Yesterday, a friend told me — sternly — that I need to write. So here I am — staring down a whole lot of white space, the first few pages of The War of Art spinning in my mind, yesterday’s sermon messing with my head. This is discipline as sure as sure can be — sweaty, stinky nothing-but-sheer-force-of-will kind of writing you’re getting here.
I suppose I will start with the story of my friend, and why he spoke sternly, and what he said. After all, it is a pretty cool story.
I was pounding a treadmill at the gym. I looked over and saw a guy a few machines down who looked an awful lot like a guy who had been a contestant on season 11 of the Biggest Loser. That show is the only show I purposely watch on tv, and I follow it closely. I knew this one contestant and his daughter, who was also on the show, lived in my area, so it was not out of the range of possibility that it was him. I thought it was cool, but then told myself it probably wasn’t him, and I went home. Of course, I did look him up on line, found his Facebook page, and friended him, and as I did I became more convinced it actually was him.
I went on with life and a few months later — this past February, to be exact — I was huffing away on the StairMaster and I once again saw him walk by. I watched him for a while, more and more convinced that it was him. And as I was stepping away, God spoke to my spirit very clearly that I was supposed to go talk to him.
Now, understand something: I don’t go up to talk to celebrities. I simply can’t ever think of anything I could say that they would find the least bit interesting. So I’m more the just-stand-there-with-your-mouth-open-and-stare sort of fan. This has been my M.O. ever since my acting days when I met Kevin Kline, Tom Hulce, John Malcovich, Vanessa Redgrave, and numerous members of the Pogues.
So my conversation on the treadmill with God went sort of like this:
God: Go talk to Jay.
Me: I don’t want to go talk to Jay.
God: I know. But I want you to go talk to Jay.
Me: What am I supposed to say? Hi! God told me to come talk to you?
God: I want you to go and tell him about The Life Christian Church. Invite him to come.
Me: Why do I have to be the one to invite him to TLCC? Pastor is the one who has all the celebrity friends. Why can’t HE invite him to come to TLCC?
God: Because I’m asking YOU.
Me: But I don’t wanna.
By that time, Jay had left the gym. Let me just say that by the end of our conversation, God had made it very clear that He wanted me to talk to Jay and I had reluctantly promised that next time I saw him I would.
That weekend just happened to be a weekend I was able to spend in intense prayer, praise and reflection. My wonderful husband had taken the kids to grandma’s and I didn’t have to work, so I had a lot of time to just be alone. So later that day, at home, I was blasting praise music and folding towels when it suddenly felt like God spoke into a spiritual megaphone aimed straight at my heart: GO FACEBOOK JAY NOW AND INVITE HIM TO TLCC!
Me: Okay, okay!
So I dropped the towel mid-fold and went over to my computer. I opened it up, surfed on over to Facebook, found Jay’s page, hit the message button and sat there expectently, ready for God to give me the words. Waiting for download!
Really???? What the heck am I supposed to say to this guy? God told me to invite you to church? Yeah, that’ll be effective. I was folding towels and I heard from God, He’d like to see you now.
Eventually, I did send him a message. It included the phrase, “I hope you don’t think I’m a wackadoodle,” and I’m sure that was what elicited his friendly, generous response within the hour. Because he gave me his cell phone number, warmly accepted my invitation and a few weeks later I was meeting Jay and his beautiful wife Kim at their local Starbucks.
This is where our paths cross and our stories collide. In many ways, to tell the rest would be to tell Jay’s story, and that’s not mine to tell. Suffice it to say that as a result of our conversation, not only are Jay and his family now members of TLCC, but their company is filling a huge creative need for our church. God really had His stamp on this the whole time, and had a plan that was so much bigger than me, Jay, or even the two of us getting together for coffee. It is just one of the instances that makes me feel like I am a heroine in a beautiful novel that God is writing, and I often can’t wait to turn the page and see what happens next.
So yesterday, I saw Jay at church and he asked me how my business is going. I told him it was going well enough. And it is — but truth be told, I am so on fire for Jesus right now I’m not sure I care. I just want to be used by God in a massive way. If that is through my Mary Kay business than so be it. If not, then I release it as well. I am in a place of peace and supplication — a place where I happily do the work before me and trust God to guide my path. I believe He’s got something HUGE that’s about to happen.
God’s been talking to me a lot about writing, lately. Writing, public speaking and studying the Bible. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to write about, who would listen to anything I might think of to say, or how to go about doing scholarly research into the scriptures, but this has been what’s on my heart.
So when Jay asked me about my business, he said, more seriously than I’ve ever really heard him be since I’ve met him: Listen. Because of what you did when you reached out to me, you will always be a part of my story. All of the people I am going to reach out to and change their lives will be because of what you did, when you listened to God and spoke to me even though you thought you were crazy. Well, now I’m doing that back to you. I’m not saying that Mary Kay isn’t supposed to be part of your life. I’m sure that network is going to be very important for you. But I believe God is telling me to tell you that you have to do Kerry, not just what Mary Kay wants you to do. I believe you have a book that needs to be written, and that you have presentation skills and speaking skills that need to be used. I think you are resisting it, and I am telling you that someone else needs to hear what you have to say. So stop resisting it. You need to jump in. It’s scarier because you won’t have the whole safety net of Mary Kay around you. But you have to do it. Someone needs to hear it. (Disclaimer: this is not verbatim, of course, but it’s the general gist of what he was saying.)
And he speaks the truth. If someone were to ask me what’s the one thing you’re really, really good at? It’s writing. This particular post is not necessarily indicative of my skill in this area — but honestly, even I surprise myself sometimes with my essays. I feel that they are from someplace — or someone — else. They come few and far between but when they do, even I am impressed. I think everyone needs to have one thing like that — one thing they just think they totally rock at.
The other thing I would do for free if someone would let me is to speak in public uplifting, inspiring messages. To teach, to train, to share and inspire — Oh my gosh. What a privilege. What an honor. I would do it in a heart beat. If I had anything important to say. If anyone wanted to listen.
So in the end? I dunno. It’s a novel. God’s novel. Will she lead her Mary Kay unit into the Cadillac, earn the Top Director Trip to China and become a National Sales Director by 2015? Will her National Area be one that invites and leads women from all over the country to Christ? Or will she write a book and become a public speaker, preaching the Good News to anyone who’ll listen? Will she go to seminary and become a Bible Teacher? What is her role in the ongoing drama of what God’s doing at TLCC?
Turn the page with her to find out.