because you just never know

I apologize for how this initially sounds (because I hate how this sounds), but I always enjoy reading both affirming and constructive feedback on my weekly newspaper column.

There, I said it - and again, I know how that sounds... like I'm some fancy "writer" who likes to talk about his latest "work" or fancy "column." I understand that, because it bugs me to no end when people promote themselves over and over and over.

But it's not why I'm writing it.

Today I received an email that was simply amazing. Apparently today's article literally helped change someone's life... and the reason I'm sharing it is because it tracks back to a highly frustrating moment in my life that perhaps you know all too well - the choice to stop short... or pursue something to completion.

A few nights ago, I was struggling with little sleep and a bad headache. Throw in some stomach cramps, and I was ready for bed.

Only - I needed to write my weekly article.

So I started writing... but the headache took over. I even fell asleep at the keyboard once.

Writing can be torturous - waiting for an idea to come. Sometimes those ideas come right off of my human robot heat. Most times, it flows out of a place within my soul. There are also the moments when it has to be sought after like water in the desert.

Then there's the mental dance. Writing requires knowing or discovering something that you will explain, which means advance time having an experience, doing some reading or receiving a revelation out of nowhere. You're constantly dipping into places in life that you may not normally tread - not to merely find something you can talk about, but to become someone who has something to say.

Within this you run hard, then you procrastinate; you read a lot of news, and then you play an online game; you page through a great magazine full of intriguing thought, then you look at YouTube videos full of nothingness; you read some of the most amazing biblical truths ever written down, then you go get a handful of Doritos from the cupboard; you get mad at how corrupt government is, then you watch an old episode of The Twilight Zone... or Everybody Loves Raymond... or ten minutes of Celebrity Rehab, until you realize you've just watched ten minutes of Celebrity Rehab.

Keep in mind, that's not including the other things you do in life. Like being a human, or a loved one, or a parent, or a friend, or a pastor... which involves, you know... a lot of quality time.

So sometimes when I feel like I have nothing left to give, I begin to feel entitled with the thought, "You've done enough. Just give this next one less than your full effort. Besides, you'll have next week to put something better out there."

This is the moment.

The choice.

The choice to stop short...

or pursue something to completion.

The other night I chose to tap into a Source that is deeper than my own - God Himself.. That sounds incredibly spiritual or perhaps even bumper sticker-esque, and sure... it is both.

But that doesn't deny how incredibly true and practical it is, too.

Once your trust your life - not just your eternity, but your life to Jesus Christ - His strength becomes as accessible as your next breath of oxygen.

Some days I don't remember this as well as others.

But a few nights ago, I woke up from drooling on my keyboard and decided the "half-article" in front of me that could pass for a "full article" to most readers wasn't "good enough." Not because I'm a perfectionist, but because I refuse to settle when I know there is more in me than "me."

Don't misread this - there are times when my "50%" is my "100%" and I know that I can't give any more than I have given. I'm fine with that... it's about wholeheartedness, and not perfection.

There are other times, though, when my "50%" is "50%" and I am about to settle if I stop. I am not fine with that... that's about having the appearance of effort without the commitment.

It's taken me a lot of  bumps and bruises over the years to realize the difference.

So today I received a rather amazing email from a woman who said what was in my weekly column changed her life. I don't need to share the details, because it was personal information I'm not at liberty to share.

But as I read it, I was reminded of that moment a few nights ago that I made a choice.  It's the same choice you will make about something today or tomorrow. 

I want to encourage you to opt for the Narrow Way... the road less traveled... the Way of the Master. I'm so glad Jesus didn't say, "I'm good after the whipping. Maybe they don't really need the cross."

Because... you just never know.
"Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men." (Ephesians 6:7)

"In everything that he undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered." (2 Chronicles 31:21)

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