Thursday, January 25, 2007

Cheesy Love Song Rings True

I have some friends in my life who have been “the wind beneath my wings” lately, to quote a cheesy song. These two, SA and CLA have given me courage and love and grace. CLA sat with me the other night even though she was dead-tired and probably would much rather have been sleeping than trying to draw some stuff out of me. She asked me, “What do you love?” I didn’t really answer so she asked me again after listening to ten minutes of my rambling.

“What do you love?” We needed for me to get to the bottom of this. And it wasn’t a question about what do I love in ministry; it was just about what I love, period. What am I called to in life? What am I passionate about? What am I drawn to?



But how does that fit into ministry? What do I do with that? What is my role???? There isn’t a neat little box that writing fits into. I’m not J.R.R. Tolkien. I’m not Madeleine L’Engle. I’m not Ernest Hemmingway. I’m not John Donne or Milton or Shakespeare…. I’m just me. I have said no to God on this one for a long time. He has presented me with “writing” and I have flat-out refused Him:

“I don’t know what to write.”

“I’m not that great of a writer compared to X, Y or Z.”

“I don’t have time to write.”

“No one is going to want to read it anyway.”

You don’t even know how many times that I have whined these exact sentiments. Somebody call the waaaaaam-bulance!!!!

Nonetheless, there it is before me and I need the courage to take hold of it with both hands which means letting go of my pathetic “need” to grasp at some phony role as Pastor’s Wife Barbie which no one – and I mean no one – is interested in anyway. Heck, I’m not even interested in it so how could anyone else be?!

Enough about me, though. I really wanted to share how much it meant to me that CLA would go out to the stable, hitch up the horses and drag this information out of me. Not only that, but she took this information and told me to go set Pastor’s Wife Barbie on fire with matches or to use her for target practice. OK, not really but she loves me and wants me to be me. She knows how desperately unhappy I have been for so long and she cares. She does. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.

Henry David Thoreau, "Walden", 1854


Ch@ndy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ch@ndy said...

To refute the above anti-writing excuses which I know you you know are lame:

“I don’t know what to write.” “I don’t know what to write.” You don't have to write anything except what flows from your heart (I can see this is working for you here.)

“I’m not that great of a writer compared to X, Y or Z.” Who the helk is John Donne? Aren't all those other people dead or close to it? They aren't writing a whole lot these days. They aren't going to try to stop you. In fact if you could talk them they would probably identify with your angstyness about writing. Methinks it is what writers do.

“I don’t have time to write.” Maybe if you stopped doing some of the stuff you don't like doing it would free you up to do something you love.

“No one is going to want to read it anyway.” There is no way to know that people will not want to read something you haven't even written yet. Perhaps I am biased here but, I, personally, am here every day hoping for something new from you.

The time has come to step up to the plate and take a swing. I know I already told you this but do what you love, do what God gave you to do. Let us cast off the notion that ministry is supposed to equal misery.

From the Old Testament in I Samuel 15, Saul was busy being a disobedient to what God had laid out for him. King Saul had this idea that he thought was better than God's plan so he implemented it. It didn't turn out so well. Read his conversation with the prophet Samuel...(starting in verse 22)

But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD ?
To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king."

Then Saul said to Samuel, "I have sinned. I violated the LORD's command and your instructions. I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them. Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back with me, so that I may worship the LORD."

We "sacrifice" by doing things that are not a part of God's plan for us and we end up miserable and unhappy. That sort of arrogance - thinking we know better or that if we sacrifice we will please God - is wrong. God's not interested.

He has given each of us talents and dreams, desires and abilities. And with those gifts is the command to use them.

So sister of mine, what can you do, but WRITE.

CGA said...

Now might be a good time to say that I don’t believe that life should only be about doing what makes you happy or only doing what you love all the time. It is kind of a no-brainer that we will have to do things we don’t like sometimes. The word sometimes is key. When you start to hear yourself tell your child that, “you don’t get to do what you want most of the time,” that should be a red flag to you. Most of the time? Kill me right now, please. Life can’t be that awful. Something must be wrong with your approach to life. I have had a major problem with saying yes when I mean no or no when I mean yes. Jesus said, “Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” (Matt. 5:37) In other words, you are a liar if you don’t say what you mean and lies come from the devil and they are evil. I’m not going to go off on a tangent about this though. I merely want to say that doing what you are gifted to do matters. Playing to your strengths is a good idea. I truly believe that the church would be a different place - an amazing place - if we were more in tune with our strengths and gifts and we were actually using them. Hallelujah! Can I get an amen? People who are doing what they love and are good at are usually full of joy because of it. God is the giver of good and perfect gifts. God is the giver of joy. God is the giver of gifts and talents. He’s not a cosmic kill-joy! As my friend commented, ministry should not equal misery. If it does, something is wrong in the approach. My approach has certainly been wrong. Even a toddler can use a shape sorter and fit the square into the square hole. Why can’t I?
I have more thoughts on sacrifice, and dying to self but haven’t quite got them all sorted out so that will have to be a future posting.

CGA said...

You're right.
It doesn't matter if anyone wants to read it. If I am supposed to write, then I am supposed to to write. It doesn't matter if there is an audience of one, of 200, or of none other than God.