Thursday, July 16, 2009

Blasts from the Past, 4

During the two years that I've been blogging, I've often wanted to go back and repost some of the earlier posts or put together a sampling of posts that I think represent what "Bluebonnet in the Snow" is all about. And since I haven't done that before, I thought I'd do that today as part of this week's "Blasts from the Past" series.

Let's Start with Semantics (originally posted June 3, 2007)

For those of you who aren’t from Texas, a bluebonnet is a wildflower that appears alongside Texas highways every spring.

For those of you who are from Texas, snow consists of frozen water vapor that falls to the ground in soft, white crystalline flakes.

Normally, these two natural “objects” would not be found together for obvious reasons. But with Texas weather, anything can happen, including having a wintery snowfall in the midst of spring. And that’s exactly what occurred on Easter weekend this year.

But that wasn’t the only odd occurrence this spring. It was around that time that I felt God awakening in me the desire/need/urge to write.

But I didn’t immediately put pen to paper (my preferred way of writing). Instead, I did what comes naturally to me: I questioned God.

“Lord, is this really something that you want me to do? You know I had that idea a few years back to write a book, but I had to scrap that because my motives were wrong. Would you help me do this without making this about me?”

“Lord, you know I write all day long for work and often struggle with getting things to flow and sound right. Have you equipped me to do this? You know that I'm not humorous (or at least not on purpose). And my creativity, while it stuck around a little longer than my flexibility, has long since faded. And I think that most of my best writing was used up during college. So do I really have what it takes to write?”

“Okay, Lord, I’ve been reading all these books and blogs about publishing in the Christian genre, and it isn’t easy. It’s actually a LOT harder than I could have imagined. There’s a marketing aspect involved, and I’m not sure that’s part of my skill set.”

“Lord, it took me 6 tries to be able to get my little blurb accepted to join The Christian Writers’ View. Were you trying to block me or test my perseverance? This isn’t going to be easy, is it?”

As I was struggling through this process, I decided to pray beforehand for once. (I’m really guilty of going into things and asking God to bless my decisions instead of consulting Him ahead of time.) And through those prayers, I realized that it was right to pray beforehand, and at the same time, I realized that no matter how much prayer I put into this, I still might never be published. And I have to be okay with that. I need to accept God’s leading might not be calling me to a life of fame.

So even after all the prayers and questioning, I still felt God tugging on my heart to be obedient and to write. I didn’t get a lot of clear answers to my questions, mostly just reminders. I was reminded that sometimes when things seem so much bigger than me, it is something that God wants me to do in order to require me to lean on Him. (All I have to do is think back to getting my job and how I said after my not-so-great interview that the only way I was going to get the job would be for God to secure it for me.) And sometimes, God strips me of things I depend on (MY creativity, MY abilities, etc.) to allow His creativity and His ability to shine through. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “All writing comes by the grace of God.”

And so, I feel a little like a bluebonnet in the snow. I’m out of my comfort zone. But hopefully I will acclimate quickly and just enjoy the newness, the contrasts, and the opportunity to just hang out for as long as He allows in this world of writing and writers.

14 Inches (originally posted June 3, 2007)

Fourteen inches. That’s all. Sounds like a short enough distance that I could hop on one leg while blindfolded and still make it. But that’s not the leap at issue.

These fourteen inches are from my mind to my heart. And somehow, because of where those inches are located, the distance seems much greater. Just ask the nerves that run between the two organs. Mine are probably a bit weary from the constant battle.

My heart: I feel unseen, unwanted, unchosen.
My mind: Just believe the Truth.
(John 8:32)

My battle isn’t the only one like this. I talked to a friend today whose heart-mind battle looked a lot like mine but with different words. This friend said that family members affirmed that the outcome of a situation was good, but the heart couldn’t grasp that. It was holding onto a history of feelings. And the mind, which wanted to believe that all was well, was not sold on that outcome just yet. It was still allowing the heart to take the reins. And so the fourteen-inch battle was still in full swing.

To get my mind on top of my battle, I need to be willing to reject any feelings that are not consistent with the Truth. And I want to do that. It’s just, I get stuck sometimes with my heart on a different page than my mind. It’s as if my heart has taken my brain hostage, intercepted all the signals from my brain, and is directing the communication. My brain, which is powerful enough to solve calculus problems without any direction from my heart, is having trouble taking back over command central.

They say, “Pick your battles.” But, I’m not sure that I personally ever got a vote on this particular battle that my heart and mind started waging years ago. I’m signing off from the battlegrounds today, but I can’t say it will be the last time that my pesky heart stirs up trouble.

Slaying the Beast (originally posted July 8, 2007)

Have you ever found yourself saying, “If only I had . . .” or “If only so & so would . . . ”? I know I’m guilty of this. There always seems to be that one “thing” that I can’t have or at least that I can’t have YET. And I know I’m not the only one. Some of the “if only’s” that I know my friends are facing right now are as follows:

If only I was debt free.
If only depression/alcoholism didn’t run in our family.
If only we could afford a house.
If only a family member wasn’t battling cancer.
If only we could get pregnant.
If only I didn’t have to work and could stay home with my children.
If only my in-laws treated me better.
If only I had a loving spouse.
If only our marriage would be reconciled.
If only a friend or family member would accept Christ as his/her personal Savior.
If only I could get published.
If only I had time to workout.
If only I could afford to take a vacation.
If only I was pain free.

The “if only” that I’ve had at the top of my personal list lately is “If only I could slay ‘the beast,’” which is the nickname that I’ve given to a project that I’ve been working on for several months now. I had hoped to finish it before I went on vacation, but I just couldn’t wrap it up. Then, my first week back from vacation, I decided to work on some smaller projects in order to prove to myself that I could still do my job, which I had started to question. With those smaller projects behind me, I returned to the beast and told myself that it had to be conquered by tonight.

“The beast” started out to be very straight-forward. There was a lot to read, but I didn’t think it would be nearly as bad as it has been. It had gotten to the point that it was unwieldy and seemed so much bigger than my skill set. I just couldn’t seem to tame it. Until now. A draft is done. It isn’t the page-turner that I’d like for it to be, but it is ready for another set of eyes to pierce through it.

Throughout this time, I’ve been postponing my joy in anticipation of finishing this project. And yet, there’s been so much that I could have been joyful about throughout the process. For instance, I feel like I’ve identified some tasks that were taking me longer than necessary and have found some ways to make those tasks more efficient when I take on the next project. I’ve learned more succinct ways of phrasing things. And, I’ve been reminded daily of how I must depend on God for His help and wisdom.

I see this pattern often in my life. I wait for something big--an "if only"--to happen. I’m content for a while, and then a new “if only” makes its way to the forefront of my mind, and I postpone my joy in anticipation of fulfillment of the new “if only” criterion. It’s like a little child who asks for “just one thing” only to return and ask for another “just one thing” a few moments later because the previous toy or whatever is no longer satisfying.

By doing this, I’m not accepting that right where I am is God’s “Plan A” (as my friend calls it) for my life. I am doubting that this is God’s best for me. That He wants me to be right where I am right now to fulfill His purpose. And that I don’t need to rush things.

I wish that by writing this, I’d somehow be immune to going through another “if only” rollercoaster ride. But I know it’s not that simple. Instead, I’ll need to be on the alert for it and remind myself that the One Thing that my soul is really searching for is available right now; I don’t have to wait for it.

“Enough” by Chris Tomlin

All of You is more than enough for all of me
For every thirst and every need
You satisfy me with Your love
And all I have in You is more than enough

You are my supply
My breath of life
And still more awesome than I know
You are my reward worth living for
And still more awesome than I know

All of You is more than enough for all of me
For every thirst and every need
You satisfy me with Your love
And all I have in You is more than enough

You’re my sacrifice
Of greatest price
And still more awesome than I know
You’re the coming King You are everything
And still more awesome than I know

More than all I want
More than all I need
You are more than enough for me
More than all I know
More than all I can say
You are more than enough for me

If none of those were new to you, let me say thanks for being a loyal reader!

Tomorrow's post will have fresh material, so be sure to stop by and check out the finale for this series.


Kellie said...

Loved the story behind BlueBonnet in the Snow.

I remember my FW girl friends calling and texting me on that Easter saying it was snowing!

And the If Only's are tough! You are right, they ARE a joy robber!

I hve enjoyed all your Blasts from the Past!

Momma Bean said...

I thoroughly enjoyed the blast from the blog past. Thoses were a few of my favs.

Krista said...

So glad you plugged ahead and WROTE and are still writing!! Puts a lot of pieces together for me!