I have to confess that since the June Joy Dare ended I have noticed that my energy for writing on a daily (or even occasional) basis is low. To some degree that could be because the Joy Dare gave me something to reflect upon every day. (Although as a side note there were days when I wanted to write about other things and the focus on the Joyful Living topics pushed them aside. How I wish I still felt inspired to write about those topics.)
I don’t know what is blocking my desire, as I am enjoying my scripture and prayer time, followed by time spent reading in an enlightening book on the Spiritual Graces.
Today I was reading the blog The Beggar’s Bakery by Jana Greene ( http://thebeggarsbakery.net ) where she was writing about planning a trip with her family and structuring it down to the last minute and that tight control took all the pleasure out of the trip for all of them. She likened it to her own life and lack of trust in God, and this is what she wrote:
As a general rule, I like knowing what is going to happen ahead of time, and I’m happy to help the process along by making lists/itineraries when applicable. This season in my life is no exception.
This might be especially true when it comes to time and money – the two things that seem to run out the fastest. I am all too happy to make suggestions to God about what might be the next big step (with subtlety, of course) but I suspect He sees right through me and knows that my suggestions are really just prayerful efforts to control. I don’t know what is going to happen next, and anytime I think I do – it turns out to have been pure delusion.
But delusion trumps uncertainty in my primal brain quite frequently. So I pray. “Help me, God….whatever is next! And help me to stop trying to help you decide what that is!”
This morning I read something in the Bible that stopped my worry-wart, hand-wringing prayer time today with its simplicity.
“This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a child-like “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us – an unbelievable inheritance. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!” – Romans 8 15:17 (MSG)
Generally I don’t have a “plan” for life. I have a “plan” for worship and preaching usually worked out months in advance, but that is the limit of my organization. Yet I embraced that “plan” for praying joyfully and giving thanks with which Ann Voskamp (http://annvoskamp.com/ ) challenged her readers.
Most of the time that has worked for me, and in the process I have learned to trust God. But right now, I am in this time of transition. With the closure of one of the congregations I serve, my time here is going to end; but the place of my new calling has not yet been revealed. (This has been happening for over two long years.) I certainly resonate with with Jana when she writes that her prayers are just prayerful efforts to control God. (I spent considerable time confessing that to God again last night and re-affirming my commitment to trust him.)
I realize that I like knowing what I am going to be doing and that there will be a full cheque every month. I like challenges in my life. I like (perhaps even need) to be pushed.
So that is why I embraced the June Joy Dare, it was like a road-map. It was something that I could control in the uncertainty of my life. It disciplined me and gave me the illusion that I was in control.
But now, I need to change my focus. I need to look at God and only God. I need to trust that God will show me not only where I am going but also how I will get there. I need to be open to the nudges and prompting of the Holy Spirit whose inspiration never ceases to amaze me.
But most of all I need to let go of that compulsion that tells me I must have something profound to write every day.
What’s next Papa?… only God knows. And I know that when he is ready to reveal it to me I need to be ready to see and hear and obey.
So I won’t be writing as frequently as I did for the month of June. I am going to take some real Sabbath time and read, reflect, pray, and nap…. as I wait upon the Lord. Then as the Lord speaks to me, I’ll share with you what he is saying.
May we all be blessed and restored as we relax into the Lord this summer.