WORKING OUT THE WORKMANSHIP

April 6, 2013

Howdy everyone out there ! You may have been wondering (although I doubt it) where on earth I have been these past few weeks. My March Doodle did not appear in March. That’s because this right here is a belated March Doodle, not a surprisingly early April Doodle, except for those of you reading this in the church newsletter. For you people, this is the April Doodle because you are a bit behind, only kind of ahead and on time, also. Time travel can be so confusing, and I haven’t even been doing that, although in March I traveled quite a bit more than usual, hence the early-April March Doodle. Hopefully that explanation has confused you just enough that you no longer know what month we’re in, so any Doodle at all would appear timely.

Now I’m dizzy from all that circular thinking and still nothing profound or even interesting to say is coming to me. That’s the real reason for the preceding paragraph–to fill up some space in order to de-blank the blank page a little. This sort of thing happens to me all the time when I sit down to write. But it will not stop me, because God has prepared in advance good works for me to do (Ephesians 2:10) and this is one of them! That begs the question, then, “If God has prepared in advance for me to write as one of my good works, has He prepared in advance what exactly I should write?” And if He has, then shouldn’t I be able to pray and get an immediate download of daily material to splurt out in a frenzy of creative abandon? That would be so easy and stress free!!

Here’s how it really happens according to some writers who’ve made a living with words:

Is starting hard? You know it. I don’t know what you do when you start, but I clean my desk. . . . I make a lot of stupid appointments that I make sound important. . . .Avoidance, delay, denial. . . .I’m always scared that I’m not gonna know what to do. It’s a terrifying moment.
— Frank Gehry

I suffer as always from the fear of putting down the first line. It is amazing the terrors, the magics, the prayers, the straitening shyness that assails me.
— John Steinbeck

Every single piece of writing I have ever completed–whether a novel, a memoir, an essay, short story or review–has begun as a wrestling match between hopelessness and something else, some other quality that all writers, if they are to keep going, must possess.
— Dani Shapiro

God is smart enough to know that we humans need to “work out (our) salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.” (Philippians 2:12b-13). He planned for our good works to be WORK. Without the WORK of work we will learn nothing in the process. And it’s in the struggle and sacrifice that our WORK becomes GOOD, rather than just another activity in which we happened to participate. That’s why when I spend my days as a nanny dealing with the same endless loads of laundry, cooking meals, and racing children back and forth across town as I did as a stay-at-home mom, it’s my attitude that will either transform all that into good works or leave them lying in a heap of pitiful whininess. Believe me, I have spent way too many days of my life in the cesspool of UNREDEEMED ATTITUDE, wishing I could be doing something more meaningful or stimulating, or at least less monotonous. After all these years I am finally beginning to see the value in the mundane. That’s where Jesus does some of His best work on the mind. Ha! Even He can’t get away from the WORK of work!

That’s what my one word POEM is teaching me so far. God’s WORKMANSHIP (writing our days into a poem) is His good work of transforming our work, whatever it is, into GOOD WORKS that advance His kingdom not only in the lives we touch with those good works, but in our own life as well. And that brings us around to some more circular thinking. Maybe that’s why I had to get dizzy before I could write this. And that’s for sure why I had to start with something, even a paragraph of drivel, before any decent thoughts at all would come to me.

All that work was exhilarating for me! I hope you got something out of it. Happy March-April to you!