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Why Not Quit Already?

Don't quit.

I'm no quitter.

Can't stop. Won't stop.

These are the silly pep talks I'm giving myself these days. The closer the end of June draws, in any given year, the more withdrawn I become. An introvert by nature, it's just what I do. Compound that with the fact I've been pouring out {pretty raw} words for sixteen consecutive days and I wonder what on earth I really have to give at this point. This is just the halfway point. Am I a resounding gong by now? Just noise? Just writing to write? 

It is the cry of my heart to never do that. Anyone can write.  If the Lord doesn't go before me and fill my heart with these words, they're not worth passing along. I know what I'm made of and I'll be the first to say, nobody needs any extra Emily in their lives. When Jesus fills me to overflowing? Oh yeah. I'm passing that on down the line. Without Him, I may as well forget it.

The day I decide to just write for the sake of writing IS the day I should quit.

This is different.

This is the result of years of holding it all in, hoarding it all to myself, and now I am left sorting through the wreckage of a life lived too long like that, asking God to show me what to toss and what is treasure. Plenty of debris has flown and fallen in my life, but I never have to dig too deep to find the treasure hidden among it, under it, within it. He's been there through it all, right in the midst of me. Christ alone has been the treasure of my life.

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. 
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns."
Psalm 46:1-5 

Whether the Lord calls me to speak, write, or teach five or five thousand, it is the least I can do to give them everything He has given me. I could write every day for the rest of my life (if I weren't so prone to wander and quit) and never, ever run out of stories, eyewitness accounts of times God has shown up and showed out in my life.  I don't have burning bush stories, but I'd be thrilled if I did. God has never spoken audibly to me - no James Earl Jones voices over here. He hasn't given me a life free from trial or fire - quite the contrary, really. I have no interest in a health and prosperity gospel. I've never been to seminary and I don't know that I will ever go. There are so many reasons to I could use to convince myself this is all futile.

What know though, is that, perhaps like those ragamuffin guys Jesus decided to call His disciples all those years ago, Jesus has shown up in my ordinary life and changed everything, right down to my job, the way I raise my children, and the topic of our daily dinner conversations. The way He's loved us and shown us grace has changed the way we view others and live our lives. He's given this anxious, fear-filled girl with a story that put most country songs to shame a peace that overflows until I cannot help but tell anybody about it who will listen.

Because God alone knows who needs encouragement, who needs to be seen, who needs to be reminded how very loved he or she is today.  He alone can heal their aches. He alone can bring hope to their darkness. His voice alone will call them back from the wilderness.  

I cannot do any of that.

I'm just a woman.

We all, as believers, are called to comfort with the comfort we have been given. We all have access to the same Bible, filled with the living and active Word. You can read as easily as I can the bold words that lie therein. Isaiah was used by God, showing us a voice of one crying in the wilderness for every man to prepare the way of the Lord, vowing that "every valley will be lifted up and every mountain and hill made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. The glory of the Lord will be revealed and all flesh shall see it together, because the mouth of the Lord has spoken."

I am anything but a prophet, but if the God of all the Universe wants to use a flawed woman like me for anything at all, especially to bring comfort to someone else who is hurting like I'll never forget hurting, I would be a fool to devote my life to anything else. If there is a way to make this wobbly world a little more steady for one, why would I not do it? If can I point the way toward smoother ground for someone struggling in a rough place, I cannot do anything else.

I ask you, sister (or brother), do you know your Maker?  I realize that sounds like some kind of callous question someone would ask you jokingly before they push you out of a plane or off a bungee jumping platform, but hear me out. Do you know Him? Really? For yourself? Not what your mom or your boyfriend or your aunt or even your preacher told you about Him? Do you know Him? If your worst nightmare becomes your tangible reality in the morning, do you know anyone big enough to pick up the shattered pieces of your life and still fill your life with promise and hope for every day that will follow? Are those fumes from last Sunday's sermon going to limp you through that? Is that one thing your grandma always told you going to hold you in the dead of night when the voice of despair is loudest? Is what you are investing your time, hope, cash, and energy in today going to be enough to sustain you tomorrow?

It's worth thinking about in this life where tomorrow is never promised and where a phone call can change life as we know it on a dime.

I'm no "hell fire and brimstone" kind of girl and I never will be. That's not my business. My business is doing what is mine to do and as I look around at the suffering and uncertainty that surround, I see a tremendous need for hope. It just so happens hope flows from only One Source and He's given me plenty to share.

So, share I will. 

I'll listen when those sad eyes nearby and tragic news stories from afar tell me, "Don't quit."

God knows I'm no quitter. He never quits on me and He will never, ever quit on them.

I can't stop because He won't stop.

I go so they'll know.

Lord, as long as there is breath in me, never let me stop.

"And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit... He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it." 
1 Thessalonians 5:14-19, 24


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