Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Edit At Will

For the past several years, I’ve been writing a monthly post for my dear friend Edie Melson’s amazing blog, The Write Conversation. I send it to her a few days in advance (ok, sometimes one day in advance) and I always include these words in my email …
Edit At Will.

I don’t want to publish junk. I certainly don’t want to publish junk on her blog. I’m writing for her, and if she doesn’t like it or has any suggestions to make it better I want to hear them. 

She’s never sent anything back for a rewrite, but she does reformat the work to make it visually appealing on her site. She adds gorgeous photos and when she’s done with it the finished product is polished and (I hope) represents her well.

That’s why I say “edit at will.” I’m not writing these posts for my audience. I’m writing them for hers, and as such I want her to be pleased and feel like the words reflect her mission.

I was thinking about those three little words the other day in a different context.

I was thinking that those three little words—edit at will—should be my prayer.

Every day. Every schedule. Every event. Every (gulp) plan.
Lord, please, edit at will.
Change whatever needs to be changed.
Polish my life until it shines.
Help me be a beautiful and true reflection of You.

But it’s so hard.
It’s a sad truth, but it’s easier for me to give my friend free rein over my words than it is for me to give the God of the Universe free rein over my life. 

The first day I prayed that? Oh yeah, you guessed it. My day ran off the rails before 8AM. By lunchtime I was staggering around like an outmatched fighter desperate to hear the bell. And I had hours and hours to go. When I remembered my prayer from  the morning, I started laughing. Not in a “ha-ha that’s funny” way. It was more of a deranged, one step away from a full-blown panic attack kind of way.

Really, Lord? Because if this is what I’m going to get when I pray this way— 

But then I thought about it a little more.

That crazy day? It would have gone that way regardless of my prayer. The difference came when it dawned on me what was happening (several hours later than it should have). I was able (slowly) to regain some perspective.
Was this ridiculous day going wrong? Or, maybe, was it going exactly right?
Was it falling apart, or was it falling into place?

It looked nothing like what I’d been expecting, but I’m not God. I couldn’t predict the day. He could. He knew before it happened. He was already there in the crazy and upheaval. He wasn’t surprised at all. He was ready to help me, to redirect my path in a way that would bring Him the most glory. 

I still don’t know why the day went nuts. I do know that when I looked back at my calendar for the week I discovered something very interesting. The things that didn’t get done that day that went upside down? They all got done later in the week. The only negative repercussions were my own issues with not being able to say, “I got everything done today.” 

I’m trying to pray this more often. Some days go off without a hitch. Most don’t. But when the wacky Wednesdays hit on a Thursday, I’m hearing that still small voice in my soul whispering, “We talked about this. Remember?” 

I wish I could tell you that I’m now cool, calm, and collected all day long no matter how the day goes. I’m not there yet. (Just ask my kids).

But I’m asking God not only to edit my day, but to edit me as well. To illuminate the darkness in me, the fears, the desperate need to control everything. To eliminate the junk and reformat me into someone that represents Him well and makes Him look good. To help me live my life in a way that makes others want to know Him.

Most of all, I’m asking Him to help me remember that my life is not my own. I’m not here to fulfill my own purposes, but His. 

So I ask again . . . Father, edit at will.


Cathy Baker said...

Love this post, Lynn. "Edit at will" will be my mantra for Blue Ridge next week. It's certainly my heart's desire, and yet sometimes I feel like I'm being swallowed whole by all the conference to do's. At least now if you see me mumbling to myself in the halls you'll know what I'm saying. :) I look forward to seeing you there.