I don’t want to get up when my alarm goes off at 5:00 am. This is quiet time I strategically set aside for God and writing every morning. I’m heavy with discouragement about the state of my writing. My latest submission to a popular website wasn’t picked up. On the surface, I handle it well but underneath, I worry that my well of God inspired writing is running dry. The disconnect with God feels almost tangible. Last night, I went to bed with every intention of getting back in the saddle, but this morning, I hit the snooze button several times. Somewhere in the middle of that subconscious state of clarity, I make up my mind.
I’m not getting up. Forget it. I’m too old for this. I have nothing fresh to write about and nothing significant is coming out of it anyhow. What’s the point?
But I’m still so unsettled, I can’t fall back asleep. Finally, the guilt pushes me out of my warm bed and I shuffle stiffly into the kitchen. Draped across the kitchen counter, waiting for my coffee to brew, I groggily scroll the internet on the iPad, shopping for a storage bench or chaise lounge to put at the foot of my bed. This may seem insignificant but it’s not. I’m constantly tempted to fall into distraction when I should be focusing my entire self on God.
This is God’s time, whispers the Holy Spirit.
But I’m feeling defiant. I throw a quiet spiritual tantrum and continue browsing. Finally, coffee cup in hand, I sit down at my desk and reluctantly pick up my bible. With my forehead down, pressed to its worn cover, I pray,
God, what am I doing wrong? Why do I feel so flat? I thought that we were doing this writing thing together and now I feel alone. I’m without any direction. I feel so uninspired. Please show me what I’m doing wrong. Please help me do something right to get myself back to where I was when we started this whole blog thing.
Maybe the problem is I’ve started paying too much attention to the writing time and not enough attention to the prayer time, I think. But just as quickly as the thought surfaces, I feel in my gut that I have the green light to focus more on the writing today. Instead of opening up a new Word document, I decide to sign on to a website that encourages and offers training to writers like me . At the top of the page is a podcast with Shelen Bryant. I’ve never heard of her but I click on the podcast and listen to her interview.
After being challenged by a friend, Shelen traveled all the way to Africa just to find out if the child she sponsored financially was actually a real person. As a sponsor of two Compassion International children, I’ve always wondered the same thing so I’m immediately intrigued. While she was there, (yes, her sponsored child does, in fact, exist) she saw the desperate need of this child’s family and in the village itself. Moving into action, she starting a non-profit organization to help the poor, buying beds, mosquito nets, shoes, and clothes. Now she is renovating whole villages, even building kitchens in orphanages.
Amazing. What a clear and awesome mission. Will God use me in some powerful way someday, I wonder?
“God wants us to be all in,” Shelen is saying to the interviewer, pointing out how the disciple Peter was the only one willing to jump out of the boat and the only one to experience that “walk on water” moment. All the disciples loved Jesus but they would not get out of the boat because it represented comfort and safety to them. Comfort and safety paralyze us.
It absolutely reminds me of what God has already prepared in my heart and how far he’s brought me in dealing with my problems of fear.
The interviewer asks her about overcoming doubt, specifically what God would say about thinking we are too old to start a new journey.
This touches me in a way I’m not expecting and I’m surprised at the stinging behind my eyes. I listen intently, staring down the forehead wrinkles reflecting in the computer monitor.
Shelen answered, “As long as there is air in my lungs, God is not finished with me. In the whole scope of things, the universe, God’s kingdom, God isn’t confined to time. I might as well be five years old. If God has a plan, age doesn’t matter. When we feel these things, we need to go straight to the bible. He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. God will cut right through all that negativity.”
Outside, dawn is breaking. There is a soft violet hue shining through the sheer curtains in my den.
She goes on. “Even if we feel unqualified in what we are trying to accomplish, God is the one who’s qualified. We need to submit to God’s authority and become women under God’s control. God is the great qualifier. When we make our little missions about God and not about ourselves, it totally changes our vantage point. That is why we must stay close to scripture because it will always bring you back to truth.”
I pick at a loose corner on my bible cover, pressing my thumb into the hard edge of its compressed pages.
“It is so easy to get off track and forget the mission statement. One thing I do know for sure, I don’t want to succeed in something that doesn’t matter, no matter how big it is or how much it promises.”
I lean back in my chair, nodding.
When speaking about the evolutionary challenges of her organization, she quotes Philippians 1:6, “He who has begun a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.”
I stare at the far wall, releasing the breath I’d been holding.
Then she says, “God’s plans cannot be thwarted. Sometimes we block God from what he wants to do. God is faithful. We are not.”
There is a pregnant pause. Finally, the interviewer sighs. “Wow. Someone out there needed to hear that.”
This blog post is a part of Jill Savages Third Thursday Blog Hop themed Unleash Your Power to Inspire. Please visit www.jillsavage.org for more great reading.