After my experience at the house of the "bird lady", I realized I have a problem. A very serious condition for which I have found no cure.
So here's the scene: I'm exploring this woman's basement, peeking in the cages, looking at the little bird babies and I start asking questions:
"So how did you get started learning this?"
"How long did it take you?"
"Is it something I can do?"
(At this point I am envisioning my house filled with cages of all sizes and rescuing animals for a living.) And before I know it I have her business card in my hand and am all ready to sign up to be a "wildlife rehabilitator apprentice". She said she's be glad to teach me.
WAIT A MINUTE! Now, a few days later, I know this is crazy. I have more "jobs" than I can handle now without adding in a flock of birds that need to be fed every fifteen minutes. I can't even get a few loads of laundry done in a reasonable amount of time and yet here I am ready to take on a whole other career?
The real trouble is, this is not the first time it's happened. Nope. I have come home wanting to breed Russian Spaniel dogs. I have been talked into leading whole ministries simply because I get excited about them. I have agreed to teach classes on a whim. I visited a friend I used to teach with and in a mere twenty minutes she nearly convinced me to go back to teaching. I started a jump rope club at my daughter's school, because, well, they didn't have one.
Oh yeah, and last week, I downloaded the information on the classes I would need to take to become a personal trainer.
I realize I am being compulsive because I feel like my writing career is sinking into quicksand right before my eyes. I haven't had a contract in more than two years. For the first time I looked in the mirror and felt old. I keep writing but I'm not sure it will ever do any good. Basically, I'm feeling kind of hopeless about it. So I see these chances to do things that I know I can succeed at. I'm great at learning. I'm confident that I can learn to be a personal trainer or a wildlife rehabilitator. Success is practically guaranteed.
Not so much with writing, and that lack of success can be very draining and tiring on those of us who thrive on accomplishment. I feel as though I am not accomplishing anything so I look around and grasp for anything that might make me feel...valuable.
Because it's easy to relate what you are doing to your worth. It's ridiculous, of course, but we all do it. And so what I've learned to do is let myself turn these things over in my head and heart long enough to consider them but not long enough to sign any contracts. Because I know, even though my soul is feeling anxious and unsure, my spirit knows that even in the silence God is at work. And even though I may not know the plan, God does. And I can rest on that assurance, and persevere through the valley.
Anyone else get tired of being in the valley, though? Take heart, it can't last forever. Right, Lord?