Posts Tagged ‘busy-ness’

I have delayed this entry far too long. I kept waiting to be inspired to write something uplifting, encouraging, amazing. It could be months. My life contains aggravatingly long stretches of completely uninspired days. The question is, whose fault is that, and if it’s mine (which it probably is), how do I make it stop?

Logophile that I am, I have to pause a bit here and examine the word “uninspired,” because I believe that language (diction) often chooses me more than I choose it, in a way. What I mean is, I could have chosen any number of synonyms to describe this stretch of days (“unexciting,” “unremarkable,” “commonplace”…), but what came off my fingertips is “uninspired,” and I believe that word moved from my unconscious onto my computer screen for a reason that bears examination. (Word choices often do bear examination, particularly for people who think as metaphorically as I tend to do.) Here’s the significance: I know consciously that “inspire” means breathe in, and I certainly connect that image (and etymology) to the Holy Spirit (spirare – to breathe), but I wasn’t consciously thinking about the relation of my creative doldrums to my spiritual doldrums until I saw the word on the screen. See now, this is why writing matters: to write is to think.

Given that rabbit trails–such as this one I just took–are the stuff of life, or at least the stuff of writing, what can I learn from that little rabbit trail? Simply that it reminds me of why I started this blog in the first place, and subtitled it “Weekly musings on life in Christ.” I need the discipline. To have musings to write requires reflection, and God knows I need to be doing more reflecting. And to do more reflecting requires taking time to be still. Which is exactly why I’ve had several uninspired weeks: no stillness.

Why? Because when a family of five takes a memorable, adventurous vacation in August, someone spent hours in April planning it (mom). Because once you start arranging flights and lodgings for Maine-Boston-NYC, big money is on the line, so you better be sure of your plans and book quickly while affordable things are available. Because Skybus pretends that all is well just two days before it declares bankruptcy and announces that your tickets are worthless (but of course you have already booked rooms for the cities you now have no way to get to, unless you re-book tickets with another airline, which will completely bust your budget). Because retrieving your money is your responsibility, not the bankrupt airlines’. Because our puppy hasn’t quite learned proper respect for the invisible fence yet. And because, at the end of a solid week of all this time of pretty much full-time travel-planning on the internet (and puppy chasing), my mood and my mind defaulted to black scribble, which is the best way I know to describe that foulness of outlook, that ticked-off funk I get into from time to time. It looks like Lucy in the cartoon here. Words are just inadequate. Everything is a mess of ugly knots. Oh, and I pretty much resent everybody I know.

Remember that comment I made on the last entry about knowing that in the parable of the sower, I am the “good soil?” Well I’m still claiming that by faith, but these are the days when the Savior has to remind me of it, if I would give him just half an hour: 29 minutes to calm myself down and stop being petulant, and a minute to listen to him call me his child. But for days on end, I gave him no such time. No, I was too busy stewing about whether the owner of that awesome apartment in Brooklyn with the rooftop view of the bridge was going to e-mail me back, or if I should just go ahead and book the one in East Village, which is $100 more per night. Tick tock. Things are booking up. Better not lose this one. Maybe check one more website…

Good soil, but thorns sometimes. The seed still grows, but the fruit is limited, choked by the “worries of this life” (Matt. 13:22). Deep inspiration stops, replaced by shallow panting. Mercifully, God does not forsake us then. But equally mercifully, he also does not usually reward us with his peace until we stop bolting like a frantic deer, realize that we are short of breath for no good reason, and lie down in those green pastures where He will restore our souls, every time.

How timely that the Tozer Daily Devotional (you HAVE to sign up for this one!) yesterday said this:

“Prayer: Take Time to Listen”

The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. I opened my mouth and panted, for I longed for Your commandments. -Psalm 119:130-131

The Quakers had many fine ideas about life, and there is a story from them that illustrates the point I am trying to make. It concerns a conversation between Samuel Taylor Coleridge and a Quaker woman he had met. Maybe Coleridge was boasting a bit, but he told the woman how he had arranged the use of time so he would have no wasted hours. He said he memorized Greek while dressing and during breakfast. He went on with his list of other mental activities–making notes, reading, writing, formulating thoughts and ideas–until bedtime.The Quaker listened unimpressed. When Coleridge was finished with his explanation, she asked him a simple, searching question: “My friend, when dost thee think?”

God is having a hard time getting through to us because we are a fast-paced generation. We seem to have no time for contemplation. We have no time to answer God when He calls. – Jesus, Author of our Faith, p. 46.

Tozer knew it and I know it:  when there is a dearth of inspiration, it has nothing to do with lack of available air.

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