Recently I’ve felt under a lot of pressure. I know now, better than ever what it is that God requires of me, but I’ve been struggling to marry that up with everyday life. I need to write, yes and I also need to study, think, pray and read to achieve what I believe I’m being asked to do. It’s tapping into my natural talents and what I love to do anyway, so it’s no hardship and I want to throw my heart and soul into it. But I’ve been increasingly resentful that the other bits of my life get in the way of me doing that. I can’t find enough time to study, write and pray because I have to work. I have to shop, clean the house, attend meetings, ferry my daughter about and do every other thing that makes up a normal week. In an ideal world I’d get someone in to clean my house, I’d pack in my job and resign from every activity I’m involved in, so I can stop the distractions and devote myself to the task I’ve been set.
But this isn’t an ideal world and the NatWest bank would be laughing at me if I tried to pay a cleaner or even do the grocery shop after jacking in my job. It’s not an option, I have to work to put food on the table. So I’ve been walking around becoming ever more miserable at the state of affairs I’m locked into. Naturally, I ‘took it to God in prayer’. Yeah… Well, I suppose that’s the prettied-up version of having a good old moan to him of the God get me out of this, variety. My prayers are never very eloquent or very coherent, I just burble on at him. Actually, I burble on at the wall, the microwave, the computer screen, or the cat, whatever I happen to be facing at the time. Anyway, bless him, he listens and thankfully he answers too. Although, as you know, never in the way you expect.
Yesterday I had another of my grumbling at the wall sessions, yet another moan about not being able to get on with the mission he’d given me because of the distractions of everyday life. Cue visit from a friend interrupting my whinge.
After offloading my worries on her, she proceeded to tell me something that an academic mentor of hers had once said, when faced with this very thing. He too had become resentful, when interruptions from students meant that he couldn’t get on with his research and writing. He too felt that the distractions weren’t letting him pursue what he believed his calling was. And then one day, he very clearly heard God telling him that the distractions were his calling. He needed to be Christ to those students and be Christ in any situation that he was viewing as a distraction.
I have no need to tell you that it was a light-bulb moment for me and another example of the verse on this blog in action: “Let God transform you… by changing the way you think.” Romans 12:2.
I need to stop viewing my life as something that gets in the way of God’s calling on my life. God’s calling IS my life, as the previous verse in Romans attests: “…give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice…” I’m to be giving the whole of myself to God, not picking and choosing which bits are the sacrificial bits and which bits he can do without.
So not only am I to write, study and lead a women’s group for God, but I’m also reminded that every other bit of my life comes under this umbrella too. None of it is to be classed as a distraction, because it’s all of worth and all part of the plan he has for my life. After all, how can I write about the pressures women face if I don’t know first hand what it’s like to have to be in three places at once and coping with everything life throws at you? I wouldn’t be able to write with any degree of authenticity if I absented myself from the workforce, got a cleaner, sent my ironing out and spent my days in book-related hermitage.
These encounters with friends have a habit of being bookended by a piece of scripture, which is usually something that catches my eye as I search for something else, or the pages of my Bible happen to fall open on it. As my friend left and I went to remind myself about Romans 12: 1-2, I pulled open my Bible at 1 Corinthians 15: 58.
“… for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” (NLT)
Have a good week being completely and utterly distracted for God.