the sleep of death, friends, I didn’t care about my dreams. I didn’t care if my books sold, if I was a good housekeeper, a perfect mom, the dutiful wife. All those outward appearances meant nothing.
I just wanted my life back and not my former stressed, busy life. I craved my simple life—to care for our home, the smell of my sweet kids after a bath, my husband’s kiss.
As I mention in my book, “After I woke up, the world where I still dwelt had somehow transformed to a glorious beauty.” I finally embraced the joy that was already there.
I haven’t let go of this truth I almost didn’t get to learn. It wasn’t wrong of me to dream of being a writer, a great mom, and the other things—I just gripped them too tightly. I’ve now learned to pursue my dreams not apart from the Lord, but walking step by step with him, always embracing the journey. What a difference this made! As I seek him moment by moment, the goals are met—maybe not as quickly as I hope for—but with a peaceful joy.
And I don’t miss out on the beauty he has made my life.
Friends, never stop chasing those dreams, but remember to enjoy the journey today. And remember, he loves you like there’s no tomorrow.
Ocieanna has a special offer for you. If you buy her book this week, you will receive a mini adult coloring book FREE! Just e-mail her a screenshot of your receipt or scan your printed receipt at firstname.lastname@example.org
Seattle, WA: A few years ago, Ocieanna Fleiss wife and work-at-home mother of four young children would have described herself as overwhelmed, stressed, and focused on finishing her to-do list. But when at age forty-two, a sudden cardiac arrest stopped her heart, everything changed.
During those quiet months of recovery, as she reflected on her life, a pattern arose. Like a loving father, Christ has always walked her through childhood neglect, miscarriages, the death of her parents, and even through her own death!
Amazed by God’s loving hand in her life, Ocieanna overflowed with a desire to love in a new, more profound way. Out of this desire, transforming truths gently came to light: truths that changed her life forever and will show you how God can weave everything in your life into His elaborate plan.
OCIEANNA FLEISS has written three historical novels with Tricia Goyer in the best-selling Love Finds You series. She speaks at churches, parenting groups, and writers conferences and teaches a Bible class to homeschool junior high students. She penned a writing column for eight years and contributes to the Seriously Write blog. She has also written for MOMSense, MOPS.org, Hearts at Home, Guideposts for Kids, and CBA Marketplace. She is a member of the Northwest Christian Writers Association and the Writers View. Ocieanna makes her home in Seattle, Washington with her husband and four kids.
You can learn more and connect with Ocieanna by visiting these sites: