The blank screen and empty pages stare at me, daring me, accusing me with the truth:
"You don't have what it takes."
"I know I don't."
"So why do you bother?"
"I don't know."
"Who are you trying to kid?"
Pause. "Myself, I guess."
Just a few years ago, it was open doors and easy sailing. But now, it's uncertainty, fear, attraction to distraction.
"What was I thinking?"
"Who do I think I am?"
"Why did I go down this road?"
"I could stop any time."
"Who would care?"
"Who are You?"
"YOU KNOW WHO I AM."
"Are You who I think You are? I'm not hearing You very well.”
"YOU HAVEN'T BEEN LISTENING. I'VE BEEN HERE ALL ALONG."
“I KNOW THAT TOO.”
I’ve been in a sort-of self-imposed exile, and am now just emerging to see the light of day. It’s been a difficult 2 months with the “I don’t have what it takes” foolishness prevailing.
It started so silently. I wasn’t even aware it was happening. One day I sat down to write and there was nothing. Nothing in my head, nothing on the page, nothing in my heart. “I’ll try again tomorrow.” One day turned into two, which turned into four, and on it went. An abyss of nothingness. I was stuck in a subtle, slow, slippery, downward spiral. Finding all sorts of good things to do, but avoiding the best things to do. Even if you’re not a writer, chances are you’ve been stuck in some area of your life. Procrastinating, avoiding, distracting yourself.
Have you heard the saying, “God loves you just the way you are, but He loves you too much to leave you that way.” I’m so thankful. He started nudging me the way I nudge my dog when I want her release something she’s fixed on.
My pastor shared an inspiring message on his 50th birthday about people who sailed the world at 51, swam the
at 60, fostered needy teenagers at 84. I’d been thinking I was too old to start
down this new road. How did Pastor Steve know? But then, of course, those people had what it takes. I don’t.
Pity party. All invited.
Then a little booklet about Simon Peter arrived unannounced in the mail. I randomly opened to a page with this sidebar: “We need to continually make choices about whether we will allow distractions to seduce us and draw us away from what is most important.” The booklet described some of the distractions as fear, despair, disappointment, and stress. I can add a million other distractions to that list. It went on - “In the face of such challenges, we need to be people of purpose – people who look beyond the distractions that surround us, so that we can run the race of life… Peter’s brief encounter with water-walking was scuttled for a very human and understandable reason. He failed to focus on the Savior because he was distracted by his circumstance. His desperate, sinking cry for help, therefore, becomes a useful warning to us.”
I finally opened up to a few dear well-meaning loving friends who I adore (you know who you are) who gave me truthful advice – but all were excuses to me:
- “You’re so busy.” Yes I am, but so are others who are accomplishing what God wants them to do.
- “Lots of people go through what you’re going through.” I know, but how did they get out of it?
- “You do have what it takes.” I’m still not sure, but so what if I do - if I’m burying it????
But, but, but, but….
And then my friend Susan M. gave me a devotional book that she said made her think of me. It said in part - “Regardless of when or why you stumbled, God wants to pick you up and put you back on your feet. People who never experienced failure usually don’t accomplish much. There’s a certain security in playing it safe. Nothing’s lost, but nothing’s won. They never get out of the boat and walk on the water. Wouldn’t it be better to almost drown and have to be saved, than never to experience God’s power working through you?”
Chip, chip, chip, chip….
God was chipping away at my disobedience. When my kids were small, I’d often tell them, “Delayed obedience is dis-obedience.” And here I was, Miss Disobedience! Wanting to deal with my procrastination, I just kept putting it off! Until tonight. I believe it was Mark Twain who said, “"I write whenever the muse strikes. I just make sure it strikes every night at 9."
If you’re reading this, it’s because you signed up to follow my blog, subscribed to the blog, or are a facebook friend. So dear friend, would you hold me accountable? I have 17 posts in my draft folder waiting to be finished. I will share more about them tomorrow, but for now - let's keep each other accountable. How can I pray for you? And will you pray for me?