The answer

Every morning, somewhere in the midst of walking on the treadmill and getting breakfast and opening up my scribbeldy notebook to scribble some things, I try to make time to read something in the Bible and to pray.  (I don’t absolutely remember this every morning, but most of them I do.)  In the midst of reading and praying, I try to make a point of letting God have the last word by asking if there’s anything else he wants me to read, in addition to what I have been choosing for myself.  I remember this somewhat less frequently, but I do try.  Sometimes I feel a nudge toward a scripture reference, sometimes I don’t, and sometimes I’m not sure.  Sometimes I wonder if my brain makes up scripture references because I want so badly to hear a special word from God.

Yesterday morning I nearly forgot, but then remembered just before I put my notebook away and turned off my Kindle.  I remembered to ask God if there was anything else he wanted me to read.  And I thought I felt a nudge to go and read the book of Jude.  Jude? I thought.  Seriously?

Jude is a tiny, tiny book, tucked in close to the very end of the Bible, and I’m certain I’ve read it before but I have no memory of it whatsoever.  I had no idea what was in it, no inkling why I would be sent there this morning, and was really wondering if my brain was just making it up.

Still.  It’s a tiny book, and it make me curious to remember it was there, and not have any idea what it’s about.  So I read it.

I have no great theological insights to report, but one verse pulled on my attention.  Jude 3:

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.

I don’t really have any theological insights to say at all about it, not even tiny obvious ones.  It wasn’t theology grabbing onto my eyeballs.  It was the little bit where Jude says he felt compelled to write about something.  Compelled to write.  I latched onto those words, because that’s how I’ve felt lately, and off and on for the last year.  Compelled to write.

I know very well it’s possible to read something, especially something in the Bible, and have it grab hold of one’s attention in this way, and then assume that God is telling you what you want to hear.  I know this, and I caught myself picking over these words, and I pushed them away.  Read to the end of the book, satisfied my curiosity, and was ready to move on.

And then I stopped again, because I know it’s just as possible to push something away that shouldn’t be.  Whether or not those words were guidance from God or made up out of my own head, they had my attention and there was a reason for it.

So I went back to those words, not looking for confirmation or rejection of any sort of imagined message from God, but to start a conversation with him about them.  I owned that they meant something to me, that I’ve had this on-again, off-again relationship for more than a year with the idea of being a writer, and that I really wished, once and for all, that God would tell me if that’s what he has in mind for me, so I can get on with it.  Or that he would tell me it’s not what he has in mind, so I can get over it.

I’ve been in this place a lot recently, feeling clueless about the path I’m on or what path I should be looking for next.  At this stage I really really wish for some clarity, and I don’t have it, and I don’t know how to find it.  At least, I feel like I don’t know.  That doesn’t necessarily mean anything.  I’m perfectly capable of believing I’m saying “Okay God, tell me what you want to tell me, no matter what it is” when what I’m actually saying is “LALALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU” with my fingers stuck in my ears.  If the answer I’m getting isn’t the answer I want, sometimes I just keep asking, pretending I didn’t hear anything.  Sometimes I haven’t even heard the answer yet, I’m just afraid it’s going to be one I don’t like.  So I endlessly and incessantly keep asking, not letting God get a word in edgewise, to make sure I don’t hear something I don’t to hear but still feel like I’m doing my part by asking.

At this point, I don’t even really know what I want, as far as writing goes.  I don’t know if I want to pursue it as my life’s work or if I just want to be able to scribble some stuff on a blog when I feel like it.  I enjoy this work, but I’ve only ever done it when I wanted to, with no obligations.  Sometimes a hobby is better kept a hobby.  I just don’t know.

For the last while, though, I have this constant feeling that the answers I want about my path are going to come to me through writing — that I don’t know what I want to do or what I’m going to need to do, but regardless I need to keep writing about it, keep writing and writing, and the writing will lead me to my answers.  I don’t know if writing will be my answer, but I feel like it is the means by which I will find an answer, whatever it is.

So I’m writing.  I’m writing blog posts, I’m looking for ideas and places to contribute outside of my blog.  I’m looking for contract work and freelance assignments, and even if I don’t win any bids (even if I don’t actually make any bids), I’m going to start doing some of the work, just to see if I like it.  I’ll make up assignments for myself and build my portfolio with different kinds of sample pieces.  If I don’t have other tasks to do in a day, I’ll just write.  I’ll write whatever I can think of or whatever I can find to do for someone else.

I don’t know if it will lead anywhere, and I don’t know if it’s supposed to.  But I’ll find out what I think; I’ll find out if I enjoy it, if I can follow through with ideas and projects, if I can tackle different kinds of writing work successfully.  I’ll experience what I think I want to do:  I’ll try living like a writer, even though I’m not really one, and find out if it suits me or not.  I’ll continue my conversation with God about it as I go, and one way or the other, at some point, I’ll find my answer.

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