Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I Want More

There are a couple of things I really want.

I'm not talking about the way I really want a mocha, or a slice of pizza, or to weigh less. Although, let's face it, the mocha and pizza aren't helping the weight issue at all. Neither is my Oreo addiction. But I digress.

I'm talking about big wants. Life-changing wants. The kinds of things that would impact me and my family for years.

And I want them bad.

Sometimes I shy away from admitting I want things. Even when what I want is good and God-honoring, I still have the notion that the "wanting" is wrong.

But I don't believe the wanting is where I stumble.

God created us to have dreams and desires. They are not inherently evil. They are, however, frequently misappropriated.

I stumble when my dreams become demands or when what I want becomes what I must have to be happy.

While I haven't always been able to say this, at this time in my life I can honestly say that while I do want some big things, there is one thing I want more. So much more that it trumps all my other dreams and longings.

I want Him more.

I only want what God wants me to have. And I don't want anything enough to step out of God's will to have it.

Will I be disappointed if what I want doesn't happen? Yes.

Will I be disappointed in God if what I want doesn't happen? No.

I want Him more.

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. Psalm 37:4-5 (ESV)

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Directionally Challenged

I like detailed directions.

Extremely detailed.

If you ever need directions to my house, I don’t just say turn left on this street and right on that one. Oh no. I include important information such as “Approximately 8/10 of a mile after you turn left you’ll come to a curve that makes you feel like you should put your turn signal on. The curve is 1/10 of a mile from your next right turn.”

People love my directions.

Okay. Actually, they laugh hysterically when the read them, but the reality is, if I give you directions, you are not going to get lost. At least, not if you follow them.

This need for detailed direction is probably why I struggle with Psalm 119:105.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.

I learned the verse as a child and my mental picture involved an enormous spotlight shining its powerful beam a good 100 yards down the path.

But that’s not what we’re talking about here. Oil lamps don’t give off that much light. We’re talking about just enough light to avoid stubbing your toe on a root or slamming into a boulder.

And this frustrates me.

After all, God is quite capable of giving detailed directions.

Have you seen the book of Leviticus? I mean honestly. Talk about details. (I like to think I get my detail issues from the Almighty—it’s nicer than admitting to being a bit OCD).

And talk about lighting a path. This is the God of the Shekinah glory cloud and the pillar of fire. God knows how to light up a path when He wants to.

And yet . . .

He seems to prefer to give me just enough information to take the next step.

No more. No less.

You can’t race along a path with that little bit of light. Each step must be measured. Each foot placement considered. You have to be on your guard at all times. And you have to have faith that the destination is worth the harrowing journey.

Of course, my faith is what’s at issue.

I have to trust that the One who lights my path, knows my path.

So I continue to step out, never knowing what’s next, but knowing He does.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Friday, October 1, 2010


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Several weeks ago, when everything seemed to be falling apart, I was sitting at my desk praying. And I felt strongly that I needed to read Psalm 119. I can’t say that kind of thing happens to me all the time. But it did this time.

Psalm 119, for those who may not be familiar with it, is very long.

I read but nothing “grabbed” me. I continued reading, feeling dutiful. Until verse 76 popped me between the eyes.

Psalm 119:76 – Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant. (ESV)

Now, if that verse didn’t give you chills, I can understand. It seems like a verse I would normally have read and just kept on going.

But when I read it on this particular afternoon, my mind immediately went to a verse I have quoted over and over since my writing life began.

Psalm 138:8 – The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. (ESV)

I sat at my desk stunned.

And comforted.

Nothing had changed. My circumstances remained chaotic. My plans lay in ruins. But my heart felt secure.

So, as the rest of the month disintegrated around me, I thought God had shown me that He had other plans. And I was okay with that.

But regardless of whether the manuscript was going to be submitted for the contest or not, the revision still had to be completed before I could do anything else. So I pressed on.

When I had the “opportunity” to spend the day in bed last Sunday (as in, the nurse said stay in bed all day), I wrote. All day.

And as of today, the re-write is done. By done, I mean, done for now. We all know nothing is ever truly done. But, the manuscript is finally in a place where I can submit it to the agents who requested it at Blue Ridge.

I sent my contest entry off an hour ago.

I’m under no delusions. I don’t think I’m going to win the contest. I don’t think I’ll even place. And that’s not put-on false hypocrisy. That’s a writer’s reality. I’ll probably need to write for quite a few more years, churn out several more books, attend quite a few more conferences and learn more than I ever imagined existed about the craft of writing, before I’ll finally produce a manuscript that is publishable.

But finishing in time to submit to Operation First Novel was important to me. And sometimes God, in his steadfast love, reminds us that He knows where we are. That He knows what is important to us. That He gives us our dreams. That He keeps His promises.

There is no logical explanation for the fact that I finished today, just a few hours before the deadline. If September had been “normal” I might have thought I had done this in my own power.

As it is, there is only one thing I can say.

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. (Eph. 3:20-21 KJV)