Really? …Yup. I just returned from a day and a half of getting doused with like minded introverts. Writers. The 2102 Breathe Writer’s conference reminded me again that any story worth paying attention to has conflict in it. In fact, no conflict, no story. While listening to plot points and points of view I found a pointed question on the fringe of it. It started as a whisper. “You are disappointed with me aren’t you?” We asked the question simultaneously. The finger pointing ensued in the middle of a Christian writer’s conference between God and me.
Talk about conflict. Yes, I was disappointed with God. I reminded God about when I made a delivery a few weeks back and I looked up and said, “It’s not your fault.” I didn’t blame God then and yet I slouched and pouted through the first few sessions of “Breathe.” I grumbled under my breath. Leave me alone. I don’t want to talk about it. Why can’t we just go our separate ways? I’ll just hide behind this gift of writing you gave me and I will go back to talking about you. You know; that non-engaged talking head thing that Christians have a knack for. I will sip on glasses of whine in the privacy of my own privacy and when the headache wears off mid-mourning I will prostitute this writing thing again. I will use this gift as a pontificate pacifier and suck on it.
“No,” I said, “Maybe I’ll just hang up the keyboard.”
“Are you really trying to manipulate me? That saddens me, but it is your choice. That is why it is a gift. I gave it to you, no strings attached. Whether you write or not I haven’t changed my mind about you.”
I was afraid to ask God what was on his mind concerning me. It was 2:00a.m. and a friend suggested getting my Bible out. So I sat on the toilet, lid down, and headed for the Psalms. Psalm 42 always comes to my mind first. The ultimate answer of 42 from the movie The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy had some sway I suppose. But I didn’t feel like a deer panting after God. So I jumped back a few Psalms.
“Take a deep breath, God; calm down—
don’t be so hasty with your punishing rod.
Your sharp-pointed arrows of rebuke draw blood;
my backside smarts from your caning.
I’ve lost twenty pounds in two months
because of your accusation.
my bones are brittle as dry sticks
because of my sin.
I’m swamped by my bad behavior,
collapsed under gunnysacks of guilt.
The cuts in my flesh stink and grow maggots
because I’ve lived so badly.
And now I’m flat on my face
feeling sorry for myself morning to night.
All my insides are on fire,
my body is a wreck.
I’m on my last legs; I’ve had it—
my life is a vomit of groans.
Lord, my longings are sitting in plain sight,
my groans an old story to you.
My heart’s about to break;
I’m a burned-out case.
Cataracts blind me to God and good;
Psalm 38 The Message
I swallowed the words like dry wine over a parched tongue. Out of my arid soul poured tears. First a pat pat like raindrops on sun baked asphalt, with steam rising above each landing. Then the deluge unleashed, with stifled groans because my bunk mate was sleeping. It was a good wail which took a good while. Sitting on top of the toilet lid my system was flushed. I felt like God was sitting next to me on the side of the tub rubbing my back and crying too. Jesus wept.
There was a full day of conference left and with the cataracts removed, the eyes of my heart were open to see God again.
It started with a devotional by Elizabeth Stickney which was sprinkled throughout with poetry. Words sifted down to their essence handed to me just the way I like them. God was on the give. He always is, but I was graced again to receive with a grateful heart.
Elizabeth ended with one of my favorite movie quotes. It was from the movie Chariots of Fire. Before she uttered a word I knew exactly what the words would be and my heart started weeping again.
Eric Liddell’s sister was concerned that his passion for running would take him away from God’s calling to the mission field. He answered her concern.
“God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast, and when I run I feel his pleasure.”
I bought Elizabeth Stickney’s book which she co-authored with Gary D. Schmidt
entitled Acceptable Words, Prayers for the Writer. She signed it with the words “So that when you write you will feel God’s pleasure.”
God let me know throughout the rest of the day how he felt about me. God wasn’t disappointed with me. My friends weren’t either. They told me I am a writer, and I will continue to run with that.
What about you? Do you have a passion or a dream which if you pursued you would find God’s pleasure in?