My favorite college literature class focused on American Transcendentalists. A famous passage from that era from Henry David Thoreau reads:
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.”
Note that Thoreau did not write: “I went to the woods to live desperately.”
Because I think that’s how many, if not most, of us live.
We are the Great Martha (Luke 10:38-42) Generation, the do-ers, the be-ers, the movers and the shakers.
We not only force our own lives to happen, we ultimately force what we believe to be the hand of God in our lives…even onto the lives of others.
We make the plans and then tell God to join us.
Our constant heart cry is, “Are we there yet?” when God wants us to be still and know and perhaps…perhaps to enjoy the ride. Our constant posture is shoulder-to-the-grindstone instead of resting in the easy yoke of His guiding hand.
We forge ahead when God says wait.
I attended the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference this weekend to sit at His feet, to renew my writing purpose, to refocus my all on Him, to clear my mind of everything that distracts and burdens and sucks the marrow out of my soul. The world does those things to an artist. The blessing and the curse of a creative is that we are born with ears that over-hear, with hearts that over-feel, our senses skittish and overwhelmed by all the world tells us we should be doing, rather than what the Creator made us to be. Spending time shoulder-to-shoulder with other writers seeking Him beneath ancient redwoods centers me again.
Being with other writers and creatives makes me determined again to live deliberately.
Walking with Him, and not sprinting ahead.
Listening for Him, and not talking at Him.
Refusing to act on any muse other than the Spirit moving in my heart.
It is only in that intimacy, only in that grace, only in the mercy of his light and loving load that life becomes worth living.
Only then can story be written.
“For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:30