Yesterday I wrote to a friend regarding a crisis she was going through. For days — weeks, actually — I’ve been virtually wordless when it comes to responding to emails, writing blogs, and especially writing Sky. I have managed to put a few words into my journal, but nothing for others’ consumption. It’s been too jumbled. For awhile I could do little more than try to list what I’d done in a day and wonder why I felt that would somehow validate me. In fact, two weeks ago this same friend had written at length regarding the crisis, not just to me personally, but to a circle of friends. I read of her trials, which are great, and felt for her, and prayed for her, but I had absolutely no words of response. I sat there, staring at the screen, and nothing happened.
It wasn’t my time to answer.
I spent last week following the advice in the books on introverts I’d recently acquired (finished one, almost finished with the other) about conserving personal energy — staying out of contact, resting, reading, napping, puttering, talking to the Lord. Resources are something He provides, even energy, and what I learned from reading was that sometimes He doesn’t allow you the time and solitude to recharge. Or maybe He does, but I just didn’t see it.
One thing for sure, I didn’t realize how important it was. We’re all given a certain amount of resources… time and energy being among them. I already knew that as a writer I need to guard my time, though that’s not always as easy as the Advisors of the World make it sound. Sometimes I can’t just give one thing primary importance in my life (well except for my relationship with God and the daily intake of doctrine), because I have many things that are important. They all “need” to be done as far as I can tell. And when I’m doing one of them, I find the energy to do the rest is being drained away. So if I decide to do the housework first and write second, too often the housework gets done, but not the writing. If I reverse the order, then the writing gets done but not the housework. I’ve done it both ways.
This whole issue of energy is what I hadn’t really considered. Or rather, while I’d noticed it, and gotten frustrated over my inability to manage it, I hadn’t really thought about managing it. I hadn’t thought — didn’t know — that there were ways to gain more energy apart from just going to sleep at night and waking up in the morning. The funny thing is, many of those ways were things I ended up doing anyway, then castigating myself because I was so “distractible” or so “lacking in self-discipline.”
But even as I’m writing this, I see that I’m making it more clear-cut, more “me in control” than it actually is. I’ve been told all my life that a routine is important, that self-discipline is important. I’ve been told a lot of things. I don’t disagree that establishing a routine is a very useful practice. But sometimes God doesn’t allow that. I’m coming to think that sometimes God brings us to a place where He wants all our attention. This morning I was reflecting on the fact that, so far as we can tell, Jesus didn’t really have a routine. Moreover, when people came to Him with a problem or a crisis (Jairus comes to mind) instead of dropping everything and rushing to the dying girl, the verb indicates he meandered. He stopped to heal a woman. He took His time. Or perhaps I should say, He followed the Holy Spirit’s timing.
Pastor Bob has taught in recent years that he no longer believes that all of the “miracles” that Jesus performed were based on His deity… for example, the fish with the coin in its mouth that He sent Peter to get to pay the tax. I guess I’d always thought that He made the coin right then and put it in the fish’s mouth for Peter to find. Pastor suggested that He was simply so in tune with the Spirit’s leading, that He knew a fish that had picked up a coin in the sea would “happen” to be there at the same time as Peter was. I like that. It makes sense and it fits more with God’s ways as I know them than just to create a coin and stick it in the fish’s mouth out of the blue. If He was going to do that, why didn’t He simply draw the coin of out thin air? And how many times does God lead us into the exact right place at the exact right time?
We’re to be imitators of Christ and being in tune with the leading of the Holy Spirit on a daily basis is one of the ways we do that.
Which, it seems, is how I wrote this post. I had intended to write about some of what I finally had words to express to my friend yesterday and somehow… never quite got to that. So I’ll have to save that for tomorrow.