Books and Bottles A few months ago, my friend Katie e-mailed me and said, “Mary, I just read this book and you’ve got to read it. It is changing my life.”

Now, Katie and I have been known to talk in the dramatic. Our lives are big and loud and messy, and we aren’t afraid to tell each other all about it. But there was something different in that short note. Something that made me stop, find the book online and buy it right then.

Even though the book didn’t sound interesting to me. Even though I was sure that I wouldn’t be changed by reading it. Even though I was a tad bit concerned that I’d just spent $15 for another book to collect dust on my nightstand.

And sure enough, that book came in the mail, and it sat on my table for weeks. Just staring at me. With its plain cover and irritating words like, “What if the life you really want, and the future God wants for you, is hiding right now in your biggest problem, your worst failure . . . your greatest fear?”

[Insert heavy sigh here.]

Let’s see a raise of hands…who’s surprised to hear that this book is, in fact, changing my life?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not disappointed that my friend was right. She knows me well and we’re very similar; how could she not know what kind of book would move me?

No, what’s eating me is the fact that I thought I already knew what God wanted. And it turns out I might have been wrong.

Based on a short story in the Old Testament (2 Samuel 23:20-21), In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson teaches that God has called us to a life of adventure, a life of challenges, a life of chasing lions.

And those of us who answer that call? We’re different.

“What sets lion chasers apart isn’t the outcome. It’s the courage to chase God-sized dreams. Lion chasers don’t let their fears or doubts keep them from doing what God has called them to do.”

As I read this book, I underlined, circled and highlighted section after passage after sentence after statement. If I hadn’t been afraid of waking up my daughter as I read late into the night, I would have jumped up and yelled, “Yeah! That’s what I’m talkin’ ‘bout!”

Because it seems I take on a Jersey accent when reading about God and His call on my life.

I tried not to devour this book in one gulp, as I often do with novels. But eventually, I came to the end. And after one more “Amen!” I put down my pen and set the book back on the table. I wasn’t sure what to do next. Of course, I wanted to review the book for my blog. I wanted to tell everyone about how great it was. Like Katie, I wanted to say to my friends, “You’ve got to read this book!”

But I couldn’t. I needed time to digest. And it was only when I left the book sitting on my nightstand and walked away that God really started to speak.

He didn’t shout and cheer, though. And he certainly didn’t have a funny accent. No, God just pricked my heart, poking, pulling, gently nudging me in a different direction.

Suddenly, a new message was everywhere I turned. I read blog posts that moved me. I heard songs that resonated with my heart. And I saw doors begin to open all around me.

Well, not all around me. The Lord certainly knows my limits – and more accurately, my inability to say no to any opportunity headed my way.

The words, the melodies, the projects – they all began to form a picture. Strangely, though, it wasn’t a picture of the lion I’d been talking, writing and praying about for the past couple of years.

As a matter of fact, God pointed out that perhaps I’d been hiding behind my grand plans and fancy dreams. For me, for now, my lion is engaging in today. Getting involved now. Not waiting to live until that big dream comes true, until that perfect chance crosses my path.

Just jump in? Here? But I thought I was going to be moving along soon. And I’ve tried it all here. I’ve stepped out, taken chances, opened up – and it has ended in hurt more often than not.

But that’s what God is telling me. The adventure, the blessing He has planned for me is right here, in this place, in this time. I just have to chase it.

What about you? What kind of adventure is God leading you toward today?

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  1. 1

    Mary… I think we are chasing the same lion, engaging in today. Exactly what I needed to hear today. ‘Not living until…’ Well, it is time to jump in! Thank you so much!

  2. 2

    Mary, this post struck a chord with me. I, too, used to live waiting for the big thing to happen before I would jump into life. It is when I realized the crippling effect this was having on my family, and essentially myself, that I made a choice to live now, to embrace the moment and enjoy life. Thank you for sharing your story.

  3. 3

    Thanks Mary for your thoughts…I also felt like I was done with the “here” and waiting for a big dream to happen. God has been teaching me that while I need to be prepared for the “here i am send me” moment, I also need to be ok with where He has put me now.

  4. 4

    What great insights and I related to this post on so many levels. Thank you. On a side note, I know Mark Batterson personally…he use to be my pastor…and how he comes across in his books is how he is in real life.

  5. 5

    Thank you for this. We moved across the country two years ago to chase the lion we felt God was placing in front of us, but lately I have struggled so so much with wanting to go back home. Thank you for the reminder to engage in today!

  6. 6

    …I think I’m going to order that book!
    Thanks Mary!!
    ~ Amy

  7. 7

    As a women, I’ve found society tells you these stages…”once you graduate, once you get a job, once you’re married and have kids…” we’re always waiting for the next thing. I live by Elizabeth Elliot’s line..”just do the next thing.” And mixed with the lion analogy, oh yes, that is so powerful. :)

  8. 8

    We have that book on the shelf too. Maybe I should start it today!

  9. 9

    Wow. I definitely must read that book!

  10. 10
    Angie W. says:

    As a SAHM with some dreams, I’ve been struggling with engaging with today–arg, the “dailiness” of it. Thank you for the encouragement and one more message from the Lord that this really is His plan, His best for me right now. Now to just rise up and do it…

  11. 11

    I just added that book to my ever-growing list! I can relate about needing to engage in today. I’m so good at setting goals but not actually doing anything about them because they seem so far off. It would appear my lion is actually about the here and now, too!

  12. 12

    I am on a lion hunt right now for the book sent out some emails to see if anyone has a copy I can read…can’t wait. Thank you;) for suggesting.

  13. 13

    I think one of the hardest things we imperfect humans can’t wrap our brains around is that we are all works in progress — and I mean that in the most positive of ways. Trusting HIM and knowing He’s got our back is so hard, but when we do that, he lets us know right where we are supposed to be. You know, those big Ah-ha moments. And for me, it’s usually when I’m up to my elbows in laundry, butt wipin’ and wondering is this REALLY what I’m supposed to be about Lord?! :)
    Beautiful post Mary — and I’m thinking I gotta get that book!

  14. 14

    Oh I so want to read that book right now, today! I love how passionate you are and it sounds wonderful–just like you!

  15. 15

    I think a lot of times I think I am “just a mom.” I know so many, many others like me. “Just moms.” We stay home, make food, feed our little baby birds, clean, do laundry, and basically just run the house. Some days it seems so insignificant. Thanks for the reminder that God can use even me to do something big. Even if it is being “just a mom.” :)

  16. 16

    WONDERFUL post! Just what I’m needing to hear right about now. Okay . . . now I’ve GOT to find that book. ;) Thanks so much for inspiring, in(couraging) and sharing!

  17. 17

    Like a lot of the other commenters, I’ve got to read that book. But what really got me was this part: “God pointed out that perhaps I’d been hiding behind my grand plans and fancy dreams. For me, for now, my lion is engaging in today. Getting involved now. Not waiting to live until that big dream comes true, until that perfect chance crosses my path”. That has really spoken to me. That’s my lion too.
    I am truly glad I took the time this afternoon to read this. So very good.

  18. 18

    Mary (awesome name by the way) Thank you so much for reminding me to engage in each moment of each day. Not to wait for bigger or better things. God needs me now. All I have to do is answer His call for today.
    Thank you! Thank you! for the gracious reminder. I am so getting this book. I can’t wait to read it!

  19. 19

    Love it, Mary. You rocked it, sista. Beautifully written, great message and I can’t wait to read the book!

  20. 20

    I don’t even know what to say, except “thank you!” Love this post, want the book, twittered about it. Thanks!

  21. 21

    I’m not a reader – I used to be. But this book sounds like something I should invest in. Having moved from my home town in April (HIS plan, not mine), I’m still waiting to see what God would have me do here, but I’m not moving…just sitting and waiting. I just started venturing out, but I’m still leery about what’s out there in this big city. I need to get out more and see what’s out there more. Then I’ll see what God wants of me right now, in this place. Thanks.

  22. 22

    I’ve had that book on my shelf for a little over a year now – you’ve convinced me to pull it off and read it! Thanks!

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  1. [...] August 2009:  (in)courage launched, and I was a part of it. To this day, I’m not sure why they asked me to write for the site, but I will never stop being thankful they did. [...]

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