I was on a mini vacation last weekend. We went up to the Chequamegon national forest to a lovely cabin that my aunt and uncle own. They generously let us stay, and our only regret was that the stay was so short.
I am an over packer, and I always think I will have more time than I actually end up having, so I packed some letters that I’d put off responding to. One was from my sister Katie, who lives near and works at a Christian camp in Rhinelander. She works with horses, is the toughest person I know, and loves to write poetry. Lovely God-oriented poetry. She sends me copies of her poems in the mail and I read them and give her feedback. Sometimes I send her a poem or two of mine.
I did write back to her, but this time I didn’t send her any poems. I haven’t written any poetry in a long while and I told her so. I told her that I feel like I need to be in the right frame of mind to write poetry, and usually that frame of mind is very upset. I told her that life has been going good, and when things come up I have been praying about them right away so that I don’t spend so much time stewing and getting so darn jacked up emotionally. It’s been freeing, and has made me a nicer person to be around, I think, but at the same time, it doesn’t cultivate that upset that is so essential to my creative process.
I told her that instead of writing poetry, I had been writing a lot of prose. Here in this blog, actually. But then life got busy. Writing takes time and thought and it requires clarity. I have a husband and a 1 1/2 year-old and a pregnancy and a garden and a home that all demand time. I meet weekly with a friend for accountability, and what should be about an hour is always at least 2 because we spend so much time just visiting.
I told my sister that while life is going good, and some things are going better than they ever have before, I don’t think that my relationship with God is a good as it has ever been. I feel like I don’t give Him enough time, enough pursuit. I have been having trouble praying and feeling eager to read the Bible (though I do anyway) and this also affects my desire to write. I like to write when something that I am really passionate about is on my mind and needs to come out, but lately the things on my mind have been things that others are doing wrong, which I know the right behavior for, but which I think I am misunderstanding or misinterpreting. Missing a part of, anyway.
Some of the things I feel excited to write about are things in the Bible that when I think about what to write, all I can think of is more Bible. Logically, God doesn’t need me to say anything, because He said everything that needed to be said. Any person could just spend time reading the Bible each day and get as excited about the things I am excited about without me saying anything. And that would be better anyway. I wouldn’t spend my life paraphrasing the perfect Word of God, and you wouldn’t get my watered down Reader’s Digest version.
I haven’t been writing a ton lately because I feel unsure. That I’m only 26 and in a year or two I will re-read what I have written and cringe at my own immaturity. That I will look and see how very closed-minded I was (currently am) and just be embarrassed that others have access to this rambling that I do. I wonder if I will be matured and that I will see so much more clearly in future. I feel now as if I see more clearly each day, and that I can only expect to dislike my writings, however valid or important they may seem at this time.
I also have been humbled this spring. I sense God telling me to be quiet and learn to listen to Him for a while. Then, when I am really good at that, maybe I should practice listening to others for a while. Finally, when I am really good at listening, maybe I should learn to just be quiet. Maybe I should ask God to help people instead of offering half-baked advice which I give hastily and with a lot of opinion. Who am I to say what another should do? Maybe God has a plan for you that I have no clue about whatsoever? Maybe I should just pray for you.
So I haven’t been writing. Because I am unsure. I think I need to get a few things figured out for myself. Maybe work on some character flaws that have been pointed out to me in the past few days and weeks. Maybe I will prepare for this new little person to come into my life. Maybe I will enjoy the summer and my husband and my toddler before winter and baby come and life becomes chaotic. Maybe that is ok too. Doesn’t Solomon say that there’s a time for everything? I am relaxing a little for a time, and trying to practice what some Christians call “slowing”.
This afternoon I took a nap for no reason except that reading Ephesians made me sleepy. When I awoke, I spent some time laying in bed and thinking about the book of Job. I had wanted to write a blog post about Job shortly after reading it this spring, but it didn’t feel right. So I didn’t write it. I probably never will. But I love the main idea of Job, and if you ever want to talk to me about it, I would love to.
I also prayed for a little while. I got distracted, but when I asked God what is important to Him, the first thing that popped into my head was Kira. That I should spend more time just enjoying her little, lovely, busy self because Jesus loves the little children.
So maybe that is what I will do more. I will continue to talk to God, do the work that needs doing, and slow down when the important work is done. I will not quit reading the Bible or meeting with my friend and I will not worry about my relationship with God being perfect or super exciting. Just walk through life with Him, not always running or skipping or jumping.
Sometimes life is just life, and I think that God knows that. I think that sometimes He likes the mundane more than we do. His kid was a carpenter, for Pete’s sake. That’s a mundane job. And Amos was a herdsman and “dresser of sycamore figs” but God took him out of that job and had him prophesy. Amos’s story gives me hope that however small my circle of influence may be here in my own home, if I am still doing what God tells me to do, and if I am faithful in the small stuff maybe He will choose to use me for something greater. Maybe He wants to change the world through my writings, but maybe He has more important things to do with me, like training me to love people or spend time with the wonderful ones He’s put in my life.
For right now, I think that being a mom and a wife is pretty great. Learning to hear God and do what He says without complaint are important. About these things, I am not unsure. About the rest, I may be relatively silent for a while. At least until I am sure God wants me to say something.