It took me a long time to decide to write this because I thought displaying my lack of faith would discredit the amazing things God has done for me thus far. After all, I’ve been saying all along that the one constant on my journey to become a full-time writer has been my conviction that it’s exactly what God wants me to do.
So, of course He’s going to take care of me, right?
Well, he did for a while. It’s been two months since I left my paying job, and we’ve been successfully balancing atop a financially precarious fence by relying on predictability. I mean, absolutely NO surprises.
Then yesterday I noticed the cat behaving as if he has another infection (something he usually conveys by “marking” the floor). Setting that issue on the back burner, I took my youngest to his dentist appointment, where I learned his wisdom teeth need to be pulled, like, now. Also, the dentist says, his lower teeth are turning—he needs to go back to the orthodontist. Finally, as I drove home I noticed with dismay that the “check engine” light on my dashboard is flashing.
I can’t afford all of these crises, and certainly not all at once.
Despair washed over me in an avalanche of self-doubt:
What the heck was I thinking, leaving a perfectly good job? If I were “working,” these issues could have been easily resolved!
My knee-jerk reaction should have jerked me to my knees. But I sped right past that and settled for just being a jerk.
I have to make some income, I thought, turning to the internet in a panic. Somehow all my wild clicking landed me on some “pay-for-survey” sites, where companies “pay you handsomely for ten minutes of your time.”
Perfect! I have opinions…they want to pay me for them? How cool is that?
So I spent hours clicking boxes, typing in preferences, and disclosing the darkest secrets about the potions and lotions lurking in my medicine cabinet. My clicking finger became sore, my shoulders ached, my eyes started burning from staring so intently, but I kept on. Finally, when I could no longer focus, I quit for the night. I made $6.50, which, apparently, I now have to report to the IRS.
After a fretful night’s sleep, I started this morning stumbling blindly in a cloud of defeat, but this time I did turn to God, praying my oft-recited, “I believe Lord; help me in my unbelief.”
Instead of finding an answer, I found my mind wandering through an uncharted outline of an intriguing story idea, one with many layers, and action, and joy, and discovery, and—wait! I already have a writing project; I don’t need another!
Frustrated, I left my time of prayer (and I jotted down a few notes about the story idea, because it really is cool…)
Then, on my way back from my son’s bus stop, I heard a one-minute radio spot that brought me back to solid ground. I was reminded that, much like a pilot navigating through a fog, I know where I’m going and I can trust the navigation tools I’m relying on to get me there.
I had to admonish myself for perhaps the millionth time: You’re exactly where God wants you to be. He never said it would be easy, but He did say, “Trust me.”
So I went into the house and got to work, beginning my day as usual by reading a psalm. Today it was Psalm 142. I got no further than verse 3: “When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who knows my way.”
With a bit of a jolt I thought back to the cool story outline. Criminy! That was His promise! He’s telling me there’s something next. And there will be something after that, and after that. The bills will get paid, and we will be fine. He knows the way; I don’t have to.
So I write about my momentary lack of faith because it shows I’m human, but it also demonstrates how our faith can actually grow through moments like this. I’m more certain about what I’m doing than ever. Besides, as my friend Liz reminded me this morning, with some whiskey and a good pair of pliers, I can handle that ol’ wisdom teeth issue…
By the way, my inbox was flooded this morning with survey opportunities screaming at me: Tell us about your car! What’s the best soft drink? Do you have insurance? Click here, Click HERE, CLICK HERE!
I not only deleted the emails, but took the extra two minutes to hit the “unsubscribe,” which is the “morning-after” click for irrational internet panic.
Now I shall return to Joe’s story, my friend and current project, knowing I’m right where I’m supposed to be, and that He knows the way to where we’re going.
I hope He has pliers.