Monday, July 30, 2012

More on time: the writer, the hitchhiker, and the wise woman in Rhode Island

When you put your eye on something and get intentional about looking at it— like staring deep into a flower and seeing pollen grains on the stamens and tiny etchings inside the petals—you start noticing the object of your attention everywhere.

This week the object of my attention was time.  I publicly declared in my last post that I was going to give my time to the Lord and not strive when the “man makes the plan” part morphed into “but the Lord directs the steps.”

It’s not so easy.

I daresay a majority of successful writers advise writing every day. I have no small children, no outside job, no urgent situation clawing at my sleeves. Still, days go by when I’ve been so busy my butt hasn’t hit a chair cushion and I haven’t written a word. Then I get anxious, and the self-defeating recording clicks on: “You’re really not a writer—you just got lucky with one book.”

I beat that one down with the vigor of a kid at a bonk-the-gopher game. But soon the anxiety of time gone by with nothing tangible to show for it competes with my fifteen minutes of cardio for a sweat breakout.

Today I planned a writing schedule that would make Stephen King proud: morning devos, gym, write. After morning time with the Lord, I went to the gym with my daughter. She actually likes going there.  I go to get the health meter stable. Being finished long before she, I looked forward to hurrying home and getting to my desk.

The look in her eyes compelled me to linger. Some overly contoured guy trailing her made her feel uncomfortable. Her eyes pleaded mom’s presence.

I stayed pasted in the hip adductor chair and squeezed twelve more times. My write time now bumped to after the other morning have-to’s.

The day before, my husband and I were headed to a shooting range for some target practice after which I had a few things planned like hand chop the jungle encroaching my fence, vacuum the pool, and do SOMETHING with the interminable pile of clothes that used to be put away.

While we gassed up at a quik stop, a young man approached us and said he was trying to get to a neighboring town (which just so happened to be near the one we were headed to). Seeing no weapon in  his T-shirt, shorts and flip flops, my husband told him to get in.

I was concerned about the detour this would put in the time of our shooting appointment, but my husband’s quick question to the kid’s rambling thoughts stopped me short.

“Do you know the Lord?”

“Yes,” he said. Further probing revealed a mind confused, a young man grasping for something to reclaim himself from jail and drugs. We talked for the thirty minutes it took to get to the place a friend was holding his “things” while he got his life back together. (I want to talk more about his questions next post, for now, sticking to the time theme.).

I don’t know the impact of our “time” diversion in this man’s life, but that’s God’s business. We (thanks to the hubby) let go of our schedule and route to pursue what smacked of God.

And then to top off the “time” thoughts in my mind, one friend, Lori Roeleveld, a wise woman in Rhode Island, expanded this theme of God’s time in a provoking post (she always has provoking posts!) Please 
stop by Deeper with Jesus in Rhode Island and be refreshed. She elucidates the issue well and concludes the gist of the post.

P.S. Because Thomas Nelson has just released my book, several writer friends have worked it into their own blogs in support of me. I appreciate the time it took for them to do so.


  1. Can't wait to read more next time! Especially about the young hitchiker's questions. Thanks for this thought-provoking posting, for making us think...and for teaching me how to spell hitchhiker! Have soooooo enjoyed reading your book!

  2. I'm glad you posted on "time" again. I've been mulling over your last post and asking myself what it is that I don't like to give up. I found out last night when Matthew asked if we could stop at Chik-Fil-A instead of eating the food I had purposely and carefully picked to prepare for dinner. I'll give away my time, but I'm inflexible when it comes to messing with my arrangements. Move my furniture? I'll make you move it back. Try to suggest we do something different from what I've planned? I will likely guilt you into doing it my way. M was trying to relieve me of the burden of supper prep, and I stole that opportunity from him. Thank you for giving me so much to think about! I'm looking forward to hearing more about the hitchhiker!

  3. Marcia, you make me feel so much better!!! I made a schedule at the beginning of the summer. The third day after following it I was exhausted and joyless! Back to my more "go with the flow" personality and more trusting the leading of the HS! Oh--and God through a puppy in the mix. I really don't think He wants me to have a stringent schedule!

  4. As you so eloquently state, Marcia. God's priorities are not necessarily ours. So many times He as interrupted my well laid out time management plans - for something better. I have slowly acquiesced to His idea of time management, still struggling now and then with earthly guilt over how little I accomplish on some days, but then in eternity, my To Do list will have little bearing on my To Be list.

  5. Marcia, we've never met but I feel like we have as i just finished your book a few minutes ago and loved it! I was reading it because I like to write book reviews for Thomas Nelson and it was the book that caught my eye in the list of choices and I am so glad it did.
    Our lives are very similar, 30 years in full-time ministry including leading several short term mission trips all over the world. We are now "in between assignments" and the message of your book is a timely one right now. God knows.
    I am also currently working on my first book and the time thing is an ongoing battle. I look forward to Following your blog and getting to know you better! Blessings!
    Susie Klein

  6. Just finished reading this blog and the comments! Now I am feeling not quite as badly about my mis-managed schedule for each day that promptly either gets re-arranged or stamped out! MY schedule that is so precisely written out and planned apparently is not the Lord's,.. so will continue to accept this as His re-arranging, not mine! Thank you, Marcia for opening eyes to the obvious yet non seeing!


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