“Lord, what should I give up for Lent?”
“Don’t give up anything. How about you just do what I’ve been telling you to do? Write.”
He could’ve said anything—TV, social media, carbs, coffee, and as much as it would’ve been hard to give those up for a while, it would’ve been okay—easier even—than to obey and write.
I protest with all the best reasons of why writing’s not important enough at the moment.
“God, there must more urgent things to tend to—the laundry, the kids, mentoring, church work, reading the Bible. Surely You’d rather have me do those things than stare at a screen struggling to bring words to life!”
But I hear nothing in return. I could almost see Him raising His eyebrows with that knowing look—the same one I give my kids when they’re questioning my commands, my guidance, my love. He knows that I know what He means.
I’m afraid to obey. I’m afraid of the responsibility, the work, the potential humiliation if it doesn’t work out. I’m afraid of what others will say or won’t say. I doubt my gifts, my calling, my faith. I doubt whether I heard Him correctly because why me? Who am I to think I could do this?
But His sweet, patient voice keeps telling me the same thing—Write. Write because I invite you to do it. Write because I gave you this gift. Write because I am the One who will give you the words and because I intend to bless others through them. Write because I love you, and this is your act of worship to Me.
Too often I think my act of worship has to be something that’s already good enough—the final draft, the best product—but it’s not what He’s asking for. What He really wants is my obedience and my faithfulness to take the next step.
Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. (Romans 12:1 MSG)
So I confess. I confess that I’ve wasted time, that I’ve thought so little of Him and too much of myself. I confess that avoiding the hard work of obedience has withheld blessing from others. I confess that I hold too tightly to what I know of myself instead of trusting that the God who fed thousands with two fish and five loaves is the same God who’s inviting me into His work today. I confess that I idolize and long for the admiration and approval of others to give worth to my work. I confess that I fear failure and success and that I’d rather hide than make a fool of myself. I confess that I’m often lazy and lack discipline and that it’s easier to tell others to be brave, to have faith, to follow God than to do it myself.
I’m turning and looking again to the cross where the Perfect Sacrifice was made. I’m looking to the One who took the responsibility, the hard work, the commitment of obedience and offered Himself fully. I look to Him, and my fears and doubts fade. My resisting, lazy heart softens. He beckons me to come near, to lay my words at the altar because Inadequate isn’t my name anymore. He takes away the burden of Not Enough, and He sings Worthy, Valuable, Holy, and Pleasing over me because that’s who I am in Him.
I let His song wash over me, and I’m once again set firm in my truest and surest identity. From there I can offer myself, I can write as my act of worship to Him, I can live out my everyday, ordinary life with freedom and power and purpose.