The Moses Problem

Writing is one of my greatest passions. It’s what I love to do and, on rare occasions, something I achieve with a degree of graceful success. Perhaps it’s because of how much I love it that I am far more sensitive to my obvious lack of expertise due to inexperience. I can write you a ten page college paper on the number 2 without blinking, but when it comes to crafting the thoughts from my crazy brain into something fluid and coherent, well, there’s a lot of blinking. I find myself comparing my writing to every other successful author’s, and nearly despair at the contrast in eloquence. “I wish I could write like that. I wish I could think of those things. I wish I had her writing finesse.” Discouraged I hang my head and close my laptop, hoping that the next day will gift me with a literary masterpiece like theirs. Or at least something worth reading.

I am also passionate about being a mother; though I admit most days, while in the throes of tantrums and poop, I don’t always feel it. Still, when the lights go out, the screams turn to whispered breaths, and delicate little eyelids are finally fluttering amidst dreams, my emotional reservoir refills; in the peace of the night I find my mothering heart renewed and restored. My children are, as Sally Clarkson affectionately says, “out-of-the-box.” They are feisty, they are wild, they are heart-breakingly beautiful; they are a challenge, and I catch myself constantly comparing both them and me to everyone else. “Why aren’t my girls as calm as her daughter? Why don’t my kids stay in bed like they do? Why do I feel so less together than she does? Why aren’t my kids talking as much as their kids?”

So I try to imitate, mimic, follow their lead, both in writing and parenting. I discard my thoughts and instincts in favor of someone else’s, believing that I am clearly not as equipped as they are – at writing, at mothering, at life. I’m searching for that magic formula that I believe someone else can give me, wanting to be just like them.

Lately in my readings I keep stumbling across the story of Moses, and last night while driving and belting my heart out to this album, Yahweh God brought a part of this story to mind.

Yahweh would eventually do great, wondrous things through Moses, but when He first spoke to him through the fiery bush, Moses counted only his flaws and shortcomings.

“And Moses said to Yahweh, “O, Yahweh, I am not a man of words, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant, for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.
And Yahweh said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes dumb, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, Yahweh? And now, go, and I shall be with your mouth and teach you what to say.
But he said, “O Yahweh, please send by the hand of him whom You should send.
And the displeasure of Yahweh burned against Moses, and He said, “Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he speaks well. And see, he is also coming out to meet you. And when he sees you, he shall be glad in his heart. And you shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth. And I am with your mouth and with his mouth, and I shall teach you what to do. And he shall speak for you to the people. And it shall be that he shall be a mouth for you, and you shall be an elohim for him.” –Exodus 4:10-16

Flaws and all, God had planned to use Moses. It was only because of Moses’s insistence that God brought Aaron along to help him. What if Moses had just trusted that Yahweh would equip him with everything he needed for the task appointed to him? What if he had believed that Yahweh not only knew him, but crafted him with purpose and intention? What if he wasn’t so concerned with fitting the world’s paradigm and simply allowed himself to be himself, as Yahweh had created him?

But he didn’t. So the Lord gave him a helper. He gave him Aaron.

Did Aaron feel inadequate, I wonder? Did he wonder why Yahweh chose him to speak for Moses instead of being the one who worked His miracles? Did he compare himself to Moses and question why he couldn’t be more like that?

This is what I’ve taken to calling the Moses problem. These men both played a monumental role in leading Yahweh’s people out of captivity, but they didn’t have the same job. They didn’t have the same characteristics, God didn’t use them the same way, they weren’t the same kind of people, but that didn’t make them inadequate for the job He did give them. Yahweh selected them for a reason; knowing better than even themselves how imperfect they were.

I will never be a Michelle Duggar, who aptly mothers with grace and composure; her children the pinnacle of respectful and proper. Nor will I ever be the next Francine Rivers, skillfully crafting together soul-moving stories and novels.

Or maybe I will be – if that’s the path that He chooses to lead me down.

Because the only thing I have to gain from letting my insecurities dictate my response to His prompting is the loss of an opportunity and blessing, and that’s not a gain at all, no matter which way you look at it.

No, I think instead I will continue to be who I am; realizing that, though my kids may be rowdier, and writing may be less experienced, He can, and does, use the imperfect to part the seas – and that is something I’m simply not willing to miss out on.


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