Yesterday I spent hours at my computer, trying to write a new blog and make progress on my book. I became frustrated and discouraged when I had nothing to show for my efforts at the end of the day. My feelings ranged from my guilt that I had wasted time, to my regret for another day gone with no real accomplishment, to my urgency that life is too short, and to my inadequacy as a writer.
There are so many times when our efforts do not seem to make a visible difference. We eat healthy diets but don’t lose weight. We do a kindness that goes unnoticed or unappreciated. We pick up after young children, only to have new messes again and again. We lovingly make cookies to share but accidentally burn them. We pray to be a better, God-pleasing person and then falter- every day. We ponder an inspiration but are unable to glean and write the message in it.
This morning I am reminded that this life is an opportunity for God to do so much inner work in us. Maybe God was allowing me to wallow and falter to teach me that I can’t just keep pushing ahead; that I also need to be still and listen, to allow God’s work and timing. Maybe God is revealing that my need to have something to show for my efforts comes from my prideful ego. Maybe God will even use my frustration to strengthen my perseverance.
God is healing, teaching, admonishing, developing, and perfecting us in every moment. The inner work may not be visible to us, but God sees it all. Perhaps our biggest lesson in having “nothing to show” is that we may deepen in humility. We begin to more fully understand and appreciate how our worth only comes from God’s love for us, and not through anything we do.
And how, with the help of God, yesterday’s stagnation can now become today’s story.