"You got some sun this weekend!"
"Yes! [*thinks* Tell me something I don't know] We went to a pool party, and we totally reapplied."
"That sounds like fun. Too bad about the sunburn. Hope it doesn't peel!"
Multiply this conversation by thirty, and you basically have insight into my interesting life recently (*holds up sarcasm sign*). So, the purpose of this blog post is to inform the general public that "Hey, you got sunburned!" is not an appropriate follow-up to an amazing pool party; and thereafter, I will recount and bemoan all the superficial conversations that make up my day and beg that you do not speak to me unless you have something else to say besides "Hey, you graduated!" "You got some sun this weekend!" or "How are you?" as you walk right on past me.
Though superficial conversations are a current pet peeve, I really just wanted to say "Hey, sorry for not writing for so long, but my life is incredibly uninteresting right now."
Yeah, okay, I wouldn't excuse me either. I'm just completely incapable of writing a blog post without attaching it to some cutesy funny story about me and revising and proofreading it a billion times. No cutesy story, no time, no blog post.
But I digress. This is supposed to be an experimental "couple of paragraphs long spiritual thought without a cutesy story attaching it to me" blog post. (Oops.)
The truth of the matter is, I've been feeling very much out of place lately and wondering if I'm really supposed to be where I am. Receptionist work is really boring, and definitely not my dream job. Heck, it's not even really in my field.
"You don't really want me here, God, do you? Are you sure? What about over there? That's more in line with the calling you gave me."
And then one day, I hear a preacher tell a story, and I've been pondering it ever since.
"My Utmost for His Highest" by Oswald Chambers. I'm fairly certain most of my readers probably have a copy. You probably have two or three if you just graduated from high school, and you might even have a copy that is leather bound like a Bible. And even if you don't any copies at all, you've probably at least heard of it. (And if you haven't, for heaven's sake, go buy a copy!)
But I bet you didn't know that Oswald Chambers didn't write a single word of any of his fifty published books.
You see, Oswald was married to Gertrude "Biddy" and that made all the difference. (No, the moral of the story is not "get married". Though if you wanted to tack "to the right kind of woman" on the end of it, I might consider it.)
Biddy decided at an early age that she was going to be the secretary to the Prime Minister some day. So she spent most of her childhood days studying Pitman shorthand. She practiced a lot especially when she got sick, as she often did, with bronchitis. By the time she entered the working world, she could take dictation at the amazing rate of 250 words per minute!! (Girls, that's faster than you and I can talk.)
In 1908, for some inexplicable reason that this lazy writer has not researched, Biddy when on a voyage by ship to America. She met Oswald during the voyage, and they continued correspondence after they parted ways. In 1910, they were married. (Boys, learn to write good letters.)
And just like that, Biddy gave up her dream of being the Prime Minister's secretary. Instead, she and her husband started a small Bible college in their own home. Biddy cleaned the dorms (their house), cooked the food, and attended all of her husband's lectures and sermons to boot. And when Oswald decided that God was calling him to be a Chaplain in WWI, she packed her bags and went with the man to Egypt (!) and hosted soldiers in her house.
Sadly, in 1917, Oswald died of appendicitis complications leaving behind Biddy and their young daughter, Kathleen. Biddy sent a telegram to his family: "Oswald, in His presence" and chose the hymn "I To the Hills Will Lift Mine Eyes" to be sung at his funeral. Having devoted most of her life to Oswald, Biddy was at a complete loss about what to do next.
Until someone asked Biddy for a copy of her verbatim lecture and sermon notes. (Evidently, it was well known that she was the teacher's pet and that she was that one student who took the best notes.) She, of course, complied. She transcribed her notes to regular readable English, sent off a copy to her friend, and returned to her desk only to discover still more requests for copies of her lecture and sermon notes.
As you might have guessed it was at this point that Biddy knew why she had been sick so much as a young child. Why she was so talented at shorthand. Why she had been given the dream to be the Prime Minister's secretary. Why that dream was never fulfilled. Why she was married to Oswald, and why she had given up her dreams to support his.
Biddy hand-transcribed 1500 printed pages worth of shorthand notes and, still refusing to take credit, had the 50 books published under the name of Oswald Chambers.
I am amazed. From a mainstream perspective Biddy's life was a tragedy. Because she sick. Because she had under utilized talent. Because her dreams were never fulfilled. Because she succumbed to that archaic and chauvinistic idea that a woman should give up everything for her husband.
And yet it was these very things that caused her to have the greatest impact that she could possibly have had. Tragedy? By no means! On the contrary, what a blessing! And what spiritual foresight she had to take advantage of the opportunities that God gave her!
I don't know about you, but I'm completely ashamed of myself. (Yes, I know, this wasn't supposed to be attached to me, but I'm
officially declaring the "short blog post" experiment a failure anyway.)
I'm ashamed of how I've blamed God for misleading me into circumstances contrary to my calling instead of seeing how He is giving me an opportunity to be
utilized. I'm not in my dream job, it's true, but I could still be making an impact by doing the best job possible. I'm ashamed of how unused my down time at work is. I could be learning a new skill, regularly writing spiritually uplifting blog posts (key word: regularly), exegeting a new Bible passage, or making those superficial conversations into more meaningful ones. I'm ashamed of how I've selfishly and callously complained to my husband about my unfulfilled dreams because I'm helping him with his dream. I should at the very least be remembering that he is "my new dream" and at most putting every effort into making his dream stellarly successful.
I have not, unfortunately, been submissive clay willingly being molded into beautiful useful pottery by the Father to serve his purpose. I'm not misplaced clay. I have been cracked and crumbly clay trying to ooze and squelch my way off of the potter's wheel, so I can try and mold myself into something better in some musty corner.
And I find it extremely disconcerting that the Potter is laughing at me.
But he's right. His plan is infinitely better than anything I could imagine. His intents are purer, his mold is better, his hands are surer. All I can do is hunker down on that wheel and wait to see what God does with me. And when I read this amazing account of Biddy Chambers, no fear is left in my soul. I can only be filled with wonder, excitement and eagerness to be used for his Purpose and his Glory!