Molding a lump of clay

Molding a lump of clay
I am a work in progress, molded by my Maker, refined by His fire, shaped with His love. Walk the journey with me.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Beating to windward

Some of you may be wondering why I haven't blogged for so long.

The good news is: I'm finally writing my book!

The bad news is: this is the hardest project I've ever undertaken in my entire life.
Helping pioneer a YWAM base in northern Uganda was easier than this.

I decided to blog about this new journey to have a place to sound-off. That writing itch is kind of finicky...I can be fed up with my book but still needing to write. So be warned...a lot of what comes may be complete jibberish. It's just me slogging this out.

Recently I read an article about prayer by Evelyn Underhill and she was discussing the necessity of exercising our will in our prayer life. One statement she made is written on a sticky note and fixed to my desk:

"She must be prepared to beat to windward if she would reach her goal."

Underhill was talking about prayer, but this statement spoke to me on several levels:


The life of following Jesus,
praying 'Let Your will be done' on a daily basis,
taking time to listen to Him and go deeper in His Word,
and then being radically obedient to His commands...
...these are not easy things.

This lifestyle takes sheer, teeth-gritting, vein-busting determination.
It takes that 'Never Give Up' attitude that separates the grain and the chaff.
It involves moments of terror when you KNOW God told you to do that thing, but it's not working,
nothing's going right,
it feels like the whole world has conspired against you fulfilling that task...
...and finally,
when you're sweating and
your nails are bit to the quick,
God shows up and saves the day.

And He gently asks, "What were you so worked up about? I told you it would work out."
Some of you know what I'm talking about.

Zooming in a bit:

I've been thinking a lot lately about what it means to Know God. I'm studying Isaiah at the moment, and have been struck by the following scriptures:

Isaiah 1:3 "The ox knows his master, the donkey his owner's manger, but Israel
does not know. My people do not understand."

Isaiah 5:13a "Therefore my people go into exile for their lack of knowledge."

Hosea 4:1, "Hear the word of the Lord, O people of Israel, for the Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land. There is no faithfulness or steadfast love, and
no knowledge of God in the land."

Daniel 11:32 "With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him."

There are loads more verses which talk about knowing God, but even in just these few it is so clear how essential it is to know God.
Not just to know of Him.
Not just to pray once in a while.
But to really know Him,
to spend time with Him,
to learn what's on His heart,
to develop that intimacy with Him where you hear His voice
and He teaches you to walk in His ways.

The scariest verse that shows the danger of doing for God without taking time to be with God is in John 7:21-23

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord,
did we not prophesy in your name
and in your name drive out demons
and in your name perform many miracles?’
Then I will tell them plainly,
I never knew you.
Away from me, you evildoers!’

Yikes!!!! How horrible to hear those words and be banished forever from the Lord Almighty.

Knowing God is not something that just happens.
It takes time and commitment.
It takes a hunger and thirst to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. It's a steadfast pursuit on both sides.

Finally, on a micro-scale:

Completing this book will require serious beating to windward. It's been burning on my heart for about five years, but it refuses to write itself.
Each scene is wrestled onto the screen,
each description freezes in my mind's eye and won't let me transform into words.
I'm pushing and pulling, cajoling and pleading.
I give up and go watch Master Chef USA for relief.
I recheck the word total and see
I've only added another fifteen words to the daily total.

It's painful. It's like the marathon that never ends.
Did you hear about that guy that ran a marathon every day for an entire year?
365 marathons in 365 days.

That's kind of what I feel like at the end of the I just ran another marathon and don't have the glutes to show for it.
(As if I knew what it feels like to run a marathon. I can barely do 10km!)

No matter how fiercely those words dig in their heels and refuse to come to my party, I'm not giving up. That's one good thing about being usually comes with an extra portion of determination.

So I will keep beating to windward to write this book while seeking to know my God more and more because He is my secret weapon. I'm not writing this alone. I'm co-authoring with the greatest story teller ever. And that's enough to keep these oars slapping the water.

Heave! Ho! Heave! Ho!

1 comment:

Shannon said...

Happy Easter, friend! I miss you! As always I am giving thanks for you and for the JOY of being connected with you and your family and the mighty work God is doing. I just love praying for you. Thank you for sharing the news about your book, that is wonderful that you are moving on to rewrite! Your post here about windward movement reminds me of the unchangableness of God, 29 “And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind” (1 Samuel 15:29). Let us go on in cooperation with His Spirit and moving in the same direction. Love you,