Remember VeggieTales? If you're like me, you probably still remember the storylines and silly songs from this animated video series featuring talking, God-loving vegetables that was highly popular in the 80s and 90s. What you may not know is that, 18 years ago, this successful enterprise went into bankruptcy. The creator of the series, Phil Vischer—after years of great success and accolades in his field—said good-bye to his dream come true.
Ten years ago, I heard Vischer speak at a professional convention in Chicago, and then a few years ago I finally read his book Me, Myself & Bob. Vischer tells the story of how he watched his dream die. And this story doesn't have the fairytale ending where the hero gets his dream back. Nope. VeggieTales is now owned and operated by someone else. (Not to worry, though: Vischer got a different happy ending.)
I want to share with you the four lessons Vischer shared with us that evening. The first three relate more (but not exclusively) to creators, artists, and writers, but the last one applies to all of us...
- Bigger is not necessarily better.
- If you're looking for what God has for you, look for a unique need that you can fill in a unique way.
- Listen to your audience.
- What are you holding on to? Let go of your ego. Let go of the outcomes.
Vischer said: "If God gives you a dream and it comes to life and then it dies, what does that mean? Maybe God wants to know what is more important to you: your dream or Him? Once He sees that, the dream may come back to life... but it may not. But that's okay because now you'll have God."
Anything we're not willing to let go of, even the identity we find in the work we do for God, is an idol.
What are you holding on to today?
Five more quotes from Phil:
✔ "If I don't know what God wants me to do, I need to put my nose in His Word."
✔ "The impact we have for God doesn't come when we pursue impact, but when we pursue God."
✔ "The most important thing is not the work we do for God; the most important thing is God."
✔ "If I give God lordship of my life, where I am in 5 years or 10 years is none of my business."
✔ "Stress is not a fruit of the Spirit!"