My Two Favorite Things: Waiting and Planning

Elizabeth Marchman flower #34

But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. ~ Isaiah 40:31

“I love sleep.  My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?”~ Ernest Hemingway

Yes.  I do know.  

We plan. God laughs.  How many times have I heard that particular phrase uttered by those around me?

Yesterday afternoon, for example, a shipment arrived on my front porch.  A shipment that was due to arrive ten days ago.  So on a day when I had planned to write all day long with no interruptions, I had to stop and take care of the contents of the packages.  Why?  Because they were live plants and needed to be unpacked immediately after traveling in a ground UPS shipment for who knows how long.  So the tedious project of unpacking the protective cardboard and plastic and inspecting three boxes of flowers took about two hours.  A two hour interruption that I hadn’t planned on when I did not particularly even want a break.  Then it was time to cook dinner and put away the laundry that I had neglected.  So now I have begun today behind.

I live my life in a state of perpetual behind-ness.  A kind of waiting and planning purgatory that I can never escape.  I am an impatient person.  I have trouble waiting on God even when I know that He knows better than me what is good for me.  Even in those times when I know, deep down, that I am not ready for what I want Him to do in my life.  I still hate the waiting.   I am not good at it and God knows this.  But the things I hate even more are the things I wait on in life.  Those packages that have to be dealt with that never seem to arrive when the time is there to deal with them, they only arrive when the time is spoken for and I am focused.  When I am trying to do what I think God is wants me to do, life just creeps in and gets in the way and I find myself frustrated and screaming to an empty room about it all.  

Yet, we all have to sleep.  Even insomniacs like myself, sleep eventually.  In sleep, I find the perfect excuse to forget about it all until the next morning.  And then things are haywire and out of control again within minutes of waking.  The anxiety begins to build and I am frozen in place, struggling to know which way to turn to organize the daily chaos.  We live in a world where most things that we desire, we can obtain instantly.  I find myself today wishing there were some button I could just push to organize the chaos.  A remote control for my life.  The buttons would be simple – no interruptions would be the big round button in the center.  I would have buttons for the laundry to be done for me, dinner to be on time, no knocks on my office door, telemarketer screening.  Simple things.  Life things.  The pesky little things that get in the way of the important things.  I have learned that when you are a writer, people assume two things.  First, that it is not work and the words just appear with no thought or effort.  Second, your time is flexible enough to work around their schedule.  If I had a “job” and left every morning to go to the office and I had a “boss” that I had to answer to, I would be taken more seriously and my time would be more precious.  The truth is I do go to the office everyday.  It just happens to be in the downstairs of my house.  And I do have a boss and He expects me to get things done without letting everything else get in the way.  He expects me to take my “job” seriously and do my best as perfectly as I am capable of so He can do His.  I will step out here and say that I think this is every bit as important as working a “real” job to pay the bills.  I will also say that just like when that real job gets in the way and something has to be put off for a time, that it is alright if my job gets busy and I have to let the laundry go for a day or two or just very simply shut my office door and not feel guilty about not being there for everybody, every second.

It sounds like I am complaining.  I am not.  This is my own fault and I have just recognized t to be so.  For so long, I haven’t taken myself seriously as a writer.  I haven’t expected to left alone to write and my office door is always open because, first and foremost, I am a wife and a mother.  But now the pressure is on.  I have until July 25th to finish a manuscript, write a proposal and meet with the publisher who has so graciously given up her precious time to meet with me.  

God is saying to me, “I am giving you an opportunity.  Don’t blow it.  I am serious about you and you need to be serious about yourself and what I have asked you to do.”  

Double gulp! 
And Yikes! again.

So, yes, I love sleep.  Why not?  Everything works out in our dreams.  Somehow though, I know, if God is for me, no one can be against me.  I know that nothing He places His hands on will never stay nothing.  I know in the end, it will all come together.  The note cards and pieces of paper that are taped to the wall and the back of the door that my son calls the “real” chaos will eventually become a manuscript and somehow the proposal will be convincing that the manuscript is worthy of being read.  And someday, when God is ready for it to, that manuscript will become a book on a bookstore shelf that will be plucked off and purchased by the person (hopefully many persons) that need to read the words contained within.  I just have to take God seriously and trust Him to make it all happen.  I know I can not do it without Him because life gets in the way.  I know it will happen again….no, I don’t own a crystal ball.  The shipment that arrived yesterday said that boxes 1, 2 and 3 arrived out of a total of 4.  And God is the only One who knows when it will appear.
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