Ever had one of those days when you feel a bit useless? You potter around, starting and failing to complete a million and one tasks. You’re in the wrong place at just the wrong time. You try to encourage others and end up putting your foot in it. You’re invisible but you take up too much space. You drop the eggs and scrape up your ego along with the shells.
At times like this, it’s hard not to listen to your inner frenemy. Why am I here? she asks. What is the point in Emma? Does she work? No. Is she a mum? No. Is she godly? Attractive? Stylish? Confident? Next question.
Half of me wants to curl up and give up. Climb into the wardrobe and under the coats until someone brings me chicken soup and puppies. Everything is too much effort. What I do makes no difference.
Then there’s the other half. Aha! she shouts. What you do makes all the difference. The problem is laziness. The solution is to DO. Sort the clothes, wash the cats, make a list and keep going until you fall into bed, too exhausted to stand.
Neither options involve the Lord.
So I try a mixture of both. I go to bed for a bit. Then I clean. I still feel squashed. I sit down at the computer. ‘I know’, I think, ‘I’ll write’. But I can’t. I’ve got nothing to say. It’s just me, the blank screen and a whole lotta tumbleweed.
So, as a last resort, I pray. And it’s about writing, not anything bigger. Help me get down a few sentences Lord, I say. Something to make me feel better.
Nothing happens. So I pray again. And I remember my favourite piece of writing advice. It’s this: just turn up. Resist the urge to vacuum the fridge. Put the shopping and the cleaning out of your head. Ignore the cats scaling the curtains. Forget about whether or not it’s any good. Turn up. And then the words will come.
I wonder if being a Christian – and therefore life – is a little bit like this. Some days you’re overwhelmed by everything. It’s all too much and you just can’t do it. There’s people to see, kids to bath, deadlines to meet, washing, ironing…you name it. You’re trying to write a masterpiece – to do it all – before you’ve even lifted a pen. But in the middle of it, God says “Loved! Righteous! Apart from works! Don’t give me a performance, I want you. Just turn up. I’ll help you. I’ll get you through, step by step.”