You know how some days you just read along with not much of an impact, noting details that support what you’ve seen before or that bring up questions, but nothing very significant? I’ve had a few of those recently. To be honest, it’s been a bit of a struggle to work on Perelandra much at all. Part of it is simple overwhelm – ‘geriatric’ pregnancy with three very active older kids, the heat of summer, annoying-but-not-medically-significant discomfort, trying to get work done on the house and being unable to keep up with even the normal dishes and tidying, thanks to the aforementioned discomfort. But underlying all that is a sense that maybe I was wrong. I’ve been working at this for over two years. I’ve been in contact with some scholars, but had no recent interactions. I’ve written an academic article, and had it rejected. So lately there’s been this sense that perhaps I was wrong. Maybe I’m really not qualified to do this work. And then there’s this sense of injustice. Why did God seemingly call me to this if He wasn’t going to equip me to do the work – to do it well, in a timely manner? At this rate I’ll be lucky to get a book out in 15 years! And where is the support that I need to be able to do the work – the stamina to do this AND dinner AND the dishes; the deep conversations with people who will enjoy discussing these ideas and give valuable feedback; the ability to travel to conferences or take classes?

And then today I read this. “He [Ransom] began to smart under a sense of injustice. What was the good of sending him—a mere scholar—to cope with a situation of this sort? Any ordinary pugilist, or, better still, any man who could make good use of a tommy gun, would have been more to the purpose. If only they could find this King whom the Green Woman kept on talking about. . . .” And I made a note about how this was an indication of Ransom’s immaturity – his failure to accept the task that God had given him to do, and to trust that He would provide the tools necessary to do it.

And then I realized that I’ve been doing the same thing. “Wouldn’t somebody with a doctorate in literature from some prestigious university be better suited to this job? Or at least somebody who had more cooperative kids and a clean house who could devote more time to it – at least an hour or two a day? Or somebody who had contacts in higher education and publishing who could help get the ball rolling? If only my circumstances would change so that I could do this properly.” But, just like Ransom, that is not who God has called. He has called me – messy house, hurting hands, kids-who-get-into-everything and all. How did Lewis put it earlier in the book? “One never can see, or not till long afterwards, why any one was selected for any job. And when one does, it is usually some reason that leaves no room for vanity. Certainly, it is never for what the man himself would have regarded as his chief qualifications.” I have no idea what qualifications I have that make me particularly suited to this work. But I can see why I had that little nudge to work on it today, even though I should really be working on dinner. (Actually, those kids-who-get-into-everything are starting dinner while I type. They can be helpful, too!) And so I’ll keep plugging away, whenever I can, trying to mature into a person who accepts all the waves with joy.

Next Post: “The King is always older than I”

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6 thoughts on “Where Work Meets Life

  1. Hi,

    Just want to write a few words of encouragement. I can resonate with you in the feeling of being (seemingly) unqualified for the job God called your to do and not being able to devote as much time as you would like to the project you love. I’m sure you have read this, but the story by Tolkien titled “Lead by Niggle” has always encouraged me in times of doubt and discouragement. Maybe it will be for you at this time. Keep going, there really is a tree.

    1. Thank you so much. I love that story – it would be a great re-read, or rather re-listen as I love the audio read by Derek Jacobi!

  2. Thanks for sharing some behind-the-scenes here…it’s valuable to know that someone who’s written things as powerful as you have can still have doubts.

    I must say, I am somewhat surprised (a little, I understand human nature and self-doubt, of course). Your writings are perceptive and eye-opening, and I even found your blog because Tim Keller mentioned it on his, so obviously your message is impactful! Not to give T.K. too much credit or anything, but I do trust his opinion.

    I like that you aren’t a highly accredited scholar, Esquire, etc. etc.! Maybe your thoughts and realizations are the beginning of a movement, maybe one day down the line a whole army of scholars will pick up where your expertise, connections, and acquired knowledge ends? Who knows? For now, what you are saying is enough for me and the journey I’m on.

    It’s all so exciting to me. I think what you’re writing about has immense significance.

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I think the very fact that it is significant is part of what gives me pause – I feel like I can’t devote the time and energy necessary to give it the attention it deserves. But I also must recognize that the very fact that no one has explored these ideas in writing before means that something about my unique perspective makes me uniquely qualified to write about it – though, like Lewis said, I don’t recognize the why.

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