“God, I have no idea what I’m doing. I feel like I’m trying to walk in the dark.”
Thankfully I’ve learned to habitually look at life’s uncertainties with excitement and wonder, viewing them as opportunities to see God’s matchless skills as a storyteller break through my confusion someday and amaze me. But the other day, using some quiet time on the road to think about life, I’d finally had it. I’d become so frustrated with the veil of uncertainty that lies over the future. I was tired of the doubts, the unknowns, my weaknesses…
I’d gotten sick of being in the dark, and I told God so.
The words were barely out of my mouth when a portion of Scripture that’s been ingrained in my mind for as long as I can remember came slowly into focus.
Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)
Your word. A light to my path.
The exasperated complaints died on my lips as I considered this, wondering how much of my confusion was my own fault.
I make sure I have God’s word in front of me in some form every single day… whether that’s through reading, studying, or running memorized Scripture through my head – preferably all three. I’ve made that a habit because I know that God’s word is essential for me. But am I seeking it out with passion… truly seeking it out?
If I’m walking in a dark room I don’t know very well, I look for a good light source… unless I’m trying to let myself get creeped out, which isn’t often.:) I don’t just content myself with the moonlight slipping through the blinds, or the shreds of light filtering in from a distant room. I don’t just grope around my surroundings, stumping blindly around and hoping I don’t tear off a toe on a piece of furniture.
I seek out the light.
If that’s the case, then why do I grope my way through the shadows of life, bumping against obstacles in my path, crying inside with frustration when I hurt myself and can’t seem to find the right path?
I’ve got to seek out the light.
I’ve got to immerse myself in the truth of Scripture. Tuck it away in my memory. Blast it through my earbuds. Sing it. Pray it. Stop pitying myself because I can’t seem to find my way in a self-inflicted darkness. Instead, I need to open the floodgates of my soul to the light of God’s word.
I have a bit of flash fiction for you today! This piece is the first I’ve written in the dystopian genre…
I knock lightly on the door, inserting the key labeled 1039 in the doorknob and twisting the deadbolt. The heavy metal barrier swings open, and I stare into a monochromatic room. The only splotch of color in the cell is the blond head that’s bent over a tiny desk in the corner. I cough. “Here’s your dinner.”
The man spins, and his eyes shoot blue anger into mine. Blue.. like the snatches of sky that slip through the tips of skyscrapers. Even in the face of their venom, I stare into the eyes almost hungrily.
“What are you staring at? I thought you had my dinner,” I snap. The impatient tone doesn’t surprise me anymore. I’ve grown accustomed to it, like I’ve grown accustomed to this room… cell. I snatch the first word from my thoughts, furious that I dignified this residence with a term that smacked of life before… this.
I shake the thought from my mind and rise to take the tray of food from the little girl. She doesn’t seem to notice that I yelled at her. “Thank you,” I growl, whipping it from her hands to the papers on my desk.
I know that I should leave now – my job is over – but I can’t help but stare around the room. It’s so different from the rest of the cells. For one thing, it’s twice as large. There’s room for a man to take four paces across and seven paces along the wall, leading to…
I gasp. “You have windows!”
I snort. “That’s a generous statement.” Windows indeed. Glass-filled holes in the wall, shaded on the outside so I can’t see the sky. Yes, the government was very generous to permit me the one room in the prison that has “windows”. They hardly do any good; I can get much more light from the fluorescent bulbs that line this edge of the ceiling. I wonder if they’ve allowed me this semblance of normalcy to assist in crumbling the walls of my soul… bit by eroding bit. To ever remind me of what has been lost.
“What are you working on?”
I shove my hands over the papers full of equations, protecting them from her searching eyes. “You did what you came for.”
“Is that a bird?” Her eyes grope at a corner of paper my hands failed to defend.
I can’t remember the last time I saw a bird… but I think that’s what the figure in the little ink sketch is. “It’s so pretty.”
“Do they pay you to talk?”
I turn my back on her kindness. After the door closes, a question rises from somewhere deep inside… perhaps a dying gasp from the man I once was.
Because I can’t remember how one responds to kindness? Because the days of being complimented on anything other than intellect – and grudgingly, at that – were buried long ago? I shove away the tray of food and rise to stare out the window at the gray cement of the prison next door.
What does it matter? The kindness was momentary… swallowed now by a sea of ever-present numbness. Best to get used to it. Taking up the sheet of paper, I rip off the corner and sink to my knees. Staring up and out of the window, I strain my eyes and my soul to catch a glimpse of sky.
I’ve done this every day and have never succeeded… so why do I keep up this madness? I can solve the most complicated equations… but I can’t solve this riddle.
Aagh, the beauty and truth in that. I feel like this month has reminded me to do this. To stare at the world in child-like wonder, while recognizing the responsibility that comes with living life on this spinning mudball. To face down the evil while delighting in the good. To treasure the moments that can slip by unnoticed. To keep my eyes on what matters, and let the rest fade away.
To live wide-eyed.
I guess that’s my little ramble for today.:) On to the rest of the post…
Highlights of the Month
holding and binge-reading the proof copy of my novel
starting work on another novel… more on that in the future!
discovering Alan Gogoll’s music
listening to Nadine Brandes speak at the aforementioned summit… I love her heart in writing.
a trip to the library (this one seriously deserves more than a quick mention on a list. I hadn’t been inside a library for over a year… and the amount of emotion that overcame me as I stared at all the books was very weird. Very. Weird. I now long to haunt the library frequently.)
I became interested in the Elliots’ story while reading Shadow of the Almighty, so getting to read more about them in this book is really awesome. I love the humor, genuine love, and passion for Christ that’s infused in their letters. Also, the author’s commentary and perspective on her parents’ story is so sweet.
Courageous is one of my favorite movies, so when my sister laid hands on this novelization of the movie, of course I had to borrow it.:) I haven’t finished it yet, but already it’s gone far above and beyond my expectations. The way Randy Alcorn weaves so many more elements into the original plot… i.n.c.r.e.d.i.b.l.e. For mature readers, I can’t recommend it enough.
“Self-discovery is nebulous, so approach it carefully. Don’t allow your culture or subculture to influence you. That may sound as clichéd as Disney’s “follow your heart” gospel, but rather than a call to indulge in your sinful instincts without regard to others, it’s a call to embrace the fragment of God’s image that you most represent.”
I highly recommend this article to any writer who is trying to find their voice! Or to anyone who’s just trying to get comfortable in their skin.:)
I’ve been wanting to study theology for awhile and finally started taking it seriously. This book has been so helpful!
God, I want to want You desperately. I don’t want to be satisfied with my life and human relationships, though I thank You for making them so sweet. I want to crave You desperately. I want to pursue You relentlessly. I want You to be first in my heart and mind, always. Let me desire to know and love Your ways, and to walk in them faithfully.
Oh, God, it truly is all about You! Not about how I look to the world or what I do for the world… help me to take the focus from me to You and keep it there for eternity.
“Lead, kindly Light amid th’encircling gloom. Lead Thou me on.” Let me bounce that Light into this dark world. Make me patient and faithful in the dark.
God, bare my heart to Your instruction and correction, no matter the cost, no matter the pain. I want to be but a channel in Your hand. Make my life soft clay between your fingers; shape, twist, smash, and form it into proper shape, then hold it to the flame. Remove the dross, O Lord. I say so a bit tremblingly, but know this is what I want… what You want.
Help me to love others extravagantly – to live intentionally and boldly so I may do so to the fullest.
What made this April stand out to you?
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase something through one of the links I share in this post, I receive a small commission… at no extra cost to you.:)
I have no idea if anyone’s noticed, but I’ve been consistently posting on the blog here every Monday and Thursday since last August. Until this past Monday.
Most of the years I’ve spent writing have been driven more by random bursts of inspiration rather than me sitting myself down and forcing myself to write… so having the “2 posts a week” rule for myself for several months here has been incredibly good for me.
Yes, your sense of the impending “however” is correct…
I’ve been doing a lot of self-evaluation lately… evaluation of my writing life included. One piece of wisdom I’ve kept in mind while doing so is this:
“We must determine to be limited and concentrate our affinities.” – Oswald Chambers
This is a challenge for me.
I’m realizing that I’m moving out of the phase where posting twice a week is beneficial and even healthy for me, because I’ve come to grips with the fact that it isn’t exactly my goal to be a successful blogger. My goal is to write quality books, and to use this blog as a place to connect with you, update you on my writing journey, and share encouraging, amusing, and thought-provoking bits I find glinting light on life’s road. In scaling back here I hope to be able to better pursue both of these goals.
So… if you happen to look forward to reading my posts, then you’ll (hopefully) look forward to a weekly post all the more! And if notifications for my new posts make you cringe or groan… well… I’m cutting your suffering in half. You’re welcome.
I just want to thank you guys for sticking with me as I try to get this writing show on the road. Your encouragement and support blesses me so much!
If there’s anything you’d like to see me share more often on the blog, please let me know. I’m here for you guys, and your feedback is much appreciated.:)
The spikes they drive into Your hands Are pinning down the base demands My flesh makes of this life. Poured onto You is all the wrath I’ve pent up for myself – this bath Of pain was meant for me. Whippings Stabbings Piercings Shame – Hatred Malice Awful stains Of sin were bringing these on me But You stepped in, said, “Let her free – I love her – punish Me.”
I weep here as I hear You groan In agony I have not known Because of what I’ve done. How could I bring such awful pain On You – the One Who speaks my name With love and songs of joy? The sky is black – Your voice is loud “It is finished!” hears the crowd Before You bow Your head. Rumblings Crumblings Quakings Dead Are stirring – Now lift up their heads As sin’s dark curse forever breaks – The broken heart inside me shakes In awe of what You’ve done.
This matchless love – like crashing waves – Has swept this haughty white-washed grave And washed it of its rights. I see this life’s not truly mine – You gave me Yours for all of time The day You died for me. Such love deserves all I can give – All that I want now is to live To hear You say, “Well done.” Friendships Free time Choices – They Are Yours – I pray, Lord, day by day To live this life to make You proud And unashamed to be my God. I love you, Lord – I’m Yours.
Earlier this year I shared some of the songs I enjoyed in 2020… so I thought I’d do that for 2021, as well. Instead of doing a big ginormous post at the end of the year, though, I thought I would spread out the joy a bit and share some of the songs now.
Also, I’ve linked the songs here in the titles so you can go ahead and check them out on YouTube right away! If ya want to.:)
Show me what it means not just to believe but to remain
I’m noticing that several Big Daddy Weave songs make my list of favorites! This is one of them – the reminder to stop living for myself and my own desires and instead remain faithful to God is one I need often.
This song is one that blessed me greatly last year as I stared at graduation and all of the unknowns that lay beyond it. It’s a blessing to me again this year as unknowns continue to be an integral part of life.:)
I owned every second that this world could give I saw so many places The things that I did Yeah, with every broken bone I swear I lived
I don’t listen to a great variety of secular music simply because I’m pretty picky about lyrics, but this one I want to play on repeat! I love both the sound and everything the lyrics make me think of.
First of all, the photo has absolutely nothing to do with this poem. But who doesn’t like knotholes on old doors?:)
As the title says, I wrote this poem three years ago this spring. At the time, it was my pride and joy. While I can now see many of its flaws, it still holds a special place in my heart. One of the reasons I love it is because it points me back to simple truth. I hope it can be a blessing to you, as well.
Last week I was working to eliminate the unnecessary blog post drafts I had on my computer (think around 70!?!) and stumbled upon this piece I wrote last May. I published it on my other blog last year, but thought that – with an edit or two – it could stand to make an appearance here, as well.
Here it is.:)
Something I’ve been pondering lately is the reality of eternity, and how that reality needs to be shaping the way that I think and live. Here’s a question for all of us today:
How is the way we are living today impacting eternity?
It is so easy to get caught up in the lies the world feeds us: we deserve happiness and gratification now. We can do whatever we want with our minds, bodies, and lives and it doesn’t matter.
I’m telling you – and most of all, myself – that the way we live totally matters.
It’s easy for me as a young person to think that I have a lot of time left to impact this world. This is possibly another lie. As I look at the lives of some of the people who have impacted me in the way that they lived or through the words that they spoke, sang, or wrote, I realize that these people were not given many years on this earth.
Jim Elliot was killed by men he was trying to save… at age 28.
Oswald Chambers died unexpectedly… at age 43.
Keith Green died in a plane crash… at age 28.
Rachel Scott was murdered at Columbine High School… at age 17.
Jesus Christ was crucified… at age 33. (He rose from the dead, by the way!!!)
Most of these people died unexpectedly, and the world would say tragically. But all of these people strove to use their time wisely and changed lives for the better. Is that a tragedy? I’ll tell you what is certainly a tragedy.
The death of someone who has failed to live with eternity in mind is undeniably a tragedy.
Will my death be a tragedy? Will yours?
Only one life, ’twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last. – C.T. Studd