Retreat!

For several years I have participated in an annual writer’s retreat (now a writer and creative group) in the Ozarks. Each year I make goals and some of them I hit, but more of them I miss. Despite that, I eagerly look forward to joining a group of women each year. For one in our group, this means designing and making some fabulous quilt patterns and even starting award winning quilts. For another of our group it is a time to really focus on reading and spending time with God, listening to his voice and discerning his calling on her life. Each one of us has an area where God has gifted us, and sometimes we question exactly what it is that he is asking of us. When I look at the other women here, I see women who are seeking God, even during times of wavering faith and difficult trials.

Then there is me. For some reason, I have always let myself be plagued by doubts and the belief that I really do not have anything to say. I had a heart-to-heart with someone recently and she literally called me out on how I make excuses for not writing. Basically, she told me that if God has called me to write something, why am I doubting God? That made me do a lot of self-examination. Quite frankly, I don’t really like what I see.

Why is it that we say to God, “Lord, use me in whatever way you want,” and then when he convicts us of something he is calling us to do, we have all kinds of excuses why we cannot do the task. Just look at Moses in the book of Exodus. God told Moses that he (Moses) was going to lead the nation of Israel out of Egypt.

But did Moses believe God’s word and set out to do the task at hand? No, first he said “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11) Once God answered that question, then Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your Fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” (3:13) After God answers Moses’ questions, Moses then says, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you?'” (4:1) After hearing God’s assurances on this and even throwing his staff down and turning it into a snake, Moses still was not quite convinced he was the man God needed. So Moses said, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” (4:10).

By this time the Lord grew angry with Moses. I wonder if he was beginning to think he should have chosen someone else for the job! And yet, he still used Moses for the task once Moses finally reconciled himself to his path.

So I wonder, am I a little (or maybe a lot) like Moses? I feel God’s call to write, and yet I sometimes make excuses. “Lord, there is someone out there more qualified than me.” “But Lord, I don’t know if anyone will read my work or think it is good.” “Lord, I have never had a book published. How will I even do that?”

And like when God was angry with Moses, I wonder if he doesn’t just get the tiniest bit irritated at my reluctance to do the thing he has called me to do.

Are we not all occasionally like Moses? We have clearly had something put on our heart by God and yet we tend to let our doubts and fear overtake our knowledge that God equips us for that which he calls us to do. So this week, my goal is to write more than I ever have during our time together. And if you are one of my regular followers, maybe you will see my name in print on more than just my blog posts in the future! Stay tuned to see if Linda makes more excuses or quits saying, “But God . . . ” We may all be surprised.

My cozy retreat space this year.