By Liz Hinz
I AM a writer. I say this out loud. I repeat it, firm and with my head held up. The room is empty, save for my schnoodle, who is now laughing at me. Okay, so the term “writer” is one that is very broad. I am very good at writing thank-you notes, I am told. I am also quite skilled at writing to-do lists. I will have to put it on my to-do list to write a thank-you note to my mom for helping me acquire those skills. For many years, back when I was paid for my work, I wrote lengthy and scintillating federal government contracts. And here I am, today, sitting here, writing to YOU.
This is kind of scary. I’m a risk-averse introvert. Writing this little piece is like speaking to a huge room with millions (okay maybe hundreds if I’m lucky) of eyes watching me, giving me dead silence. I can’t even look out there and see a generous soul or two give me a little nod or slight smile of encouragement.
Just my computer screen staring back at me.
It was so intimidating that I tried to sit in my coziest chair by the fire with my good old yellow note pad (see above reference to making to-do lists), but that didn’t give me any comfort.
You see, I’ve always admired writers. My love for reading goes back way before the to-do lists, but I also got that from my mom. My kids’ favorite place to go is a tie between the library and Half Price Books, where they can get an armful of books to lay in front of them. My six year old will be so excited, he can’t choose just one to read, so he will lay out two or three on the couch and page through them simultaneously. I’m like that. I’m a slow reader. I like to chew on words and phrases that grab me, re-reading them until I get the full taste. So being the one to do the writing is like, for me, being the movie star in a movie. Scary stuff.
SO, you’re wondering, is she ever going to get on with this? Well, this is really my point. And it isn’t really about me. Not entirely. It’s also about YOU. And Him. This is about stepping out of your comfort zone and taking on something new. God has a way of getting people to step out of their comfort zones. Matthew was perfectly happy being a tax collector. Simon Peter appeared to be content as a fisherman. The Bible doesn’t say anything about them grumbling, though, when Jesus told them to drop what they were doing and go with him. They just did it. Now, Moses did grumble a bit when God called him into service, arguing that he wasn’t fit for the job God had for him, but he still went. There is something about God’s will that is just so powerful, it can pull a new person out of the old.
This reminds me of my baptismal covenant. Whenever we have baptisms at church, the congregation is asked to renew their own baptismal vows. The priest says, ”Will you continue in the apostle’s teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of the bread, and in the prayers?” The congregation answers, “I will, with God’s help.” The priest says, ”Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?” We respond, “I will, with God’s help.” The priest says, ”Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?” Again, we respond, ”I will, with God’s help.” Then, “Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?” Again, “I will, with God’s help.” Finally, “Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?” We respond, “I will, with God’s help. (from the Episcopal Church USA’s Book of Common Prayer)
Whoa. This indeed pulls a whole new person out of the old. Quite an undertaking, all those promises. Oh, but how can one possibly do all those things?! Well, let’s chew on that for a minute. I will, with God’s help. It starts with “I”. Lonely old “I”. But then it grows: “I will”. That’s a declaration. It’s not “I might”, or “I’ll see”, or “If I have time”, or “I’ll try”. It’s not even, “I’ll pray on that.” J There is nothing in doubt. It is a positive, determined statement. But then you add the really special part: ”with God’s help.” Wow. “With” means together. We will do this together. God and me. The very creator of the universe, together with little old me. Alone, on my own, well, I suppose I could attempt that tall order of baptismal vows. But WITH Him? It’s almost too much to imagine! Yes, I can do that! I will do that, with your help Lord, I will do anything. That’s not to say it will be easy, or that I won’t have failures and setbacks. God knows this, and that is why he is WITH us.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phil 4:13
I will be with you always, to the very end of the age. Matt 28:20
The God who has written the entire story of the world has given me a taste of His gift. Because He has written my story, I am a writer, too. And I will write with God’s help.
And today, with Him, I have written. That doesn’t mean it has been easy. I’ve been interrupted to grab my pooch as he ran out the door to greet my kid’s swim carpool coming in for the evening. I’ve had to search for a lost book (thank goodness the Book of Common Prayer is online). I’ve had to put an overeager child in timeout. I’ve had to ponder dinner plans to feed the above children. Indeed I spend each day moving between mundane tasks like laundry and dishes, and beautiful, life-altering moments such as conversations about friendship with my beautiful tween daughter. I don’t have the ideal environment for writing the masterpieces I love to read, nor do I have the skills. Being a writer today is not easy for me. But I will do this with God’s help.
I AM a writer, with God’s help.
What will you be, with God’s help?
Liz Hinz has been married to her college sweetheart for 20 years. She has a BA in Psychology and a JD, and specialized in government contracts before becoming a stay-at-home mom to their three children. She is a lifelong Episcopalian, and loves animals, reading, traveling and trying new things. She will be speaking at the SDG retreat in February.
On Wednesday and Friday, Julie Dibble shares the story of her international move with her husband, who was in the Air Force, sharing how she grappled with the loss of her identity, security, and friendships. What I love about her story is that she didn’t know God at the time, but as she retells it, she now can see how God was moving – active and alive – the whole time, wooing her close to Him.
We are scheduling SDG Connections posts for February 2016! Please pray about and considering sharing your story with us! Click here for details.
2016 4th SDG Retreat
2016 SDG Retreat Information & Registration is LIVE! Click here for more details. We currently have a waitlist.