Stories from a life in progress.

One quiet change

A lot of surprising things happened in November.

I came to grips with the idea that seminary training for biblical languages and history might actually be possible, and not just possible but something which God might be leading me into.  I looked at the idea some years ago and put it aside.  Now, I've visited one school and am working on arrangements to visit another.

I came to grips with the idea that it's possible to be a successful professional writer who makes an actual living as well as having actual impact.  I've been looking up resources and learning, taking a harder look at what I'd like to do and what I'm willing to do.  I finally ordered business cards, for crying out loud, a simple thing I should have done ages ago.  I'm starting to catch up neglected basics, neglected because I was afraid to claim this thing I wanted.

These startling changes followed one quiet change.  I moved my journal and prayer time to the evening instead of the morning.

Mornings are too rushed.  I have a head full of what I want to do and ought to do and, half the time, what I'm scared to do or not even sure I should do.  Instead of using my journal to explore what's really happening in my head and my heart, I write with scattered attention.  Instead of taking time to read a section of scripture and meditate on it, I read fast, pray fast, spout pat answers, and fling myself into work.

Evening time is unhurried.  If I sit down at the end of the day, I can take as long as I want to with my notebook and pens, write whatever I want to write, fill lots of pages if I like.  Writing transitions naturally in and out of praying.  There's time to read slowly and meditate on God's word, time to ask Him questions and wait for answers.  Time to sit with Jesus, just sit, sit and listen and feel loved.

I wasn't the one who remembered seminary and started to contact people to ask questions.  It came to me during prayer, completely unexpected by me.

It wasn't me who created magical new courage to face what it takes to be a successful independent professional writer.  I've been avoiding this as much as I've been working on it for years.  Suddenly I'm hiding less.

I need to keep spending this time in God's presence.  I need it.  This time changes everything, changes how I think and feel, changes how I see other people and how I interact with them, changes what I do over the course of a day, without a lot of conscious wrangling.  It's kind of inexplicable, but this is my experience.

I have not been spending this time consistently, even though I know how badly I need it, and even with the help of seeing such practical changes stemming from it.  Habits always need time and effort to change.  I'm looking for ways to engrave this habit more deeply, to found myself in it and set foundations for whatever else God has in store.