Thursday, December 8, 2011

The juicy inner stuff

Listen to this post:

Somehow I grew up with the idea that to be a good Christian, God would ask you to give up everything at home and travel far away. There was pain and suffering. That's what we were told missionaries do and we revered missionaries.

Yesterday in the car, it hit me why I have always liked theologian Frederick Beuchner's quote about vocation being "the place your deep gladness meets the world's deep need." Because God calls us where our hearts are.

For years, I have been trying to reconcile the secular world's view of success and happiness within myself and it's never worked. I've had money and I've had time, but I've never had money and time. Time, for me, is way more important: time to discover my inner self, time to build a regular relationship with God, time to nurture others, time to paint, time to write, time to heal, time to become healthy, time to spend with others, time to really listen, time to be quiet, time to reflect.

There's still a small part of me pulling to get that job, look for work and give up my dream. Mostly out of loneliness and some need for affirmation. I am trying to be faithful to where God calls me.

I am being called to surrender not to pain and suffering or moving far away, but to not only do, but believe in the work that gives me the greatest joy: writing, making art and teaching spiritual nurture all bound together by this turtlebox framework that God planted in my heart several years ago. I must trust that it will take me on the path that's right for me as well as provide the necessary resources.

I've been trying to control the process about which piece comes first, what person to approach, when something is finished or not, whether I need to back up and earn money in another way; basically, I have tried to control the business part of the process. It's much easier to let the creative part flow. Our culture doesn't recognize, let alone honor, a business model based on Spirit's leading. But I should.

I attended a new Bible study yesterday. One my mother is leading with a variety of women from different Christian traditions. We're reading Luke and I was immediately struck by Elizabeth's easy way of embracing the announcement of her late-in-life pregnancy, then going off for five months to wait. It was so unlike her husband, who was struck mute because of his disbelief. Mary was just as accepting.

Passages about these women helped me see the connection to my periods of waiting while something of God's forms in me. I am a patient person and feel as if I've been waiting a dozen years for my fruit to ripen. Elizabeth waited much of her life.

It's like I keep sticking my finger in the baking cake, it comes out wet and I tell myself: "It isn't done yet." I want to crank up the temperature and hasten it's doneness, but then it will only be a sloppy mess.

Lord, please teach me to let go of my impatience, comparisons to secular models, need for outside affirmation and revel in the joyful work you have given me!

• What illusion of being faithful have I discovered and am shattering?
• What truth stands in its place?
• Where is God currently calling me?
• Am I patient?
• Am I willing?

how does a soul
do its real work
the juicy inner stuff
that needs tending and time

when it feels alone
in doing so

when it can't
seem to find another
walking the walk

when it doesn't
produce a paycheck
or create exciting
party banter 

how does a soul
leave the loneliness
and outside expectation

replacing it
with God's
presence and promise?


  1. You know, you should REALLY be a pastor.

  2. I am beginning to realize that, though the circles I travel in only recognize those with a pedigree. Hum, maybe I need to change those circles. Thank you, dear one!

  3. Cathy - You're a wonderful writer. I often wish God would speak with a megaphone rather than the still, quiet, inner voice. Thanks for sharing your wisdom. - Lynn

  4. Lynn,
    Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I agree about the megaphone. I have a spiritual friend and we both commiserate that, often, God has to be loud and clear to get our attention.
    -- Cathy