It’s Time to Tell the Truth

*clears throat* I’d like to take a quick break from our Water-Walking series to make this very important announcement:


Okay, I said it. 
Out loud. 
You all finally know my deep, dark, ugly secret. 

I want to be a GREAT writer. A GREAT speaker. A GREAT servant of the Lord. Yeah, I’m a’ight now. I’m pretty good. God has blessed me with some incredible gifts and so far, I’ve used some of them and seen some minor (in my mind) successes. But I want to be AMAAAAAAZING! Maya Angelou once said (according to a street vendor selling me a poster I bought in Harlem with the quote on it): “…pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.”

Yessss! That’s exactly it! I want my words to be mesmerizing. For people’s hearts to race when they read my stories. For the impetus to transform their lives to be so overwhelming that they are forever chased by the notion and cannot remain the same. Yep, that’s what I want. 

And I’ve been so afraid to admit that to myself or anyone else. 

Because I know the ugliness that’s all mixed up in my desire. Pride. The extraordinary need for outside validation and applause. A lack of dependence on the Lord’s timing in my life. The inability or, most likely, the unwillingness to address my undercover lack of discipline that I’ve been hiding behind all my to-do lists and controlling tendencies. Fear of failure. Fear of success.

A bunch of junk.

Yet, as real as those issues are, my desire to be great is JUST as real. And as I’m slowly getting delivered from all the junk, mess, bad thinking, and terrible choices I’ve made over the years, I’m also realizing that I’ve allowed these issues–to the great glee of the Enemy of my soul–to put me and my God-given desires into a spiritual chokehold. Fear, pride, selfish-ambition, lack of discipline, etc. all have tried to choke the life out of my heart’s authentic desires.

Maybe that’s why I always feel like I’m on the verge. Never great. Just on the verge of greatness. It’s getting old. 

I’m now the kid in the Nike ad up top. Standing on the edge. I’ve mastered the kiddie pool. I’ve survived the small dive. Now it’s time for the big one. I want desperately to leap into my destiny. I’m scared but ready.

You see, I’m still the five year old who danced and sang and conducted interviews with Mary Hart on Entertainment Tonight while in the tub because she was so sure she’d soon be on somebody’s TV. I’m still the twelve year old who wrote songs and raps on the back of her school bus with her friends. I’m still the sixteen year-old who wrote poems and plays in church and school not only because they healed her own pains but also in hopes that someone else would be moved by them. 

Even today, my desire to be great has me doing the strangest things. Like if a reader tells me they loved a particular passage of my book, I will go and re-read that passage over and over again—pretending I’m the reader and trying to see it through their eyes. Even if I don’t know them. 

Oh…and when I’m reading other great writers, great stories like Gathering of Waters by Bernice McFadden (a recent read), I get so overwhelmed with emotion that I end up crying profusely, my heart just heavy with the hope that I, too, will write “like that.” 

*shrug* Maybe I’m a weirdo but there it is…it’s out there. I want to be great. For God, of course. For my daughter. For me. 

I’m not going to be ashamed of that anymore. 



7 Replies to “It’s Time to Tell the Truth”

  1. I think that most of the angst concerning the proclamation of the author is in her own mind. I do not see the desire to be great as a troubling aspiration at all. I believe that false humility and benign mediocrity are far more troublesome and commonplace. To desire greatness is normative thinking. However mixed with our brokenness and dysfunction this may be, the desire to be great is no more complex than the desire to be 'under the radar' of human recognition. Unfortunately, we Christians have done a fine job expounding on humility but have not given equal time to the validity of the desire for greatness (For the sake of God's Glory). As Jabez (whose name means 'pain') once prayed: “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” The real shocker is the following words: "AND GOD GRANTED HIS REQUEST." (1 Chronicles 4:10). I believe that the key to aspiring to 'greatness' is actually aspiring to faithfulness. When we pursue faithful stewardship of the amazing gifts that God has given us greatness becomes its natural byproduct.

  2. "When we pursue faithful stewardship of the amazing gifts that God has given us greatness becomes its natural byproduct."THIS! Yes, Pastor James, you are SO right. I think my challenge has always been in trying to please people first as opposed to God. Some of the people I grew up with and the place that I come from taught me to push my greatness down, to not make people uncomfortable…and even though I've broken through some of that, I did find that I was holding some of the same mentality (hence, the angst in my head). I feel like I'm slowly emerging now…not as the manufactured me but the authentic me…and yes, I do feel the need to proclaim that, if only to myself and those who love me. Which I did, initially. Then, to anyone else who might be feeling the same way. As always though, you're spot on. 🙂

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