Today I’m participating in the Five Minute Friday community. We’re supposed to write for five minutes and not edit. I take these rules as a kind of loose suggestion. The word prompt is: REGRET.
I had a post all set to send you today, but I deleted it. Maybe I didn’t want you to know writing is a struggle right now. Maybe I didn’t think there’d be value in it for you. If you’re interested, you can read about that HERE on a guest post I wrote this week for the Breathe Christian Writers Conference Blog.
Nothing’s changed — but maybe that’s the point. Words flow, but I’m having a hard time letting them go. (I’ll restrain myself from Disney karaoke. You’re welcome for getting the song stuck in your head.) I feel like a stream with lots of ice blockages.
My mantel is still haphazardly decorated for Valentine’s Day — just the way I let my daughter decide to do it this year. (Have you read Shannon Popkin’s Control Girl book? All about exercising letting go of our perceived control.) There are fake poinsettias from Christmas above my kitchen cupboards that look conspicuously out of place. I’m ready to sweep away the remains of winter, but what do I replace them with? Spring is not here yet in the Midwest, though last week we experienced a teaser. Today it’s back to frigid temps in the 30s, despite the sunshine. Do spring decorations make sense? Is that the order of things to renovate from the inside out?
Do you ever feel God gets in the way of obeying Him? That He’s asking you to move faster than you can go? He quickens the pace, and you quickly panic?
What does it mean to give God my best effort when I know I could do better but I sense He’s already moved on? “God, I could do a good job if You’d just SLOW DOWN.” I know He doesn’t get in the way of our obedience, but sometimes I get mad because it feels like it. I’m slooooooooow to get work done. Or more accurately, I’m sloooooow to put my stamp of approval on my work and release it. Why do I heap on deadly self-expectations when God calls me to be a living sacrifice? Why do I fear the opinions of those whose lives I pity? How do I change my thinking so I’m actually following Him and not my own ideas of what that entails? What does giving God my best work look like when it’s clear God is not after the same result I’m imagining?
I regret that I am my own worst enemy to following God well. I regret the paralysis that comes from all these wrong ways of thinking when God is telling me to move. In all my thirty-seven years, have I not learned yet? What does accepting grace look like in this situation?
What would I tell a friend struggling with this? I’d say, “It’s ok to struggle. There is blessing for wrestling to the end of it and not giving up. You are so crazy-loved, it’s not even funny. God delighted to design you just the way He wanted you, and He knows your particular fears and insecurities. God is inviting you to give Him where you are, to go somewhere better with Him. He won’t leave you. He’ll lead you. You don’t have to be perfect, because Perfection (aka Jesus) is His job. Your job is to aim for Him – not strive. Keep your eyes on Him. Focus on Him. Look up sometimes. His grace will empower you to go forth boldly in the wonderful way He’s made you and in the wonderful way He’s re-making you. Worst case scenario, you fall and His grace catches you. Then you get up and try again. That’s still forward movement. He withholds no good thing from him whose walk is blameless. When the walk feels more like a turtle trying to sprint, just try. What do you have to lose?”
Courage, dear heart. ~ C.S. Lewis
Dear friend, do you struggle with the regret of holding yourself back from the new growth God wants to spring forth in your heart, too? Let’s encourage each other! Let’s not fear taking down the remains of the old season to make space for the new — even if it means experiencing some uncomfortable tension in the waiting or even a few bruises from taking holy risks. If we run, we run in the wake of His victory.
Keep looking up!