Friday, February 6, 2009

"Achieving Your God Given Dream" by Brandt Dodson

A warm welcome to today's guest blogger, author Brandt Dodson!




The Narrow Way –
Achieving Your God Given Dream

Dreams. We all have them. They’re one of the many things in life that we share - that make us human. And yet most of us flail about, seemingly unable to define what it is we’re really looking for or to develop a plan for achieving it. I know. I’ve been there. But there is Godly advice on how to achieve your dreams – your ambitions – and it is found in Psalm 37: 4 & 5:

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this. (NIV)

See? Isn’t that simple?

Not.

First of all, most of us have, for one reason or another, removed God from our dreams. We’ve kept Him out of that realm of our life because we’re often not sure that we want Him invading that part of our life. We trust Him with our eternal salvation, to heal us when we’re sick; we even ask Him to bless our food. We pray that He will keep us safe when we travel, and we pray that our loved ones will find Him. But trust Him with our dreams? Take the chance that He may say, “No, this is not my will for you”?

Preposterous.

Our dreams, our desires, are personal. Very personal. And very close to our hearts. And the things that are the most personal often tend to stay that way. We keep them close, seldom sharing them with anyone. Even God.

But that’s a mistake.

For years, ever since grade school in fact, I have wanted to write. It was the only thing – and I mean the only thing - that ever came easy or that I enjoyed. Whenever we were asked to write a theme or short story I felt like I had been given a pardon, a genuine chance to show what I could do. So it was only natural, I suppose, that I would develop a desire to write.

But like many people who reveal their dreams I was told that mine was impossible, unachievable, unrealistic, and maybe even a little bit irresponsible. After all, I had a duty to provide for myself and my family, and harboring an unrealistic dream of becoming a writer – a novelist no less – could only lead to a life in the gutter where I would inevitably land with my wife in one arm and a bottle of bathtub hooch in the other. Not a pretty sight and certainly not the things of which dreams are made.

So, unwilling to envision such a future for myself or my family, I went to medical school. And after four years of the most intense studying I had ever done, followed by a residency of 80-100 hour weeks, I opened my own practice.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited again.

I discovered that patients don’t beat a path to the door of new doctors, so I had plenty of time on my hands. And I still had a dream. I began to write again. And I read everything I could get my hands on in an effort to learn the craft - and then I began submitting – and collecting rejection slips. I submitted to every magazine I knew that would publish short stories; I even wrote non-fiction pieces.

But my dream was fiction. Novel length fiction. And yet, publisher after publisher had no interest in the type of fiction I wrote. And then I discovered Psalm 37: 4 & 5.

And I turned my dreams over to God.

Delight yourself in the Lord. I hadn’t been living like that. Sure I went to worship each Sunday, taught Sunday school, and even served as an elder. But I wasn’t delighting myself in God. I wasn’t committing my way to the Lord. Neither was I willing to trust in Him. Not with my dreams. Those were mine.

The path to success, whether it is defined as a happy life, a solid marriage, or achieving an unfulfilled dream, runs through Jesus Christ. The narrow way.

Now I’d like to tell you that I had found the secret. But I didn’t. What I did find was a new way of life. I learned that I had been putting the cart before the horse (sorry for the cliché) and had put the things I desired ahead of the Giver. I had put my desire to write on the throne of the One who gave me that desire.

And I was writing for me. I was writing secular fiction with a Christian world view. And the publishers I talked with weren’t interested in that.

And then God did the kind of thing only He can do. He gave me a different desire. I no longer had ambitions to write the novel that would endear me to Oprah or land me on the New York Times Bestseller list. In fact, as nice as all of that would be, I began to see it as empty, hollow. If that was all there was for me, I no longer had a desire to pursue it. The new dream God had given me had purpose and if I didn’t fulfill that purpose, all of the accolades in the world would leave me with the same empty feeling as an unfulfilled dream.

I now had the desire to write a novel that would reveal the truth of God; to write a novel that would honor Him.

Once the new desire began to form it wasn’t long before God directed me to a CBA writer’s conference. And within a year, I had a three book contract. A contract that has now been extended several times. God gave me a dream and then reshaped it and put it to work for Him.

I learned a valuable lesson.

If we don’t want to spend our lives chasing the wind only to be disappointed when we catch it, we must put God first in our lives. If we do that - and do it because that is His rightful place - He will give us desires that are in line with His. And then He will fulfill those desires in a way that we cannot. And His way is always the best way. After all, He’s God, the narrow way. And He can be trusted with our dreams.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brandt Dodson is the creator of the Colton Parker Mystery series and the author of the stand alone crime novel, White Soul. He comes from a long line of police officers and was formerly employed by the Indianapolis office of the FBI. Brandt is a board certified Podiatrist, specializing in peripheral nerve surgery for the treatment of painful neuropathies. He is a former United States Naval Reserve officer and currently resides in Southern Indiana with his wife and two sons. Brandt’s latest novel, Daniel’s Den, was released by Harvest House Publishers on February 1st, 2009.


ABOUT THE BOOK - Daniel’s Den

Daniel Borden and Laura Traynor live two different lives.

Daniel is a successful stock analyst in New Orleans. Laura operates a bed and breakfast in the Shenandoah Valley.

He is wealthy, enjoys racquetball, and lives with Elvis, a black Lab. She is a struggling single mother, works two jobs, and lives with her young son, Andy.

But when unseen forces send hit men after each of them, a twist of fate drives them together as they are forced to flee their common enemy.

In a high stakes game of cat-and-mouse, they learn just how big the cat can be.

And that it’s no game.


WIN THE BOOK

If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Daniel’s Den, just leave a reply to this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on February 13th. Please leave an email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. (To prevent spammers from trolling for your email, please use this format with the brackets--you [at] yourmail [dot] com--or something similar.) Good luck!

16 comments:

Peg said...

What a great article! And I really,really want to get my hands on a copy of Brandt's new book. So, please throw my name into that random hat. :-o

pbphifer [at] gmail [dot] com

Thanks!

Ronie Kendig said...

Brandt - awesome blog post! This is exactly what God's been speaking to me about, but harnessing those fleshly desires aren't so easy. :-P I like what you said--you haven't found some elusive "secret" but a new way of life. Excellent!

HollyMag said...

This was a great article, thanks for sharing. I would love the opportunity to win this book. Thanks.
Holly

hollymag (at) gmail (dot) com

Jewel Sample said...

One word says it all for this article,INSPIRING!
Please add my name to the hat for a chance to win "Daniel's Den."

jmsample[at]aol[dot]com

smilinkyn said...

Finding our true purpose in life can be so elusive! Especially to me, right now. Please enter my name in the drawing. Thanks & God Bless!
Kyndra
smile_y9[at]yahoo[dot]com

David said...

I'm a big fan of Brandt's writing. I look forward to reading this one.

dwallace [at] masterdesigns4him [dot] com

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad to see your comments. It seems like all of us, at one time or another, struggle with our purpose. Our calling in the Kingdom of God. I know I have. But like all of you, I've learned to put God first and let Him decide when the time is right to tell me more. The peace of God that we so often talk about, comes from resting in Him.
Still, it's no easy task.

Brandt

windycindy said...

Sounds like a great book to me. Please sign me up. I appreciate it!
Thanks, Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

Nora St. Laurent said...

Nice to get to know Brandt better. Thanks for the interview. Plesae enter me in to the drawing. Thanks.

Nora

norafindinghope (at) gmail(dot) com

tetewa said...

I'd like to be included, count me in! tWarner419@aol.com

Katie said...

Please enter me... thanks
katie
katie8406(@)gmail(dot)com

Jo said...

What great reading and the book sounds excellent. I would love to read it so throw my name in the drawing.

Blessings,
Jo
ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com

Bethany said...

I've enjoyed all the books I've read of Mr. Dodson's, and this one sound great, too. I share all my books with my mom, and since she's laid up for another month or so after foot surgery, she's looking for reading material! She's already been through all of mine! lol So please add me to the list for the drawing!
Thank you.
momofjimmy [at] yahoo [dot] com

rebornbutterfly said...

I would love to read a Brandt Dodson book!
rebornbutterfly (at)sbcglobal (dot)net

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer AlLee said...

The winner of Daniel's Den is Ronie Kendig!

A huge THANK YOU to Brandt for sharing his moving and inspiring story with us. Bravo!