It all started with a dream.
Last night, I dreamed I had to give up writing so I could work. I don’t remember much detail, only that I felt overwhelmingly sad. After waking, I went through my usual routine of bible study and prayer (still in the Planted study). Despite the hopeful message, I still felt burdened and sad by the message from the dream. I sat in bed and silently cried, and asked for a scripture.
The Lord led me to Psalm 54 and 55, lamentation Psalms about when David was running from Absalom. He lamented to God about his enemies and then, in usual David style, said, “But God, I still praise you because you are great!” (paraphrased). As I read, the Lord whispered, “so you think you have problems?”
I realized my ‘woe is me’ sadness was greatly out of proportion. And yet it lingered, and I continued to silently weep…all the way downstairs, as I got dressed for my morning walk, and as I started up the street. I felt burdened by writing, and like a failure because I wasn’t sacrificing enough time to my writing. Instead of enjoying relaxing time, I needed to sacrifice more so I could get my book out by spring, keep my blog posts up, and wow, what about following other’s blogs? I am woefully behind in reading and networking and sharing in the lives of my fellow writer friends.
My heart felt heavy, disappointed, and guilty. A cloud of confusion swirled around me…fueled by the dream that I was giving it all up. But not because of work: I was failing to write as I should.
I cried out to God, something like, “I'm so sad, I just don’t know what to do”. You know, those moments when you don’t even remember what you prayed, your heart just desperately reached up to Him.
In that moment, the confusion stopped. The weight lifted. Hope began to rise up in my spirit. I felt His presence, and His acceptance. Yes, I can give myself a break for the holidays - I’ll take a Sabbath from my writing. It’s OK to do that. It’s OK to have many events planned with friends and family, focus on my job, shop, and prepare for travel. So I’ll write this blog on the Sabbath and take the rest of the month off from writing. Then I can come back fresh in January.
I had a plan.
I still hadn’t learned.
God quickly showed me that my plan was still, well, a plan. In other words, a way to keep control and keep everything neatly organized. In December I focus on my job and people, and then I can start writing again in January.
But then what happens when I get to January – what would be different? My job and people will still be there waiting for me. I so want to honor God, and I believe He’s given me a gift to communicate His ways, His love, and His hope. I want to use that gift in the best way possible. I circled back around to the need to sacrifice more, not just in January, but right now. I felt guilty for not writing more every day – things just seem to always get in the way.
God’s answer: stay tuned….coming tomorrow.
TODAY’S CHALLENGE: Where do you feel like you’ve “failed” to live up to your own standard? What burden do you need to give to God?