Perhaps you can relate to the following scenario:
A teacher instructs you to write a paper. She simply wants to evaluate how well you can develop ideas as well as gauge where you stand in terms of conventions including spelling, punctuation, and sentence variety. For this assignment the teacher says you can write about anything you want. At first, excitement fills your brain. Choosing your own topic saves you from having to write about the effects the extinction of the hipposaurus might inflict on the subtropical food chain… Yeah. That would be a ridiculous topic to research and write. But you don’t have to worry about it because you are free to choose whatever you desire and write with passion about it. The wheels in your mind start to turn.”How about…No, that wouldn’t work.” “Oh, I got it! What about…No. That would take forever.” “Of course! I’ll write about…Ugh. I can’t do that either. There’s no way I could keep that to a length shorter than a dissertation.” As fast as you come up with ideas, the faster your brain rejects each and every one. Finally in utter frustration you throw up your hands and curse (in a nice way) your teacher for not just assigning you a topic on which to write. Geesh. She is the teacher. Isn’t that her job?
What has happened in the above scenario is often referred to as writer’s block. Writer’s block happens when a person is unable to think what to write or, when writing on a selected topic, unable to proceed with writing. It is fairly common among students and professionals alike. It can be a frustrating experience, especially when faced with a looming deadline. I imagine something like this occurs in many activities. I’ve heard of runners hitting “the wall” rendering them almost incapable of taking another step.
But what about the walk we who call ourselves Christians have? Are there “blocks” or “walls” that we hit as we journey through life on this earth?
I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, so I was somewhat taken aback when our pastor got up in front of the congregation this past Sunday morning. He asked the worship band to keep playing softly and then said that he felt like there was a wall that was prohibiting God to work as maybe He wants to work–to work as our pastor has been praying for Him to work. The title of the message was More of God in my Mind. Sometimes when I go to church I wonder if somehow our pastor can read my mind! Sunday was one of those days. I left the service feeling convicted and, admittedly, frustrated. Let me try to explain.
As a person who loves to write, I have faced the frustration of writer’s block on more than one occasion. I can’t say that I enjoy running (not that running is something I’m really able to do much anymore) but when I was a college soccer player, running was part of the training. My coach had somewhat of a sadistic streak in him, so we ran a lot. I remember reaching a point that I felt my calf muscles and thigh muscles were going to explode. I literally felt that I couldn’t take another step. That’s probably the closest I’ve been to a runner’s wall. Spiritually, though, I know all too well the “block wall” that stands between me and a joyous relationship with my Savior. That is a wall that I run into time and time again. In fact, lately I’ve run into that wall so many times, I have contemplated if I have any strength left to pick myself up to try again. The frustrating truth of this, though, is I set myself up in a position to run into the wall over and over again. As a writer, I would never choose to have writer’s block. When soccer season approached, I would begin to train in hopes of avoiding the wall that caused so much pain. Yet, too often, as a Christ follower I don’t take the precautions necessary to avoid hitting the wall that blocks the work of God in my daily life.
Sitting in church Sunday morning, I was once again painfully aware just how little attention I have paid to my spiritual health in the last few months. I could list reasons–valid life events that have taken their toll on not only my energy but also my time. If I do that, though, it almost feels like I am looking for a pass, an excuse as to why I’ve made room in my schedule for these “important things” yet left no room or time in my schedule to be with my God. And, truth be told, there really is no room for excuses in this area. When it comes to time, the playing field is level across all humanity. Everyone gets twenty-four hours in a day. Everyone gets seven days in a week. Everyone is responsible for his/her own choices that fill those hours and days. Unlike income or talent, which are variables among people, time is a constant. Everyone is dealt the same amount of time. What has filled my time as of late? What has kept me from the much needed time that I should have been spending with God? In all honesty, that time has been filled with good and necessary things, like work, along with things that could be cut out. For example, one of my favorite television shows is on every Tuesday night. If I know I will not be home to watch it, I DVR it and always have taken the time to view it before the next episode airs the following week. I always make time to sit and watch an hour of television (usually more) yet lament that bedtime has come once again and I did not spend any time in God’s Word.
Everyone knows exercise is important for the body. It is not the only component in the equation of a healthy life, but it is one of them. Likewise, being spiritually healthy comes from actively pursuing God in several different ways. Studying His Word, prayer, and fellowship with other believers are a few components to being spiritually healthy. For me, it seems when life gets stressful and my plate is piled high with things to do, that is when I need to seek God more, yet I find myself seeking Him less. I wonder how many runners have quit because they are just tired of running into the same wall over and over again? I wonder how many writers have quit trying to write because writer’s block is a friend that visits them too often? I wonder how many Christians feel like quitting because the block wall, often put in place by their own actions, is just too difficult to deal with? What I really wonder, though, is…
How does one gain victory over that wall of blocks that grows with each day not spent in God’s Word? Because to be honest, my block wall is pretty high and fairly thick right now. The sight of it is daunting, and it is close to being the biggest thing in my life. It is too big to go over or around, and it is too thick to break through. The only option left, as I see it, is to start to take the wall down. Our pastor said Sunday that the more of God we have in our mind, the more we will find joy in our life. So, that seems to be a good starting point. Brick by brick, I hope, will be removed as I allow God to reclaim the space He once held in my mind and in my life. I can’t remove the bricks. If I could, then I could boast about the work I accomplished. God, though, can remove the bricks.
I just have to be willing to let Him do so.