This article was first posted on The Write Conversation on Sunday, August 22. It is a great reminder to stay in God’s pocket without trying to forge ahead on our own. I’d heard a sermon about this once, and the pastor asked: “Are you asking God to show you His plan, or are you marching ahead, asking for God’s blessings?” I believe blessings come from obedience and total surrender. But enough babble. Here’s Edie’s devo. And remember, if you think this is one that should make the top three of 2010, leave a comment, fb share it, like it, or tweet it, and I’ll tally all the tweets, shares, likes and comments at the end. (And don’t forget to support Edie by visiting her blog.)

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Ps 37:7 (NIV)

I don’t know about you, but waiting patiently isn’t in my top ten of favorite things to do—it’s actually closer to somewhere in the bottom ten. I hate being patient, whatever it is—I want it, and I want it now. I would like to think I’m a product of my times and environment. After all, we live in a world of the instant now. How nice it would be to put the blame somewhere other than my immaturity.

But God has shown me that’s all impatience is, immaturity with a mask. This has been particularly true with my writing life So many times, if God had given me the answer the moment I asked, I would have missed out on so much. I would have missed the sweet prayer time, the fellowship with others who shared in my journey, and the ultimate joy of something anticipated and achieved. I would have also missed out on being used by God to teach and comfort others as they saw Him work in my life.

Most important, God has shown me that had I rushed His timing, I’d have traded an immediate good for an ultimate best. For years I’ve enjoyed success in my freelance writing, but an idea that led to a published book proved elusive. I watched my contemporaries and even some of those I’ve mentored land contracts with no success of my own. I cried out to God, asked why and received no satisfactory answer. Then, this very month, the magic happened. I now have joined the ranks of those contracted authors. Even better is the book God chose for my first.

My first book will be a devotional for those with loved ones serving in the military. I wish I could share the gift this book is to me. Our oldest son served in the Marine Corps. He went straight from high school to boot camp to Iraq. I truly believe this book is one of the many ways God is redeeming that time of struggle in our family’s life. So yes, I had to wait, but it was worth it!

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Edie Melson is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for life’s stories. She loves to share her 16+ years experience in the field of writing through mentoring and teaching others. She’s a member of several professional writing organizations, including The Christian Pen, The Christian Writer’s View I and ACFW, where she serves as the Editor for the Southeast Zone Newsletter and staff reviewer for Afictionado Magazine. You can visit Edie on her popular writing blog, The Write Conversation. Married 29 years to husband, Kirk, they have raised three sons.

This morning I received an email from a dear friend who’s struggling to keep her head above water. Wave after wave has crashed over her, making it hard for her to see the shore. She’s so exhausted, she’s started to wonder if perhaps she’ll remain lost at sea forever.

As I read the obstacles, struggles, fears and concerns she shared, I was reminded of my first open water swim. The water was cold and somehow the 500 meters across the lake seemed double to the twenty-lap equivalent in the pool. There weren’t any clearly marked lines painted along the bottom. Only a blur of feet pelting me in the head and face and the occasional buoy shrouded in fog. As wave after wave swept over me, filling my nose and mouth with murky lake water, it felt like I was fighting a loosing battle. For every exhausting stroke forward, the current seemed to take me two strokes back. And the harder the current pulled, the harder I kicked. Before long, my tense muscles killed my buoyancy. My legs sank, throwing my entire body off alignment. For about two minutes. Then, muscle memory kicked in and my body relaxed, allowing me to follow the gentle ebb and flow of the current.

The result? The minute I quit fighting and striving and pounding the water, my body started to relax. And a relaxed body floats much better than a tense one. Before long, I fell into a nice, smooth rhythm that carried me to shore with little effort on my part.

I think the same holds true for our spiritual life as well. We’ll hear God’s call. Maybe it’s too start a new Sunday school class or join a critique group, or maybe it’s to go back to school after ten, twenty or thirty years out. And all we can see are all the waves crashing against our face, pulling us back to shore. We begin to sink under a torrent of to-do lists and expectations, forgetting that the God who told us to jump in is ready and able to carry us to the shore. And he’s already got our course mapped out. He knows which way the wind is blowing, which way the waves will crash and which currents will carry us the farthest. It is our choice, then, to close our eyes and relax, allowing our bodies to float in whatever direction He carries us, knowing that He will not let us drown, or we can pummel against the waves, beating ourselves into a frenzy of exhaustion as we fight against the current.

The funny thing is, ten (or twenty or thirty, God only knows) years from now we’ll end up in the same place–standing on the shore looking back over God’s faithfulness, grateful for the lessons learned along the way. The question is, what will our condition be once we arrive? Exhausted from a life of striving or peacefully content after having taken the ride of our lives?

I am amused to find this post a perfect example. Last night and this morning I struggled  to come up with some amazing article to add to my blog today. What’d I come up with? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Finally, I decided to let it go. After all, wracking an empty brain is a waste of time. And then this morning, in God’s timing, I received my email that triggered a head full of words. In an instant, without any brainstorming or striving, I knew exactly what I was to write. And I let the gently flowing current do the rest.