You Have to Start Somewhere

Do you ever think about the first time Mozart touched the keys, Mark Twain picked up a pen, or Michael Phelps jumped in the water?  Do you ever wonder what it was like to hear Sinatra sing his first note, watch Picasso paint his first portrait, or to see Jordan dribble his first ball?  I don’t know about you, but I would guess none of these moments were particularly noteworthy, spectacular, or awesome.  They were probably not especially inspiring to those who witnessed them.   Yet, they were necessary beginnings, and without them, the world would lack some of its most classic music, impressive records, and masterful works of art.

I have been meaning to start writing a blog since I moved to Sydney over eight months ago.  Over and over I have put it off.  However, tonight at Team Night (the rehearsal/worship night for our creative team at church) my friend Paul suggested that I write a blog.  I decided I had finally run out of good excuses–especially the one I have most recently been clinging to:

“Where do I start?” 

Now, I am in no way comparing myself to any of the formerly mentioned greats–I am, however, suggesting that humble beginnings are probably much more common than glamorous ones, but that should never be an excuse for not starting something new.

This month at church, we are doing a series called, “Sunday Night at the Movies.”  This past Sunday, Robert Fergusson preached on the 2013 Ben Stiller film, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  Every time Robert Fergusson preaches I end up with tears in my eyes–this night was no different.

Robert’s first point was, “Be Decisive.”  He did not discourage dreaming, but he did discourage living in the dream world: “Our dreams can fuel our actions,” he said, “but we have to make a choice.”  This year, I have constantly tried to set goals for myself, and I have put many of them into action, but there are so many times I have dreams or ideas that I never see come into fruition because I do not make a choice.  (So here’s to another dream that I am choosing to put into action with this blog.)

Robert’s second point validated the biggest lesson I have been learning here at Hillsong this year: “Be Present.”  Living in the moment has been one of the most difficult things for me here, away from home for the first time (and not just down the road: 9,364 miles away).  I realized here, no matter where I am, this has been a struggle for me.  It is so easy to live behind my phone: choosing the best Instagram filter, facebook status, or snap chat story.  If not my phone, it has been my beloved Nikon D300–trying to capture the best shot instead of simply enjoying the moment.  Robert encouraged us to live lens-less lives and to swap photos for memories.  This truly hit home.  As an aspiring photographer, I do not think that taking pictures is a bad thing, and I am not planning to give up this art form that I enjoy, but it was a reminder that I very often miss out on the simple beauty of my Sydney ocean views, simply because I want to try to capture the perfect shot (which will never do the scenery justice anyway).

His final two points, “Be Faithful” and “Be honest,” truly resonated with me.  Now that I have made a choice to begin something new, I must be continually faithful, or I have made no difference at all.  And throughout the entire process, if I choose to live in my daydream I am never truly honest with myself or with God.

Robert’s message was simple yet poignant, and did not allow for excuses.  I was reminded (as I have been many times this year and over my life) that if I truly want to see change, I have to be decisive, be present, be faithful, and be honest; and that through it all, I must allow God to use me–being receptive to His plan.  Ephesians 2:8-10 reminds us that we can do nothing apart from God: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (NIV).  I simply accomplish goals in my own strength, I may get a lot done, but I will never be truly fulfilled.

As I continue to foster my dreams into realities, I never want to take for granted the fact that I can do nothing in my own strength–my past burn-out is my key reminder of this fact.  But by remaining faithful, and using what is in my hand to fulfill what is in my heart, (as Pastor Brian Huston so often reminds us) I may never break a world record, write a New York Times best seller, or compose a world renowned piece of music, but I will have daily been aware of the “works which God prepared in advance for us,” and in doing so, I will do the things I have always dreamed of: not how I had necessarily imagined, but better.

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