I’m learning new things in new roles. When I’m in new situations, or when I’m asked to serve in new roles, I often say, “I haven’t done this before. I don’t think I’m the best person for this.”
Today I hear a speaker use a timely turn of phrase. He says, “You don’t need to try to overcome your sin. Instead, let Christ overcome you.” Everything follows from that.
I’m listening to Henry Cloud answer questions based on his expertise in leadership and clinical psychology. As guests present problems and ask for personal advice, I write down as many of Dr. Cloud’s golden words as I can.
I’ve had two sleepless nights that fill me with anxiety that, because I’m sleep-deprived, I therefore cannot manage my emotions, perform at my best, and display patience and kindness.
I meet with a student who wants to start a blog on just this question: “How did I see God working today?”
Our microwave broke two days ago.
You would think this would be a terrible, terrible thing. Oh, but the things we have cooked–slowly and beautifully–without it.
I became old-fashioned like grandma, turning bacon in the pan. The smell filled even the upstairs. I became slow and patient, listening for the song of the tea kettle that heated my water on the gas stove. I became an expert in heating leftovers with olive oil in the pan and added my own seasonings to make it even better.
I embraced the sounds and smells of a different kind of day with this thing I thought we needed, now gone.
When something breaks, it might just be, like my friend Sandy reminded me, to put me back into the joy of an unhurried life.
I love to write in a clean environment with absolutely no distractions, noise, or clutter. I would prefer a cup of coffee, a light snowfall, and a crackling fire. In this scenario, someone will deliver morning tea on a silver tray with delicate pastries. After all, I’m working hard; writers cannot be disturbed from their work. Someone else is doing laundry, cleaning dishes, and vacuuming. Someone else is making all the beds and wiping down bathroom counters.
And I’m clicking away at the keyboard, pausing only to sip my delicious and perfectly hot coffee.
Ha! It’s never been this way, and it never will. In the real version, children literally perform handstands behind me. I’m usually freezing at my desk. Someone is probably crying, and something has just spilled. It’s loud in here. I just heard the buzz of the dryer, so the laundry is ready to fold.
I learned in 2006 (I remember the exact week because my husband was traveling to assist with Hurricane Katrina clean up that Spring Break, months after the August 2005 disaster, and I had a fussy infant in one hand and a three year old who needed lunch immediately) how to write like a mom.
Depressed out of my mind and full of anxiety, I settled both children and sat at the makeshift desk crammed into one corner of our impossibly small bedroom of our first home. I had this idea for a novel, and I wanted to write. I just wanted to write.
So I did. I wrote 140 pages during the next seven days (20 pages a day! I know!). The baby still cried; the house still needed cleaning; I still folded innumerable loads of laundry; I set up all kinds of crafts and activities for my oldest. And I wrote with more distractions, clutter, and noise than you can imagine. At night, zombie-eyed and hungry, I wrote until my head fell onto the desk.
I thought about that week this morning when I had planned a glorious writing morning for myself before my noon classes. But no. School is canceled, and amid cinnamon rolls, dishes, setting up activities, and noise, I’m sitting here to write. I had just whispered to myself, “Well, I guess no writing today,” when I remembered that conditions are never perfect for a mom.
It’s the worst kind of background (I can actually hear the music to the Little Mermaid), but the mind is its own quiet place. I’ve had 13 years of practice to take whatever situation I’m in–a minivan, an airport, a hospital waiting room, a kitchen covered with glitter and flour–and write.
I just write. I write exactly like a mom.
I’m reading in Psalm 1 about the person who “delights in the law of the Lord” and who “meditates on it day and night.” This person gains a special privilege.
We’re told that “whatever he does prospers.”
Prospers! Don’t you think of wealth and success? Don’t you think of some kind of gain?
I’m learning to think about prosper in the sense of flourishing, growing stronger, becoming healthy. It’s a better, more accurate way to think about this promise. Whatever we’re doing, as we delight in God and meditate on the scriptures, we receive assurance that these spirit-led things flourish and grow. They become strong and healthy in unusual and unexpected ways.