It’s threatening winter here today and, despite the fact that it’s not even four pm yet, I’m sitting here in a darkened living room staring out my windows at a grey sky. The husband is gone and the toddlers are napping so it’s quiet here, and it’s cold. I thought about getting up from my oversized chair to turn the heat up a bit, but instead I’ve pulled the blanket tighter over my bare toes and curl my legs a little more, because I just can’t muster the gumption to break the stillness. Or maybe that’s just Wisdom telling me to stay put.
Because I’m thinking this afternoon. I’m thinking and I’m feeling. In this dark quiet cold room beneath a dark cold sky I’m thinking, and feeling, and reflecting. It’s been a month since Allume, which is great because that means I’m a month closer to the next one, but I’m a month further from it too, and life is sneaking back in. Not that there wasn’t life at Allume – oh, there was so much life – but now there are kids and dishes and homework and errands and a lamentably scarce number of keynote speakers waking me up in the morning.
I’ve re-started my 40 day challenge three times now, and if I’m honest I should probably re-start it again. I’m beginning to feel like this 40 day thing is really going to be a life-time lesson that I am constantly trying to discipline myself in. 40 days of focusing purely on Christ and Abba. 40 days of no distractions. And the only time I read my bible this week was yesterday in the waiting room of the doctor’s office because I was anxious.
When I came back from Allume I was BURSTING with words to write and stories to tell. They were flowing faster than I could capture them and I was reveling in it in utter joy. And the weeks immediately following were the same, because I was so intent on staying IN HIM like I was at the conference. A place where my soul was fed with gospel and grace and challenged for hours and hours every day. I was drinking straight from the deep narrow river.
But now my river is wide and shallow again. I get frustrated when the words don’t come for my writing. I get jealous of others who still write beautifully every day. I get envious of their natural talent.
But in this cold dark room Wisdom is telling me that the wise know to draw from the deep places. They know that the deep places are only found in the quiet innermost parts of the wood. Places you do not just happen upon. Places we have to seek out. The Holy Spirit has shown me that I am utterly incapable of doing this on my own. And I mean that literally.
There are people who can, technically, write well and continuously even if they are not yielding to Yahweh. We always suffer when we distance ourselves, and our struggle may be greater, but I know of many writers who can still manage to put words to page even when they’re not in perfect fellowship with God.
But not me. When my fellowship is neglected the words just stop. I search and grasp in the dark air and come up completely empty. Without His fellowship, without His leading, and unless He fills me every single day, I am dry and brittle.
I’m reminded of Moses when Israel went to battle with the Amalekites. The Lord only gave Moses victory when he was in direct worship to Yahweh. As soon as his hands dropped he simultaneously gave up the power to win.
I realize now more than I ever have that when my hands drop… when my priorities change… when I am not completely immersed in holiness and fellowship and worship with the Author of my soul… I have lost the power to speak.
It’s discipline, really. It’s forced humility. He has given me a gift to use for, and only for, His name. To speak His words. To write His stories. It’s not about my followers, or my fame, or my connections, or “my talent”. This is not about me, and when it becomes about me, He shuts it down and waits patiently until I turn around and settle back down at His feet and listen.
Today the lines between correction and lavishing grace are indistinguishably blurred.
Today, I think, I have grown.