The Widow and Me
I haven’t written in this blog for many months. The main reason I started blogging was for my own personal devotion time. I love God. I love to write. I love art. So why not combine them? But I ran out of steam. And you know how it is when you feel guilty about not doing something and then the guilt just makes you not want to do it more? That’s where I was at. And who cares about my blog anyway, I asked myself. What do I have to say that isn’t already being said by someone else? I was feeling deficient and lacking.
But God spoke to me. OK, that sounds a little mystical, but you know what I mean. I was at a conference and Priscilla Shirer was talking. Her words were like God picking me up by the shoulders and saying, “Listen up, girl. You need to hear this.” Priscilla was reflecting on the story in 1 Kings, where Elijah comes across the widow of Zarephath. (1 Kings 17:8-16) Elijah asks her to bring him some water and bread. She explains that she has only a handful of flour and a little oil and is gathering sticks to make a fire to bake bread for her and her son. After that, she expects to die. Elijah says, “Don’t be afraid. Go and do as you said….”
This widow was dealing with deficiency. I was feeling deficient. This is what I learned from her story through Priscilla’s words.
The widow had taken stock of what she had—a little flour, some oil—and knew what she lacked. I’ve taken stock of what I lack too—time, energy, creativity, talent, etc. But where I get into trouble is being so focused on what I don’t have that I let it cripple me. Some of my weaknesses are real; some perceived. But no matter which kind they are, I was reminded that it is in our weakness that God shows us his strength. (2 Corinthians 12:8-10)
Elijah tells the widow, “Do not fear,” quickly followed by “Go.” For me that means: don’t let what you lack keep you from doing what you feel called to do. In other words, put some feet to your faith. Don’t be afraid and just GO, get unstuck! And then what Elijah says next stopped me in my tracks. “Do as you said….” It was like God was yelling at me: “Just do what you said you would do!” I have things that I feel called to do; dreams and aspirations that I long to accomplish. But I always have an excuse as to why I’m not working towards them. Instead of making excuses, just do what I said I was going to do in the first place. Nothing will come from nothing.
Gathering sticks is no grand gesture. It’s pretty insignificant really. Yet you need sticks to build a fire. Writing this blog is no grand gesture. Yea, it’s pretty insignificant too. But who knows what kind of fire God will make from it. I’m not saying that anything I write is ever going to change the world, but it will change me. It will bring me into a closer relationship with God. And in the end, that’s all I really want anyway. If through my discipline of devotion and writing, those dreams and aspirations come true? BONUS. But that’s up to God. He does promise he will work through me. I’m just not sure if my vision and his vision are the same. But that doesn’t matter. My main job is to get to know him better—one blog post at a time.
Being Human connection: Quit worrying. Start writing.The artwork is from the Italian painter, Giovanni Lanfranco (1584-1647), “Elijah Receiving Bread from the Widow of Zarephath.”