As I sat down to write a new post, I would have sworn it had only been a few weeks ago when I wrote my last one. Guess what? It has been a little over TWO MONTHS! Holy cow!
Where did the time go?
I actually got a bit discouraged when I realized how long it had been. I’ve been keeping up, for the most part, with the Hump Day Hiatus devotionals, but even then, I had skipped a few weeks here and there.
Why with working more efficiently, or so I thought, had I not written a blog post in over two months?
My husband began a men’s small group that meets at our house every Tuesday evening and I purposely chose not to lead a small group nor attend one this semester in the hopes of doing more…..you guessed it…..writing. So, what was keeping me from getting writing done?
I thought if I “put it out there”, that I was finally going to work on writing my book (you know, the one about my living organ donation that I’ve been “working” on for over a year) I would buckle down and actually write it. And, I did, at least for a week or two.
Somehow my Tuesdays turned into nights to hang out with my daughter or to create Hump Day Hiatus posts or a night to “research”. And, believe me, I now understand why writers say you have to have some days or nights dedicated to research! It’s one thing to sit down and start writing, but it’s another to recall events, dates, and names correctly without doing a bit of research every so often. Plus, research days gave me a break from thinking I had to just sit and write for two hours.
But, somehow those days and nights of NOT writing became the “norm” and writing, which had been my original goal, happened less and less.
I again asked, why?
Evidently, that’s my “go to” word according to my Mom and Dad. I asked “why” quite often as a child and it got me relegated to a corner, time out, a good grounding, or some combination of those three. I’m sure there was a “whippin’” thrown in somewhere along the way, just for good measure. Thanks for keepin’ it real Mom and Dad!
I ask why because if something didn’t make sense to me, then I needed it explained. Funny how I would spew a smart aleck “why” to Mom and Dad, but wouldn’t dare ask the same question in school. But why not? Okay, sorry! Old habits are hard to break!
Moving right along…..
So, I really wanted to know why I had let “stuff” get in my way for two months to the point that I really hadn’t made much progress on the aforementioned book, nor added any new blog posts.
Had I really been “that” busy?
No more than usual.
Had something else been so pressing that I needed time to accomplish it rather than write?
Maybe a couple of times, but not two months’ worth!
Was I feeling guilty about not being around for the past three years like I wish I had, so I was making up for lost time with my daughter?
Well, maybe, but she has needed my assistance more than usual during her first year in college. Still…..why did it seem to happen most often on Tuesday evenings?
Was I looking for an excuse NOT to write?
I didn’t think so. Or was I?
When I really started to think about it, I realized I could have used any of those excuses for not getting things done, but what was really at the heart of my procrastination?
Did I not think God wanted me to write this book or continue to write this blog?
Just as I had this thought toward the end of 2016 and was ready to hang up the blog altogether, I received two opportunities to speak at women’s conferences. Wow! Okay, Lord, I guess you want this to go on a little longer!
So, if anything, in January I was rejuvenated and ready to start writing again. And then crickets….
Actually, that’s not totally true. My first few weeks of actual writing were very productive. I completed what I think will be the first chapter and thought I was on a roll.
Then came the crickets……
And the distractions.
And the excuses.
Stuff, Distractions, and Rabbit Holes
So, what’s really at the heart of this not-writing-scenario?
After much thought and a lot of prayer, I honestly think it’s the enemy messing with me, once again, and I’m letting him.
See, if I have “stuff” to do, then somehow it makes it okay for me to say, “life got in the way”. No problem. No one would be the wiser. Right?
Stuff and distractions! Oh, Lord, the distractions and rabbit holes! I’ve gotten so bad about having a random thought like “who says that” or “where did that come from” and then going off to Google to see who, in fact, said that! (As I’m typing this I almost stopped to literally Google where did the phrase “no one would be the wiser” come from!! Again, a distraction!)
So, between the busyness, the distractions, and the excuses I could very easily talk myself out of writing anything. And, then I realized this has happened before.
Up to His Old Tricks
After I spent 7 long, and I mean LONG, years working on my Ph.D., I was down to the last semester that I could finish my dissertation. THE VERY LAST ONE and it was the one I had to ask special permission because I had taken the maximum allotted time (7 years) to complete my degree. The university could grant me ONE more semester to finish if I asked for it and had a legit excuse, so I gave it a shot. Thankfully, they granted me one more semester!
In that last semester, I was laser focused like never before. I had my research topic approved and everything was set to happen, now it was up to me. I took every possible sick day I had in my account and my principal would allow, and then I wrote like a crazy lady. My mornings started around 4 a.m. because I was “fresh” and there was no one awake to distract me for about two hours. I worked all day and then came home to write until I couldn’t write any longer. Between December and March, I analyzed the research, wrote two more chapters, and rewrote every revision my committee sent my way. By the middle of March I was finished and had passed my dissertation defense!
The point I’m trying to make is when God wants us to do what He’s asked us to do or to finish something we’ve started; the devil is determined not to let that happen, especially if we are giving God all the glory.
Seeking a Ph.D. degree began as a very selfish endeavor, but ended as a testament to His grace and ultimately His glory. I relish knowing the devil was dumbfounded by that turn of events!
Writing this book and these posts are things I thought God wanted me to do, so why can’t I accomplish what He wants me to?
If I’ve learned anything over the past two years since I really started listening for God’s guidance and wisdom, it’s that if something is really bugging me, I need to go check it in the Word to be sure it’s really God talking.
Ironically, as I started writing this particular post Saturday night, the message at church yesterday was about what to do “During the Why”. What can we do when God doesn’t seem to make sense or when we don’t get an answer when or like the one we hope to get?
I love the way God answers….when we actually listen!
Our pastor’s message was to learn, to love, and to worship while we’re asking why. Shout out to Pastor Layne Schranz of Church of the HIghlands for some of the following points and scriptures!
So, what can I learn? What can we learn?
I did go to my favorite online source when looking for a particular topic in the Bible: www.openbible.info In the Topical Bible, I put in their search feature What Does the Bible Say About distraction and found several verses, but the one that stuck out was the story of Martha and Mary.
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Another bit of irony to this whole post is the fact that I played Martha in a youth choir program one summer. I spent all summer reliving this story time and time again, yet, I never learned its true message until now.
Lesson Learned: We may be busy doing what we think is the “Lord’s work” yet miss the message He is trying to send us. I obviously missed this one!
He doesn’t want me to be busy, just to be busy, but for my busyness to ultimately glorify Him. Right now, I’m not doing that. What about you?
“Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered.” ~ Hebrews 5:8~
Who can I love? Who can you love?
While I try to understand why I’m not accomplishing what I need to accomplish, I can love others.
And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.”
Our pastor reminded us that “sacrifice” means we do something we don't necessarily want to do, but we do it anyway. We may not feel like doing anything for anyone or loving anyone, but He’s not asking us to love when we feel like it. He asks us to love NO MATTER WHAT.
Lesson Learned: Instead of sitting around feeling sorry for myself that I’m not getting stuff done, I can do other things for other people. The benefit is two-fold: someone is comforted by my “sacrifice” and I feel better that I’m truly doing what God calls us all to do.
“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
~2 Corinthians 1:4~
Where/when can I worship? Where/when can you worship?
When things are still not making sense, I can worship. I know some days when the busyness gets me SO distracted, just turning on worship music can calm my soul. I may not always feel like worshiping, but, again, it’s not about feeling like doing something; it’s about doing what we know He wants us to do to glorify Him.
“Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire.”
Lesson Learned: Instead of sitting around waiting until I “feel” like writing, I will write and worship because I know it’s what He wants me to do. Just writing this post has sparked my need to focus and write, and then write some more!
Settling My Why
Not that I have completely settled my why or can I promise you I will write every day this week, but thinking, praying, and writing through why I haven’t accomplished as much as I had hoped by now, has actually eased my anxiety. Seeing the pattern the devil likes to play, I can resist him and I know he will flee!
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. ~James 4:7~
What I do know is that I can learn, I can love, and I can worship during this season. Above all, I can trust Him when nothing really makes sense.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
~2 Timothy 2:15~