Sometimes……………………….. I wander off.
Even with the best intentions of trying to maintain my footing and the best notions of how to get from point A to B, sometimes after a while, I discover.. I’ve strayed off course.
Maybe I started out fine. But over time, careless distractions or unintentional shimmies, just a hair to the right or left, can eventually lead my heart and head dangerously off course from my God-intended destination.
Can you relate?
Finding myself in difficult places mentally, spiritually or emotionally… at the bottom of a valley or the end of a path I barely remember traveling, I have to stop and ask, “How did I get here?”
Michael Jordan is credited with saying, “The minute you get away from the basics, the bottom drops out of whatever you’re doing.” Ya know? Yeah.
It’s been nearly a month since I last wrote in this space. Words have kept flowing into one of several-many notebooks shifting around with me at all times. However, I’ve felt like I needed to keep them to myself until I could get my heart sorted back out from this place I’ve wandered towards— hardness? Cynicism? Fear or even a little (un)holy anger? I’m not sure it hasn’t been a little of each and more.
In my “silence” I’ve been trying to sort out what IT’s all about. You know— the BIG IT:
The here and now, mixed with past remembrances and future hopes. Sorting out how to navigate all of IT at this age and stage and in the midst of things we deal with on this temporary island called Earth.
In the meantime, our family has celebrated both a birth and a funeral. Then a week ago, I was notified by the Keeper of the WordPress Clock that this little corner of the Blogosphere has celebrated it’s 4th anniversary. I still recall Day One— where I was in my soul and how far I’ve come since. It’s been worth it.
What motivated me to hit “publish” on Day One still motivates me four years later although, thankfully, it’s a tamer and slightly more mature spirit. Less angry and frightened and more sure of God as the source and substance than ever before. That’s some healing work right there.
Still, I’ve questioned what needs to be written and how I ought to proceed from this point forward. In the midst of the last few months the Holy Spirit has been calling me to pay attention. Helping me to know I’ve strayed and it’s time to revisit the basics— the unchanging truths about the Unchanging Truth in my life and how my identity in Christ must reveal itself in all my roles— especially as a writer— for the remainder of my life.
It’s easy to get burned by sparks flying around in today’s politically charged atmosphere, in a world that’s racing from pole to pole, abusing all powers and positions, and tossing aside rules and standards left and right.
Red flags are flying up all over the place.
I’m moved and so damn weary at times .. just wanting to look away and ignore it if I only could.
I want to make a difference.
It’s exhausting— trying to avoid jumping in the ring with all the other monkeys loudly screeching and tearing each other to bits. I have to resist the temptation of becoming purely a pixel-pushing reactionary— all heat and no Light and ultimately doing no lasting Good.
Other times, when there’s good to be done, it’s been difficult to discern if what I have to offer is supposed to be offered on that altar and then sometimes being accused that to make no offering is akin to not caring at all.
Do you feel it too?
In the past four years I’ve tried on different ideas for size. It was exciting for a while as I envisioned wearing the “Member’s Only” badges being handed out with the sense that I had been welcomed into a room and to a common table to share from this deep place God’s fire and water has carved out in my soul. It didn’t take long to realize it was a poor fit and that “one size fits all” label remains uncorrupted only when kept and applied by the hands of God alone. (Galatians 4:17)
Here, I’ve recognized how precariously close I’ve come to nearly having the bottom drop out of what I’ve been called to do simply because I’d forgotten the basics. Instead of looking to the Light— so I can be the Light, I began looking at other shiny things and places. I got distracted and drawn off course. I wandered.
Do you know this place?
That’s where I’ve been.
We artists and writers can be a passionate and temperamental lot and the Christian artist is no different except where our passion ought to be rooted and established. Although the blossoms and fruit will vary, this rooting makes all the difference.
In Christ, it’s distinct, unique, individual….and useful.
I want to be useful, don’t you?
I’m reminded by a few snapshots I carry around in my heart taken from scenes in movies that have changed me forever. There’s that brief discussion between “Gilbert and Anne” (of Green Gables) and a lesser-known moment from another personal favorite, I Remember Mama.
The situations are similar: aspiring authors (Anne and Katrin) are trying to write good stories but they are using ideas borrowed from the world around them hoping to find their success. Katrin is about to quit until Mama consults a local author who, as a “gastronomist”, offers her honest assessment of Katherine’s work over a glass (or two!) of sherry in exchange for the secret family recipe for Swedish meatballs.
Mama reports, “She say, you must go on writing. You have the gift.”
“But,” Mama continues, “She say, you must write what you know.”
There it is.
There it is for all of us.
If we are deeply rooted in the unchanging Truth of God, then offering whatever we have to give from there is sharing the most Light,
doing the most Good
and is the most honest thing we can do.
With the Apostle Paul I can only confess:
“When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit.”
1Corinthians 2:1-4 (NLT)
This is all I know. These are my basics. What about you?