Do you ever feel that what you are doing simply has no significance? On more than one occasion I have struggled with this thought – sometimes for a moment, a day, or even a season.
Let me share my most recent experience. Perhaps it will resonate with you at some level.
My husband and I moved to a rural community in Virginia almost a year ago. Did I mention RURAL? As in up until recently, our farmhouse was entirely surrounded by corn stalks that towered high above my husband’s 6’2” frame. It was all that you could see!
I can no longer just hop in my car to the coffee shop, the salon, the craft store, the mall, or even to get a pedicure. These things take s-t-r-a-t-e-g-i-c planning. I am sure to anyone who might observe me during this process, it could appear that I am developing battle plans!
I work remotely with a great deal of time spent in my writing studio. There could not be a more perfect location for this unless you consider the Jack Russell Terrier and the Yorkie Princess that have a tendency to sit at my feet with sad puppy dog eyes – they can be a distraction!
For the most part, I have an environment that is quiet and peaceful. Sometimes, a little too quiet. (I will get to that in a minute!)
My husband was recently away on a three-week stretch of business and hunting. You guessed it. It was eerily quiet around here especially when you add in the fact that it is a 300 year old farmhouse!
I began to feel like I needed some noise just to remind me that I was alive. As I looked around, I realized music was not the answer because I would end up singing and my four-legged companions might just run away from home! I was certain my angelic voice would be way too much for them to handle. Experience tells me so. There was after all, that one time, I was delivering a concert in the privacy of our home and noticed my Yorkie Princess had disappeared from sight. I later found her cowering in the corner. No lie! I am secure in the fact that I deliver my best performance through the WRITTEN word.
No way would the television suck me in. That sounded logical. I told myself I would just turn it on for the background noise and get back to work in my studio.
Wrong! I became a couch potato for more than a day or two. I was a pathetic mess! Trash television, which I told myself was research for my next big blog. I am not Catholic but I do own rosary beads and felt I just might need to go to confession after indulging in some of the day-time talk shows!
It progressed to “I don’t really know anyone here. No one is coming by. Maybe I could just stay in my pajamas today and hula hoop in the living room?” I had a plan! My living room began to look like a scene from a movie where friends had to come do an intervention. I am imagining Bridget Jones!
It kind of felt like cleaning the house did not matter, writing did not matter, not even getting dressed mattered because, after all, I was the only one that was being affected by my mess, right? At least until the UPS guy showed up and looked as if he wanted to run as fast as he could in the opposite direction. I did a quick survey. Yep. I did in fact have on clothes! (Whew!) I later looked in the mirror and understood his panic. Hair a mess, raccoon eyes from crying as I watched “Me Before You.” I knew that I really needed to get my act together, and that I would…soon! Time was on my side. My husband would still be gone for days.
It was then that I realized a few very important things. First, I was not alone, and there was indeed “someone” watching me waste precious time. Hmmm. Tomorrow is not promised. What if this were my last day? Yikes! What if I died watching Family Feud looking like this and my husband found me weeks later sitting on the couch in all of this “glory?” Guilt began setting in.
I knew that my God-inspired dream, my purpose was to write for God’s glory – plain and simple. Yet, I was not in too big a hurry to pursue it at this moment. I had, as previously admitted, NO DISTRACTIONS other than the ones I created for myself.
I was guilty of a few things in this scenario. However, they extended beyond this little “moment in time.” I decided that it was very important that I was committed (not to an institution, although the UPS man might disagree!) to my purpose and my passion even when I thought no one was looking because the truth is “SOMEONE” always is.
How had I gotten so far off my path? The truth is, I was not even on the path! I was sitting beside the path watching as others passed me by. I began to assess and realized I had fallen into the comparison trap. As much as I love to write, I also love to read. Each time I would finish a book, I would think to myself “I wish I could write like that!” If I could impact others as my latest read had impacted me – wow, just wow! It did not stop there. I would then start listening to that little voice that we all have that tells us things like: we aren’t good enough, we are too flawed for God to use us, we do not have enough followers, enough likes or enough experience. In my case, being a New York Times Best Seller seemed to be an insurmountable impasse. I was allowing myself to be sidelined by fear and doubt without even putting myself out there. Even more so, I was allowing myself to wallow in the feeling of insignificance. Here I was trying to make a difference right where I was and I was letting other people’s success deter rather than encourage me. Even more ashamedly, I had stopped pushing forward to do Kingdom work as I strived to create my own “kingdom” where I could take center stage. I felt empty.
Creating or even ALLOWING ourselves to be tempted right into those DISTRACTIONS that keep us from doing what we were created to do – that is what makes us insignificant! In my experience, whenever I have allowed myself to get distracted it has been to keep from “dealing” with some underlying issue. In this case – fear, failure, confidence, significance or the lack thereof and let’s not forget what others might think– just to name a few! Never mind worrying about others judging me because I was way too busy doing that for myself!
I started reading some of my past writings to include the book that is almost complete and thought “Wow, this is pretty good stuff!” I write when I feel inspired and honestly several of the pieces I could barely remember writing because they had just flowed on to the page so easily. That happens when we just do what we are meant to do without all the mind games we play with ourselves. We take the fun out of our dreams by comparing “ours” with “theirs.”
So here I am, surrendering my significance. It is not about me. It is about what I do with all that God has given me for his Glory. Not mine! There is a song by Francesca Battistelli that includes these words in the lyrics, “I don’t need my name in lights. I am famous in my Father’s eyes.” You are too. Right where you are! Join me in removing all of our self-imposed requirements for being enough for God. Don’t be your own greatest distraction from using your own God-given gifts and talents – and yes we all have them!
As for my writing, not everyone will relate. Some will like it and not comment. Perhaps some will even share. The truth I had to accept before I could move forward was that I am truly writing for an audience of one. He is the author of my life. I just hold the pen. I pray that in someway He can use it for good even if I never know.
Focusing my eyes on God and the cross quickly makes me realize how very significant that I am – just being me.
Until next time,