Last week, I was staying at a hotel for two nights, to work on some projects and deadlines that were weighing heavily on my shoulders. Once in a while, Clay sends me away, knowing that with people wanting to eat, the dog concocting havoc, the phone ringing, I cannot get much done. Three of my children were out of state visiting friends and Joy was with a friend at an all day event, and had come to my hotel room late at night to spend some this morningwith me. This was the week my new book, Dancing with My Father, was to begin being promoted and distributed. I was up by 4 a.m. because I was already feeling stressed. As I sat in the lobby of the hotel, feeling very alone and agitated, I began to get to the core of what I was feeling. I had received 17 pages of suggestions of what I was supposed to do to help self-market my book and to market myself--which in and of itself does not suit my personality.
New learning curves--facebook fan page, twitter, amazon page, and 8 other networks to join and to connect and to write on and to comment on and to keep up with and to answer back and and and. I was feeling anxious because I had already followed directions, with much difficulty, on three of the proposed areas I was to complete, and already, I had "tweets" I didn't know how to find, growing emails in my inbox, (with already a couple of thousand from last year, that had not been dealt with, and I had been spending way too much time in my home on screens--looking every few minutes at what was binging from my computer.
And then there were these great people in my life, who seemed to do it so well. Technology was a skill set for them, it came naturally. Their blogs grew, added, they understood tweeting and twittering and all I had ever done was to marvel at birds who such language had been applied to!
As I sat there for two hours, reading my Bible, praying, pondering how I was going to meet all of these deadlines and expectations. I already knew I was not going to be able to answer all the people I had been told I needed to "write back."
I was drawn to the passage about David and Goliath. David was to fight Goliath, the giant, the next day. The great king Saul, the picture of a ruler in this world, already a proven, successful warrior, offered David his armor to wear, his sword to use, for the great battle.
But this is what David said, "I cannot go in these because I am not used to them." So he took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream and put them in the pouch of his shepherd's bag, and with his sling, approached the Philistine, and defeated him.
I realized that I was David--He did not come in the expected way, using what a warrior was expected to use--these were not suitable to him. God's glory was in using a young boy, with the Lord of Hosts behind him, to defeat the giant, within the confines of his personality and experience.
God's glory would only come, through my life, if I lived within my own limitations and capacities. I am a simple woman, a mom and wife, who lives life fairly simply, taking care of my family, doing the day to day work, seeking to still disciple my children, writing because I cannot quit--it is a drive from God. But, the fittings of someone else, and their skill set, did not fit me--would not be the way I was to fight my battle or enter the fray. I am free to be simple as David was--to use my stones and my sling shot against the giants of my life--because God was with me.
If I tried to market myself and spent a great deal of my days on my computer and putting off the needs of my children and husband, then I would not be able to write with integrity. I would have to compromise my priorities and neglect my ideals.
I have never found peace or productivity by looking at what other people were doing--by "trying to keep up with the Jones."I am not to look about me and seeing what everyone else is doing and try to compete with them, trying to keep up with them. But, I am to look to God and follow Him in what He is asking me to do, knowing my strengths, weaknesses, personality and knowing that in God's hands, it is enough.
So, I am not saying that what other women, whose personality and skill set and puzzle is different from mine are to do. I am quite sure that God is using them in the internet to reach women all over the world. Perhaps those bright women, with web-marketing skill sets will be the ones who help me reach more women. I want to use whatever means God has provided--especially the internet--to reach women.
But my part, at this point, is to write. I can also speak--I love traveling and getting the opportunity to travel with my children, ministering shoulder to shoulder with women. It is what I can do.
But, computer marketing and joining and keeping up with networks will prevent me from doing what I already know God has given me to do--to take the time to personally invest in the lives that are right here in front of me--I cannot, at this time, do both well.
It is not my skill set and not what I believe God is calling me to do during this season. I am to seek Him, keep my eyes on Him, listen to his marching orders for me, to write about what I learn, and to keep my husband, children, home and personal ministry at the center and leave the rest to Him.
I looked up, with new peace, and there in my window view was one of the most sparkling sunrises I had seen in quite a while. The picture window of the lobby faced Pike's peak and with the snow on the cap, and the sun shining on the crystals, the whole scene seemed to sparkle and dance before my eyes. I was stopped in my tracks by the hand of God's creativity.
I began to hear His voice in my heart. "I have always been with you through the journey of your writing and ministry. It is me who will provide what you need, not all the market principles and Martha-ing about the internet in ways that are above you. You put me first in your life and take care of your priorities and I will take care of the rest. If you try to "work" and "provide" for yourself, you will only find more stress and fretting, and you will draw away from me. If you rest in me and do what I have called you to do, I will take care of the rest."
Immediately, I was struck with the thought, "You have a beautiful 14 year old, sleeping upstairs, and she is the priority of your day--you have been given this time to celebrate life with her. Don't waste it looking at screens."
And so we had one of the best days I can remember--we had a delightful breakfast out, giggling, sharing secrets away from the crowd of our family, read a magazine together and talked about dreams; went for a walk around a mountain lake, ended with a "chick-flick" and chattering all the way home.
I can't live my life the way others do. I must live within the limitations of my personality, my skill set, my life. And in following God for my own personal life-puzzle, I will find rest, contentment and joy.