Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Genesis 11 - What is possible?

One of the questions people ask me is, "How do you get all this writing done?" I think that's a good question. I have a full time job, where I write all day. I have two kids, a wife, a men's group, freelance writing on the side and a beta fish. That last one doesn't add a lot of time, but still, I have to keep that fish out of a lot of scuffles with the mirror in the bathroom, which is a hassle.

But the truth is, most of what I am doing right now seems really easy. Not because I am overtly talented or smart, but because God is. I feel like all I have to do is stay close to Him and show up to the blank page. I didn't create any of the cool stuff that is happening, so I don't have as much pressure to maintain it as I anticipated. I get to sit back and enjoy watching God do the impossible.

That's kind of the opposite of what happened in Genesis 11 with the tower of Babel. The people wanted to reach the heavens and make their own name known around the earth. God wasn't cool with that. So He stepped in and made everything impossible by fracturing the common language into a thousand different dialects.

Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever felt yourself push against the incredible momentum of God? I've written about it before and I will write about it again because it is impossible. The littlest things become complicated. The people you should be able to work with become difficult. Your best laid plans become a thousand different dialects in the desert.

I tried for about a year to write a book and get people to validate my ideas. I banged on doors like Relevant Magazine and a handful of publishers. But it didn't work. I was told no and no thanks and not right now at every step. I was building my own tower of Babel. I was raising a monument to how awesome Jon Acuff is and God made it impossible.

The truth is pretty simple. I think we all build towers sometimes. I think we all get frustrated at the languages we find when we try to march off without God. But ultimately, I think when God is moving with us, there is nothing we can't accomplish. When God is moving against, there is nothing we can accomplish.

13 comments:

Ne'er-Do-Good said...

See, I'm somewhere between here and your prosperity post on SCL. I feel like God has given me some great talent and some good ideas, but I really worry about making it all about me if I begin to put those things into practice. So I do nothing instead. Your blogs inspire me and motivate me, though, Jon, so hopefully I'm not still in this place for too much longer.

haemin said...

wow, i totally hear you on this one.

jenn3 said...

Great reminder.

Dog snob said...

Another one that "speaks to me". I've been really reflective lately on where I am, who I am, and what I believe. One of the things I feel God is telling me is that just to remember the core beliefs, (God is God, he sent his Son to die for us and he is now alive ect..), and and to go from there. To just live life with him and not try to control or come up with a formula to dictate how it should go. Thanks for the reminder :)

Troy & Tara Livesay Family said...

Good Jon, very good.

JML said...

I wonder how often I've tried to build a tower in my life, and how often God has broke it down, leaving me cursing the devil and never changing my ways I'm impressed with what you're doing. Great post.

StellarRick said...

Because of your use of the word "dialect" instead of languages, I know am thinking about how God made the people of Babel start speaking with deep south twang and with Martha's Vineyard uppityness. They could all still understand each others words....but now the conversation went:

"MOONSHINE!"
"NO, MERLOT!"
"MOONSHINE"
"NO, MERLOT!"

and....

"FIDDLE"
"NO, ITS A VIOLIN"
"FIDDLE!"
"NO, IT'S A VIOLIN"

and then the Fiddle players went to battle against cat-sized mosquitoes in the deep south.

Sorry, totally got off the point of the blog. Ehh, oh well.

Christianne said...

thank you, jon. i needed to read this today, when i have been struggling to erect my own tower of babel and have begun to see it slowly sag and crumble to the ground. it's helpful to remember that God is bigger than my tower of babel and that he has much better plans for me than my paltry tower can give.

ps: it was nice to hear you reflect on your writing habits these days, as i'm pretty sure 976 of us have been wondering How In The Heck You Do It All.

Christi B said...

WOW, you have been the vessel of confirmation today. I am "just a stay at home mommy" that home educates her kids and is a pretty awesome wife to a great guy, but it is funny in the "reaching" of others He has me in my biggest "fear so to speak" is that I would make it about me. Like she said this or that or this is what they do etc, My desire is that all glory be to His name and His alone. Thank you for another thinker and reminder Jon

Toni said...

this one really hits home today. i wrestle with the temptation to run ahead of God, to forge my own path and espouse my own timetables. things are so much better when i instead trust Him to be the Good Shepherd that He is. ever read the story of uzzah? a short little tidbit tucked away in the OT (2 Samuel 6). this story has always been a sobering reminder to me that God doesn't need my hand reaching out to "help" him..

katdish said...

Okay, Jon. I get what you're saying about trying to do things without God and failing. But what if you believe with all your heart that what you are doing is what God is calling you to do and it isn't? Or what if you're doing what He's called you to do, but because there are bumps in the road, you take that as a sign that you should be doing something else? What if you lack discernment? I understand what it is to be blessed with an ability that simply flows and often seems effortless. There are those who are fortunate enough to actually know what their gift is, and then are able to use it glorify God and make a living. Those who fall into that category (ahem) should always maintain accountability with people who are willing to tell them when they're off track, lest they get the big head. I know you do that, please keep it up. I know you're life's not perfect. You have struggles just like we all do. But do you have any idea how very blessed you are to be able to do something that you love and get paid for it full time and praised for it part time? Some people live their entire lives and never discover their gifts. Think about that -- can you even imagine? I'm talking to myself, too -- and trying to keep it real.

Also, I read another comment on SCL about how if someone didn't line up with you totally, they posted under "anon", so here I am using my real identity. Plus, you know I always use my own name unless, well...you know. I never use the "Anonymous" handle anyway.

Rick said...

always good stuff man...keep it up!

Flesheater said...

This is a truth I've learned the hard way many times.
Even when doing things "for the L-rd"
When in reality He never told me to... or led me to or anything.

I pray that I can be more open to doing what He leads me to and more aware of the trap of following my own plans.