The prodding started several months ago, took me totally by surprise, and happened over and over again. The Lord tapped me on the shoulder and whispered, “Study to show yourself approved.” I knew the application was not precise with regard to the scriptural context. But, I also knew what he meant.
He was telling me to slow down, be still, and listen. I've always been in too big a hurry in my life. I want to get on with things and learn as I go. Why slow down to study when on-the-job-training will get you there? I've wasted too much time in my life which is, by anyone's standards, at least half over now. Got to git to crackin', and can't slow down no more!
I was preparing for the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. While considering projects to pitch to an editor or publisher, I reviewed my work for possible contest entries as well. After all, I've been pretty prolific with posting to this blog the last year. Surely, there was something I had worth pitching or entering. Only a slacker wouldn't pitch and/or enter, and I'm no slacker!
|Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative|
I'd sit here night after night going back and forth with myself like a tennis ball at Wimbledon. Just as I'd decide on an answer, the voice would echo in my head and heart like a warning beacon telling me to alter my course of action. “Study to show yourself approved.”
What was God trying to tell me, and why would he slow me down in my progress toward fame, fortune, and an internationally known presence in the publishing world? Yes, in my wildest dreams, I am 'all that'. You'd think God would be on board with my plan by now too! Apparently, he is a memo or two short regarding my grand empty nester plan!
Time evaporated, and it was too late to craft a pitch or enter a contest. I fretted and worried over whether I was wasting my sponsor's investment in me. Shouldn't I be more goal-oriented given what my big brother/sponsor has done to foster my writing career? “Study to show yourself approved,” echoed the voice in my soul.
|Courtesy A. Hughes|
In the end, I bit off more than I could chew. I've done that since I was in junior high school and learning how to sew! I decided to devote my mornings to a fiction practicum and my afternoons to one on non-fiction writing. Good thing I like pie, 'cause I sure ate a lot of one filled with humble-berries! Bless Ramona Richards and Eva Marie Everson for the gift of their time and attention to a fraidy cat like me!
Just as I feared, my classmates were much farther along on their own projects. I felt like I had a big, fat 'L' (for 'loser') tattooed on my forehead before the week was over. Glad I listened when God kept whispering that I needed to apply myself to the pursuit of wisdom. I was even more thankful I had reigned in my inclination to pitch and enter when what I needed to do was be quiet and ponder.
God had a different, far more satisfying, agenda for me this year. Because I was not tied up in knots of anticipation vying for faculty appointments or waiting for the awards ceremony, I felt peaceful and free. I was free to sit and soak up the information I gained in the classes without underlying anxiety to distract me. Beyond that, I was free to focus on the people with whom God so graciously surrounded me.
|Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative|
How could I have known the sweet, sweet gifts he would supply in the midst of my obedience? Even tonight I am in awe of what he planned. Divine appointments with special people paved my daily path. He had prepared me for those moments by freeing me of an urgent agenda to prove myself a writer worthy of either attention or acclamation.
I am thankful for the faculty that devoted themselves to my enrichment as a budding writer. I am thankful for peers who challenged me to raise my game. Most of all, I am thankful for the relationships fostered that have strengthened and encouraged me in ways I never could have imagined before last week. I am a rich, rich girl indeed. In fact, I can't imagine that Harry Potter's 'mamma' (J. K. Rowling) is any richer than am I tonight!
|Courtesy B. Creasy 2010|
2 Timothy 2:15 (International Standard Version)
Do your best to present yourself to God as an approved worker who has nothing to be ashamed of, handling the word of truth with precision.