Ten years ago I got the crazy idea that I wanted to be a writer.
After completing a homeschool creative writing project when I was about nine years old, I discovered that penning stories made me feel something I hadn’t felt before. And from that point on I determined in my heart that I wanted to write for the rest of my life.
Every year that followed that moment, I dreamed of being an author. I dreamed of seeing my writing in print.
Then something different happened when I was sixteen. God asked me to do something I hadn’t really attempted before. He asked me to write a non-fiction book that was a call to my generation to use their lives for God, and pursue the dreams He has given them.
Put simply, God said to me, “If you could only ever write one more book, what would you want it to say?”
So I took a leap of faith and I attempted something that scared me, something that was hard, but something that would be an incredible journey closer to God.
I finished writing my first published book, I Dare You: Finding Your Passion and Lighting Your World, when I was seventeen. The purpose of my book was to inspire my generation to do something big for God with their lives and to pursue the passion He placed in their heart.
And this is how I saw inspiration…
Have you ever been to a candle lighting ceremony? Maybe your church, like mine, does a candle lighting around Christmas? I was sixteen when I attended a candle lighting at an outdoor music festival that I will never forget. It was huge, there were candles lit everywhere.
As I stared out at all of the candles, I decided that this must be what inspiring someone looks like.
I mean, the hill started out completely black with only one person holding a lit candle. That small flame they held in their hand probably didn’t look like it could do much amongst the huge crowd. Yet all the person holding the candle had to focus on was lighting the dark candle of the person next to them. As each person focused on doing that, the whole hill became transformed with a bright, vibrant light.
What if we viewed changing the world that way?
What if we viewed inspiring people that way?
For truly, you don’t have to do some great and mighty act to change the world. Maybe you will. But if you don’t, you can still change the world by focusing on the person next to you. Maybe you won’t inspire someone by standing on a stage somewhere and speaking into a microphone. But you can still inspire the person next to you by speaking encouragement into their life.
If you view your life like that one lit candle and you focus on reaching out and touching the lives of those around you every day, it will create a ripple effect that impacts history.
After writing my book, I Dare You, I learned about self-publishing and a great company called CreateSpace. My dreams of becoming a published author were almost coming true. All I had to do was decide which of the books I’d written I wanted to publish first.
I had many novels I’d written, stories that were a part of my heart. Yet, God tugged on me and pushed me towards publishing I Dare You first.
The thought terrified me.
This book was my heart and soul on paper. It was my testimony of what God has taught me and done in my life. There was no way I could publish this book first. What if it wasn’t good enough? What if no one liked it?
And God said, “What if this is your candle?”
That was the moment I knew this book was the candle God had given me to inspire the people around me.
Publishing that book wasn’t easy. In fact, it was one of the hardest things God ever asked me to do.
Yet publishing that book was truly my candle, which is why the cover has a candle on the front. I wanted a candle on the front cover because I wanted it to remind you that you too have a candle.
Your life is a candle and you can choose to light the dark places around you, or you can choose to keep your flame all to yourself.
It’s truly up to you.
How will you use your candle?
Will you inspire the people around you every day? Family, friends, co-workers, strangers? Will you make a difference, even in the small things?
The choice is yours.
But please, make your choice wisely.
Spread your light.
I dare you.
Isabella Morganthal (20) is a homeschool high school graduate who loves Jesus with all of her heart. She is a drummer, writer, creative arts director, and modern-day abolitionist.