BRING ME WHAT YOU DO HAVE by Lori Altebaumer
I’m so pleased to present this article from my new friend, Lori Altebaumer. Enjoy Lori’s insight on the challenges and triumphs of the writing journey.
To say I enjoy traveling would be a very misleading statement. I do sometimes enjoy the actual journey, but not always. What I enjoy is seeing new places. The traveling to get there is often more an ordeal I’m willing to endure as a necessary evil in order to get there.
I get car sick on winding roads, cantankerous at airport delays, and I’m scared of heights. But in the end, these are usually small prices to pay in order to experience things such as walking on the Via Sacra in Rome or viewing Jungfrau in the Swiss Alps.
If I want to experience something monumental—perhaps even have a mountain top moment—I know there is a price I must pay to get there. Whether it is eating airport food for three straight days or agonizing over another rejection letter for my manuscript, there will be parts of the journey that I simply won’t enjoy. I long for the mountain top moment, but I must pay the price to get there.
But what about the parts that I tell myself I can’t do because I don’t have the skill, knowledge, talent, or time?
The Israelites, on their journey out of Egypt and into the Promised Land—the land God gave them—let this kind of thinking keep them wandering in the desert for forty years.
In Numbers 13 we read the account of the spies who were sent into Canaan to scout out this land of milk and honey. They returned reporting it was everything they had been told it would be.
Yes, the land is beautiful and bountiful—but the people are giants, but the cities are fortified, but they look at us like we are grasshoppers.
Of those sent to spy, all but Joshua and Caleb, focused on the reasons why taking possession of the land God promised them just wasn’t possible.
Instead of pressing on into the bountiful land God had called them to, they spent the next forty years wandering in the wilderness. And not just wandering, but going around the same mountain year after year, passing the exact same sights and landmarks. They may have been the first people to understand the saying ‘stuck in a rut.’
God could have swooped in and wiped out the enemies of the Israelites, but in his divine wisdom that’s not what he did.
I love writing, I love spending time with God creating and exploring thoughts and stories, choosing just the right telling of the words he gives me. I think of this love of writing—not necessarily the ability to write well, but the passion for writing and the delight it gives me as a gift from God—my Land of Milk and Honey.
But…I’m fifty-one years old and that’s kinda old to be starting this.
But I don’t have any formal training in writing or communication.
But I’m not as good as….. (so many names to choose from here!)
But they tell me I need to have a platform. I must market and use social media.
God could swoop in an remove these obstacles for me, but in his divine wisdom, that’s not what he has done.
Perhaps if the Israelites could have heard the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand their trip to the Promised Land might have ended differently. Matthew tells the account of Jesus feeding the crowd of five thousand (see Matthew 14:16-18). When Jesus told his disciples to feed the people, the disciples focused on what they didn’t have. They didn’t have enough food for that many people. They also didn’t have anywhere they could go to get more, and probably not enough money to complete the transaction if they could have found a place to purchase food. Jesus told them to feed the people and they responded with a reason why they couldn’t.
But Jesus wasn’t limited by their lack. Not their lack of fish, funds, or faith. Instead, he told them to bring him what they did have. Five loaves of bread and two fish.
And he took it, multiplying it until it was more than enough.
In my writer’s journey, as in any journey, I can choose to tell God why I can’t or give him a list of all that I need but don’t have—as if he doesn’t already know.
Or I can bring him what I do have.
And then trust that if God doesn’t remove the obstacles in my path it may be because he plans to use them as stepping stones in my faith.
What challenges or obstacles do you wish God would remove from your path? How might God be using them as stepping stones in your relationship with him?
I liked this! I’ve been doing a study of Numbers lately, and everything you say hits the mark. I’ve often scoffed about the Israelites’ lack of faith, their turning away time and again, while conveniently forgetting the times I have done the same thing and used similar reasoning to get there. Your point of view is inspirational. I feel like stepping over some rocks right now! 🙂
So happy this message connected with something you are study now! And so true that I am all too ready to say “I can’t believe the Israelites” when I do the equivalent in my life today. I pray you are not only stepping, but high stepping over those rocks! Thank you for your response.
Lori, Thank you for this perceptive article! I have read the account of the Israelites many times, and I often asked how they could be so blind to all that God had done for them. How could they doubt?
But as you point out, I experience the same doubts and fears in my own life. Why should I take up novel-writing so late in life? I don’t have any formal training. What if I fail?
But your article helps put things in perspective for me. “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” Hebrews 12:1
There are certainly frustrations and challenges in abundance, but there are also grace and blessings.