Writers, our work is to continue what was started
“In life, many people do not reach their full potential. We can become so caught up in the everyday that it is easier to continue in old patterns rather than change.”Nicky Gumbel, Bible in One Year, Day 17
Those sentences caught my attention as I read the devotion that precedes the day’s Scripture readings in the Bible in One Year with Nicky Gumbel.
“We can become so caught up in the everyday that it is easier to continue in old patterns rather than change.“
I imagine the “everyday” includes my daily routines and habits. Some good, some not so good. Am I so caught up in the “everyday” that I’m staying in patterns that prevent me from reaching my full potential?
Certainly, the “everyday” is busy. Filled with tasks that must be done. Obligations that must be met. Relationships that must be tended. Leaving little time for what I believe will move me toward reaching my full potential.
Your story continues His story
I want to write something that will change the world.
That has been my goal, my dream, and my bio on my blog site (image below). (The bio is dated. My parenting duties are fewer; I’ve added grandparenting. I rarely cheerlead and bead these days, but I respect the rhyme.)
“I have a desire to write something that will change the world,” it says. I’ve always imagined that something to be a book.
“Hasn’t that book already been written?” my dear husband has asked me each time I have expressed that desire.
He is right, of course. The Bible has been written and changed the world — and continues to change the world.
But why would God give me a desire to write such a thing?
“Because the Book of This World is unfinished without your story,” wrote Leslie Leyland Fields in her book, Your Story Matters. “In the Bible, Creation begins with a Creator who generates the entire spinning, exploding cosmos with nothing but words: let there be, let there be, and there was. And God pronounced it good, very good.
“Why wasn’t it perfect? It was not perfect because the world was not finished,” she continued. “Our work since we were given the breath of life is the same work given to Adam as the animals paraded before him: to speak back, to name all that is, to finish what was started, to offer it back to God and to one another.”
She reminds her readers — likely writers, such as myself — what David wrote in Psalm 19:
The heavens declare the glory of God,Psalm 19:1-4, ESV
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
“Could it be that God intended creation to be a conversation instead of a monologue?” she asked, then answered. “Of this I am sure, God speaks and all of creation answers back — in joy, in praise, in truth… We’re still naming the word-spoken world; we’re writing the story of our life. We’re answering back. Not just to ourselves and to God, but also to one another.”
Ah. Yes. Often, I have considered the importance of words to God. After all, in addition to speaking the world into existence, God sent His Son, called the Word of God. What a privilege to have both the skills and the desire to use words to continue His story!
Maybe writing words isn’t your thing. But however you’re living your life, you should consider that you’re continuing His story. When I taught, students told me they were the pages in my (unwritten) book. In that spirit, we’re all writing something for someone.
So don’t let the ‘everyday’ usurp your story
It is easier to do the “everyday” than to write. To awaken in the morning and do my everyday routines. Go to work and do my routines. Work through lunch because I routinely have too much work to complete. Lie and say, “I’ll take this lunch hour later to write.” But don’t. Get home and do my routines. Go to bed and start again in the morning.
When I’ve got big things pressing — important decisions, writings, projects — I find solace (and excuse) in the “everyday.” Respond to email, edit a document, train an intern. Work must be done, right? I’m working as hard as I can, right? But my time would be better spent going through job applicants to find someone to help share the load.
At home, my counters must be wiped and floors mopped. But maybe not in the quiet hours of Saturday morning when I have a chance to write without interruption. Sometimes I choose the solace of a clean house instead of gifting my time and energy to my dreams, my full potential.
“The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me,” Jesus told his disciples (Matthew 26:11, NIV). He was defending the woman’s choice to pour expensive perfume on Him. They had suggested it would have been better to sell the perfume and give the money to the poor.
Seems practical. As practical a decision as dividing my time among my everyday tasks instead of pouring it into God’s calling for my life. Doing everyday tasks that must be done again tomorrow or next weekend. Instead of pouring it into something that lasts. A book?
Choose greater than the ‘everyday’ every day
Your calling, whether you’re writing your story or living it out loud before others, is a privilege. And not just that; it is a responsibility. As Psalm 19:3-4 said, “There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world” (ESV).
Remember, we are part of God’s creation. We are part of “their voice,” “their words” that go throughout all the earth. Privilege, yes. But our responsibility, dear Christians, too.
The Imperials touched on this in David Will’s song, “You’re the Only Jesus”:
“‘Cause you’re the only Jesus some will ever see.
And you’re the only words of life some will ever read.”
I have a number of friends who are not believers — but they read my blog posts. What if my words are the only “Bible” they will read? What if my story could touch the deepest part of my friend’s soul and lead her to Jesus?
Oh, dear Reader, I hope you, like me, reflect on Nicky Gumbel’s words this morning and ask yourself, “Am I so caught up in the ‘everyday’ that I’m not reaching my full, God-given, God-driven potential?”
Oh, Father, give me the words. Help me pour the perfume of my time at your feet to honor you by living my life to the full.
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