For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Galatians 1:10 (ESV)
I am not where I am by choice. (that does not mean I do not love where I am. I LOVE where God carried me, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.) When my job was eliminated and I needed a way to stay sane, I wrote. Friends encouraged me to write for years. One day my soul opened up and a blog fell out. More than two years later, writing is refuge, therapy, communion. Writing deepened my faith. Had I not needed to fill days once full, I would never have given myself permission to write. On some level, writing filled a need; writing became my job.
Being a full time SAHM is not easy. There are always things to do and it is easy to become overwhelmed, particularly when you are NOT a domestic diva. So carving out time, quiet uninterrupted time to write felt awkward at first. Like without a career I didn’t deserve time for me. I believe if my writing were just an filler, I could walk away more easily. You see, for all my strength, I’m not all that good about giving myself permission. There is probably a long-form explanation, but the reality is that I am supposed to have more important things to do than sit around writing, right? Except that writing isn’t just a filler. I believe writing is my call.
What’s a call? Well, according to several writers, it can include the experience of losing your footing and finding the ground…
I tell you for certain that a grain of wheat that falls on the ground will never be more than one grain unless it dies. But if it dies, it will produce lots of wheat. If you love your life, you will lose it. If you give it up in this world, you will be given eternal life. If you serve me, you must go with me. My servants will be with me wherever I am. If you serve me, my Father will honor you. John 12:24-26 (NIV)
In a sermon on John 12, Fr. Jim Martin teaches that “you might come to see that that’s not such a bad thing to let go of. Maybe it’s been preventing you from some freedom. If you let those particular grains die, you might actually be freed of something. In the midst of suffering, you might experience some new life.”
I read that “losing a job can be a shattering loss of identity and purpose,or it can be an opportunity to assess your true calling and look for a better fit.” Who knew that falling out of one thing might be the key to landing where I belonged?
This week’s growth challenge requires mastering the art of saying NO to good things in order to be able to say YES to the best. I don’t think God gave me much choice. I would never have been brave enough on my own to say yes to writing. I wouldn’t have had time. I would have more important/pressing/legitimate/valuable things to do with my time. God didn’t give me any choice. Writing is my calling. The words just pour out. When there is nothing to say, I pray, stilling myself (another gift I’d never have given myself otherwise) to hear. I am disciplined. It is important to me to honor this gift, this blessing of lost and found. So, in growing, in mastering a new strength, I make time to honor this discipline. I carve time out. I set sacred boundaries. At some point every day, when things are done (after a fashion), and I feel that everyone’s needs are met, I get a little jealous. I look into the eyes of my beloved, into my children bright eyes, even into the endless brown eyes of my precious puppy when he wants to walk but there is just a little more to get out, “Mommy is writing,” and I do not feel badly. They accept it. They respect it. They have embraced it, and because they have, so have I.
So, there it is, me as coward. I did not bravely master the art of saying say “NO.” I backed into it, but I learned it nonetheless. My loving family taught it to me, and now, cautiously, they approached me when I’m hunched over my laptop, asking, “Mommy, are you writing?”
And that is when I finally understand that dying grains can be the key to a new life.