I am pretty sure that I would never make it as a newspaper columnist who has to produce a new article every day. There are many days when I just don’t feel very creative. My mind seems to be dull, sluggish, and unproductive. This is one of those days. On days like this, I begin to question myself. I start to wonder if I have come to the end of my creative abilities.
When I have days, like today, it is important for me to stop and examine what is going on in my life that may have brought me here. I recently returned from a week of vacation, so my trouble can’t be that I need time away. But, I did spend most of my day off yesterday working outside in hot, muggy weather. I woke up this morning feeling a little out of sorts. I’m sure that being tired from yesterday’s activities has something to do with it. Also, we just came off of a big weekend, with the carnival. There is always a certain amount of emotional let-down after something like that. Besides all of that, Tuesday is my Monday, and everyone knows how hard Mondays can be.
The real danger on days like today is that Satan loves to use them to sow the seeds of doubt, discontent, and discouragement. Dull days make me wonder if I have come to the end of my ministry journey. They make we question whether I really have anything important or significant to say. I can hear Satan whispering in my ear, “You’re just going through the motions. Maybe it is time to pack it in.”
I’m sure there were days when the Apostle Paul felt as I do at times. His ministry was far more strenuous and demanding than mine is. He didn’t have to cope with just dull days. He had to cope with being run out of town, being stoned and beaten, and being thrown in prison. There had to be a few days when He was asking himself if this was all worth it. But we know that he always came back to the same answer, Yes.
Paul recognized that the ability to accomplish his task was not totally dependent upon him. Whether he felt on top of his game, or clueless, he knew that God would empower him to do what needed to be down. He made his position clear in 2 Corinthians 3:5-6. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant--not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. On my dull days, I need to be reminded that my competence comes from the Lord and not from me.
The other thing Paul always kept in mind was that his work was not through. No matter how he felt, God had called him to play a very important role. God had a plan for Paul’s life, and Paul was determined to live it out. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me. Philip. 1:21-26
On my dull days, I remember that God has brought me to this place, and He is not done with me yet. Although I don’t see all that God is doing, or how God wants to use me, He has not released me from my call to faithfully serve Him where He has placed me. So on dull days and brilliant days, I press on toward the goal to win the prize to which I have been called in Christ Jesus.