This morning was another MOPS morning for me. The speaker was a children's book author named Mark Ludy. He was very energetic and fun to listen to. There are two things that stand out to me from his talk, writing and Jesus.
He said that to be a good writer you have to read, which I knew, but he also said it's not enough to just read a book, you need to also process why you liked it or didn't like it. I am not always good at processing. I'm more of an absorber. I just take it all in without always sorting out the whys of it all. So that really helped me.
Also, he said not to get so hung up on perfection that you never actually write or finish writing something. The first draft is usually crap, but you just need to get it all out there. Then you can go back and refine it, keep the good and throw out the bad. I definitely can get hung up on perfection at times.
Talking about Jesus, he mentioned that we need to be changed from the inside-out not the outside-in, meaning that it's not about what we do outwardly that counts, but what is in our hearts. The reality is that nothing we do will ever be good enough. Our righteousness is like a pile of filthy rags to God. It's nothing. We have to trust Jesus. We have to give ourselves to Jesus, surrender to Him, and He will work the change in us, beginning with our hearts.
This meant a lot to me, because I am often critical of myself, thinking I should do this or that differently. A lot of the time, though, I'm only doing it because I think I should, not because I really have a desire to do it. I know some things we do because it's our responsibility and we don't necessarily want to, but that isn't really what I'm talking about.
A good example is reading the Bible. Why do I do it? Just because I should? Or because I have a desire to know God? How about taking time to read to my kids? Do I do it because the most recent child studies say I should? Or do I read to them because I love them and know that they need me to spend that quality time with them? What's my motivation?
The thing is, I can't make myself have a sincere desire to do the things I should. Even that I must depend on Christ for. He is the only one who can truly change my heart, and that is what I pray for. My continual prayer is that God make me what He wants me to be. Sometimes the answer to that prayer is painful, because circumstances ensue which force me to look at my heart and see myself as I really am, to see that I am weak where I thought I was strong.
The main thing, in times like those, is not to get discouraged, not to give up. Know that you are on a journey, you have a destination, but this is not it. This is just a momentary stop in "I-hate-my-life-ville", but you'll soon be moving on.
We have to trust Jesus to move us on.