Johnny and the Quest for The Perfect Tools

Meet Johnny Man.
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Johnny Man lives in a very small town nestled in the woods of Scandinavia. In this small town,  the sole purpose in life is to build a chair. When Johnny was a baby, many thought about Johnny Man and what kind of chair he was going to build. Would it be big?? Would it be wooden, or metal, or bright green? Johnny grew and grew and once he hit age 6 it was time to begin his quest for building a chair. He had lots of ideas and lots of plans. He was surrounded with other children who were writing, learning and reading about building chairs.  Through his rigorous chair design school, he finally had designed the perfect one.

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Johnny man had his plan drawn out and he was ready to go fulfill his life purpose!
First thing first, Johnny needed some tools.

Johnny loved tools.  Almost too much.

Like He really loved tools.

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An important part of the chair building process is choosing the right tools. And there were a lot to choose from in the town.

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Johnny tried all sorts of tools.

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As he was trying the tools, he began to wonder which one was the right tool. Even though any of them could have worked fine, Johnny spent a majority of his life going through tool after tool trying to see if it was perfect for building a chair.  People told him, “Look Johnny, you can build a chair with any tool!! There’s no wrong tool!”

Johnny disagreed. There had to be the RIGHT one. Every time he tried to use a tool, he discovered a flaw. The screwdriver involved too much twisting, the hammer required too much strength and the wrench accidentally pinched him.  Over the years, he became more obsessed with finding the right tool, so much so that his plan to build a chair became a distant memory.

One night, Johnny was tossing and turning in bed. He was in his late 60’s now. He woke up at 3am and had an epiphany. It was time to make that chair.

He got really excited and ran to the living room.  This was going to be great, he thought. He spent a few minutes arranging the tools and then he was done! His chair was perfect!

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“Now, I can finally sit down and relax and enjoy all my hard work,” he said. As he sat, a sharp pain ripped through his whole body. He tried to lean back, but the screwdriver toppled over almost immediately.  This was not he imagined a chair to be like.  A bruised bottom and an even more bruised ego, he went for a walk to clear his mind.

It was apparent to him now: the tools were not meant to be a chair.  They were intended to build a chair, but not BE THE CHAIR. Ashamed of himself, he realized he had failed to do the one thing everyone in his town did. He got so distracted by finding the right tool, he forgot to build a chair.

Though, Johnny had wasted most of his life, he figured since he was still alive he still had time to build that chair. He went back to the tool shed and grabbed a whole bunch of tools. He used all the tools (imperfect and loud and hard and twisty) and made a chair. It was a lot different from the one he designed when he was a young boy. But, it was a chair nonetheless.

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The End.

 


 

Meet Marlie.

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She lives in a city where everyone’s soul purpose is to find a job and a spouse. She also is a Christian, so her relationship with God is pretty important to her. In fact, her true purpose in life is to know God and make God known.

When she was born, many people wondered  what she would do with her life, who she would marry, etc. Many prayed over her, for her health and well being. Some even prayed that she would come to know and worship the One True God.

Marlie grew up in school, learning how to write, read and do math.  She learned that God loved her unconditionally and had a great plan for her. She learned what she was good at and what she was not good at. She began to dream about who she would marry, how many pets she would own and her beautiful dreamy husband.

Marlie loves people,  she loves to talk with them, and make them laugh. She also really cares about if they like her or not. She often makes decisions about what to do based on how it would make someone else feel, usually neglecting her own feelings for the ’cause of being liked.’

Marlie was a certified and tested idealist. Her cup was not half empty or half full, it was overflowing with optimism. A lot of her teenage years was spent figuring out who she was, what she was good at and who she fit in with. Her college years were spent finding the right major  and the right friends. After college, she found a world open and waiting for her. Only it wasn’t open or waiting. Now was the time to find the perfect job and the perfect husband.

Years passed and passed. Floating from career to career, from living situation to living situation and dating relationship to dating relationship, she couldn’t find the right one.  Sure the job started out nice, but then it got hard so she left. The relationship started out great, but then the ‘butterflies’ faded and she was done. Her original purpose to know God and make God known was a distant memory as she headed into her 30’s, single and unemployed.  Nothing had made her happy like she wanted. No career had made her feel fulfilled, no man made her feel special. For the first time, the cup was half empty.

One night, she looked on her bookshelf and found a book. She blew the dust off the cover. It was a book she hadn’t touched since she was a young girl. The words flowed from the page into her heart.  She was loved, cherished, chosen for a purpose, and a Daughter of the King.  Tears began to fall, and she began to speak.
“God, I have wasted a lot of my life making gods out of men, my career and finding people’s approval. I know I’m not dead yet, so it’s still not too late to know You and to do your will. Help me use future career as a tool to serve you, not a way to find fulfillment. Help me find my identity in you and not in any relationship with a guy.”

She didn’t know what the rest of her life held, but she knew she could rest in the comfort of knowing God loved her and had a plan for her.

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The Ride of my Life

Two things:
1) I remember my dreams for days and even weeks after they happen in very good detail.

2) More than 90% of my dreams involve an amusement park of some sorts.

As great as this might sound it’s not. In real life, I love amusement parks. I love love love rollercoasters. But these dreams I have are never good dreams. Something always goes wrong. I’m stuck in line that never ends. Or once the line ends, I realize I don’t have enough tickets to ride. Sometimes I can’t even find the ride I’m looking for in my dream. And even when I do find it,  once I ride it I spend the whole time wishing I was riding something else.

These dreams started oddly enough when I started writing Facebook notes. i liked writing them because if I had a short little spiel to write about I could and I could tag the friends who I wanted to see it. As soon as I opened up that medium, God started speaking to me. Ideas of quasi-devotionals would hit me at the most random times, and I would stop everything and write. I’d be writing and my heart would pound, I’d get goosebumps or I’d be typing faster than my brain could think. God was saying “This, I want you to do this.” I’d kind of shake it off, but the amount of positive response I received over the years was beyond my imagination. My closest friends and  mentors would tell me:
“Marlie, writing is your gift. You should write a book. God has amazing things planned for you.” . Then, I remember, I had this moment and thought “Huh. Maybe, writing is my thing. Some people can sing. Some can dance. But I can write.”  And shortly after that clicked in my head, I started having amusement park dreams. Why? Well, I think I finally figured it out.  I’ll start with reality and tie it back to my dream just to keep things clear.

1) not qualified

Even with the knowledge that writing is my gift and the immense joy it has brought me to to glorify God with it, I struggle lot in the whole writing process. I’ve written a whole blog and deleted it out of fear. I have like six or seven half written blogs on my computer because I was convinced it’s dumb or no one wants to read it. Or that it is not biblically accurate. I want to write a book but I am afraid. I am afraid that I am not qualified enough. I am too young. I have too much to learn. I have to go seminary if I want to be a christian author or speaker. I am almost positive that I’ll reach this moment when I get to publish a book or go on a speaking tour and fail because I don’t know enough. It’s a silly fear right because God is providing everything I need but I am still afraid. Similar to the roller coaster dreams I have where I reach the front of the line to get on the ride but I don’t have enough tickets to ride it. I’m not qualified.

2) waiting…still waiting. 

I do not say all of this to build me up but to just state the frustration of the matter. I have had so many people from so many different walks of life say: “Marlie, God has great plans for you.” Or “Marlie, you are going to do great things. I can’t wait to see all that God have planned for you.” I can’t count how many times I have heard this. (I know they mean well because I say it to people as well. I’m genuinely excited to hear what they do with their life, too. But, that puts us young people in a perpetual state of waiting. No wonder we aren’t satisfied. We are waiting for our lives to start because in a way people are telling us that our lives have not started yet. Encourage people using the present tense. “You are doing great things.” “I can see God doing so much through you”)  So when a lot of people express how they excited are for me, I get excited too. Wondering what it is going to be like, imagining the future. I am so anxious and eager for this “great plan” to start. It is like my roller coaster dream. I wait in line for the whole dream, seeing other people ride it, hearing about the ride and how great it is, but never getting to ride it myself because I am still waiting for my turn. I am waiting…still waiting. Waiting for that dream of being a christian blogger/author/speaker to become a reality.

3) Comparison

Lately, I’ve been watching a ton of youtube. There’s a whole culture of people who post videos of themselves and their life experiences and get a huge response. As the world of Vlogs grow, I feel as though the blogging world is fading away. Sometimes I get bitter and say that  the blogging world isn’t as fun, or creative or awesome as the vlogging world. Frankly, I wish I had the ability to talk in front of camera and just word-vomit my devotions into a video. (people do that, and it works.)  I, however, was blessed to be an introvert so I do thrive in this environment of sitting and expressing myself through the written word. BUT, still I struggle with comparison. Wishing I could be a cool vlogger, a singer, a dancer, or good at any thing that people can see right a way. Being a good writer is tough because it isn’t out there for everyone to see all the time. Like with dancers, hey you dance, and then they do and they are good. I heard a quote once: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” How true is that. I am so robbed of daily joy because I am comparing myself, my talents, my life and gifts to those of another person. Last night, I had a dream that I was getting on a ride that looked really fun and I actually got on it! But instead of enjoying the ride I was on,  I was so focused on the extravagant and awesome looking ride that was in front of me,  the ride I was on ended and I realized I had missed the whole thing because I was focused on the cooler/better ride.

Let us not be a people who miss out on the joy of life because we are busy comparing our lives to someone else.

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The ride is yours.

Enjoy it.

Awake or asleep, it is yours to live.