Today I got into the office at 10am (a miracle in itself) and spent an hour clearing my desk of all the miscellany left over from the last month — the annual Christmas letter, photo albums I was making, stuff from the blog migration, notes on the new website design, stuff from doctors (my long time primary care physician resigned Dec 31, so I must find a new one) as well as changing insurance and all that goes with my hubby’s retirement.
Finally, though, it was cleared and time at last to get back to work. One of the first things I do in my writing routine is write in my writing log.
Today I found myself reflecting on how God has been taking me through the confusion of what exactly does “it doesn’t depend on me” mean? Ditto, “I’m not the one battling my flesh, the Holy Spirit is.” And “It’s futile to get on a works program of trying to control whatever your area of weakness is because you are destined to fail.”
What sort of things does one do in adhering to those concepts? How exactly does the Spirit work against the flesh in the lives of born again Christians? Is it a sort of magical process behind the scenes? Is it let go and let God, where you stop trying to do whatever it is (or trying not do whatever it is) and just let Him “take over?”
Honestly, I’m still not clear on it. Do I just trust Him to move me to write and if I’m moved to do other things, then it’s “Oh well. That must have been His plan for me today”?
Except it’s very clear that His plan for me is to write The Other Side of the Sky. He wouldn’t have given me a contract for it, if that wasn’t His plan. He wouldn’t have given me the gracious and long-suffering publishers He did, if that wasn’t His plan. He wouldn’t have given me the files and notebooks full of notes and plans and character sketches, along with seven completed chapters, if that wasn’t His plan…
And frankly, the ‘wait for Him to move me and oh well if He doesn’t’ method has not worked out very well. Granted I have been inundated with intrusions over the last month(s), as related in my previous blog post. But I’m thinking now, that at some point, that has to stop. I just have to start saying no to other things and yes to going into the office and concentrating on the work.
Not surprisingly, the lessons I’ve been receiving, both from Lighthouse Bible Church and elsewhere (Elisabeth Elliot’s Daily Devotional site for one) are moving me back from the extreme edge of the aforementioned position to something maybe in the middle.
Because the one thing I am clear on is that I haven’t done ANY writing really for far too long and I’m thinking I cannot continue in the current vein of thinking and its resultant “schedule”… where I do my adapted Flylady routine related to housekeeping then Bible reading and prayer and by the time I get to writing, I’m out of gas, or something else has come up, or I get distracted and caught up in something that in the big picture doesn’t matter so much, but whose insignificance I can’t seem to see that when I’m in it…
Recent lessons and readings have been emphasizing the fact that we don’t just float along like jellyfish waiting for whatever comes, trusting that God is moving both us and the currents we float in, but rather that there have to be some decisions made on our part.
We are given commands as Christians, after all: do not worry, do not be dismayed, stop lying, stop stealing, stop using your tongues to tear others down, but instead use them to build others up… Be kind, tenderhearted… do your work heartily as to the Lord…work with your hands…
God would not give us commands intending that we ignore them. Nor would He give us commands that we, as Church age believers, are incapable of executing. In fact, one of the hallmarks of being Church age believers is that we receive at salvation the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit to aid us in doing things we could never do in our flesh.
Ephesians 4:22ff gives us the outline of how we are to do it: lay aside the old man/way, be renewed in the spirit of your minds (through the Word of God), “and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
Only the second step is passive — something that’s done to us (we don’t renew our minds, they are renewed by the Spirit and the Word) — but the other two involve our will to desire to do what we’ve been told to do and to choose at the very least to attempt to carry it out.
To be obedient. Not because of the Law, which we are no longer under, but because of who we’ve become in Christ, and what that really means. It seems simplistic, but if the all-loving, all-wise, all-powerful God of the Universe, who has made us His very own children in Christ, with all the attendant perks and privileges of that station, tells us to do something (which by definition would have to be something good and right and just) why in the world would we balk at doing it?
It was with all this on my mind that I sat down at my desk this morning and my eye fell in a suddenly observant way on this bit of advice that I have posted on my bulletin board, advice dispensed by my agent to all his clients:
Remember your CALLING to be a WRITER and keep it HOLY.
You have been given the privilege of communicating His Word, His Truth to a world that desperately needs it.
Everything else is secondary.
I realized then that I had forgotten that… forgotten that I really have been called to be a writer, and really have forgotten to keep it holy, set apart… important!
It matters, and it is obedience on my part to make every effort to carry out what I’ve been called to do. Consciously, deliberately, obediently. Not because of the Law, but because of who I am in Christ, because it’s the gift He’s given me by which He wants me to serve the Body. Yes, He will enable me to do the work, but at the same time I have to put myself in a position and mindset to be able to actually do it.
Excellent post. I’ve noticed this very prevalently in my own life.
I know that free will is one of God’s greatest gifts to us but sometimes I wish He would take it away when we come to salvation in Him. I wish He would make me obey Him. But if He did that, then it wouldn’t really be obedience and it certainly wouldn’t be an act of love. And that’s exactly what I want my writing to be, an act of love. I just have to remember that He’s leaving the ‘act’ part up to me. He won’t force me to write for His glory, but He will enable me to if I choose to obey. And since doing so would please Him, how can I not?
Thank you so much for sharing your convicting and thought provoking post!
Thanks for the comment, Leah. You’ve nailed it. If he forced us to obey, we’d just be robots and that’s not love. “He won’t force me to write for His glory, but He will enable me to if I choose to obey. And since doing so would please Him, how can I not?” I love this. Plus, we’re always going to be blessed whenever we do whatever He asks — in the end anyway — so again, it makes no sense not to.
Karen, thank you! This was for me today. As I have questioned my own calling and prayed for direction, glimmers of holy light work their way through to my understanding. God is in this. He has designed it. And He, who began a good work in you, will be faithful to complete it. I am praying for you