I would argue that in life, it is easiest to overlook the small things, the short things, and the seemingly meaningless things. After all, how can something so tiny have such a big impact? While I am completely guilty of overlooking the simplest lessons of everyday life, once in a while God will open my eyes to something that I have looked at a million times before, but never actually seen.
This past weekend was not one of those times—it was huge, to say the least. I went to a conference where I was surrounded by powerful women (and a few men) who brought the best of what they had to offer and did it all for the glory of Christ. I made connections, and friends, and did all of the things I was supposed to do; I even took away significant lessons from influential people. But when I returned back to my ‘normal’ life, something started to happen… something very small.
All the little details of the weekend came flooding back, and I realized the true significance of all the people I met and the speakers I listened to; my takeaway was not the big thing—it was the four word sentence that fell randomly into a lecture, it was the miniscule piece of advice that I got from the woman sitting next to me, and it was the feedback I got in the form of rejection. Those little things are what stuck, and they are the lessons I am most likely to recall, and to take action on.
Tucked in the book of John, at the end of chapter twenty, is a short section containing only forty-eight words and two verses. It reads:
“Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of this disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
The fitting title of this section is “The Purpose of This Book”. Now, I cannot tell you if ‘this Book” refers to the book of John, the Gospels, the New Testament, or the entire Bible— but I can tell you that I have never read that section before today. It was so small; I skipped it. Right in the midst of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus—the literal climax of the Bible—are two of the most important verses of the entire story. And I skipped them.
Every writer knows that a good story answers the staple questions: who, what, when, where, and why? The recounting of Jesus’s life story gives us the who, the what, the when, and the where, but these two verses give us the why. Without it, the who, what, when, and where would be meaningless. If Jesus did not preach, teach, come into the flesh and die a criminal’s death, then rise again—you and I would be paying for our wrongdoing with our own lives.
Every person I spoke with through the course of the conference asked me, “What are you writing?” And of course, I could tell them. But when one women changed the question to, “Why are you writing?” I was at a loss.
During one of my sessions, my tired mind was drifting in and out of actually listening—until I heard something that I knew God meant for me.
“You are putting too much of yourself in your writing…” she said.
Talk about convicting.
I tried to come up with an excuse in my head: “Well, of course I am going to put myself in my writing. I’m telling my story.”
No. I knew it was wrong as soon as I thought it. He corrected me so quickly and so gently.
This is God’s story. I’m not writing for me or about me. If I were, my words would become mere stems of pain in you or the world, because I don’t know how to use them of my own accord. Hire a carpenter to bake your wedding cake and you’ll be eating sawdust.
When I read those verses (30-31) in John 20, it clicked for me.
Jesus is performing miracles all around me, every day. Not all of them are on this blog, or even in writing, but the ones I include and the ones I share are so that you may believe and live life to the full in Him.
My why is you. And His why in choosing me to share my victories, shortcomings, and lessons learned, is you too. He wants to win your heart and your life.
So I challenge you to evaluate the thing you do—writing, singing, dancing, loving, mothering—and pay closer attention to the little things you might normally overlook.
What’s your why?