Saturday, January 26, 2008

Let the Chips Fall

What's the matter with me? Why can't I write ANYTHING?

Is this what writer's block is? It must be.

I think about what I've read in my bible the last few days - how the Father has distilled certain parts of it into pure spiritual water washing over me, cleansing my sullied heart and mind. I think about all the profound teaching in the last two weeks from a number of different sources and how I heard his voice through it many, many times, bringing enlightement and peace to some dark places in my heart. I remember the moments of solitude; the quiet listening and waiting, my mind becoming still; strength being renewed and purpose re-formed. I ponder again the rich conversation of this very afternoon - the sifting and the blowing off of chaff between two friends. I start. I stop. I erase. I think. I start again. I can't do it. I can't.

God? What's wrong with me? Why can't I write anything tonight? Again!

I pick up my bible and begin to read in Exodus again where I left off this morning. There's the ephod and the robe and the pomegranates the breastplate, the long-sleeved checkered tunic - all about Aaron and what he is supposed to wear in order to minister to the Lord...

Is this what's wrong with me, Lord? Do I not have the proper garments in place? Am I not fit to enter your presence? Is that why I can't hear your voice or reflect anything of the intimacies you have quietly spoken into my heart these last few days?

That cannot be. For you have done all that could ever be done to make me fit for your presence. The work is finished and as I acknowledge that fact with humility and accept the pure and boundless efficacy of your blood, I am free to approach you. Absolutely free.

I read the words... shoulder straps, and onyx and beryl stones, and clasps, and purple and gold and scarlet and twisted linen... My eyes and my mind read the words, my heart slips away to range freely, even as my eyes and mind take in the sentences on the page.

Suddenly, inexplicably, it's clear. My heart knows! I close my bible and listen some more...

I'm afraid. Afraid? But of what, Lord?

Your words. They won't please everyone. They will be "out there". And subject to criticism.

Ahhhh. Someone might criticize. Or misunderstand. Or read between the lines to fill in the blanks with things I did not intend. So that's it.

So what? So-o-o-o-o what!!!

If I weren't so full of Self, I wouldn't care, would I? I wouldn't be afraid at all. I'd write whatever You put on my heart to write. I wouldn't write for anyone else but you. And I'd leave the rest - what others think and what they might (or might not!) say - in your hands.

What was it that Belinda said yesterday? I heard those words too, at the same time and in the same place she did. She wrote last night about how Erwin McManus had said, "Courage is not the absence of fear, it is the absence of self."

The absence of self. My self isn't absent at all, is it Lord? It's alive and healthy - and the cause of this paralysis of words!

Father, see my pathetic, puny little self? Here where I've placed it on your altar again? It's been SO important to me! Next to your holiness, though, bathed in the light of your goodness, and surrounded by your glory, suddenly I can see it for what it's worth. It's so puny and small and pathetic! Not worth protecting at all!

So why do I try so hard?

Because I so easily lose sight of what you want to give me in its place. What else was it Erwin said? That as I die to "self" - to my "will" - you want to give me your character instead. That you want to conform me to the image of your Son! And you want to use me... You can't do that with my self in the way.

Here it is. My self, my will - over to you, Lord, over to you. And since you have it all in hand? Let those chips fall where they may.

9 comments:

Belinda said...

Wow my friend, you did it. You birthed a beauty of a blog post that will speak to others as it spoke to me.

I am grateful for another reminder to make room for the power of Christ to reign in and through me.

Night Owl said...

My self always gets in the way too... Like when I perform a piece of music, it's always so eager to tell me what I'm doing right and wrong, and what I should or could be doing better...
But I just don't understand how to get rid of it. It's very annoying, and I really don't like it very much... I wish it would just go away sometimes... If it "went away" then would I be able to play only for the glory of God? I think that's when I play my best... But it's SO, SO hard to go beyond self...
Has anyone read the Inner Game of Tennis?

Night Owl said...

By the way - I really liked this post. :) Thanks, Susan. :)

Belinda said...

I have not read, or heard of, The Inner Game of Tennis.

Is it a good book Night Owl?

Night Owl said...

It is. It talks about the same sort of thing - the reaching beyond self sort of thing. But, I think it's much better thinking of it when God is in the picture. He should be. It just makes more sense that to reach this sort of state of being it would be for a greater thing, no longer for yourself. The book doesn't really go that far, but it's fairly good nonetheless. I've learned a lot from it. :)

Night Owl said...

I've also read the Inner Game of Music. But the Inner Game of Tennis is the original book. It's the same concept anyway. Really everything we ever do is going to have some sort of potential "performance anxiety" attached. That is the nature of our "self", I suppose.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Susan you described so well some of the fears that come with writing. When I first started writing there was a glorious freedom in my style because I never believed for a minute that someone would ever want to read them. Now that people do read my words - there can be a real self consciousness and a real fear that people 'will get it wrong'. Reaching beyond all that requires courage indeed ... lovely post, beautifully written

Joyful Fox said...

Wow Susan...look at the comments this blog generated. The chips fell...God blessed...you were used.

A yielded heart...courage to step out in faith...you are willing...He is able.

Susan said...

Yeah, cool, eh? Thank you everyone for all the encouraging words.