Not being as busy for a season this past spring and summer was very spiritually fruitful for me. God taught me things I could have learned in no other way. There is something about waiting, something about inactivity and reflection, that can teach us things we cannot learn when we are constantly bouncing from one responsibility to the next. These days, though, I am finding that being busier again is also very fruitful. Learning to live with incompleteness teaches me to walk by faith. There are so many things these days I don’t have time to do: people to spend time with, books and blogs to read, things on my desk to get uncluttered, details to check off my to do list. I am learning to view this as an opportunity, not a problem, because God has not called me to do more than can be done in the time that I have. If I can’t work hard and then leave the results to God, that shows I am ultimately trusting in myself, not Him.
Especially in my sermon preparation, I am learning that over-preparation can be a form of self-trust. The feeling that I need to have every word exactly planned out and every thought exactly filled often shows up because I don’t trust that God’s power is what really matters, and because I am not looking to him in the moment of preaching. God is helping me to work hard on my preaching without trusting in my hard work. Right before I stand up to preach or teach, in that moment of poignance and nervousness, I am learning to repent more deeply, to surrender more fully, to give myself away to God again. In my incompleteness, He has more room to show up with His power.
I really like the emphasis you put on “looking to [God] in the moment of preaching.” It really gives a sense that trusting in God and allowing Him to operate through us should permeate every aspect of our work, not just the preparation.
Wonderful, Gav. I need this too.