Two weeks ago I decided I should stop blogging and write a novel. Because I had an idea for a novel and because I thought I’d be terrible at it and because I know God likes to work in weakness.
I’d been watching these Priscilla Schirer messages on Gideon and the 300 men and on God’s recurring practice of using a little to do a lot.
I had little novel writing experience.
I thought maybe God intended for me to win a Pulitzer Prize. Not by my strength, of course, but by His power at work in me.
I am certifiably insane.
Anyway, I took a week off blogging and tried my hand at the novel. I wrote twelve pages and plotted up to chapter six and decided I was not terrible at it but rather mediocre. I wondered if God liked mediocre as much as terrible. I had to rethink everything…
I am bad at choosing things. And I am bad at committing to my choices. I’m bad at it because I am a perfectionist and because I think every decision matters in some deep and symbolic way and because I’m flighty.
I am everything you think when you think, “poet,” obsessively exploring life and death and the universe, so lost in thought I might walk over a cliff.
I hate the idea of doing the same thing every day. I even hate the idea of thinking the same things every day. And so, I change my mind a lot. And wonder what I’m supposed to be doing a lot. And re-evaluate my decisions constantly.
I say to myself, It’s because they matter. What I wear today MATTERS. What I eat for dinner MATTERS. What book I read next MATTERS. Surely, the way in which I use my gifts for God MATTERS.
So, I have to keep analyzing the choices and charting the course and analyzing the course and re-charting the course, analyzing, re-charting…
The other day I’m sitting in the truck with Justin and I’m telling him that I just don’t know what to do and I wish I knew what to do and I know there’s something I’m supposed to do. Should I write a novel? Should I keep blogging? I list the “signs” indicating which path I might follow.
All the while I’m trying to ignore him because every time he talks he says, “Just pick something and do it.” And I don’t want to hear that because it makes me feel like I don’t matter, like what I do doesn’t matter.
Finally, I look at him and I say,
I feel small.
And he looks at me—this man who thinks I hang the moon, this man who says I’m the most interesting, beautiful woman he’s ever met, this man who respects my mind and my heart—he says to me,
You are small.
And I am stunned into silence.
Because he’s right.
I look up at the sky, the sprawling, deep, persisting sky and I know, I’m small.
Scientists say only 3 percent of what exists is perceptible, and I know, me, an infinitesimal percent of that 3 percent, I’m small.
1.35 billion people live in China alone, and walking the streets of that crowded nation, cramming my body into a crammed train, I knew, I remember, I’m small.
Knowing I’m small speaks to my flightiness and perfectionism. For one, they’re explained in my smallness, flaws among a list of flaws that make sense in a girl who’s small.
And more, they’re tempered as I remember no one expects perfection from a speck; a speck need not obsess over the weight of her feather-light decisions.
I’m small, and that means what I wear and where I go and what I do don’t matter so much. They matter, sure, I know that. But also, they don’t.
I ought to seek the will of God in my life. I ought to obey and listen and serve. But I can’t get confused and think the fate of the world depends on me and my wise choices. To some degree I’m not even responsible for the fate of Jennifer Gerhardt.
God makes. God saves. God redeems. God wins.
I heard Donald Miller say once, “God’s gonna do what God’s gonna do.” And I come back to that sentence again and again, reminding myself that I am dust, so small, so unimportant in the big plan, and that God will use me (if He uses me) despite me—not because of me and my great worth, but because of Him and the worth He gives.
When I listen to the story of Gideon I’m tempted to think God will only use me if I’m weak, and I’ll look for the weak spot where He’ll work.
But what I’ve realized, maybe just as I’ve written this post, is that I’m all weak, a bundle of faulty, fall-tainted flesh.
God doesn’t have to look closely to find my few flaws. He looks at me, a person, a grain of sand on a forever-stretching shore, and in choosing to use me at all He’s working wonders in weakness, making much of a little.