20. Burnt Sacrifices

 “I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God
  burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”
— David, Son of Jesse

 

I sat in my home office and looked around me. It was fully equipped with what I needed to realize the dreams and goals I had set for myself as a writer. I had approval from many significant folks in the Christian publishing industry – the “go ahead” to complete a fiction novel that I’d been working on for over ten years. But with the onset of symptoms related to fibromyalgia syndrome, I had fallen behind and was wallowing in self-pity.

My eyes searched the binders on my bookshelves. They held years of research and journaling of sensory and tactile observations that were intended to help me describe the world where my make-believe characters came alive. They represented hours and days and months and years of breathing life into a story that had become second nature in my thought processing. An avatar for my innermost thoughts. An outlet for my creative muse.

Every muscle in my body ached. Every nerve felt seared and on edge. My legs were weak, my hands were shaky, and my heart cried out, “Why have you brought me so far, through so many trials, only to allow this unfathomable weakening of my strength and my spirit?”

The unfinished manuscript lay open on my lap, and as I flipped through the pages I reminded God, “I dedicated all of this to you! I trusted that you, who began a good work in me, would be faithful to complete it. So what’s the deal? Explain it to me … I’m listening! Just help me understand, why?

You dedicated it to me?

Yes! I dedicated it to me … I mean you. I prayed about it and puzzled over it and devoted hours and hours of time.

You consecrated it to Me?

I went to critique groups and writers conferences and some very important people have faith in me.

Do you have faith in Me?

Yes, but what about these carefully crafted sentences and precise punctuation marks? I could barely type when I started. My fingers are just beginning to effortlessly find the right keys. Now look at my trembling hands.

Put it all in My hands. A sacrifice of praise. Trust Me.

I could feel the disappointment and sadness flowing out of my aching body through my tears. Cleansing tears. It occurred to me that I could use a good washing, so I went into the bathroom, removed my clothes and stepped into the shower. All the tears that I’d been storing up merged with the water that sprinkled my face. It felt good to cry and cry and cry.

Then I knew what must come next. I got dressed, collected everything related to my novel, and carried it all into the living room. I ripped out a few pages at a time and set them ablaze in the fireplace. Until my sacrifice of praise was complete.

I dedicate this to you, my Lord.

But you already did … consecrate it … to Me.

That was then. This is now, and I’m thinking you might have a different project in mind.

It’s going to take some time and effort – a LOT of effort.

But I know, Lord, that you will be alongside me throughout the journey.

You can bet your eternal life on it.

“Consecrate yourselves and be holy,

because I am the Lord your God .”

(Leviticus 20:7)

 

 

A RUST REMOVER …

 Do you need a good cry? Do it in the shower at a time when no one but The One can hear you. Then take a deep breath, and think about whatever is next on your To Do List.