As a writer, I have drafted no less than several hundred term papers, countless essays, edited news copy for broadcast, press releases, written speeches to deliver at friend’s weddings, and hundreds of blog posts since I began blogging in 2012.
Even still, at my job, I am responsible for all edits for our department page on our corporate website and write the copy to introduce new franchisees to our workforce as we bring them into the fold- into our family. I am so very intentional about the word choice as I know that I am introducing this individual and want to be certain to allow them to glimpse their work ethic, past performance, hobbies, character, chemistry, and their leadership capacity. I still believe it is one of the single most important things I do on a weekly basis. And, as writers, and even as people, we believe that we are the ‘Authors of our own stories’ writing life one chapter at a time…
… but we are not.
Someone else has been doing the writing long before we ever even existed.
Long before the foundations of the earth was laid. When there was just the Word and God.
Those words- those precious words in His story of our lives- are carefully crafted, individually selected for each and every one of us. Unique, just as we are. No two fingerprints are exactly alike, and no two stories are exactly alike.
I used to think that my story should align with others. I wanted my track to run parallel to theirs because I felt that was the way, the right way – the only way.
And when it didn’t? … because it never did (or does) perfectly align… I would be discouraged, discontented, and mystified.
What was different about me?!?
What was wrong with me?!?
Am I not worthy?!?
Oh my, dear one. Those are dangerous and destructive thoughts that I allowed to have real estate in my heart and my mind.
The lies of the Enemy begin to swirl. And at times, they swirl still. And I feel powerless to stop their attacks, on my own. Good news is that the God of Angel Armies is on my side- protecting my heart, my mind, my spirit, and my entire story is in His hands. The portions that I know already in my past and in my present, and those chapters still left for me to walk into. Those times of unknown and still uncharted.Those closed doors and open windows.
I want no other Author.
I know that in the deepest sense of my being.
So, why do I continue to try and take the pen?
Why does this Control Monster bubble up from inside of me and it envies, and it aches, and it hurts. And it desires only the temporary or quick fix, and not the eternal. It wants to remedy the path in the here and now, and not be patient for His perfection. It thinks it can be satisfied by its own answers, and it tries to escape the timeline the Author has set before it. And isn’t that just so our nature?
I think of Sarai, or Sarah, from Old Testament Scripture. Abram, or Abraham’s wife, who had been told the great news that she would bear a son, even in her advancing age, and he would be the leader of a great nation of people and his name would be great. Well, if I had that sort of word spoken over me, I would be thrilled and patient and meek and mild, I am just sure of it! I wouldn’t at all be tempted, as Sarah was, to thwart the plan, speed up the timing a bit, and circumvent the process in order to reach that promised destination a little sooner. I mean, come on… what is the harm in that!?!
And instead, in that moment of weakness, Sarah’s flesh, her own Control Monster, took the easy, less-trafficked road and put a new plan into place. And even still today, the legacy of that decision ripples through the ages as there was never meant to be both an Ishmael and an Isaac. God’s blessing was always meant to pass only through Isaac.
That was the plan all along.
His story. His words. His ways.
I hate to admit it, but I have compassion and strange sort of empathy for Sarah. I have Sarah moments more often than I’d care to admit. And the temptation to take the pen, to put ink on the page, is a very real and a tremendous temptation for me. It’s admitting I don’t have control, and we all know that we love to think we have control in our lives; in our stories. So, it’s that idea, that practice of total surrender.
Now, there is a life-long lesson that we as Christ followers need to learn and to practice daily.
Recently, a coworker of mine did a devotion to open up on of our team development meetings and he was sharing that he was spending the next year discovering what it meant to love Jesus and to serve Jesus with his “all.”
At first, I didn’t quite understand what he meant, but then he began to break down a simple, and incredibly familiar, piece of Scripture…
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. And, love your neighbor as yourself.
All refers to the entire quantity or extent of a person, group, or thing. It is the whole of one person’s admiration, energy, and interest.
I desire Christ to be my All.
I want to be filled of less and less of me and more and more of Him. I want All of Him, and less of Me and this world to fill my thoughts, my days, my minutes. I want the work of my hands, the words from my lips, and the incantations of my heart to be wholly pleasing to Him.
I want to give him my All. Be in complete and total surrender.
But, something wells up inside me before I can make the final transfers… my human, sinful, control-hungry, selfish nature. And, those are when the Sarah moments, those moments of breakdown, occur.
I am on a self-discovery expedition of the heart to determine what it truly means to love, serve, and honor Him with your All. And, I have decided it is surrendering your story to His almighty plan. For, it is always, assuredly better than the ones we could imagine or write for ourselves, but that doesn’t mean that things happen in our ways, to our pleasure, and in our expected time frames.
It could mean seasons of wait- even very, very long seasons of wait.
It could be a “No”, or a “Not right now.”
It could mean some level of loneliness or a season of isolation, where you feel completely alone in this, but you are never alone. He has made that promise.
And, He always keeps His promises.
And, I want to dwell in and live in light of His promises. For, He is good and He is faithful.