Writing does not usually come easily for me. Gathering my thoughts and putting them down in a way that actually spells out what I am trying to communicate can be difficult and causes stress within me. Sometimes I ramble all over the place and editing is challenging. Other times there are seemingly no thoughts to gather. This has been one of those weeks….
I am working on a magazine article that is soon due and I would love to be submitting it right now, but each time I have sat poised before the blinking cursor I have seized up like a glitched computer.
The internal conversation then begins, “Why are you so scattered?”
“What is wrong with you?”
“What made you think that you could do this?”
“You see, you really do have nothing to say and nothing to contribute.”
Frozen switches to power-off.
There have been a number of times in my life when the power stayed off. When quitting seemed the answer. When the accusative questions dancing around the ring of my mind won by forfeiture. Staying down for the count resulted in feelings of shame.
Shame has a way of becoming it’s own entity…rising out of the nothing good.
Last week I was working on a devotional piece that came out of Hebrews 12. With Shame lurking like a thick stench, I was grateful for words that purified the air. This scripture speaks encouragement to “run with endurance the race that is set before us….” In fact, why don’t I share the extended passage….
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. -Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV)
Two things strike me now, returning to this passage. The first is the word endurance. Its use here, in Hebrews 12, gives me defensive counter-questions to the earlier inquiries regarding my ability to write.
“What makes you think this should be easy? Who told you that?”
When my kids were little, there were times that they would complain about the difficulty of new things. I remember our son, in particular, feeling less than the other boys on his soccer team because he believed they had natural athletic abilities and he did not.
“Son,” I asked, “were you born with the ability to walk or talk?”
“No.” He’d mumble.
“Right. Even eating is a learned skill! There is no such thing as natural athletic abilities. If someone is better than you, they have had more practice. If you want to be good, you have to practice.”
Endurance is the ability to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity. Gathering thoughts and words, putting them together in a structured and meaningful way is a prolonged, sometimes stressful, effort for me.
So, Sharon, whatcha gonna do? Reboot and try again, or stay down for the count?
Secondly, in this passage is the phrase “despising the shame.” It says, “Jesus,…endured the cross, despising the shame.” A little research into the word despise gave me insight I want to share. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines despise as “to regard as negligible, worthless, or distasteful.”
Mind if I plug in that definition?
Jesus thinks shame is worthless.
Funny, shame thinks I am worthless.
Someone is off truth. I doubt it’s Jesus.
Part of this endurance thing is using truth as my one-two punch. I need to be thinking more like Jesus is thinking!
So what if this writing thing is not as easy as it looks! Maybe it is not meant to be easy. Maybe the challenge of it is the building of endurance.
James 1:4 says, “And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed, lacking in nothing.”
Today is a good day to endure. Time to get up and write that article.
What are the tasks set before you? What are the worthless questions whispering sour-nothings in your ear? Perhaps shame has held you down. Perhaps you’ve stayed down. Friend, there is a hand and truth held out to you if you’ll take it.
Take His hand and get back at it!