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Your Turn: Cleaning House

If I share this with you, please promise not to write me off forever as a nerd. Recently, on a mission to tidy my room and discard things that clutter my life, I came across Mosby’s Medical Dictionary. It took up valuable real estate on my bookshelf, leaving me to relegate my cherished copy of Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy to awkward overflow space on the shelf above. In the three years since graduating college, how much do you think I’ve used Mosby’s? Well, perhaps none. Should be an easy decision to give it away, right? Not for me. I realize most people probably would not be attached to a dictionary. Why would I? Well, I may or may not be known to get excited about such things as microbiology and protein structure and World War II and flavonoids. And I may or may not have spent a Friday evening last year perfectly content to lie in my room and read up on the physiology of bones in one of my college textbooks. Now that I’ve got that off my chest, perhaps it makes more sense why I would begrudge letting go of Mosby’s. Even as a nerd, though, why would I cry as I carried that book to the give-away pile?

Working in my university library my senior year, I came across Mosby’s on a discard cart in the belly of the building. As a staff member, I could take what I wanted from that cart. Months away from graduating with honors, I believed I would start an internship to become a registered dietitian in just a few months, the final step in realizing my career aspirations. Of course, Mosby’s would benefit my career as an allied health professional. Besides, I would feel just a little bit smarter having that on a shelf in the Someday office of Allie Wertenberger, R.D. So I rescued Mosby’s from the recycle bin. Soon after giving Mosby’s a loving home, I learned I did not receive a spot in a dietetic internship. My eager heart shattered as the door slammed in the face of my diligently fostered dream.

Mosby’s came home with me after college — and by home, I mean to my parent’s home — as I was left without the career I worked so hard to achieve. In the three years since college, my life has taken such a different trajectory than the one I fought to attain. Yet, as the dust settles after that dream fell to the ground, I see One greater than I guiding my steps. My circumstances, even the most painful and trying of them since graduating, have not come about by accident. Over time, though the haze of my limited human perspective remains, I see with utmost confidence the hand of a loving God in my circumstances, where before I had only seen disappointment and disillusionment. Jesus has orchestrated the events of my life as a part of a higher, grander story. In the recent pages of this story, I sense Him putting new, tender, unexpected dreams in my heart.

Full of emotion, I walked down the stairs with Mosby’s in my hand and tears in my eyes. Mosby’s represented a dream. A dream that has died, one that I do not at this time see Jesus resurrecting. The Goodwill pile where I laid that old friend became for me an altar of sacrifice, of surrender. There, as I let that book go, another part of me died — my plans, my dreams, my goals. But as more of me dies, I have a greater capacity for True Life, Jesus in me.

My bookshelf now has more space, space for new loves, like Bonhoeffer. With that surrender of a dream, my heart also has room for Jesus to plant and nurture new dreams, His dreams for my life.

What do you still cling to that is not from our loving Savior Jesus? Around what do your knuckles grow white fighting for control? Will you allow Jesus to hold that? He has plans and purposes for your life far above your own. But He calls you first to the cross, where you and your dreams and your will must die. Will you trust Him enough to die so that He can give you unending life?

 When she’s not blogging, Allie Wertenberger learns to see the blessings in her job as a gym attendant and Certified Personal Trainer and enjoys the beauty of Colorado from the top of a 14,000-foot mountain as often as she can.

If you would like to contribute a post to the Boundless blog’s “Your Turn” Friday feature, see “Writers Wanted” for more details.

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