I haven’t written for at least 7 months. I’ve recycled a few writings, but I haven’t written anything new. I have put this piece off for a long time, and today’s the day. I’m just gonna sit and get it down.
Last year, I promised one thing. I promised to write nothing unless moved to do so. And it’s been quiet in the writing room. It’s dusty in there, but it’s okay. I’ve learned a lot over the past several months. God surprised me in ways I might have missed, but I’m so glad I didn’t. I got “schooled,” so to speak.
When I started writing, I promised myself a year. Let’s see what happens, I said. Very well, I said. So, I wrote a lot. In many ways, I loved writing, but I found the “writing world” very strange. The Christian writer’s camp felt extra odd because it wasn’t what I’d expected. For some reason, I forgot that business is business, regardless of ideology.
I went to a conference last July. It was the crossroad of my “writing year,” and I was anxious to see what God would show me over that weekend. People love this conference. I mean, they LOVE it; I did not. I could not shake the weird cloud, and I could not wait to get home. The message was undeniably clear – that’s enough, now. I went home, and I didn’t understand. I really felt obedient in writing and going ahead with this conference. Why would He lead me all this way only to shut the door? Because He’s God. And His ways are far above and beyond my ways. That’s why. Three weeks after the shut door, a perfectly suited teaching job opened at my old high school. The same high school our daughter was starting the following week. It was one of those situations where God didn’t let me think or ponder or wrestle; He just PUT me.
So, why all the writing? Because it was.
Why the conference? To show me it was time to stop.
And that’s enough for me. I don’t need to know His rationale. What I know is that He leads. When we follow with faith and trust, He equips us with exactly what we need for as long as we need it. My life – and yours! – in His hands is magnificent. Praise God.
I have done a lot of thinking and pondering over the past 8 months. Here are some final reflections:
- You simply cannot fail if you’re living obediently to God’s will for our lives. Failure isn’t reaching the end of a chapter. Failure is refusing to move on to the next. Failure is beating yourself against a closed door when a wide-open door stands to the left or the right. Failure is pounding on the closed door instead of waiting expectantly in the hallway for the next one to open. Our lives are a continuum, and He is our Author. Nothing happens for nothing.
2. Pay close attention to His will for your life vs. your will for your life. Pray for wisdom and the ability to discern well. He’s given us His Spirit and will, beyond doubt, lead exactly where we’re to be when we’re to be there. No sooner, no later.
3. Handle your “dreams” carefully; quickly, well-meaning goals and intentions become idols. Be wary of people who lure you by promises of “making your dreams come true.” My life’s purpose has nothing to do with my dreams and everything to do with fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Period.
4. Read the Bible. Human beings write just fine, but they’re human beings. Human beings fail. We’re prideful. We’re tempted and led astray so easily. God’s Word never, ever fails. When rooted in Him and His Word, we are so much better equipped to see and hear and discern.
5. God’s ability to move in your life has nothing to do with your strength and everything to do with your weakness. Be quiet. Pay attention. Seek His face through Word and prayer. Be moveable and moldable. Be willing to BE moved and molded.
6. God’s plan for your life may look very different than your plan for your life. Stay away from “I will’s” and “I’ll never’s.” Both are rooted in pride and off-mark ideology. Who are you? Who am I?
7. There’s no down time. It’s all learning. Certain seasons are less painful than others, some lessons take place on mountaintops and others in deep valleys. Life is not about me. Or you. It’s about walking in the way He’s laid before us. He’s always teaching us. He teaches us in the quiet, in the storm, in the beginning, middle, and end. Pay attention. Pray for wisdom. He will show you. It’s a promise.
8. Our children are growing quickly. Attend well. Our window of influence is brief. When we become parents, the cultivation of our children’s hearts comes first. They are treasured by the King of Kings. He gave His Son for their lives. Parenting is hard, and especially in the first decade, there aren’t many visible fruits of labor. It’s easy to get distracted and lured by the instant gratification of “likes” and “views,” but these are fleeting. Empty. Fill your children. In doing so, you are cultivating the Kingdom of God. You are investing in priceless, eternal treasure. I love this quote by Mother Teresa: What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.” We change the world and fulfill our calling most effectively within four little walls.
9. Thank you. Over the past 18 months, so many of you have offered encouragement and kind words. I appreciate you, and thank you for the prayers. We serve a great and awesome God; we are rooted together in Christ; life is not supposed to be easy, and we look ahead to that great day of eternal reunion and celebration. Amen!