Faith, Obedience, and the Next Step

Lately I’ve been feeling a tug at my heart– a call. Write. Write. Write.

I’ve been avoiding it. I’m so busy. So tired. I have three kids, all homeschooled. We are busy with church, with school, with lessons and classes and so much laundry. Life is so full, so crazy. But still, in the quiet moments, there was that nagging voice– You need to write.

I would sit down here, or sometimes with a notebook, and try. I’ve written whole blog posts that I never hit “publish” for. I’ve written half of about forty really great poems. I’ve thought of awesome ideas while driving home from the grocery store, only to have them gone five hours later when I finally had time to open my laptop.

The sensation that I needed to write– perhaps was being called to write– never went away.

Last week, my friend Corinne posted this on her Facebook:

It happens in the moments between administering cold remedies and finishing off oats in the oven… Between stirring granola and readying a chicken in the crock pot, cutting carrots and potatoes, sprinkling paprika and dousing with pepper. It happens if you let it. If you prepare for it. If you get out the paper and pen and let your tools taunt you a bit… Goad you into a practice that maybe seems like it’s lapsed a bit, or even seems pointless. It’s not. It can happen on a sick day, on a good day, on a busy or dull day. Make that tiny bit of space for it, and begin. Again. Always. Even the tiniest effort counts. Remember that.

And the nagging whisper became a louder voice, though still not as loud as my screaming daughter or the buzzing of the washing machine or the ding of the microwave or three kids all asking for math help at once. But louder.

Write.

And I don’t know why, because our society is glutted with words– so many words– and there are so many authors out there writing what I want to say (on the days I can even figure out what I want to say) and doing it better than I can do. I don’t know why. I just know that when I spend my time with Jesus in the morning, and I follow a pattern for prayer– Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication— and I come to the confessing and I pray “Search me, oh God,” and over and over again the word is in my head– write, write, write— well, eventually I can take a hint.

So yesterday I prayed. I don’t know what to write. I want to obey You, but every time I try I have no words. Show me what to write. Show me when. Show me how. Make it clear.

And then it was. If you’re not used to talking with God like this then you’re probably thinking I’m crazy. God has so many ways of answering me, and one of the ways He does it is just by placing an urgent thought in my head. I’ve learned to stop and listen when He does that. One time it was bake bread. You need to bake bread. And I was like, “whatever, it’s Sunday afternoon, pizza night, I don’t feel like baking bread.” And an hour later I became aware of a need– a need for a meal– and guess who didn’t have any bread? And guess who got to stay up baking French bread till 11:30 on Sunday night?

All I’m saying is, when God says Go I am learning to do it. And yesterday, the urgent thought was Write about playing piano. I’ve sat down and tried to write about it before, but the words would never come. And then, last night– they did. And this morning I was overwhelmed when I read the responses on my Facebook page about yesterday’s post.

Overwhelmed because God knew that there were people who read my blog who needed that, right then. Not my words– but the testimony of God’s work in my life– and I’m the only one who can share that. And today, I’m sharing this because this is what I believe– God orchestrates whole long series of events to reach one heart at just the right time. Writer’s block and busy life and so many, many things He’s been doing in my heart that I haven’t talked about at all in this space. All that. So that the day I sit down to write is the day it needs to be said.

Maybe it needed to be said to you. I know it needed to be said to me.

Maybe we both need the reminder that growth and change are hard and humbling, but they are so good. Maybe we both need the reminder that God has a purpose, a plan, and it’s good and it’s going to bring Him so much glory.

Maybe we both need the reminder tonight (because I know I do) that my obedience about playing the piano in 2013 isn’t today’s obedience. Today there is something new. Surrender happens a day at a time. The faith to move forward, to obey, to listen to that voice– that happens today. Yesterday’s victories are beautiful, but they’re not pillows to nap on. They pave the pathway for today’s battles.

So I’m encouraging you tonight, and preaching to myself as well. Say yes to the quiet voice. Do the hard thing, the humiliating thing, the dangerous thing, the heartbreaking thing, the thing that makes your knuckles white with gripping fear. Do it. Not because I said so, but because you have no idea today what the end of the story is. But if you’re obeying the Spirit in your life, then the end of the story is good.

Because it’s right there in the title of my blog: God works all things together for good to those who love Him, who are the called according to His purpose.

We are the called. Let’s answer.

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2 thoughts on “Faith, Obedience, and the Next Step

  1. Pingback: » Faith, Obedience, and the Next Step

  2. Erin, I could’ve written the first few paragraphs because it’s me too. So me.
    And I keep hearing Him tell me to write. But I lean into all the other voices instead of His Voice.
    And what if He doesn’t show up and it’s all me? And I’ve sat down, put my fingers on the keyboard, and said “What do You want to say through me?” And I’ve even written it, but never hit publish. Agh.
    Could we sit next to each other and lean into the Voice and write…spur one another on, press publish for the other when the other can’t, and delight in and pray for God to be glorified in the stories He is telling through each other.

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