Works In Progress

I haven’t had the energy to write lately.

It’s not that I don’t think of things to write… because every now and then, I’ll write a poem or something. It’s that the things I DO want to write are works in progress.

A work in progress is such an exhausting thing. There are so many parts of me that just want to type out a story or blog, without doing the necessary work to refine and fine-tune it. It’s so much easier to throw a bunch of words on paper than it is to have to take a hard look at them and decide what I need to change about it.

On top of all that, I ask people their opinions on what I could change (which is great, if you know how to do it right, but apparently I don’t). They inevitably tell me I need to do a lot of work, moving things around and yet somehow figuring out a way to make sense despite it.

What usually happens through this process is that I end up with it all torn up and no idea how to patch it back together.

I get overwhelmed and then refuse to touch it for a few more months. And part of the reason is that editing doesn’t feel like writing, and I know I should be writing. (That’s what all the writing memes say, right?)

It reminds me of how I used to drive my husband crazy early on in our marriage.

I would see something that I needed to organize, so I set about the job, pulling things out in an attempt to make a “clean slate” for me to start putting things back into. The problem was that sometimes, I would stop there for a period… so my husband would come home to a mess and I would tell him, “I started organizing things today,” totally proud of myself, and he’d look and say, “I can’t tell…”

Since then, I’ve learned how to organize my stuff and make sure I FINISH what I start. I haven’t learned how to do that yet with my writing.

I’m on a writing page on facebook called, “Write Away, Mommy”. There was a live video from her today about completing our work. I confessed that I have many things on that list… but I’m still not sure whether I’m going to change that in the near future. I don’t want to be a flake – I want to finish what I start – but sometimes I honestly don’t even know where to begin.

What do you do when you don’t know where to begin? When I’m cleaning or organizing, it helps me to remember I can just start in one corner. I just need to figure out what a “corner” of a story looks like.

We, too, are all works in progress. When we invite Jesus in, we think He’s just going to adjust a few things. He has a different plan – one that is quite messy! C.S. Lewis said it well in his book, Mere Christianity:

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

I’m so grateful that God finishes what He starts. I’m thankful that He doesn’t leave his handiwork in its messy stage. Philippians 1:6 says “…He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

I am a work in progress. I don’t have things figured out. Most days, if you find me, you will find an absolute mess: but I thank God that He is continually working on me (and that He gives me the grace to work out my salvation with fear and trembling – Philippians 2:12).

I may be a mess, but I hope I’m a mess that points to him. Soli Deo Gloria.

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