My All

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Raised voices and tapping on furniture have paused, for a few hours. My kitchen counters will stay clean, the cats will relax and I can finish my thoughts, for now.  It’s Monday and the boys are back in school after a two week break. Two weeks of late nights, teenage boys sleeping into the afternoon and perptetual raids on the refrigerator, and now there is silence.

Even mothers who love their children without ceasing, need silence. Silence to cultivate and replenish. Silence after giving their all. I need time without bickering and ice cream dripped on the floor. Time and silence to reconnect with myself again. I have tasks more personal than leaves on the carpet – leaves that were carried in on shoes surely too big for the boy. And I will ignore the half-empty water bottles, discarded snack wrappers, the crumpled laundry – the laundry that I spent time on already, time moving and folding and carrying.

I have tasks more personal. Goals. Projects. More than toilets, bedtime struggles, favorite pair of pants. And I gave it my all these past two weeks. You know what I mean? Gave them my all. My sleep. My energy. My words and hugs and skills. I gave it my all when the rivalry wouldn’t stop and patience vanished and bellies were hungry, again. When frustration was plenty and wisdom was needed, I gave my all to them.

Now, I need to find my strength, rest, endurance. To replace the all that I gave. So I find it in the warm cup of coffee poured from a french press. I find it while watching the pale leaves dance around the backyard. I find it in the yarn that I’ve twisted and turned into a vessel of warmth for a loved one. I find what I really need on the fragile pages of my Bible. In the silence of Monday, I have found what I need. The Lord is my Shepherd. He is my all. And when the late-afternoon hour comes with noise, jackets flung to the floor and a tussle over the biggest piece of warm banana bread I’ll be ready. Because I give them His all.

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Which Voice Takes Us Toward Our Dreams?

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“Who would want to listen to me? Those other women who write, have it all together. I have failed. Am still failing. I have nothing of value to offer an audience. The idea of writing for a living, writing even one book, is foolish.”

These are the words I hear. And this voice in my head just won’t quit; won’t let me move forward towards my dreams. Every time I hone in on the thing that I think God wants me to do, my passion, the reason for all of my trials and pain and joy..the volume goes up. The voice that was lurking but never gone, comes out from hiding and smirks at my ounce of confidence….every time I take a step forward. And so I stop.

This voice is not real. But it has power, at least percieved. And it has a name: DOUBT. Have you heard it too? Has it stalked you? Stopped you?

Doubt is like a reocurring nightmare. You know it’s not real, but you react to it anyway. Maybe you only react by wondering what the message is; what to do with it. You can try to ignore it. I try.  And just like in the nightmare, when doubt comes on the scene in your life, you are paralyzed. In the shadow of doubt, you can’t act, can’t do the thing you’ve been trying to do.

I’ve heard from other writers, other humans with an incessant passion, that this is normal, common. Ignoring it is exactly the thing to do. Ignore the voice that says “you can’t” and instead, rely on the One who says “I have given you everything that you need to do this thing.”

The only purpose doubt has is to destroy us. You know that, right? So why would you listen to something that doesn’t have your best interest at heart? Why would I?

The voice of Truth. That’s the voice that deserves to be turned up louder! That voice wants you, me, to succeed and do the thing, to make alive the relentless desire that can be worked out through hands, through expression of life lived, battles fought, victories won.

Listen. Hear that voice? It’s the voice of Truth. It has real power; power with your best interest at heart. It has power to silence the doubt. Now, let’s step forward again, towards our dreams. I’m looking forward to living out mine, the dreams that were born of what God gave me.  I want you to live out yours, too.