Devastated but Determined
A devotional by Chaplain Paul Anderson
“…Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.” ~Habakkuk 2:2 (KJV)
Dreams have no deadline, but inspiration has a gestation period.
Have you ever awakened with a vibrant idea that could lead to greatness but were too busy to write it down and pursue it? I have. Several times. Alfred North Whitehead wisely said that, “Ideas won’t keep. Something must be done about them.”
The first step in nurturing creativity is to write down good ideas as soon as you can after it is perceived. Write with as much detail and clarity as possible. Later, review what you wrote and expand on the idea. If you do not, the power and clarity of the inspiration will fade. I am actually, smarting from the loss of a good idea that recently faded due to my own proclivity to distraction.
I woke up one day about two years ago, inspired, with a book in my spirit. Immediately, I wrote the introduction and outlined 12 chapters. It was to be a short, small book about first aid for injured relationships. I would think about it, ponder thoughts and write, occasionally, but soon, I lost the muse.
I regained the passion this year, in March. I wrote diligently on my iPad, saved each addition and almost finished the book. Then, I got distracted, again. When I went back to the file, it was gone. All that was left of my work was the original outline. Devastated does not begin to express how I felt.
Procrastinating when inspired is a bad and costly habit. The book that I was working on, once completed, may or may not have sold a million copies. The cost, however, of losing it, is not counted in money, but in the content, context and currency of the soul.
Last week I stood among the ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus, in Turkey. Among the artifacts of the ancient city was found and displayed a marble fresco honoring the ancient, mythological, goddess Athena. Athena was a fierce and ruthless warrior. Victory was her slogan.
The marketing gurus of the popular sports brand, Nike, extracted their logo, the swoosh, from that fresco and the legend of Athena. Her sense of immediacy in battle was condensed into the marketing slogan, “Just do it!”
When noble inspiration strikes you, don’t delay or procrastinate. Just do it! Write it down so that others may learn from it, advance it and grow.
The lyrics of the third stanza of the rousing ballad “Lift Every Voice and Sing” capture the pathos of lost inspiration: “Stony the road we trod/bitter the chastening rod/felt in the day that hope unborn had died…”
Dreams unpursued that lay stagnant in our souls are often reabsorbed into the cosmic nexus of inspiration, to be shared with a different responsive spirit, or die stillborn in our souls. When a woman miscarries a baby, it must be extracted lest the decay within challenge her continued existence. What happens when inspiration dies inside? The soul becomes putrefied and withers.
However, praise be upon him, God, the ultimate muse, is a restorer. God believes in and generates new beginnings. A lost opportunity is not the end of life. It should be instructive and act as an igniter when a new muse whispers.
Be assured that the next book that God inspires in my spirit will be written. The next noble impetus in my soul will be acted upon, quickly. May the same determination that I feel be your experience as well.
Go forth and conquer. Your success is conditioned by your response to inspiration. Just do it! Do it now and complete what you started.
Chaplain Anderson served for 20 years as a U.S. Navy Chaplain. Over 26 years of active duty, he was promoted through the ranks from Seaman Apprentice (E2) to his final rank as Commander (O5) in the Chaplain’s Corps.
Prior to his Naval career, Chaplain Anderson pastored in the Allegheny East and Potomac Conferences of Seventh-day Adventists. His undergraduate preparation for ministry was completed at Columbia Union College (WAU) in Takoma Park, Maryland. He has subsequently earned four graduate degrees–a Master of Divinity from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, a Master of Education in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland and a Masters of Sacred Theology in Religion and Culture from Boston University. His Doctor of Ministry degree was conferred by Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.
Chaplain Anderson also completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He also holds certifications in Suicide Awareness and Prevention, Civil Mediation, Alternative Workplace Dispute Resolution, Temperament Analysis, Marriage Enrichment, Workforce Diversity, and is a certified Life Coach.