The Tedium We Have to Do

So I’m sitting here stuffing an abandoned Mother&Son holiday project. The one I was sewing and he was stuffing, until he realised how tedious the stuffing process is.

It’s 34 degrees and I’m breaking out into a sweat just trying to push stuff into the guts of a particularly ‘home-made’ looking cat. It’s strange how, in the most mundane, when things are at their least attractive and most ordinary that we can realise truth.

Because, doing the battle, being glorious and victorious and wonderful… that’s the few moments that follow the hundreds of moments of doing the small, boring, tedious things that make us ready for the big moments.

cat

David – king, composer, leader of armies… he did a lot of time out in a paddock with sheep who, in my limited experience, don’t give a rats about who you are. They will still be stubborn, skittish and downright stupid. He wasn’t born into favour, he wasn’t an overnight success. There was a lot of ‘being faithful in the small‘ before there was any ‘this is your life’ glamour.

Ruth, in the line of Jesus, married to the most eligible of bachelors, she did a whole lot of journey, grieving, choosing her mother-in-law over what was familiar, cultural alienation, judgement, disapproval… all of that. All of that invitation to do the boring, hard, one shuffle at a time, sleep in a field, follow around other people picking up left-overs and act grateful – ness.

Because it’s what we feed ourselves with before the red-carpet event that determines how we will look in our dress in the spotlight when our moment finally comes.

If we want to be a writer – there is much writing unseen, much editing, much drafting and re-drafting and receiving of feedback before we are even ready for the publisher to reject it. The book we read, all shiny on the bookshop shelf, is a result of hundreds of unseen, boring to the point of collapse, missing out, track-pant wearing (ugh…must there be trackies??)…The writer does the tedious work.

The artist does the tedious work

The chef does the tedious work (and then works the most anti-social hours ever, and in the heat and noise and all the cleaning up – why people why?? – chefs are amazing, good food yes please)

So if I say that my passion is the One. If I think that I want to make a life of speaking, or writing, or teaching others then I need to do the tedious work of stuffing in all that I need. I need to feed my body – the whole thing –  to make it firm, to make it ready for the journey, to make sure that when that door does open I am not found naked and unready.

Let’s say that I meet a publisher who’s prepared to look at my manuscripts (which is like gold in the field of writing)… won’t it be to my shame if I have spent years saying how I want to be a writer and when the opportunity comes I don’t have anything to show them. Or what I have to show them is scrappy hurriedly done work, without the drafting, redrafting, refining…. I will miss out.

So as I sit here – stuffing a strange-looking cat toy, sweating and bored I am reminded that the work of the brilliant also includes boring behind the scenes work. It includes heart breaks, disappointments, getting back ups, trying agains, faithfully plugging away when no-one sees except the sheep and the other field workers – both of whom probably regard you as a nuisance.

character

Don’t let’s fool ourselves into believing the lie of the overnight success.

Don’t let’s excuse ourselves from the work that is before us.

Don’t let’s believe that anyone has it all easy and doesn’t have to discipline themselves for the prize they want.

In His kingdom being trustworthy with the small unseen things is seen as an insight into our character and an indication of how we will cope on the big screen. Little things reveal big things about us.

Holy Spirit would you walk with us in the tedious places where we have to choose the hard over the path of least resistance? Would you give us vision and passion that carries us through the difficult places? Would you walk with us Jesus and would we follow your example of waiting, listening, praying, and learning in order to be bearers of much fruit? Father, when we are stuck out in the fields and we are tempted to believe that it doesn’t matter and no-one will ever notice, would you remind us in love and in challenge that you notice, and that we matter to you no matter how hidden we feel?

Reminding myself today to be faithful in the small, the tedious and the necessary in order to be ready for the exceptional, the exciting and the beautiful.

Galatians 6v9

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

I Want Bikkies

She said it loud enough for me to hear, this little treasure of 2 and a bit, tousled hair and perfect little face.

I sat near her and as the meeting went on she had a moment,
one of those moments where all of a sudden you know exactly what you want.
and she said it out,

I want bikkies

weaving

And it echoed through me like a shimmer of joy – this uncensored, un-demanding, un-manipulative, statement.

This simple connection between what she wanted right in this moment – and saying it aloud without the need to demand or pretend it was something else.

And it whispered in my heart how I don’t say what I want.

Sometimes I imply, or suggest, or even demand.
Or I close my mouth tight and squash it down because I feel embarrassed by my desire, I feel like no-one else is saying or wanting it so why should I.

and let’s be honest – sometimes it is bikkies I want.

but other times it’s more

it’s
I want you to wait for me to finish speaking and hear my heart as well as my words
I want to be honest without being fearful or harsh
I want to be given an opportunity
I want you to take a chance on me

it’s
I want to please Jesus, even if embarrasses you
I want to live careless, instead of trying not to be too much
I want to be funny and serious, irreverent and awestruck all at the same time

I want to be Miriam 
and not the Miriam you’d like me to be.

It’s strange how I’ve become less skilful at saying what I want. Being able to state what I want or need with authenticity, and honesty, without fear and without manipulation, has gotten lost.

If I even own and understand what I want, I dither on the edges – trying to work out how to say it, if I should say it, what angle to come from. Like it’s more important how you hear it. I’ve complicated myself, I’ve censored myself, I’ve feared your reaction, and in reality I’ve tried to control you.

So today I heard truth from the sweet little mouth that sat next to me. Who realised what she wanted and stated it. I wonder if we could all do with a little more of this honesty, this simplicity, this authentic ability to state what we want come what may.

Because saying what I want, or need, doesn’t guarantee I’ll get it. But it does keep me free and honest.
beach1
I think sometimes we hide behind words to protect ourselves from the disappointment of not getting what we really do want. Sometimes we get so good at feeding ourselves a story we start to believe it

like all the excuses we make aloud to stop ourselves from connecting with what our heart really wants, because it’s easier to act like we don’t really care than embrace the difficultly of longings unfulfilled

like the woman who says I want to be relevant to everyone, and not offend anyone so I need to temper my faith, when all she’s ever wanted is to recklessly pursue the One whose captivated her heart…

and I realise this thing…. that I’ve been so busy wanting it all, and wanting none of it that I have missed the glimpses of this thing I really want.

I want Him.

I undoes me when Jesus says to the disciples, ‘do you guys want to leave too?’
and Peter replies, ‘where else can we go? You alone have the words of life.’

and that is my thing… where else can my heart go?
because I want to be in His house
with his beautiful, messed-up, infuriating, slightly weird people

and I’m tired of pretending, and trying to convince myself that’s not for me
and I don’t know how it will look for a girl like me who loves The Church so hard;

because it beats in me for all of it
the high, the low, the community church with one musician in a musty hall, the slick huge congregation…. like it’s all a family to me. A family that confuses me and messes me up and makes me cry with anger when it starts shooting arrows at itself, and makes me cry with joy when it responds in love.

This is what I want – here in this sacred moment
I want to serve The Church, and a local church too to be certain, but The Church universal, with all my heart

to whisper to her when she is worn down and weary – nothing can snatch you out of his hand
to proclaim loud to her – your God reigns
to challenge her – this is how the world will know you are His, by your love for each other
to call with her – rend the heavens and come down
to see the creative unleashed – to give a platform for us to all share our gifting
to pray for her – may the people praise you, Oh God may all the people praise you
to stand unified – loving each other, other denominations, despite our differences
to teach her well – with integrity and sound theology
to prophesy faithfully – because God is speaking
to see her experience – Holy Spirit at work
to stand with her – and see the miracles we have heard of renewed in our day

to be clothed with strength and dignity together, 
to laugh with joy together, 
to work it out messy, humble, imperfectly 
together

and how does that happen?
and how do I get there?

I don’t know. That’s God’s job.

What I do know is I want bikkies.

0d1ea-gmen2
I want to serve, strengthen, encourage, bring joy, spend my life on The Church. Because I love it.

and today that is enough. To be able to say what I want and leave the rest.