Do you ever feel like you’re careening at break-neck speed towards a goal that never gets closer?
(Yes, that’s a paradox. Bear with me.)
At the beginning of August, I had plans. Big plans. I’d finally found my writing pace after months of being unproductive, and my book was flowing better than ever. I’d acquired more art supplies and was exploring all sorts of different techniques. I’d made several interesting acquaintances. And on top of it all, I expected to be in a new house (and a new State) by the end of the month.
Life was picking up, promising to be full and exciting and busy, busy, busy.
Yet here I am, watching the end of the month approach, and as I look back, I realize…
August was utterly useless.
It started with my entire family catching some form of viral pneumonia. It also started with the let-down of Camp NaNoWrimo being over. Wiped out for almost two months, we’re finally getting back on our feet, but instead of focusing on moving, we have to focus on keeping our business afloat since it slid while we were sick. And after Camp Nano, my writing tanked; partly the result of burn-out and partly because I no longer had that accountability pushing me forward.
I’ve been trapped in a weird state of limbo during this move — always busy, yet never getting anything done. Expecting to move tomorrow, so not wanting to start any projects, yet when tomorrow comes and we’re still here, feeling like I wasted my time. Caught between the worlds of Where I Was and Where I Want to Be.
I chose to leave one, but now I can’t get into the other.
And as I sit in my chair, still in Maryland, still tapping away at the keyboard with barely 20k words to show for it, I find myself wondering:
Am I getting anywhere?
It’s no fun living between worlds.
I know that I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t have to wait for life to move forward. Because people wait; people wait all the time. We wait in lines at the grocery store. We wait for the traffic light to turn green. We wait for birthdays, for graduations, for weddings, for children, for life, for death, for God.
We wait for our favorite blogger to post stuff on Thursday.
The annoying thing is, waiting takes time. (I know, I know, I’m a genius.) And time gives you faaar too many opportunities to think. To look ahead. To be impatient. To be discontent.
To be discouraged.
This month has seen a lot of that.
So I sat at my keyboard. Tapping at random keys in random order, as though writing “jensihgne slehen s” would somehow clear the fog of writers’ block from my stupid brain. Scrivener told me I’d written 96 words, like I ought to be proud of that or something (Hint: I wasn’t), but all I could see was the 10,000 words I still had left if I wanted to accomplish even a small word-count goal for the month.
I sat there. Stressing, grimacing, mentally yelling, mentally sobbing, and finally (as my anxious irritation calmed down), remembering. Remembering what I’d prayed only that morning — strangely enough, the first thought to enter my head when I woke up:
Lord, let me be content with today.
Simple enough in theory. I barely thought about it when I said it. It sounded nice, and I love praying nice things, so THERE YOU GO, LORD. Another prayer that I’ll promptly forget. Unfortunately for me, it takes on a dangerous double-meaning the longer you think about it:
Lord, let me be content with these pathetic 96 words.
Lord, let me be content to still live in Maryland even though I’m dying to start life in Michigan.
Lord, let me be content to always be busy but never get anything done.
Lord, let me be content to wait.
So I entered those pathetic 96 words into my word-count tracker, and I put my laptop away. I stepped over the half-packed boxes of clothes and books (the two staples of life), found a notebook, and I wrote a letter. Not a big one. Not a particularly grand one. But I wrote a letter to someone I haven’t communicated with in months. And after that, I practiced a portrait technique that’s always baffled me. And after that, I had a long conversation with my mother about all sorts of interesting things.
And I think…
I think God will compensate His children for their times of waiting. I don’t know how, and I don’t know when. But maybe this state of limbo you’re stuck in is because He needs you focused on something else right now. Maybe it’s Him trying to show you there’s something else you can do as you wait for life to move forward, something else that needs your attention. Something you wouldn’t notice during the break-neck speed of normal living.
So I think we should use our time of waiting as an opportunity, not a drawback. Because there’s always something we can do, whether it’s writing 96 words or talking with our family or growing in our love and obedience for Christ.
The space between worlds is big.
You might as well do something useful with it.