Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Actively waiting to be inspired

"I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time---waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God---it changes me." ~ C. S. Lewis

"Help me!" I cried out to God the other day. My prayer was similar to the one I'd uttered the day before that. And that.

Motivation to do even the things you enjoy (work-wise) can falter when you don't feel like your efforts are making any difference. I wondered if I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. If so, why wasn't I getting results?

If I had high responses to my online courses or writing workshops, if my agent would write to say he'd sold another manuscript of mine, then I would have something to cheer about. Those accolades would make me feel I was headed in the correct direction; I was doing something right.

But the ground was bare. The fig tree was not blossoming. The air was cold with drizzle.

I wanted God to point out to me what I needed to do to make things happen. I wished God would steer me on a path of success.

I'd been waiting to get my mojo back for weeks.

"Where are you in this, God? Help!"

My computer only blinked at me.

I'd like to think there was a great roar of thunder from the sky and that the heavens opened, but none of that happened. All that came to me was in the form of a little fizzle from a sparkler: Plug away. Do what you do. Keep at it. Do you think others have always had it easy?

I pushed myself. I sent out announcements about my new writing courses and upcoming book events even though I didn't feel like it. I updated my three blogs and chose new templates for two of them.

Pretty soon I had an idea for a magazine article. I started to write. A student signed up for my next online writing course. I had another idea and wrote a blog post. The comments from my followers showed me that I was not a has-been, I still had something meaningful to say.

Then I realized. It was one of those "a-ha" moments.

Sometimes the answer to prayer comes in form of the doing. One foot in front of the other. While I want God to pick me off the floor, He is telling me that I have two functional legs and to get up, get moving! Head in a direction---the best one that you know of at this time----and use your talents. God has never left; trust Him.

I thought it worked the other way around. God would supply the encouragement by sending me people for my workshops, ideas and steps to take, then I would be motivated by the success. Instead, it was getting up, doing something even though I had no delight in me. The delight and the success followed later.

What do you do when you feel weak? How to you keep your head up when your world appears bleak? How do you actively wait on God?

"Hear my prayer, O Lord;
listen to my cry for mercy,
In the day of trouble I will call to you,
for you will answer me." Psalm 86: 6-7

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