So maybe it’s time to start writing again. And maybe it’s time to stop making excuses. And maybe it’s time to stop focusing on something that God clearly isn’t bringing a solution to at this point in time. Maybe it’s time to stop letting my circumstance control me. Maybe it’s time to actually start living my life.
I have a one track mind sometimes. If I start a task, I have to complete that task…because I know sometimes I can just get caught up in the next best thing and lose my motivation to complete any tasks. This undesired trait has left me with numerous half-completed crocheting projects, a stack of books I’ve never finished that’s higher than the Empire State Building, a few second languages that I know some basic words to, a library’s worth of unfinished novels, and at least five instruments that I can play extremely poorly…like worse than going to a ten year old’s recital…and not those protege kids…like those kids who you keep checking your watch to see how long he’s been playing for…as if that will get him off the stage any faster.
I know what you’re wondering at this point…so where does the splinter come in?
My answer…it’s coming.
This insurmountable pile of unfinished projects leaves me daunted. I look at them nearly everyday, or more accurately avoid looking at them, pretending that they don’t exist…because if I’m honest with myself they scream of my failures. My failure to be able to complete anything worthwhile.
So I came up with this solution quite some time ago…I won’t let myself move on to another task until my current task is finished. And this fear of failure drives me…stay focused…don’t you dare quit…not until it’s finished…if you don’t see this through now…you’ll never see it finished. And although this solution seemed to be cleverly disguised as something I tried to call
perseverance…I’m beginning to think it’s actually something quite different.
And this solution…or at least I thought it was a solution at the time…resurfaces not just when I’m working on a task, but when I’m facing a problem. Any sort of problem: social, emotional, intellectual…I just can’t seem to move on until it’s done. Until it’s over. I wan’t to move on. I don’t want to let something bother me over and over and over again. I want to remove the splinter. Ahhh…there it is…
But the Lord is funny that way sometimes. Sometimes He is quick to remove a splinter and it’s so easy to run to Him and thank Him – God You’re so good, You run to our rescue….But sometimes He decides to let the splinter stay beneath our skin for a while. And sometimes it makes it harder to run to God and say those words: “God You’re so good”…even though they’re true. We know they’re true. And although my “solution” tells me that I have to get this splinter out RIGHT NOW, it’s just not happening! I want it out, not only because it hurts like crazy, or because it’s distracting, but because more importantly, I’m afraid if I don’t get it out of my skin now…I’ll never get it out. My skin will just grow over it and no one else will know, but I’ll go about living with a splinter beneath my skin for the rest of my life…knowing I have this problem that the Lord never fixed…and yet everyone just expects me to go around praising the Lord because He’s “soooo good”. And He is…but if I’m honest…sometimes it’s hard to see His goodness even though I know its true.
It seems that God is definitely taking His time removing splinters from my life right now…He’s tearing my solution to shreds. And even though I’m scared of the failure to see this splinter removed, the Lord asks me to trust Him. He tells me He is at work removing the splinter and that I need to stop trying to pull it out on my own and just be patient.
But it’s more than just not pulling it out.., it’s time I stop staring at the splinter, asking God when He’s going to take it out. He told me He would take it out. His heart is to remove it…and He will…just…not right now.
And suddenly I realize that God doesn’t want me to focus on the splinter anymore. That He’s got other things for me to focus on in this season. A different task. And even though I know that splinter is still beneath my skin, I have to accept that I can’t remove it right now, and trust that God knows what He’s doing and won’t let it stay there forever. That this problem will come to an end. There will be a solution. But that solution is not an immediate removal or focusing on it until it’s been removed.
Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.
– Proverbs 4:25
And one day, while I am deeply engrossed in this new task, or a different task as it may be, I will find that while I was at work, the Lord had never stopped working on that splinter. That He was carefully overseeing things as my skin pushed the splinter out of my body through a healing process that only God could have designed. So God is at work and I can either waste my time by having a fit similar to that of a two year old who doesn’t get her way and questions why God isn’t moving faster, or I can work on the things He has called me to during this season of waiting and hold fast to the knowledge that God really is as good as He says He is. God doesn’t want me working on the splinter right now, but He does have something else in mind for this season. And I won’t let my unfinished problem distract me from living my life.
It’s strange…but since I’ve stopped focusing on the splinter I feel like I awoke from some sort of deep sleep. Like it’s been a while since I actually lived my life. And suddenly when I’m not thinking about the splinter, and how much it hurts, and how it’s making my hand swell, and how unexpected it was, or disappointed I am, or wondering where God was when I received it or why He’s taking so long to remove it…instead of being miserable…life is exciting again. Filled with so many possibilities. Filled with awesome opportunities that God is putting in my path. I had been keeping my head down, focused on finishing a list of tasks. I boxed myself into life based on finishing a to-do list…but when God rips up the list…there’s no point in gluing it back together to continue it. My life is out there waiting for me and I think it’s high time I started living it.