Shepherding Wild Lambs and Other Writing Adventures

By June 18, 2009 faith, language No Comments

The trouble with being a writer is that the craft requires you to be alone with your thoughts. On days when your thoughts are behaving themselves, writing goes well. But on days when your thoughts are being rather bratty, writing goes nowhere.

This week my thoughts have been unruly at best. My writing has stalled out. I’ve stalled out.

But all is not lost, for even this stretch of misbehaving thoughts can be redeemed in the hands of the Author of all. But I’m getting ahead of myself—let’s go back to those unruly thoughts for a bit.

Writers may have more thoughts than nonwriters—or maybe just quirkier ones—so we must learn how to corral these notions to get them where we need them to go. I see myself as a shepherdess with her flock of wild thoughts. I call to them, coax them along, encourage them to follow where I am leading.

Sometimes I turn around and the whole flock is coming along just fine. All my shepherding tricks are working, as they should.

Other days, I turn around, and the whole lot of them are running amuck, getting lost, getting into tight spaces. I hurriedly backtrack, scurrying to let this little one out of the mud and help that one off the high cliff. It’s exhausting. But rescuing my little lambs is all part of the work that I love.

This week I turned around to find . . . nothing. Where did they go? Here one minute, gone the next . . . what sort of shepherdess am I? I stood still, straining to hear the whimpering cries of my little ones. My ears were filled only with silence . . .

My unruly bunch had run off. I was abandoned.

Abandonment of any form knocks on the door of my heart, poking on all the childish places in me. It rushes me back to many yesterdays when I was too young to process life and abandonment bullied itself into my heart. Huge chunks of abandonment have been ousted by the Lord’s presence in my life. But its icky residue is not fully cleaned out yet, so when current day mirrors long ago, my abandonment reactions kick in. And in the present, I project all these reactions and feelings erroneously upon God.

So I whimpered about a bit, kicking my toe in the dirt, wondering why I felt alone, why my ideas had abandoned me, why I had thought myself a writer, why I had thought my ideas worthwhile, why I had thought God had placed this gift in my hands.

Mercifully, abandonment broke when God reminded me who I am—well, mainly who He is. He is the Author of all; and He has made me to echo His story. He flooded my mind with truth that soaked up the yuck that had oozed to the surface. All my wonderings come to rest in all that Jesus is.

Last night, I was listening to my favorite Bebo Norman cd, Ten Thousand Days, and the song “A Page Is Turned” was playing. This verse has always caught my heart:

A page is turned in this world to reveal a little girl
With a heart that’s bigger, as it is unfurled
By the language in her soul, that’s teaching her to grow
With a careful cover of love that will not fail

I am that little girl, even now, called to unfurl my heart by the language in my soul. My unruly, scattered flock has much to teach me, much to say. And with the Author of all redeeming me, redeeming my ragamuffin bunch of ideas, I am covered, safe, and mightily loved.

I’m off to gather up my runaway lambs.

My book, Comfort Detox, now available! order your copy here