Thursday, October 1, 2015

31Days - Anything Worth Saying

It was just three little lines sung at the beginning of an album. An unfinished work that the artist admitted he wasn't sure what to do with, but felt he needed to include on the album. On the next album, he filled out the song and gave it to us in its entirety. But those three little lines echo in my mind the way they were first shared – simply, soulfully, with an echoed, empty-room type feeling to them:

Give me words to speak...
Don't let my spirit sleep...
'Cause I can't think of anything worth saying....

Honestly, I'm not sure what Aaron Shust was getting at with that second line... but I totally understand the lines on either side of it. I write. It's what I do. It's a huge part of me. It's how I work things out. I once saw a quote that said something along the lines of "How do I know what's inside of me, unless I write it out?" Oh! That's so me! Sometimes I sit down and write with no idea what will come... I just know I need to – there's something inside that needs to come out. And I am amazed at the things I discover about myself that I never knew.

That said... much of the time in thinking about writing for an audience my mind goes blank. I can't think of anything to say. It happened in my counseling sessions, too. Our psychologist would ask a question and I'd have nothing to say... just totally blank. One day he put a small hole in my armor when he observed that maybe it wasn't that I didn't have anything to say... it was that I was afraid no one else would find it worthy of listening to. The truth hit home. I didn't believe I was worth listening to. Ouch. Honestly, it's something I still struggle with.

So that's my fear for Day One:

I am afraid I have nothing worth saying... nothing worth listening to.

But I don't want to make this project just a list of 31 days of fear. Yikes. How depressing! Authentic, yes. But I need hope, don't you? So I've identified the fear. Now I need to identify the truth; the hope. The truth is found in this promise:

"Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to say.” (Exodus 4:12)

You may remember the story. It starts in Exodus 3. Moses sees a burning bush that strangely enough isn't consumed as it burns. He goes to take a look and God tells him he is to go back to Egypt (from where he'd fled as a man wanted for murder). God wants him to face Pharoah and tell him to release the Israelites from slavery – to let God's people go. Moses first answers in Exodus 3:11 with “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?” Moses thought God had the wrong guy. Moses had already messed up and killed a guy. He'd been missing from action (hiding in the desert) for years. His fear? Nobody would listen to him! (Not to mention potential imprisonment for murder!) Moses didn't believe in himself. Who am I? I'm a nobody! And that's exactly who is going to listen to me -- nobody!

Oh that sounds so familiar. "Who am I to say anything? Who am I to think...? My pain doesn't begin to compare to... I don't have it all figured out... I don't have a big 'come to Jesus' moment in my story... I'm just... I don't..." And the list goes on. All sorts of negating self-talk. I'm good at it. So was Moses. His arguments go back and forth with God for an entire chapter before God answers in Exodus 4:11-12 with “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to say.”

I'd like to think at that point I might've gotten it. Oh. Yeah. God of the Universe, in the burning, not-burning-up bush in front of me. Maybe I should shut up and listen. But... looking at Moses... I probably wouldn't have. Because Moses still argued. One more deflection and he got what he wanted – someone else to do the talking. Aaron. You remember Aaron, right? The guy that caved to the Israelites to make the golden calf? Yeah. Hmmm.

I wonder... what would have happened if Moses had just listened? If he had just believed that God would provide the words and teach him what to say? Would he have been able to actually enter the Promised Land? I don't suppose we can know that. But I do believe that the moment Moses chose not to believe, he chose not to receive the best that God had for him.

Lord, I don't want to be that person who doesn't believe that You are so big that You can work and speak through even me. But in truth I am afraid. I feel like I don't have anything to say. I am afraid of not having anything worthy of listening to. But You have written my story, so You must have something to say through it. Help me to hold fast to Your promises. To trust. To go. To know You will be with my mouth. To believe  with all I am  that You will teach me what I am to say.

Fear – I am afraid I don't have anything worth saying.

Truth "Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to say.”
(Exodus 4:12)


Note: This post is part of a 31-day writing challenge. Click here to see the rest of the posts on my 31 Days of Fear (and Truth).

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