I bargain with God. I know I’m not really supposed to. I’m supposed to exercise great faith, put things into his hands, and follow the instructions I’m given through inspiration. I try to do that. Sometimes I succeed and for a while my life is far more peaceful even if the events and emotions are all about turmoil. But sometimes when I get an instruction, an auto-bargaining circuit kicks in. In essence I turn to God and say “Well if you want me to do that, then I need help with this.” Sometimes I get immediate help with this and the pathway is cleared for that. Other times my bargain only gains me a sense that God is amused when I bargain. He certainly doesn’t always join me in bargaining. In fact I suspect our bargains are rather like the bargains I used to make with my toddler kids where I conceded one small point that was no loss to me so that a far more important purpose could move forward. Yes honey you can bring the toy, its time to get in the car now.
A few months ago I got an unexpected, whip-fast response to a bargain. I had an essay book project in mind. I wanted to push it through in a hurry. So I shot a bargaining prayer heaven-ward. “If you want me to do this, you’re going to have to help me.” The response was clear. You know which book I want you to write. Encapsulated with those words were the knowledge that it was House in the Hollow, not an essay book and that if I continued to push on the essay book it would only be with my own strength. No assist. My strength is not strong enough to carry all the things in my life. I certainly don’t have enough force of will to push through and market an essay book by myself. All of my writing projects have felt important as I wrote them. I did the necessary work, knowing that the end result was something with a larger purpose. In some cases that larger purpose was to teach something to me. This is not the purpose I hope for when I write a book. I want it to go out into the world and touch other people. Yet in God’s eyes, me writing a book that changes me is every bit as valuable as me writing a book that changes someone else. It is hard for me to remember that and believe it. But the critical part is that I did not write alone. I was supported and led throughout each project. I can’t imagine trying to write a book without that.
So I know which book I’m supposed to be writing, yet somehow I’ve been dragging my feet on getting it done. I don’t know why. It probably has to do with fear of not being good enough or some other flavor of self doubt. Logically I know I just need to write the words and worry about making them be good words later. Yet I find a hundred other things to do. Many of them are important things which my family needs. Only I know it is not just the press of important tasks, because I’ve been filling spaces with things that are far less important than writing. On the days I do work on HitH, suddenly everything else goes much more smoothly. The contrast is stark. It is not that my other paths are being blocked, but this one path is definitely being made as attractive as possible. Which, of course, led me to using it as a bargaining tool. “Okay God. I’ll write on HitH first, but I need you to help me with the parenting stuff that has been driving me crazy.”
I haven’t gotten a clear answer on that one yet, but it feels like a worthwhile bargain to attempt for a time. Now I just need to stick to my part.