Do not bring us to the test, Jesus advises us to pray–which suggests that those who pray this may be spared much testing and temptation. But in this world, there will be trouble (John 16:33) as Jesus reminds us in his luminous last supper discourse.
And one purpose of being brought to the test is that it reveals our hearts, our characters, and where we really are in our spiritual lives.
And the exam results often surprise us!
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I guess I’ve failed a test in the last 11 days—but want to do better.
My memoir will be published next April, with the manuscript due on Dec 31st.
My editor has a fairly systematic plan with week-by-week tasks. Last week’s was to turn in an outline of the book. This week’s was to work out how many chapters or parts thereof I am to write per week between now and Dec. 31st. Divide the estimated word count of the chapters by the number of hours I have to write each week, and get the word count to aspire to per working hour.
All well and good—except the book has 3 major sections, and I have just finished outlining the first one. So 6 days behind, and only a third of the way through last week’s task.
Gosh, what a mass of material. I have actually written the book in first draft, but there are still dozens of pages of material I haven’t used, and because I wrote the book, topically, chapter by chapter, without an outline, there is some repetition.
However, the logical, orderly, obsessive part of me is now delighting in a firm structure, seeing chapters emerge organically, putting everything in its correct place.
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Anyway, so I am working on what I should have turned in last Sunday, and am about a third of the way through, and am even working on Sunday which I rarely do.
Busyness, ah busyness, I have steadfastly attempted to avoid busyness for much of my adult life. Stress and I don’t get on.
I tend to eat comfort food when stressed. I cut back on exercise.
And alas, I’ve done both this week, reduced my walking from 7-8K to 2-3 K (which meant I didn’t think that well, or sleep that well, or feel that happy). Ate a bit too much chocolate and cookies and sweet treats for the high instead of getting the high from “endogenous morphine” or endorphins by running (which meant I didn’t think that well, or sleep that well, or feel that happy). Compromised on prayer and Bible study.
In short, I behaved in exactly the sort of way I would counsel my own daughters, or any young woman I was mentoring not to behave.
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But this is not the way I want to write, and this is not the way I am going to write.
This is the way I want to write: I want to see myself hugged in the Father’s embrace.
I want to feel him breathe on me. I want to feel him breathe his Holy Spirit on me (John 20:22).
I want to write from that breathing on me. That is the only way I want to write.
I want to write in that dance with the Father, in union with him.
I want my writing to be worship. I want my writing to be joy.
But by the help of God that is how I am going to write.
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And guess what? I know this from many other experiences of falling and repentance.
When I write in this way, I will write better, write faster, write more tirelessly, “running, and not growing weary, walking and not being faint. (IS 40:31).” For I will be relying on refreshing from eternal springs.
Seek the Kingdom of God and his righteousness (active voice) and “all these things will be added to you,” (passive voice, added to you, by the mercy of God who honours those who honour him).
And it took a week of “running” and writing in my own strength, and not getting very far for me to see that.
And now for another week of writing with the help of Christ who strengthens me.