I almost gave up again. On writing, that is. Between daily life and the holidays and new school/job, I’ve been struggling to make time to put words on the page.
It’s too much, I told myself.
It will keep, I reassured myself.
I can always try again after____ is over, I promised myself.
Somewhere in the middle of my rounds of self-negotiation, I was chock full of self pity and feeling pretty low. I mean, seriously, who do I think I’m kidding? I’m not a writer. I’ve started and stopped how many times? You could probably fill an entire wing of the internet with the number of blogs I’ve neglected to nurture. (I know the internet doesn’t have wings, but I’m making a point here)
It was at that point that a small, still voice told me it was time to pray about it.
I hadn’t prayed with much regularity since I was in high school, and even then, I confess that I was more of a gumball-machine prayer – the kind that dropped prayers in and expected the good stuff to flow out. So I was feeling pretty sheepish and awkward about trying to strike up a relationship with God again after, well, a long time.
Maybe I’d better not ask for anything, I thought. Maybe I ought to just read the Bible and see if there’s a verse that points me where I ought to go. After all, I don’t know that I would just strike up a conversation with someone I hadn’t talked to in years. That would be rude. I don’t want to be rude to God. Isn’t there a Commandment about that?
Anyway. I opened my Bible and here’s the verse I landed on, from Philippians 2:3:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
My immediate response wasn’t pretty.
When have I been selfish and vain, exactly? I mean, sure, I’ve been aggravated when my plans haven’t worked the way I want them to. Consider others better than myself? I mean, I’m every bit as good a writer as these other folks, right? I might even be a better writer than they are. I’ve been writing most of my professional life. So why am I not published yet? Why is my name not on the best seller lists? Why am I not going on book tours or being asked to speak?
When my temper tantrum subsided, the truth hit me square in the face. The truth is that I’m not so great. And I really haven’t been trying to serve anyone but myself.
I’ve been writing to show other people that I could do it. To prove to people – family, former coworkers, friends – that I could be creative and imaginative and funny. I wanted everyone to know that I was important.
It’s hard to humbly serve when you’ve got a chip on your shoulder. In my case, I think I may have lugged around boulder-sized weights on both shoulders. I’ve been writing to advance my own ambitions rather than to help other people, to share the joy that comes from knowing we’re not alone, that God is for us.
So yeah, I prayed. I asked forgiveness for my arrogance, and for guidance to find the work that I’m supposed to do. I don’t have any answers yet, but I know that step by step I’ll uncover what God has in store for me.
Even though I may not be working on a manuscript, I felt like maybe blogging here about this next part of my journey might help someone else who’s feeling lost. Every morning I ask God to help me find my place, to help me use whatever gifts I have to serve Him and others.
Whatever it is I’m supposed to do – whether it’s writing or building a powerpoint or shuttling kids to karate class- I’ll do it knowing that He loves me enough to show me the truth. He loves me where I am, and He’ll help me fulfill his purpose.