Don’t Despise the Process
On rare and beautiful occasions, something just happens that revives you. But this is not the norm. Most of the truly invigorating occurrences in our lives require a process. Super aware that today’s highs would not be as thrilling had I not lived on the low end for so long.
At the beginning of the year, I began my new book. Stay Lit …freedom that lasts. If you think I know what I’m doing, you’re mistaken. It’s a word here and a word there, and before you know it…a recollection becomes a sentence, paragraph, stanza, and chapter. Miraculous no doubt, but it doesn’t happen without me. I play a major role in God’s plan. And so do you.
By February it’s clear to me that I can not focus on scheduling events and writing a book as well. Per God’s instruction, I commit to only speaking when invited.
Two months ago I received an email from an inmate at Cross City Correctional. He informs me that reading my book made such a difference in his life that he’s now the head of the Christian dorm. Wow! He then requests I come there and share my story. So I contact his chaplain and schedule a date.
That trip is now four days away. I’d like to be done with chapter 12 before I leave, but it’s slow going this morning. Opening the refrigerator to peel and eat my daily avocado, the light flickers and goes out. I then notice an erratic hum coming from what I assume to be the compressor.
After asking Google, YouTube, Whirlpool, my father, and the repairman—I conclude my refrigerator’s shot. It’s a ’93 model so repair work doesn’t seem like a wise option. I remove the frozen goods and dairy products, but because it’s producing some cool air I leave it plugged in hoping what’s left won’t be lost.
About an hour later the beeping begins. The refrigerator has an alarm designed to notify me when something’s wrong. That started on Sunday and by Monday afternoon the constant and repetitive sound is like Chinese water torture.
Monday’s trip to the used appliance store doesn’t pan out, and my order on the Home Depot app won’t go through. Three phone calls, various measurement attempts, and $1400 later—my new refrigerator is due to arrive on Thursday.
Tuesday morning as I ready my belongings for the trip, I realize this distraction has kept me from collating the study I’ve been delivering to prisons this year. There are 14 phases to the program I wrote, and many of the weeks have more than one page. It’s a lot of work.
After an hour on the floor—with papers that appear to be vibrating to the beat of the refrigerator beep—they’re still not right. My father suggests I come upstairs so he can help. Grateful for the assistance, I gather all I need and head his way. Herniated discs and floor sitting don’t get along. The painful hike around the house and up the steps, in addition to all the other drama, is killing my generally felt enthusiasm.
An hour later, the organized literature is in the back of my car and I return to my apartment only to find the power out. Collapsing to my bed the physical and mental pain get the best of me and my eyes began to overflow.
The heat and defeat send me outside to sit in my Adirondack chair that overlooks the lake. A fantastic place to hear from God. “It’s going to be an awesome trip,” He whispers.
“Oh, no wonder this is all happening. It’s meant to keep me from going,” I realize. “No way,” I say to the enemy. “You have no power here.” This shift in perspective changes everything.
Back inside only five minutes before the power switches back on. Yay! I hop in the shower and get dressed. Heaving my suitcase into the SUV, I then station my notes on the center console for review on my drive. Immediately, the Holy Spirit says, “You don’t need those.”
“Really?” I question. “Are you sure?” Realizing how silly this question is I tuck the paper into my computer bag and hit the road.
Upon arrival, I’m led to the chapel where I’m met by four men. Two inmates, the chaplain, and a local volunteer. They hand me a program and a list of questions. Surprised by this organized welcome, I sit in the front row, amongst the attendees, waiting on my turn. The choir performs a perfectly harmonized number, two theatrical inmates put on a fabulous skit, then they welcome me to the stage to join two gentlemen who are seated at a round table.
For the next hour and a half, they quote things from my memoir, inquiring how I view these statements today. Incredible, beautiful, engaging, and inspiring. Powerful stuff. Honestly, one of the most spectacular prison trips ever.
As I wait at the fence to exit the facility, I can see how each preparation step was necessary. God wastes nothing. Almost every answer I gave them came as a result of the previous four-day process. The disorder, distraction, and disturbance—they all mattered. Not only for giving real-life answers but to keep me from following my own plan.
God is always at work. He orchestrates each detail. And recognizing His involvement is what escorts us through the hard times. No matter how difficult the process feels, tuning in to the Savior’s voice brings ridiculously positive results. Making life more fun and exciting than you ever dreamed possible. If you have not yet experienced this phenomenon, I encourage you to listen harder and submit sooner. Cause trust me when I tell you, our God is the coolest God ever.