1986.That is the year I had my first story idea.
I never wrote it...at least on paper. In fact I have a file on my computer called "Too Many Ideas" full of fiction and nonfiction ideas, yet to be words on the page. I dreamed through the decades of writing being more than just a hobby, but I never have been able to invest enough time to make it really happen.
I have "written" stories of other kinds- stories of moving 11 times, having 7 children, and homeschooling. In the midst of that I have lived stories of joy, tragedy, disappointment, intrigue, and comedy.
Living stories I could do, but writing intentionally stayed in the waiting room.
The Waiting Room
Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14, NASB
I finally, painfully realized I had to let God work how and when He chose. (Submission and patience have never been personal strong suits.)
Because God is not constrained by my desires. His will is not tied to my timetable.
Just because we are in a hurry, does not mean God is. God put me in a waiting room for a long time. He often does that with His people.
Taken in captivity to Babylon, the Israelites must have started dreaming of returning even with Jerusalem in their rear view. Faithful families raised their kids to prepare for and dream of returning. Surely it would happen soon.
But it took 70 years. After 70 years they were finally let out of the waiting room.
Arise and Build
So they returned. But the task ahead discouraged and crushed the remnant that went back. The Temple was gone, the walls crumbled, the gates burned, and the enemies surrounding them mocked and persecuted. After many years the temple was rebuilt, but the city was still unsecured.
Enter Nehemiah. When he heard of the state of Jerusalem he could have just lamented and then gone back to enjoying his courtly life. Instead:
- Grieved, he prayed. (Nehemiah 1:4-11)
- Bold, he asked. (Nehemiah 2:5-8)
- Mocked, he ignored. (Nehemiah 2:10-11)
- Perplexed, he evaluated. (Nehemiah 2:12-16)
- Favored, he inspired others. (Nehemiah 2:18-20)
Returning to Jerusalem, Nehemiah rallied the people.
I told them how the hand of my God had been favorable to me and also about the king's words which he had spoken to me. Then they said, "Let us arise and build." So they put their hands to the good work. (Nehemiah 2:18, NASB)
Verse 18 is short but Nehemiah must have done a rousing job of turning the tide. The people went from being "in great distress and reproach" (1:1) to saying, (and I paraphrase here) "Let's get this party started!"
What is holding me back?
Just as the Israelites, my job is to arise and build!
So what keeps me from forging ahead?
First: I have enemies who mock and discourage me.
- I have an enemy of my soul who is not all that interested in me building the Kingdom through writing.
- But he doesn't have to work that hard because to tell the truth I am my own worst enemy. I condemn myself when activities crowd out writing time. I doubt my abilities. I accuse myself of having nothing useful to say.
What is the Nehemiah solution?
- Confess my sins. (1:6)
- Return to God, His commandments, and His plans. (1:9)
- GET BUSY! (2:1-4)
Second: I am afraid I will flop.
My job is simple: obedience. What will result from my work is not my concern. What is my concern is how quickly I get started obeying.
The Nehemiah solution to fear:
- Obey WHATEVER God is telling you to do.
- If ANYTHING comes of it, there is only one reason: "the good hand of my God was on me." ( 2:8)
God gives success to His work. There will be difficulty, danger, hard work, disappointments, and there will be always be enemies. The Israelites certainly faced that as they rebuilt the wall. But even with that facing them Nehemiah's words were, "The God of heaven will give us success; therefore we His servants will arise and build." (2:20)
There are realities to fear. So, in order to obey, I must fear God more.
What does God want you to arise and build?
Whatever it is, do it.
I am personally rejecting the fear and condemnation that hinders me. My desire is complete obedience to write every word God puts on my heart.
Want to join me? It doesn't have to be writing. What is God telling you to arise and build?
Let's get busy and build the Kingdom together. In our families. In our churches. In our communities. In our country. In our world.
We obey. We arise. We build.
We let the God of heaven give success as He so chooses.
Share what impossible dream God has put in your heart and I will pray the faith and stamina will be given you to ARISE AND BUILD!