I met Mary B. while traveling home from a writing conference. The airport was under the assault of an early spring ice storm, and we struck up conversation during the long wait at our gate. In what could have been a miserable travel day, I made a friend, and it’s been a delight to know her. I appreciate the mix of heart and snark that always appears in her writing, and the raw honesty she brings to her faith.
Today, Mary B. shares her experience as an Everyday Disciple. Enjoy!
One year ago I started writing a book. Four months ago I quit my restaurant job and started writing full-time. After three months of blog posting and pitching and development, I'm about to have my first piece published. It's not a paid publication, but it's a step in the right direction. Unpaid progress is still progress, right?
Working for myself is amazing and terrifying. On the one hand, I can work on my own terms. On the other, I have to do everything, and there are no guarantees that I will get any return on my investment. And yet, here I am, doing what I can day by day, moving forward, and believing that I'm doing the right thing. If I just keep pushing, things will take off.
Let me just tell you, it isn't as glamorous as I thought it would be. I probably should have known. After all, I spent almost a year as an international missionary, the most over-glorified calling in the Christian faith, and most days were absurdly ordinary. I was still me, I was just in a different country. I didn't magically become better, or even feel better about myself. I should have learned that this is true in most areas of life and faith.
As I sit at my laptop writing these words, I wonder what exactly I'm putting my faith in. Is it Jesus? Or is it my ability to hustle, my business practices, my obsession with perfection? Is it the online course I took on how to be a writer? Or is it some sort of karmic logic, which states that if I put the work in, I will be rewarded? I believe in this calling and in the voice and experiences that I have been given. I believe that I was made to share them. I believe that this is what I'm supposed to be doing at this moment in my life.
But that doesn't make me any less human. My words and my works cannot save me from the soul-deep longings that I keep trying to outrun. My desire for approval and control are still alive and well. My insecurity and my uncertainty, my anxiety and fear are as well.
I guess that's the comforting thing about following Jesus. He is able to use my feeble attempts at faithfulness for his glory. In spite of it all, he can take these words and make them into something cooler than I could ever ask or imagine. In fact, it is my insufficiency that makes me the most qualified (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
I think that being faithful and disciplined in my work is about openness and longing. It's about seeing the desires that I have been given, the passion for my niche, and using that to love and serve. I think it's also about trusting Jesus to redeem what I mess up.
Today, I remember Hebrews 11, a chronological list of the greats of the faith and the impossible things God was able to do through them. In describing Sarah, the author writes that, "she considered him faithful who had made the promise" (Hebrews 11:11, NIV). Whether I feel that truth on any given day or not, I choose to sit down and put my fingers on the keyboard. I schedule an interview for my upcoming podcast. I read a book. I sabbath. I do one little thing that honors the place where God has set my feet, begrudgingly or joyfully.
Maybe this will work out and maybe it won't. But even if I crash and burn, even if all this work and worry amounts to nothing, I am certain of one thing: this is not wasted time.
Mary B. Safrit is a NYC-based writer, speaker, and soon-to-be podcaster. Her work has been featured in Fathom Magazine and on the Now She Rises blog. In her upcoming book, Unsuitable, Mary B. describes her life as a single Christian woman and how she learned to claim her place in the church and the world. Follow her blog at marybsafrit.com, Twitter and Instagram @maryBsafrit.