Is it just my imagination or do most women have a difficult time doing nothing? I do. (I know it’s not a problem totally a “woman thing” but I know personally more women with the issue than men and my personal experience is what I’m basing this on.)
If my hands can’t be busy my mind is, thinking, always thinking. It is so much a problem that combined with my anxiety it prevents me from sleeping. That was so much a problem I had to agree to take anti-anxiety medication which helps me also sleep. Not sleeping, or not sleeping well, aggravates my other health issues and it becomes one big messy avalanche that flattens me over and over again.
Unless I’m really sick, even in the hospital, I have to be doing something. Read. Write. Pray (and I usually write my prayers to keep my mind focused). I even cross-stitched in my bed in an ICU unit once. The first time anyone in the hospital had ever seen someone doing needlework in ICU as a patient. Another time I did our taxes from my hospital bed with my feet and legs elevated above my heart so much I was almost upside down and I often “worked from the hospital” instead of “working from home”.
When I had to seek disability “retirement” against my will one of my fears was how I was going to be productive. Aside from being a wife and mother, I’ve taken up painting and drawing again. I’ve read so many books I can’t begin to name them all. I’ve been reading God’s word and asking questions I had let simmer in the back of my mind for “someday when I have time”. I’ve begun writing poetry on a much more regular basis. Keeping up with my blog is easier. I’ve got a dozen or so larger writing pieces I want to tackle. I rarely watch T.V. Instead I’ve found more time to pray.
One prayer item is how God wants me to use my writing for Him. Since I was a very young girl, before I could walk or even talk, books were my comfort. My mother always said my first word was “book” although I think she was teasing. If given a choice of any toy in the store as a child, you’d find me in the books. By the time I entered first grade I could read at least at a third grade level and my mother had to fight with the “book of the month club” to get them to send me books for 9-10 year olds instead of 6 year olds. (Oh, and I had to “pretend” to let my first grade teacher teach me to read because she was so upset my mother had already taught me.)
The written word was my escape from my harsh and often abusive life. If we’d had a community library back then I’d been there every day. Words, those marvelous things that people were able to put together in such ways that touched my life, gave me hope that there would be a better tomorrow, assurance love and life were out there – they were my best friends for the majority of my life. So my own desire to write is no surprise.
A lack of ideas isn’t what holds me back. I’ve got ideas coming out of the woodwork. I compose stories in my head, part of that not being able to sleep for thinking problem I have.
A lack of confidence surely plays into it even though I have had a book of seven Christmas skits published and a couple poems and of course this blog which attracts a few readers for which I am grateful.
A lack of being able to let go of those old chains from my father is part of it. Daddy despised my love of books and once when I was 16 and in ICU from a failed suicide attempt he burnt all my stories, journals and poems. Defying him already by writing, his anger was explosive. His reaction, to burn everything, created a loss that could never be replaced and the wound from that has a scar that is difficult to turn into a “creative opportunity”.
Right now though, as I pray daily and have asked others to pray, I want to write what God wants me to write. There is only one message I have gotten from God recently.
“Do nothing right now.”
It seems that He’s not talking about my writing on my blog, or poetry (I wrote well over a dozen poems just this past weekend) or my prayers. The message seems to apply only to the larger project I want to do. For that God is saying to me, “Do nothing right now.”
Biblically it is equivalent to the message in Psalm 37:7 or 46:10: “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.” “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
“Do nothing right now.”
That is the hardest thing for me to do, nothing. Surely I need to be doing something but instead He says, “Do nothing right now.” Not no, writing isn’t what I want you to do. Not yes, write about this topic. More like, wait, I’ll tell you later but, “Do nothing right now.”
So I am filling my time with other things, container gardening for example, and I am praying. I ask you to pray also. God surely gave me this love for words, their power for good, for comfort, for shining the way out of the darkness toward Jesus so I have no doubt He intends I use it. “Do nothing right now.” I am trying to obey for I know that the day is coming when He will say, “Start here” and I want to be ready.
Meanwhile I’m sure there are other women out there to whom God is saying the same thing, “Do nothing right now.” Not crawl into your bed, pull the covers over your head and try to close out the world but “Do nothing. Be still. Wait for me for I am coming!“
With prayer in our heart and praise in our souls we will cook, clean, go to jobs, do those things that make up our life but we must also “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…”
“Do nothing right now.” Maybe you do need to spend more time praying and reading the Scripture but your “to do” list doesn’t have any more task lines. Then perhaps that list needs editing. The world will not stop turning if there is dust on the bookshelves or Cheetos under the couch cushions. But your soul will not stop yearning for time with the God who knit you together in the womb.
It occurs to me in the “doing nothing” we may very well be “doing it all” the whole time. “Do nothing right now. Wait for me for I am coming!”