by Marcia Lee Laycock
I’ve been falling behind with my current WIP lately. I don’t like the feeling. I get a knot in my stomach and my shoulders tense. I keep telling myself to relax but the “have to” blocks all my creative juices.
I can sometimes get this way in my spiritual life too. I’d like to be a disciplined person – one who adheres strictly to a devotional time, memorizes verses on a regular basis and remembers to pray for each and every prayer request I hear about.
Sadly, that’s not me. As in my writing life, I tend to be more of a “take it as it comes,” kind of person. Oh I do write every day, and I do pray every day, but those times are not necessarily scheduled and regular. I’ve tried to adhere to a strict schedule, but it puts a knot in my stomach and makes my shoulders tense. The “have to” dries up my spirit.
I used to fret over that, especially as a brand new pastor’s wife. Others around me seemed to have a more disciplined life. I set my own bar rather high and almost broke my neck trying to reach it. Then one day I found myself in a potato patch.
A friend had planted too many potatoes and asked if I would come and dig some up. I did not garden (another failing, I thought), so I was pleased to say yes. It was a lovely fall day, crisp air, bright sunshine – perfect for a family outing in the country. We had a hoot digging those potatoes. My friend was overjoyed. “I’m so glad you could do this for me,” she said.
On the way home I had an epiphany. Because I didn’t garden, my friend had the blessing of generosity and joy of watching my family have fun. I don’t have to be a gardener. I don’t have to be just like that other pastor’s wife. I don’t even have to write 5,000 words a day. God allows me to be just who I am.
Yes, I may get behind in my WIP from time to time and I may miss my morning devotions now and then, but when I am there, doing it, the words flow and my spirit is light. I feel the joy of doing what I know God intends. I feel the release of being the person He created me to be.
And somehow I’ve managed to write three novels, four devotional books and hundreds of articles, many of which God has used to change lives. So when I get a little tense about falling behind I think of that day in the potato patch and I tell myself to breathe.
Then I read one of my favourite scriptures: “Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (Matthew 11: 28-30, The Message).
Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor's wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone was short listed in The Word Awards. Marcia also has three devotional books in print and has contributed to several anthologies, including the Hot Apple Cider books. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan.
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