I’m a writer. I’ve been given a directive from God to write. I hem and I haw and I drag my feet and stare at the screen a lot more than what may be normal, but I still write. Left to my own devices (my own preconceived notions), I would write all the time. Or, at least, I think I would. In the meantime, I come up with plenty of excuses to not write.
Take now, for example. I am currently sitting at a table with a view out of a window looking down the street of a cul-de-sac. It’s technically my turn to teach, but we are finished with classes for the day. So, the kiddos and I have a couple of hours of free time. I am writing this article while the younger kiddos are riding their bikes down the street. Since they are still under my care (I know they always are, but this is my specifically designated time), I am writing while watching them through the window.
Bridget is writing and doing projects for her blog in the back room. (She has also been given a directive from God to write.) She taught earlier in the day while I worked in the back room. Now, I’m teaching while she’s working. We trade off mornings and afternoons with our homeschooling and working duties. I’ll teach tomorrow morning then have the afternoon to work.
So, the writer in me would rather be writing this in the back room. I prefer my privacy – more to the point, I prefer quiet and no distractions. Other people can be around, but I like them quiet and not bothering me. 🙂 There are plenty of noises and distractions out here sitting at this dining table – specifically, the kiddos. They provide plenty of noises and distractions, particularly the ones in the street. But it’s my turn with them (during the school/work day), so I write in the midst of family activity.
Just think, without my wife and kiddos, I could sit here quietly like a hermit and write till my heart’s content. But, thankfully, I’m not called unto myself. I’m called unto a wife and kiddos. I’m called unto a family. So, instead of doing what I’d prefer (holing myself up in a room behind locked doors and shuttered windows pounding away at the keyboard), I learn to function (write) as a part of the family.
See, I have my directive for my life, from God Himself, but it doesn’t supersede His greater purpose for my life: to be a part of a family. Now, I could take my writing directive and run with it. I could tell my wife that I’ve been given this directive from God, and that I’m gonna write no matter what she or anybody else says to me. Nobody can stop me from writing. I’m gonna write in the morning, at lunch, in the afternoon, in the evening, all night, every day, with or without her. I’m gonna write till I bleed. I’m gonna take writing classes, attend writing seminars, start writing groups, and write, write, write! But what would happen? Well, I’d probably lose my wife and kiddos for starters. At the very least, I would hurt them and damage our relationship. Oh, I’d be faithful to my directive from God, alright, but I’d miss His purpose behind it all: to be a part of a family.
(You have no way of knowing this, other than me telling you, but I just returned from refereeing a squabble over what movie to watch. Still technically on the “teacher clock”.)
So what do I do with this directive? I submit it to the purpose: I learn to be a writer as a part of a family.
I can start by recognizing my other functions in the family: husband, dad, teacher, etc. I can then submit my writership (as a writer, you get to make up words) to the family. I can say to my family that I’ve been given this directive from God, and that I’m gonna learn to write as a part of the family, which is God’s purpose. I have a specific function in the family, and it’s to this family that I’ve been called. So, I’m gonna learn to write in conjunction with being a part of a family, not at the expense of that family. I won’t write when I should be teaching, dadding, or husbanding (aren’t new words grand?). I’ll learn to write when and so it doesn’t interfere with what the family is doing (like today, when I’m writing after school – teaching – but at this table, so I can still watch the kiddos outside – dadding). I won’t bankrupt the family to take writing classes or attend writing seminars, but I will submit my desire to do so (take the class/attend the seminar – not bankrupt the family) to the family budget, and when it makes sense, we can decide, as a family, to make it happen.
Well that’s a different approach. What would happen then? I doubt I drive my wife and kiddos away. I bet we even grow stronger as a family. This personal directive to write now has the ability to be refined, shaped, and sharpened by, in, and for this greater purpose of the family.
And guess what? While I’m writing, I’m still a husband, I’m still a dad, and I’m still a teacher. And you know what else? While I’m functioning as teacher or dad or husband, I’m still a writer. Being and functioning in the family doesn’t take away nor deny my identity as a writer. My identity is now tempered with and through my identity in the family. And it is glorious.
Father, show us how this applies to Your Family.
I obviously mean for this to illuminate how we interact with each other as a part of God’s Family. His eternal purpose is unto His Family in Christ. How many times have we Christians taken a personal directive from God and ramrodded it down His Family’s throat? Too many.
Let us remember God’s purpose: a Bride and Body for the Son, a House and Family for the Father, and a Temple for the Holy Spirit. All these are summed up in Christ. And let us remember that He is now a living, active, corporate Christ on the earth today.
And now, I’m going to put down my writing and go function as a dad. 🙂