All week I’ve been wrestling with a fundamental issue, that I’m still only playing at being a Christian. I can do a lot of the externals, I know my Bible fairly well, I can give you the intellectual whys and wherefores, but I am holding one key thing back: My will – letting myself be used for God’s benefit, not mine. I’m still in the driving seat and at the moment God’s got me parked on the hard shoulder of life.
I’ve really thought about it hard this week, worked out what are the sticking points, really asked myself why I’m not committing. Is it that I don’t believe there’s a God? No, I absolutely do because he’s shown up many times in my life. Do I believe in Jesus? Yes, it’s hard to argue with history. Even if you can’t believe in God you can’t escape the fact that Jesus really existed – he’s named in the documents written at the time. Whether you believe him when he said who he was, is the point where fact turns into faith. Do I want the Holy Spirit in my life? Yes, I do! So what’s holding me back? What’s stopping me from embracing this whole-heartedly and going all out for it. It’s no lack of demonstration from God that he can be trusted – he’s written an entire book demonstrating time and again that he is a faithful God to the faithful. But, I’m struggling to trust him with little old me. I get that he can be trusted to form universes and look after entire cohorts of people for thousands of years; but a small bag of bones in Bedfordshire is having trouble seeing that getting out of the car, swapping places and letting him be the driver, is the best option.
But 95% of myself is exasperated at this remaining stubborn 5%. ‘Come on, you know this, you’ve seen it in action, in the Bible and in the lives of those people around you. What part of this is a good thing to do don’t you get?’ The stubborn 5% comes back with reasons… excuses, but the main ones are that past experience has told me that I fail at things. That placing my trust in people usually results in me getting hurt. My experience of love is of people holding me at arms length because I am a disappointment to them. How can a remote and invisible Almighty God love me more than people who actually know me? That just doesn’t compute. If I let him in I will need to change and I know I am going to struggle with change that loses me friends. And so the stubborn 5% still has the upper hand, holding out on high ground that’s surrounded on all sides with God’s love, God’s promises and God’s people wanting to demonstrate to me how placing their trust in God was the right thing to do, and it will be the right thing for me to do.
I know that if I do place my trust in him I’m not going to be on a plane to Africa tomorrow morning to try and sort out the starving millions, because I know that God meets us where we are, takes us on from where we are and I know I am never going to want to feed the world.
Or am I..? I think I have this on the wrong scale. Let’s dial it back down to something that is relevant to me and where I am right now. Perhaps feeding the world will be done more subtly; in my love of taking the Bible, explaining it and making it relevant to the lives of women today. In my love of telling stories that weave little nuggets of biblical truth into them. The Devil’s Kitchen – the last piece of FanFiction I wrote was an interesting combination of Fifty Shades of Grey meets the Bible. I didn’t compromise myself in my storytelling and it got the best reaction I’ve ever had to a piece of work. If you know your Bible, you’ll see the references but if you don’t you’ll hopfully see only good storytelling. I know that right now that’s where God has me. I know it because it’s effortless and a honour to do it. That is where the Spirit flows. There is no bind to me in Bible study, there’s no reluctance to sit at my computer and allow the words in my head to flow out of my fingertips. That, right there is the core of me, my soul – the point where I am most genuinely me.
And my reluctance to push myself out there commercially, to be a professional writer is likely indicative of my reluctance to become – for want of a better phrase – a professional Christian. At the moment I’m still playing at it, I’m not signed up in either sphere 100% and so it doesn’t really matter if I get it wrong. But it’s where I want to be. I know I can write – hear that Peter Laws. Shall I put that it capitals and stick it on a separate line? (He’s been on at me about this).
I KNOW I CAN WRITE!
There we are, out there in capitals, bold and underlined. You all know I can write – some of you have been yelling at me for years that I can do this and I haven’t believed you entirely. Yes I can string a sentence together, but can I do it well enough? It’s precisely the same in my Christian walk. God can be trusted, but can I trust him with me? In both cases it comes down to the same thing – who knows unless you try?
So can I trust God with what I write? Can I let the high ground in me be overwhelmed in both cases and say yes, I’m going to allow my words and myself to be used for God. No holding out, no little ah, but... moments, but 100% out there, on fire, spirit-filled, this is what you’re getting because it’s what I need to write because I get my directions from God? That will fuse the core of me to his will. If the core’s fused then everything else will follow in time.
He meets me where I am and trusting him here, in the favourite teddy area of what I LOVE to do, will demonstrate practically to me – the spiritual bonehead that I am, that he can be trusted in every other sphere of my life. I can’t really put it into my own words right now, so I’ll borrow from Matt and Beth Redman and add my own at the end.
You are God in heaven
And here I am on earth;
So I’ll let my words be few…
Let’s do this.
With God as my heavenly editor and agent then I could be in for one interesting ride.