Friday, January 05, 2007

Sands of Time - Lindquist

Has greeting the New Year ever made you feel panicky and depressed? Try having your birthday 4 days after the year starts.

No, I'm not looking for gifts or cards. That's why I waited until today to post this. My point is that, with my birthday coming so close to New Year's Day, as each year begins I feel a double portion of significance. And dread.

Last year at this time, I was having a panic attack. When I looked at the number of candles on my cake, I suddenly realized I had many more items on my "to-do" list than I would realistically have time to do in this lifetime. I also realized that the sands of time in my little egg-timer were no longer trickling past; they had begun to gush out.

And there was still so much I felt I needed to do: books to write, people to spend time with, projects to finish, or begin...So much...

And yet - because I'm the kind of person who sees needs and tries to meet them, I was already so busy I barely had time to breathe. And most of the things I was doing weren't even on the list of things I felt I needed to do! I felt overwhelmed. It was all too much. I panicked.

As I mentioned in the post on my blog, That's Life!, on January 1st, in 2006, I asked God to give me a verse for the year. The verse he chose for me was Isaiah 30:15. "If you will be calm and trust me, you will be strong."

For all of last year, I clung to that verse. Every time I began to panic, I remembered it and calmed down.

But there was an ongoing struggle. In May, as I prepared to give the keynote addresses for Write! Canada, on the topic of "Finding the Courage to Answer God's Call," I went through several weeks of heavy spiritual oppression.

Who did I think I was to speak on this topic?

Did I really think I was a writer? What had I written lately?

Did I think I was any good? What did I know?

Did I really think God needed someone like me to do his work? Why would he need me?

I felt like Eustace in Prince Caspian, when his dragon skin is first peeled and then ripped away. Every part of my self-worth was being stripped from me. And it hurt. In the end, all I had left was the core of who I am deep inside where only God sees.

But what I found at that core was faith. The irrevocable, unchanging knowledge that no matter what anyone else might think or say about me, nothing I could do would make God love me any more than he already did. Nothing! And all he wanted from me in return was for me to simply "be" the person he created me to be.

That's a scary thing to do. To rely on who we are, to accept and nourish the desires we have at the core of our being, and to build from them.

But that's what I did. I trusted that God had made me the way he wanted me. And by pinning all my hope on God's ability to use me exactly as I am, I became stronger than ever before.

Later, in the fall of 2006, by going back to the desires of my heart and writing what was there, I completed my second mystery for adults. It's coming out in May, and I'm trusting God to use it for his purposes.

And now, as I look at 2007, even though there's one more candle on my cake, and the sand is gushing by, there's no panic in my heart. Only the knowledge that, even though the list of things I want to accomplish is still way too long, everything will be okay. None of us knows how much time we'll have. My blog here on January 2nd effectively illustrated that. But God knows. And if I stay close to him, and listen to his voice and work with the desires he has placed in my heart, I need never feel panicky again.

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