Just Do It! An Adventure to be found in the Book of James

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing itthey will be blessed in what they do.

James 1:22-25

As I sit here miserably sick in bed, I questioned God’s timing for round two of feeling like I was just hit by a mack truck. I just finished up a cold last weekend and spent last weekend in bed. Turns out that this weekend will hold the same fate for me…

During the times when I am sick, rather than embrace it, I tend to resist it. I exercise when I should be resting, go out when I should be staying in and exert energy when I should be mired in silence (sounds like the modern version of a St. Paul sermon). Yes friends, even in sickness we can choose to tune out what God is trying to do in our lives.

For me, sickness is a time when God is trying to get my attention about something. Sometimes that something is not readily apparent. Actually most of the time it is not…to me anyway. I live a hectic, busy life as an attorney working at a police department, a wife and as the mother of three children all practically the same age. I wake up an hour early each morning to spend time with God, and that is my hour of peace. But that peace slowly turns into controlled chaos, noise and the like.

So the hour is nice but is proving  not to be so sufficient for the things that I want to accomplish and the dreams that I have in my heart. Has anyone sat and thought, when God will be the time that I can do this thing? But…

Has waiting for God really been God waiting for you?

Before I became an attorney, my dream was to become a writer. I traveled to New York in high school to my dream school, Columbia and attended workshops there. I wanted to be a journalism major. And although this dream never came to fruition for a variety of reasons, I still look at those light blue letters that spell Columbia and writhe in grief, because deep down inside I wonder when God’s Plan “B” will deploy.

So back to sitting in bed sick…

This morning after a long and restless night, I woke up realizing that this wasn’t the sort of sickness that would simply go away. It was going to require a trip to the clinic, medication and yes REST. Since listening the first time is not my thing, I guess the second will be. My second act in life has always been the better anyway…

So I woke up and did my meditation and study as I do every morning. And since this time getting out of bed was not an option, I decided to listen. The Book of James seemed to be making its way into my head space, and God eased me into his message.

Just Do it

What? All that reading for a Nike slogan?

But you see, this is how God works. He takes a complicated, convoluted soul like myself and makes the message simple. It takes me an hour to get it, sometimes two, or maybe even months or years. But eventually, I get it.

So the Book of James was no different and made perfect sense. For the last several years I have been “thinking” about writing devotionals again but couldn’t seem to find a platform. I “thought” about starting a podcast about life as a Catholic (and Jewish) mom. I “thought” about finishing the book that I started about my conversion. I even thought about doing a comical talk show on Youtube about being a Catholic convert. All these things I have “thought” about and that’s where they have ended. Why? Because I wasn’t sure they would go anywhere and I didn’t want to take the time to see something fail.

Isn’t this our greatest downfall on dreaming, fear. 

And this morning in God’s perfect timing, I watched a video on A Greater Story with John Crist talking to Sam Collier about just this subject. About ideas that are contained and just doing them. About how it doesn’t matter whether the crowd will laugh or the reception you get, but rather to get that “thing” out of you. To stop talking about it and to just do it. 

To say, I am making this thing for me, not you! 

For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

James 2:26

And for us creatives, those of who live and move and have our being in words we write, things we say or pictures we paint, we become bodies without spirits when we suppress the things that have been divinely ordered. They are almost other worldly compulsions, feeling that we may die if we do not write or feel pain when we cannot sing.

I believe now that when we stifle God’s gifts our lives become stifled.

The thing must come out…

So don’t flush your old work like I did, feeling as if it wasn’t good enough. It, in fact, is the platform, the springboard if you will for God’s creative juices to flow through you and be let out for all the world to see. Who cares that you have one view or the thing doesn’t go viral. Like John Crist says, that thing is for you! It is inside of you to get out!

So if you find yourself in the mundane, stuck, uninspired…let that thing out. Don’t worry about the reception, worry about your soul. That pain you feel may be physical, but it may be coming from somewhere else. So lean into the season, the time, the rest or wherever you are and do those things you’ve been holding back on. Are you a failure if nobody cares for it or are you really failing God?

“So also faith of itself, if it does not have works is dead.”

James 2:17

 

Free Fall

Writing is falling. It is exposing. It is trusting God word by word and line by line to say what needs to be said, what He wants to be said.

I have started and destroyed three prior blogs. Such is the journey of a poor human soul who is afraid and distrustful of God. God never asked me to delete them, only to change them, to lean into that change. They would have been nice to look back at and see that leg of my journey. But many saints before me have destroyed their first works- so I consider myself part of a band of rebels, of disobedients who have turned their backs on God.

This morning He asked me to sit down in front of the keyboard and just type. No forethought or plan, just the words He wants. This is hard. In my quest for control, it is hard to let go, hard to let him take over my fingers on keys. But I can feel Him gently lean over me and help me type.

I can feel Him helping me to simply let go…

It is only in trust that God’s Divine Will is revealed and entrusted to us. And although my Plan A never came to fruition, it was never His. Such a hard and cruel lesson. How many still sit up at night pondering what could be when it never was….

God’s Divine Will is free flow, it is where you are, it is a taking over of mind, body and soul, it is words we do not now understand. Sometimes I sit in rooms full of important people and wonder how I got there. Why I push so hard for this world to change and conform to God’s truth. Why I am able to offer love when it hurts the most. 

It is supernatural, it is overwhelming to think that God created me with a distinct purpose. To know Him, to love Him and to serve Him. And my Master like a hidden lover calls to me in  moments that I sink deep and pulls me out of the mire.

I sometimes think I am crazy to chase the divine carrot on a stick. But I step and step over chasms, and crying children and war because I love Him and I can’t let Him go. I walk blind and cannot stop myself from calling out to my lover, Master where are you?

Sometimes He cries back with great and palpable love and sometimes I feel I am drowning with hands up and no rescue. This is the lesson of blind obedience and trust. This is the lesson of unconditional love.

I have given up everything for Him- friends, family, jobs. I am where He wants me in every moment. I fail Him miserably and make Him proud sometimes within the same moment. He loves me either way. I keep my mind and heart focused on the end and my lover’s words- Well done my good and faithful servant.

I am living my best life even through tears and writhing. There is no life or breath outside of Him. The world is an afterthought, though He teaches me how to live in it. He is close even when I am far.

So if you are questioning where He wants you, don’t. Give your soul away to Him. Arms wide and open and accepting.