It was a dark and stormy night…
No seriously, last night was dark and stormy. Except for the intermittent flashes of lightening and booming thunder that rattled our windows and shot tremors through the entire house.
I couldn’t sleep.
Sure one might consider that common in a thunderstorm. Never mind that I’m a light sleeper by nature.
Never mind that the stupid freezer we bought has a built in alarm that goes off every time the power goes out.
Never mind that it sits at the opposite end of our house and I was up at least three consecutive times, drudging the length there and back to bed to shut the darn thing off!
No. All things aside, my brain flipped to on mode and wouldn’t shut down.
For the past two months, I’ve felt as though I’ve fought against a fog. Thoughts clutter and jumble, churning so much in my mind that I can’t focus. I’ve been scatter-brained and frustrated. To combat it, I kept tackling things head on with lists and futile attempts to put some semblance of order into my head. All it did was frustrate me more.
Since the last attempt, I found I’ve become complacent. Succumbing to depression and thoughts of “what’s the use?” Every aspect of my life – my self – seemed to exemplify that I could do nothing but fail.
It’s in the solitude of night when I go to bed that I often find myself most open to self reflection. That in turn always leads to conversation with God. After all, He’s the only one who perfectly understands my thoughts and circumstances…better than I do myself.
So amidst the thunder peels and constant rainfall, I poured out my frustrations to the Maker of Heaven and Earth. Then I listened…
Yes, He did speak. He always does. No, it was not an audible voice. Instead, I find that Christ often leaves impressions on my mind.
First, there was that sense of peace. Despite the raging storm outside, I never once felt the need for fear. In fact, it impressed on me the passage in scripture where the Prophet Elijah experiences God on the mountain top after running away. Through storm and whirlwind he waited, but nothing happened. Then in the calm, he experienced the still, small voice of God telling him what he needed to hear.
I confessed to God that every time I make plans in life, they always fizzle and fall apart.
That familiar feeling came over me.
“Yes, I know I’m supposed to give them to you.”
So why can’t you?
“I don’t know. Maybe I can’t trust you. I can’t seem to trust anyone.”
That sounds familiar.
I smiled. God knows I’ve struggled with this issue longer than I can remember. Faith is not one of my spiritual gifts.
You need to give it to Me. You won’t find release until you give it to Me.
So, your story. Is it so terrible if it takes you another 13 years to see it published?”
“Yes! And no. Honestly, everyone expected it to be published long ago. I think they’ve since stopped asking about it because they all believe it never will. Heck! I’m beginning to believe that. So why shouldn’t they?”
You’re missing the point.
I sighed, swallowing the lump in my throat. Willing the tears not to come. “I know that if its your will for that many years to go by before my stories see the light of day, then there’s no sense fighting it. But my heart doesn’t like that option.”
You’re focusing on the end as though it will all instantly fall into place. This is not a result I’m calling you to. It’s a journey. You won’t be idle in the journey, will you?
I rolled over in bed and stared at the ceiling. “That’s true.”
The conversation continued much like that through the night. Every now and again I’d fall asleep only to wake up again and continue prayer through the wee hours of the morning. By the time I was up for the day, I found myself staring out the window into our wet world and pondering a simple quote:
Each journey starts out with one step.
Sure, you could agonize over it…plan out every little detail of your itinerary. But in the end, the journey won’t happen until you take a step. And the journey can’t continue unless you keep taking successive steps thereafter.
My heart was impressed with that realization. I’ve spent so much time planning…agonizing over every little detail. But never really letting myself just step out and focus on the simple steps of making a journey happen.
So that’s my resolve today. To focus on each step.
It won’t be easy. I’m prone to rabbit trails. Multitasking should have been my middle name (never mind how silly that name would be). If I begin to wander, with God’s help, I’ll remind myself to go back to the basics of one foot in front of the other.
So how about you? Does this story sound familiar? How have you focused on the steps in your journey rather than becoming swept away considering its end?