Marji Laine

I Love a Good Mystery!

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Brave Enough

Last week, I went with my girls to see the new Disney movie Brave. I really thought the topic of courage would be more obvious in this kids flick, but the movie examined several different situations that called for different types of courage.

First, there was the dad’s type of courage. He battled a giant bear and lived to tell about it. Tall and strong, he adopted the icon as his logo, decorating his castle with stuffed examples of his bear-hunting exploits. His courage didn’t penetrate any depth of character, but stayed on top in a he-man, I-can-do-anything sort of way.

A second type of courage fell to the mother in the story. Though the dad didn’t have much of a kingly attitude, she exhibited queenly behavior at all times and expected the same from her daughter. Her courage probed deeper into her character. Believing that she must always be at her best, she had the boldness to rebuke a whole roomful of warriors with utter silence. She stood up to her champion husband as well. Not like an argumentative vixen, but more like Jimeny Cricket, the conscience that her husband lacked.

The third type of courage displayed lay ingrained in the main plot of the story. Princess Merida wanted to be her own person and displayed a willingness to do whatever required to gain that goal. This wasn’t quite of the same flavor as the disobedient, headstrong Little Mermaid. Merida made mistakes, but sincerely sought a way to establish her personality while still pleasing her mom.

open doorAnd her determination took courage, as any dream likely will.

I do recommend Brave – my teenager and pre-teens liked it okay. Witch’s work, curses, and the magic of legends can be a turn-off for some folks. And the attacks can be frightening for the very young. (Had a two-year-old near us that cried several times.)

The movie got me thinking about my own dreams and am I brave enough to push through and accomplish them. At this point, 40 pages from the end of my re-writes, I don’t know. I promised my sweet hubby that I would shop my novel as soon as I completed the rewrites, but now that time is so near.

But if I don’t try to sell my books, I’ll never know if I can sell them. The noose tightens.

Do you ever feel that way? Like you have to go forward, but you don’t want to see what’s in the next room for fear that whatever is there is worse than what you have? Welcome to my summer. So what do you do about it?


Finding Your Path

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost – 1916 (public domain)

Have you experienced the ecstasy of being in exactly the right place? Completing a task that fit your talents and passions perfectly? Ahhh. You know you’re where you’re supposed to be. You know what you’re supposed to do. The satisfaction encompasses everything else.

Nothing beats that feeling. For those who strive to follow the Lord’s leading, I’m convinced this contentment confirms His will. Likewise, the opposite is true when His will isn’t confirmed.

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Ps. 37:4. When I’m focusing on bringing Him honor. When my whole purpose is to please Him, then He lets me know what He wants me to do. He puts the passion in my heart, stimulates my imagination, and stirs the enthusiasm.

Then sometimes, I find myself trying to force something to be His will. I try to make what I’m doing fit, like a piece from the wrong puzzle, and end up with nothing but frustration. God uses that, too. Likewise, the restlessness I feel bleeds to all other parts of my life. When His hand isn’t on my activity, not only am I gonna be miserable, but the activity won’t be blessed by my involvement and the person who should be in my place has to wait until I move.

For instance, only two people are needed to teach 5th-grade Bible Study. Say I’ve got one of those spots with Anna, but I don’t like the job. My stomach clutches every Saturday night as I plan the lessons. I’m desperately relieved every time one of the lessons end. And when asked why I do it, my answer is that I’m needed there.


Fork IN The RoadEither I’m not serious about trying to follow God’s will, or I’m not needed in that place. If I’m not following, I need to re-evaluate my purposes for everything I’m doing. If I’ve got that step checked off, then I have to remember what delight feels like. Contentment. Peace. Confidence. If my activity is missing those blessings, then all I am is busy.

See, what I don’t know is God’s plan, though He’s trying to help me see it with physical reactions. I don’t know that Bette is looking for her first opportunity of service, or that she longs to spend time with kids since she can’t have any of her own. And meanwhile, I also don’t know that the perfect opportunity, something that I can sink my creative talons into and get excited about, dangles to the point of failure because I’m not there.

I hang on to the wrong ministry for the right reasons, but the reasons aren’t good enough when I’m ignoring what God is trying to tell me. IF I’m serious about working for Him, He DOES tell me when I’m on the right path, and consequently the wrong one.

What is He telling you?