This week, we were supposed to share about a typical day for us as part of our weekly sharing time with the God-sized Dream team. As you'll probably notice, it is not Tuesday. It's Thursday evening.
It's sort of ironic, that the week we are supposed to talk about a typical day, my week has been anything BUT typical. I am on a sort of vacation - I was off from the newspaper last week and this week. It hasn't really been much of a vacation though. For one thing, I subbed about four of those days, and for another, I've been really working on my house. For a third, I started a new job at the library a few hours a week. So, this week has been anything but typical.
My main focus, though, has been the house. It's needed it for a while, but to be honest, the job seemed so big, I wasn't sure where to start. So, I sort of put it off, telling myself I'd do it next week. You know how that goes!
Well, I had the time, and I knew I needed to get it done. So my days have been spent cleaning out drawers, making piles to throw away, give away and sell. I spent Tuesday (the day I was supposed to be writing this post) up on a ladder painting my bathroom. (I still have paint in my hair). It's been a little crazy.
But it felt good to get things accomplished. Really good.
I would like to tell you my normal day involves me moving forward toward my God-sized dream, that I sit and get hours of writing done, while reaching out and encouraging others, and taking spectacular care of my family.
But I would be lying.
I shared in a previous post that I was having a hard time because I was confused as to what direction I needed to move.
God has been showing me the where I need to move, but I can I just say that the fog that descended on me the week after I found my path was incredible. I was literally paralyzed. I did nothing but the absolutely necessary. I felt like I was moving through pudding every day. I got very little done, nevermind anything to do with a God-sized dream!
For lack of a better word, I felt oppressed - I just didn't realize it.
As I was walking my dog (thank you Kipper for being my prayer/walking partner - I think we've clocked over 1500 miles together), it was like a light went on. THIS was spiritual warfare. I had been feeling incredibly guilty about my "laziness," and I couldn't figure out why, no matter how many lists I made out, I was in this fog all the time. On that walk, as I prayed about this problem, I realized that this was the enemy trying to confuse me (hey, it's not all that hard).
By the time Kipper and I finished that walk, the fog had cleared from my brain. For the first time in about 10 days, I felt like I could think clearly. It was like when you wear glasses and they get fogged up - there is that moment when it clears. Suddenly things came into focus.
God is always good to speak to me in ways I get - I tend to be a bit oblivious at times, so I always ask Him to be super clear. Well, I not only read a great post by Holley Gerth which was a major "ah-ha" moment for me (If you have time, you really should read it) - I also heard a message on the radio. That message seemed to amplify and clarify what I had just read that morning in Holley's post.
I hesitate to share the rest because, well, it makes me feel rather naked and exposed, but if we can't be real with each other, what good is a blog anyway? So, here goes.
About 12 years ago, I started to really study my Bible and not just know ABOUT God, but know Him in a personal, intimate way. Suddenly, He was showing up in my quiet times, and to be really honest, it sort of freaked me out. I mean, GOD was making Himself known to ME in real, tangible ways. It was a little intense. I'm sort of laid back. I don't usually do intense.
As time went on, I got more and more excited about what God was showing me in the Bible. I loved to share with other women what He showed me. I got almost giddy. I told God I would walk through whatever door and speak to whoever He wanted me to. I got several opportunities. As I got more opportunities though, something ugly started growing inside of me.
It was called pride.
I have never had an issue with standing in front of people and talking. I know fear of speaking in public is a high on the list of phobias for lots of people, but it's not one of mine. For as fearful as I can be about other things, it's sort of ironic that public speaking is not something I've ever struggled with. In fact, when I was still a preschooler, I would stand on a table and lead the singing in Sunday school (usually with a little tap dancing thrown in for good measure). When I was 5 years old, I stood in front of a large crowd at a Word of Life camp and shared my testimony. I think they had to pry the microphone out of my grubby little fist.
I liked the spotlight, and I enjoyed basking in it, getting compliments and accolades. Basically, I wanted to be the next Beth Moore. (I'll pause now while you finish laughing).
This is not to say that if you do something you shouldn't do your best. This isn't about false modesty either. God gives us skills and abilities to use, and acting like we don't have any is sort of a slap in His face. But the purpose of those gifts isn't to glorify yourself.
I apparently hadn't gotten that note, though. It wasn't all at once, and I certainly didn't set out to be puffed up with pride. However, I found myself comparing myself with others, thinking I was all that and a bag of chips. When someone else spoke, a sly whisper hissed in my ear, "You could do better than that. Why didn't they ask you?" I started to feel convicted, but I didn't want to look my sin in the face. Instead, I sort of just glanced at it sideways, justifying and rationalizing my responses in my mind. I mouthed all the right phrases and tried to appear humble, but in my heart, that seed of pride had sprouted into a full blown weed.
After a particular speaking engagement (I use that word loosely), I won't say I heard an audible voice, but God very clearly told me that I wouldn't be getting the platform again until we (meaning He and I) had gotten this issue under control. Pride has no place in ministry of any kind. So, I ended up not teaching anything related to the Bible for several years.
Then a few years ago, my Sunday school class sort of fell into my lap. I had missed teaching God's Word, so I really enjoyed digging into the Scriptures. My joy and excitement in sharing what God was showing me returned.
Still, besides a few devotionals hear and there, I basically just taught my Sunday school class - and I was content with that. I put the dream of speaking aside. In fact, as time went on, my thirst for the spotlight went away. I thought I would much rather write and for people to see my words - not me.
All this brings me to the other day. I was folding underwear, and I was listening to a radio program. As I folded and listened, God handed me back my dream of speaking. I started to cry. (I am not a big crier but when God speaks to me, I become an absolute watering pot).
Then, through my tears, I started to laugh. Only God would choose to give somebody a dream while they were folding underwear. Ah, the divine in the ordinary - God is the master of that. He is the master of taking ordinary people doing ordinary things and using them for extraordinary things.
The idea of putting this post out there, of sharing this dream that I really didn't think God would ever give back to me, is pretty scary. I have no idea what this will look like. I have no idea where or when God will open doors. I know it doesn't replace my writing dream, but will probably come along side it. I'm pretty sure the written word will always be my primary medium. I also know that part of me - a big part, if I'm honest - wants to linger in the shadows and avoid any spotlight. I mean, what if I start thinking I'm all that again? I suppose that is probably what God was waiting for all along though. It's kind of difficult for God to shine through me if I'm full of myself.
So, all this takes me back to the question of what an ordinary day for me look like. The truth is with God no day is ordinary. You just never know when He will show up - it can even be when you're folding your husband's jockey shorts.
~ Blessings, Bronte