Slaying A Monster in An Inconvenient Moment

(Why You Should Move Forward Even When You Aren’t Feeling It)

I once had a nightmare in which I needed to rescue a sick, dying man. I tracked him down to the basement of a distant house, but didn’t dare descend that dark staircase.

He was guarded by a terrible monster that looked like a mashup of bear, lion, werewolf, and devil, and no one could kill this thing. The main floor of the house was full of people praying that God would remove the monster, prayers that grew in intensity every time the horrific thing let out a wall-shaking roar. Being a woman of faith, I hit my knees and joined them.

We prayed all night. As the room glowed orange with the first beams of dawn, I heard the man’s scream again, followed by another earsplitting roar from the monster. That was it. The time for prayer had grown into the time for the next step.


I stood and left the still-praying crowd, flung open the basement door, and stood eyeball to waist with the monster, which was all muscles and teeth and glowing red eyes, and it snarled hellishly like the queen alien confronting Ellen Ripley.

Then I reached up and broke it’s neck with my bare hands. It was like snapping a twig. All roar. All fear. All sound and fury, signifying nothing.

I woke in real life as rescue workers in my dream ran past me down the basement steps and saved the dying man.

Fast forward to now.

This quote is on my mirror: “In this moment, are you spending your time in a way that serves your purpose?”

I started thinking about this because I set a three-month goal last fall to initiate my career as a speaker. I’d put together a focus group, deliver my first speeches, and start editing.

Then I blinked.

Five months were gone, and I was still locked into the wishing, wishing, wishing phase. I had worked on other things– worthy things, of course. I took a second job, then added several new freelance clients to my first job. Then there was the car accident, the website I helped launch that wound up in HuffPo, the trip three states north to hold my dying grandmother’s hand. There was a surprise case of pneumonia, then auditions and dates and appointments and important phone calls to family and friends.

I realize now that there will never be a good time for the genesis of my speaking career, but the time to stand up and strike is mostly certainly now.

Each step forward confirms my belief in the people I have been sent to serve, belief in the God who loves them, and belief in myself as someone who is declared worthy.

My friends, greatness isn’t found in the thought a warmer tomorrow or a sparkling, brand-new year. Greatness is found in the gray, damp-basement-smelling imperfection of this moment and in the brave souls who seize it.

Minutes — little sixty second snatches of time — are the currency of greatness.

I hope you don’t waste those minutes hating yourself, doubting when you should hope, cowering in fear when you should be brave.

I hope you redeem them for greatness.


Photo via MilosMilos at


2 thoughts on “Slaying A Monster in An Inconvenient Moment

  1. dilemmamike says:

    “In this moment, are you spending your time in a way that serves your purpose?” I love this quote. It’s so easy to get side tracked or derailed from our path to purpose. Great post!

  2. Bryan Entzminger says:

    Teri, i totally relate with that comment about blinking a few months away here and there. I was frustrated about some challenges I was having a couple weeks ago and Steve Grossman reminded me that, even when I’m “stuck,” God’s moving if it’s His plan. I’m resting in that.

    What can I do to help you launch your speaking career?

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