I experienced somewhat of a coffee-induced revelation late last night. Because it was coffee induced and well after midnight, the revelation came in the form of an overtired but overstimulated rambling thought process.
My husband and I had just said goodbye to a couple friend of ours. We'd had a wonderful night of playing cards while our kids played happily together. This is a weekly happening for us. And each week, we all stay up too late. It was twelve am when they left. The kids were still up.
Prior to this point, at around ten-thirty or so, I had the great idea to make a pot of coffee. My well-meaning husband advised me that this was not a good idea. It wasn't a good idea to give the baby Spree and licorice that late at night either, but we were doing that, weren't we? So, of course, I brewed the coffee. The men abstained while the women indulged. When our friends left later and Brett was tucking the, by now, slap-happy kids in bed, I snuck out my laptop to write. I say 'snuck' because just as he had not thought coffee was a real sound plan, neither would he think writing at midnight was. When he caught me and called me out on it, warning me that I would be exhausted come tomorrow, I defended myself, telling him I had a deadline. See, I had big plans to write a piece and submit it to a publication. But it has to be in by the 31st.
"I'm a writer. Get used to it." I said, "Writers stay up all night, writing."
It worked. He just shook his head and left me alone.
I finished my rough draft just in time to hear the baby waking. I grabbed my little wet-faced child and brought her in to sleep with me, ready ( I thought) for bed. We did not sleep. Not a wink. She tossed and turned. I turned and tossed. I got out of bed twice before three-thirty and both times, when I returned, there she was with her big eyes open. The candy and coffee got us. I never said I was grown-up enough to be a mother.
But as I lay there, restless trying to pat the restless out of the baby, my mind was racing. And I got to thinking. Is this what God wants for me? I don't mean coffee late at night. I'm not that much of a legalist. I mean, I'm only, really, a writer if I have something to say. Did I have so much to say last night that I had to sacrifice my energy for the next day? In fact, I wasn't even really that excited about the piece. I feel lately, like I've been scrambling to write. But write, what?
If there are words I'm meant to write, God will give me the time. The avenues. The places. I don't need to go running around looking for opportunity.
Yes, I need to give Him time to work through me. I do need that. But because God has been working with me in the areas of perspective and priorities, I realized then, that losing sleep or lagging behind in schoolwork or forfeiting family time to write something might be a sign that I'm running on my own steam rather than allowing myself to be God led. When I start identifying myself as anything other than God's servant, I tend to run amok.
Confession: this Twitter world of linking up and guest posting; it's exciting and yes, it may allow me to reach more people, but goodness, reach them with what? Blither? I don't want to get so goal oriented that my goals are hollow, are not God's goals.
Here's another confession: I'm so tired of school. Of studying 'Beowulf', and Chaucer and 'The Faerie Queene' and Shakespeare. It took me thirteen years to decide I wanted to study English Literature. Do you know why I chose it? Because it's the best degree to have if you later want to get an MFA in Creative Writing. But I'm so over Sir Thomas More, 'My lute, awake', Sidney and the like that I'm starting to fantasize about switching my degree to Family Studies. I won't. I fantasize about putting the kids in regular school sometimes, too, but I don't.
The point is that it's fine, even necessary, to set goals and work toward them but not if the goals are set out of wrong motives or are based on impatience.
So, I received a beautiful picture last night of God as the Master Artist and I, His apprentice. Any art I produce is only by what he has taught me and I will never surpass His greatness. If my words do not lead to His Word by which He breathed all into being, my words are pointless. It would be like working for Michelangelo and trying to peddle stick figure drawings. And I don't want to do this. I'm learning from the ultimate Master. So, I will wait for direction and instruction and timing. It's all His anyway.