Stuck on the Draft: When You’re Caught in a Holding Pattern

Stuck on The Draft--When You're Caught in a Holding Pattern

Stuck on The Draft

Ugghh! The draft.

Not the football one. Or the one that sends young men to war.

But the written one that sits for days, weeks, months, years, waiting to be finished. That lingers in your Word docs or your file cabinet or your WordPress admin labeled “draft,” waiting for you to hit the post button.

But somehow, something’s missing and you can’t figure out what. So it loiters, haunting you.

Will you ever get me done?

Sometimes the problem is you don’t have it written quite right. Not the right ending. Not the right tone.

And sometimes it’s that the right reader doesn’t need it yet.

That’s happened to me multiple times.

I’ve had a sketch vegging in my documents. I keep pulling it out, reworking, reorganizing, but it just isn’t working. Suddenly, one day, all the pieces fall into place, and I publish it.

Just a few hours later, someone emails. “How did you know I needed to hear this today?”

I didn’t. But God did.

His ways are perfect, and His timing is right.

And that kind of timing doesn’t just happen in writing.

I’ve taught Sunday School since I was a junior in high school, with very little time off.

One summer, though, I couldn’t decide if I should teach in the fall. I went back and forth with all the “on the other hands,” and the due date for the teaching application came and went.

But I couldn’t decide.

For weeks.

Then one morning, I woke up and just knew.

Not only should I teach Sunday School, but I needed to take the application in that day.

I planned to go first thing in the morning, but phone calls held me up. Finally, I drove into the parking lot at 11am.

And a woman pulled in behind me.

She needed someone to talk to, had come to talk with the pastors, but they were all tied up.

Yet there I was, an available ear.

So God had put me in that place at that moment. All those months of hemming and hawing weren’t about my teaching Sunday School at all. It was about God knowing who else would need something that day at that moment.

Is it always that way? I suppose not. Sometimes I’m just procrastinating.

But it happens often enough that I have to give myself some grace when things aren’t jelling the way I think they should.

Reminds me of Mary and Martha, waiting for Jesus to come heal their brother. But He didn’t come. At least not right away. And Lazarus died.

Both sisters said the same thing. “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11: 21, 32)

But Jesus had a plan that none of them could have predicted. “For your sake, I’m glad I was not there so that you may believe. But let us go.” (v.15)

You know the story. Christ didn’t heal Lazarus BEFORE he died so Christ could raise him from the dead AFTER he died.

Showing that Christ, as Lord and Savior, as God, had power over everything, even over death.

His plans, His timing, His Sovereignty. All perfect.

It isn’t easy to wait. That four-letter word can make us want to utter other four-letter ones.

But God is never late. And His purpose can’t be thwarted. (Job 42:2) “He who began a good work will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus!” (Phil. 1:6)

So.

The BIG question.

How are we to endure the delay?

When we’ve wrestled with the decision inside and out, when we’ve dotted every i and crossed every t, when we’ve done everything we can, and it’s still not working, what then?

Ahh, it’s that dreaded P word.

A few years back, in a time of “stuck-ness,” I remember wanting to scream, “Someone somewhere needs to stop praying He’ll give me Patience!”

Because you know what happens when someone prays for patience…

God gives you ways to learn it! *gasp*

But seriously, for quite a while, patience felt like a ghastly word. Binding. Constraining.

Until I realized I was defining it wrong.

The story of how I got there? That’s for another day. Another draft.

For now, I’ll just give you the outcome:

My new understanding of Patience. Another poem I keep on my day-timer.

 

PATIENCE

Not something I have,
But something I do

Not a prison of waiting,
But the freedom of resting,

Not sitting on my hands,
But clinging to His

Not holding back,
But running into His arms

Not biting my tongue,
But singing to Him

Not passive but active,
Not hardship but peace.

Not about me at all,
But all about Him.

—For He is my strength and shield,
my sword and buckler.
A very present help in a time of need…

…Not something I do
But something He does in me

[©Elizabeth Daghfal 4/14/04]

 

So that draft sitting in my admin folder? Yes, I have to do my due-diligence. The ol’ seat to the chair bit.

But when the words seem stuck or the thoughts won’t flow, sometimes He knows the timing isn’t perfect.

Sometimes He’s still laying out the ending.

Sometimes the right person isn’t ready to read it.

And sometimes?

Well, sometimes He’s saying the draft is really ME.

****

So, friend, has there been a time when you’ve felt stuck on the draft? Caught in a holding pattern? Have you seen God use it? I’d love to hear about it in the comments or by email.

 

And did you catch these recent posts?

Goin' Fishing--Lessons in Parenting

Goin’ Fishing–Lessons in Parenting

Reverend William "Billy" Graham--Just As I Am

Reverend William “Billy” Graham–Just As I Am

Be Mine: I wanted to be her Valentine

I wanted to be her Valentine

 

4 thoughts on “Stuck on the Draft: When You’re Caught in a Holding Pattern

  1. Elizabeth says:

    I really like your poem! Is it written in the Saj style? I was not aware of this style of Arabic poetry until recently. I have tried the delicious bread of the same name.

    I am in a waiting period of life right now. Your words about patience not being something we have, but something we do, is throught provoking. Resting sounds easy, but at times it is more difficult to rest in Christ. I want to do something and see progress, instead of just waiting! I am too often like Martha, rather than Mary. I need to sit at His feet and stop worrying.

    Thank you for your encouraging blog.
    Blessings, Elizabeth

    • Elizabeth, good question about the Saj style, but I don’t know. I don’t know that style, but my kids do love the bread.

      Yes, resting isn’t easy. That’s part of that other post that goes with the poem. Hebrews says, work to rest in Him–fascinating picture. When I struggle to do the “resting” (because I want progress, too), I prefer the picture of running to Him. 🙂

      So glad to hear you were encouraged. Thanks for commenting. It encourages my heart so much!

  2. What a wonderful poem! I love it. It encompasses every aspect of patience: hands, arms, tongue, and heart. Physical rest yet still active. About Him not me.
    Yes, I am definitely a “draft”, a rough draft–emphasis on rough as I learn patience and other things.

    It’s about God’s glory, not our comfort or convenience. And He can be glorified while we wait–especially if others are watching us. As we quietly trust, others may be drawn to Him.

    There have been many times in my life where His timing proved to be better than mine. In retrospect. It becomes obvious later. But the hard part is when we don’t always see it. And may never see it. Then we just have to trust He’s still at work for His own purposes.

    • Yes, Laura, wouldn’t it be great if we had that hindsight in the midst of the issue? I think that’s why the LORD had the Israelites build so many memorials to His faithfulness. So they could have some hindsight in the forefront 😉 Glad you liked the poem. It has helped me with that hindsight as well.

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