Like many of you, sometimes I wonder if I’m doing enough. For the Lord, for my family, for the horses, as a good steward, and as a writer.
I haven’t posted much since the last newsletter. This month’s list of articles is uncomfortably short. Have I let you down? Shirked?
Fiction writers dream up stories, mysteries, and fantasy. Certainly, personal experience plays some role in the creative process, but since I don’t write fiction, I’m not an authority on how that works.
I’ve discovered that I don’t have much to write about if writing is all I’m dong. Sure, I could write about writing; pontificate on authorship or offer a how-to webinar on the subject.
But that’s neither my passion nor calling.
Filling the Tank
For the past few months I’ve been busy doing. Not planning, thinking, or contemplating – but doing. I’ve been training horses and dealing with changes here in the barn.
It’s been years since I’ve kept up with the horse schedule I have now. I don’t know how long it will last, but I realize that I’m refilling my tank of experience. Of emotion. Challenge. Relationship. Both teaching and learning.
My reserves were perilously close to empty. Now, I’m discovering new questions that need answers.
God knows when it’s time to change things up. To not do as much of what you were doing in favor of doing something more beneficial to His plan. God doesn’t assign activities to keep us entertained, but to make us more useful to Him.
When you feel you’re not doing as much as you used to, consider the whole. Are you doing nothing, or something different?
Are you wasting energy or opportunity?
Are you letting stewardship slide?
Are you ignoring what’s needful or promised?
Or, is the change more in what you do, not how much you do?
Rewarded and Exhausted
My life is full, rewarding, and occasionally exhausting.
Since a bout with neuropathy in my left foot eighteen months ago, I seldom indulge in caffeine. Severe pain gets my attention! I love coffee and Coke Zero, but zealously avoid caffeinated varieties.
Prepping and schooling multiple horses is a lot more work in my mid-60s than mid-30s, 40s, or 50s. Can anyone relate? Remember how easy it was to play with your kids? You may love them dearly, but grandkids somehow require far more energy.
Sometimes I look at the expectant faces in the barn and wonder, “How will I get this done? I need a nap.”
Building New Habits
Enter caffeine. Making the transition from writing a lot with occasional riding to training horses daily with occasional writing wasn’t easy. I cheated by indulging in a cup of real coffee or can of real Coke Zero. No calories or sugar, but a blessed dose of motivation.
My foot reminds me that caffeine isn’t my friend. But sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do – for a period of time.
My treadmill and I have met faithfully every day since January 18th. My aging horses require daily exercise to keep joints from rusting and everything moving equally in the right direction. My aging body is no different!
The horses are getting more fit and able to keep up with the pace. So am I. Every day I expect to suck down something with caffeine before riding because I need to be on my game. The horses in our family can be challenging, which is why God gave them to me.
However, I no longer need the caffeine crutch every day. I’m establishing new habits and abilities. It’s getting easier, but still consumes a lot of my time.
I can’t ride and write at the same time.
Which is most important? Answering that question is a God thing. What does He think? His opinion trumps mine. Writing was His idea. The horses a gift with purpose.
To be honest, in my season of life it’s easier to write than train horses. But today, the fruit is sweetest in the barn. That’s my answer.
None of the horses are finished. Yet, for the first time in years, I don’t feel like I’m working with special-needs horses. Foundations are finally in place. The horses all ride the same way. I’m actually training again, not remodeling, rehabbing, or dealing with explosive emotions.
God had me deeply immersed in author-training for more than a year. I learned a bunch and enjoyed some achievement. Hopefully, the experience will make me better at sharing what I’m supposed to.
Now God has me deeply immersed in training horses again. Which means He is training me.
You’re never done. Never finished. Never retired.
But details change. Maybe you can’t serve in ways you used to.
God has a plan! There’s a season for everything. Change is natural.
God uses our youth and our maturity.
God uses our curiosity and our experience.
God teaches you as you teach others.
God wastes nothing.
If you’re concerned that you aren’t producing as much as you think you should, there are two possible reasons.
Maybe you’ve paused on the path of sanctification. Your walk with Christ isn’t a competition or speed event. Often it’s still. Quiet. Reflective. And fruitful. But if you’re at a dead stop, it may be the perfect time for a talk with God.
Ask for direction. Guidance. Power. Offer obedience. Perhaps God has changed your season. Instead of learning, you’re teaching. Instead of cooking, you’re sketching. Instead of serving the homeless, you’re serving your spouse.
Sometimes God just wants us to pay attention to Him. To seek His face. His vision. To spend time in His presence.
The only work God approves is that which He’s assigned. He created us to serve, but also provides leisure, recreation, and rest.
The world encourages you be too busy to notice the quiet hand of God in daily life.
Reject the world! Embrace your season. Steward what you have. Enjoy all God provides.
Where are you producing the sweetest fruit?
This is my April newsletter message originally shared April 9, 2018.