The stacks accumulate around the house while the Amazon cardboard accumulates in the garage. Every day there is another introduction in my inbox, another invitation. I love books and I keep ordering them–for myself and for others. I love words. I love the way consonants and vowels are accumulated to form words and how creatively those words are strung together to form vehicles of expression. Lines and paragraphs accumulate to tell stories, to teach lessons, to portray beauty, to give hope, to offer encouragement—all of it to bring glory to God.
I usually have my nose in several books at one time. I’m an eager consumer at the smorgasbord of published works. I love the way books feel in my hand. I love their covers. I’m intrigued by how the words appear to fall effortlessly on the page and glide easily into the soul. I marvel at word choices and phraseology and metaphor and imagery. I often encourage people to tell their stories and write their books. I cheer those pushing their cart of words up the mountain of publication and I exuberantly applaud their end result as their new baby is revealed to the world. I’ve helped people craft their words and polish their works and I’ve been content to see my name printed in the acknowledgements. Until now.
For as long as I can remember I have been told: You’re such a good writer! You have such a way with words! You need to write a book! Though I have several creative skills and have many creative hobbies, writing has been the consistent thread throughout my life and the one thing I never grow out of, the thing I can’t load up and haul off to the thrift store. I’ve journaled and blogged and littered my hard drive with essays and devotional pieces for years. Starts: 3,856. Completions: 2 (maybe.)
It’s been much easier for me to grab the bumper of someone else’s bandwagon than to hop onto my own.
In my late twenties I was swimming in the thick soup of divorce aftermath and single parenting–writing wasn’t even on my radar. I had even given up journaling because my every waking moment was dedicated to keeping my little family afloat.
A beautiful and prophetic woman approached me in church one morning. She knew me by name but didn’t know my story. She told me how she was in a bookstore looking for a particular title when she kept being drawn back to a book for writers: Creative Writing for People Who Can’t Not Write. She wasn’t a writer and had zero interest in it or in the book that kept disrupting her mission that day. She relayed to me how she finally stopped, picked up the book and asked God if He had anything He wanted to say.
With tears in her eyes she thrust the book into my hand and said that my face had appeared on the big screen of her mind in the bookstore that day–that God clearly instructed her to purchase it for me. She sheepishly admitted that it was more money than she wanted to spend on a hunch but after a few moments’ consideration (and prayer) she obeyed.
She concluded with these words: “God said I was to purchase this for you because He wants you to write.” She paused to let the words sink in and to gain her composure. She placed one hand over mine—the one that held the book. “You need to hear this,” she stressed.
From that day forward I have flirted with the idea of writing and concealed my dream of it, even to myself. I want to pound clenched fists into my head when I say this, I don’t believe in myself enough yet to put the books of others down long enough to write my own.
The tears of frustration flowed again this morning as I poured my heart-struggle into the lap of Jesus and my husband. I later talked about it again with my friend. I feel like it’s God who continues to close the doors of volunteer and service opportunities I keep trying to walk through. He wants me to trust and obey Him with the only thing I’m afraid to fail at, the only thing that is on the radar of my destiny. He wants me to write!
I feel like Moses–I’m not good enough;
Like Gideon–I’m afraid;
Like Sarah–I’m too old;
Like Job–There’s too much against me.
I told my friend, “Ten people could call me each morning to inject mega doses of encouragement into my nearly collapsed veins but I still don’t think it would be enough to help me out of my indolence and into my obedience.”
I keep coming face to face with this unrelenting reality: natural talent, perfection or human drive is not enough impetus to accomplish God’s plan and purpose. Sometimes the despair in our destiny is our desperate inability to accomplish anything without wholehearted reliance upon God. Reliance and obedience. Trust and obey–there’s no other way!
I keep asking God to convince, or at least encourage me that I’m up to the task but He keeps telling me:
You’re not up to the task, but I Am!