Posted in focus on faith

Confessions of a productive procrastinator

As the photo illustrates, I didn’t let the paint “keep” very long did I? Mere minutes after last week’s bodacious blog was posted one of my daughters dropped in and offered to help me paint. I abandoned my writing desk without looking back. We dove in and tackled the project — changing the living room walls to a lighter colour, including the newly installed peninsula fireplace in the colour facelift.

We started on Wednesday and were finished by Friday, leaving me sore and tired and my daughter with a massive headache, the result of wielding a heavy roller on a long pole for hours on end. Sorry sweetheart.

Before I get to the grovelling and repenting, let me say I love Aura paint! It is a Benjamin Moore product, not cheap, but worth every cent. No need for primer and two coats more than covers. I chose matte finish because you can wipe it without leaving streaks. It completely hides existing imperfections that a glossier coat advertises: for instance, an eye-level paint ridge left over from a wallpaper border that was annoyingly visible under the last wall colour in an eggshell finish is now invisible under the matte finish.

Okay, so how is that book proposal coming? Ahem. Dang.

As I type, I am sitting in the green chair pictured here near the “blazing logs” (aka natural gas flame). Even though it is officially Spring, here in the eastern shadow of the Rockies March through May is when we get our biggest snowfall accumulation so a cheery flame is a welcome addition.

This cozy spot has beckoned me every morning where, warmed by the fire, I have sipped my tea and enjoyed my current Bible study. This morning’s portion from the online study of the book of Ephesians by Kathy Howard dealt with Paul’s prayer for the believers in Ephesus in chapter 3:14-21.

Some of Paul’s words really connected  with me today: I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.

Three moms have emailed me in the last few days requesting prayer for one of their adult children. All three have this in common — they feel desperate and betrayed by both the grown child and by God. All three of these moms are devout believers who have taken their faith walk seriously for decades. They are not saying they are going to throw away their faith because of this current storm, they are simply being honest about how they feel right now — scared and doubtful.

Can you relate? I can!

I have been there! And most likely I will be in their shoes several more times in my future. And so I will pray for them as others have prayed for me, using Paul’s words from Ephesians — that they will know His inner strength, that they will trust in Him, and that the roots that they have each been developing for decades will find life-giving nurture in the very heart of God and these roots will feed them with His love and the assurance that He is still in control even though the storms are raging in their families.

Is a family crisis shaking your faith right now? It’s okay to admit it if you feel afraid and doubtful. God can take it. Don’t suffer in silence. Ask for prayer. Be transparent. Invite some trusted friends to walk this journey of suffering with you.

Posted in focus on faith

How do you procrastinate?

Whenever I start painting walls, my family and close friends all ask the same question: “What are you avoiding writing?” It’s really Newly installed peninsula fireplace: primed and ready for paintingannoying! Especially since they’re always spot on — I paint as a form of procrastination. And everybody who knows me, knows it.

“Why,” you ask, “would a writer not want to write so badly that she would pick up a paint brush?” My obvious answer would be that writing is hard work. “And painting walls isn’t?” you wonder. Good point. So “hard work”  isn’t the issue is it? The real barrier that comes between me and my writing is something else entirely. Honestly, it’s fear.

“Fear?! You’re scared to write? What could you possibly be afraid of?”

Everything. I’m afraid I won’t have something worth saying. I’m scared the publisher will reject it. I’m worried that if it gets published nobody will buy it. And much more. My fear throws up a big barrier between where I am and where I could be and the next thing you know, I’m headed for the Benjamin Moore store.

“At least your procrastination is productive!” my friend Barb comments. True, it is that. But there’s a big difference between working hard and working smart. Investing more energy in my writing and less in everything I do to avoid writing would result in greater professional productivity and perhaps take me to a whole new level that my fear is denying me access to.

This morning, before leaving for work, Gerry looked at my assembled paint supplies sitting beside the new peninsula fireplace we installed last month and asked me if I was planning to paint today. I hesitated before responding. His next question was, “So how’s that book proposal coming?”

Aaarrrggghhhh!

After he left, I took my tea pot into my office and picked up my Bible. It fell open to one of my favourite passages and Jesus began to speak to my fearful heart in a voice so full of compassion and healing and hope that I almost wept.

Therefore since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us… “Connie, what about the thousands of people who have read your other books, many of whom have sent you emails telling you how God spoke to their need through your words? They are your witnesses.”

Let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily entangles us… “How long are you going to let fear hang around your neck like a millstone? It’s holding you back. Lay it down.”

And run with endurance the race that lies before us… “Writing and speaking, this is your race Connie. This is My dream for your life. Don’t lose heart. You have a long road ahead but you can do it!”

Keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith... “Look at Me! All you have to do is say yes to Me — the One who loves you enough to die for you and live with you! You can trust Me. Remember what I told you — you follow Me one yes at a time.

Who for the joy that lay before Him, endured a cross and despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne. “Sit here beside Me. Remember, you’re not running this race alone. I’m with you and you are here with Me, right next to God. Together. Forever. Let’s go.” (Hebrews 12:1,2)

One good thing about paint, it keeps.

How do you procrastinate? What keeps you from doing what you should? What helps you get going in the right direction.