My first response to my mother’s fall was … guilt. I should have been there. I was too focused on my own goals. My job was to keep the fire going. If she hadn’t been trying to get the fire going stronger, she wouldn’t have reached for the poker and fallen backward. But when she resumed her routine, I relaxed and went back to pecking on my computer, already planning my next project.
When I learned late the next morning that Mom had broken a bone in her hand and that she also might have severed a vein, which meant she faced possible reconstructive surgery, the guilt returned and I panicked as well. How would things at the house go? How would I meet my writing deadlines?
I pushed all my writing aside at first. After all, my preoccupation with it had caused the accident.
But, very quickly, God showed me this line-of-thinking would lead nowhere. Satan tries to convict us when he wants to prevent something. I remember a discussion I had a week or so ago with my business mentor. I told her I’d been stalling on rewriting my memoir because my story wasn’t anything big or unusual. I’m just a run-of-the-mill woman who happens to be losing her vision. How could my story change other people’s lives? She told me that was a lie from Satan. “He doesn’t want to let the story of your faith reach other people and for you to show how God is working in your life–because God will use your story and your optimism as you face your blindness to encourage others.”
I got back on track.
Since that didn’t deter me, could Satan have thrown the guilt dart to sidetrack me? Of course. It all made sense. He thinks he’s so clever. But I’m onto him.
When that didn’t work, Satan kept on bugging me. He knows how I allow “busy-ness” to creep into my life. If he could keep me pursuing other less-important, non-paying, non-book related writing goals, it would take me much longer to finish my memoir and the other books that I planned, which would bring glory to God. In fact, I might not finish them at all. That was Satan’s plan.
God placed other people in my life to point out time-management detractors–one person right after the other. They all gave me the same message. Prioritize your writing goals. Get your books out. Use the bulk of your time and energy writing those stories. You’re never going to meet your deadlines if you don’t–even with your best intentions.
God even sent someone to talk to me about burn-out. “Why do you sound sick again?”
“I’m so tired. I’m trying to get this done. And that. And help my mom. And. And. And.”
“Well, if you wouldn’t be such a perfectionist…”
It was taking me several hours to write a single blog entry. And I was aiming (again) for three times a week. Needless to say, a lot of my time was set aside for blogging. “Cut back to once a week,” he advised. “Right now you’re just spinning your wheels.”
Spinning my wheels?
Those are the exact words another person told me the night before. Afterward, he’d said, “God is going to provide for you but you have to follow His guidance and write your books. He has given you talent, drive, determination, an incredible story, and now people to help you polish your work. But you’re focused on lots of little little goals that scatter your energy and keep you from getting to the big ones. Be smart with your time. Set achievable goals.”
This had been hard for me to hear.
Later, an author friend gave me advice when I explained to her about my blogging and the time crunch. “First, cut back the amount of times you blog,” she advised. “Also, blogs are supposed to be informal, journal-type chatting where you share your heart. They aren’t articles. They don’t have to be perfect,” she reassured.
I’d done the same thing with my teaching. I spent an unbelievable amount of time on prep, trying to have the perfect class environment, materials, and lessons. Toward the end of my career, it didn’t matter how much time I prepared, other issues kept me from the success I’d always had.
Don’t let that happen in your writing.
Let God use you.
Develop your talents and abilities His way. For and through Him.
You wrote a song that says Let Them See You.
How can people see Him if you don’t share the blessings He’s given you in the midst of all the obstacles you face?
As the thoughts bombarded me, I realized God was speaking to me.
Shaping my thoughts.
Making His desires mine.
Answering my prayers for guidance in my career.
Promising to sustain me monetarily.
I had to listen. He would replace my teaching career with a writing ministry.
But only if I listened and obeyed would I succeed to the potential He had in mind.
And it’s just now that I realize all this.
God speaks to each of us about our desires, our gifts, our careers, and all our aspirations.
He shapes us.
I always talk big about walking through the doors He opens. But how do I know which doors are His and which are mine? They look the same. I can see through all of them. But if I try to force myself through the wrong one … Bam! I’m going to hit the glass! So, that’s it. I can’t do it my way. I do enough damage to myself each day by physically bumping doors, I don’t want to do that in my career!
I don’t know why I am so amazed.
Have you ever had one of those epiphanies? Where it just hits you that God is right there directing you?
Trust Him, friends. He wants the best for all His children. I’m not any different from you (well, maybe I’ve got a harder head! After all, he created me knowing I’d be bumping /slamming/ falling over everything in my path).
When you pray, do so believing He will answer your questions and guide you. Don’t be amazed. Expect it.
Kick Satan’s lies away from you. Trust that God is going to bring good out of bad circumstances.
Dr. Charles Stanley always says, “Obey God and leave all the consequences to Him.”