One year ago, I decided to write a book on small community ministry. I have now spent almost thirty years working in small communities and little Churches across this country. I developed an outline, chapter topics, and began the process of writing.
During this time, I went to conferences and seminars on the topic of the rural Church. I sought out blog posts on the subject and began gathering more information. I suddenly began to see a large number of books being published on the same issue. It seemed everyone who had walked a similar path as mine was writing a book and saying all the things I wanted to say. Right now, I have no less than four books on my shelf on this topic to read, and another 20 in my Amazon wish list that I might decide to read one day.
After all these books hit the shelves, I stopped writing. The document still exists, and I keep it on my computer. In fact, I keep it on my desktop near the top, just a little left of center. Every day I sit down to work, there is this lonely little icon of my unfinished work.
What I am going to say next might surprise you. I assume most people would say something like, “Don’t be a quitter. Don’t give up on your dreams. Get back to work. You can do this.” Those are the standard pleas people give to uncompleted tasks.
Today, I am going to tell you something completely different. It’s okay that the work is not finished. I can let it go and move on. Not all ideas are great ideas. Not all work is worth finishing. It is okay to find a new dream.
After much thought and some prayer, I have decided to give up on that book. This year I have an idea for a new book, and it is a story that only I can tell. I think it is a better opportunity for me to do something I love in a way that blesses people. I am excited about the door that has opened and the ideas that are flowing.
Too many people carry around guilt for uncompleted tasks. We once had this dream, and people believed in us, and we do not want to disappoint them. As a result, every day, the icon gets bigger and more intimidating. We resolve to finish that one task that we dread and end up doing nothing. My encouragement today is to put some old dreams in the dumpster and form new ones. Your life has changed, and God may have exciting new paths for you to tread. The delete button is a necessary part of moving into the future.