June 14, 2015

No more. Please. No more! Bobbi Junior

     It was June, and the last few weeks of Grade One for my little girl. The year-end days were being filled with field trips, track events, hot-dog lunches, and more. 

     Andrea’s little brother and I were in the backyard, waiting for her to come home from school. Her class had held a games tournament that afternoon, and I expected to hear all about it. 
     The back gate squeaked. Luke babbled as his sister walked up the sidewalk. Calmly, she went to a basement window, and kicked her foot through it. 
     Andrea! My sweet, strong-willed but always gentle little girl kicked out a basement window!
     I think we were both in shock. She stood and looked at what she’d done, and I did the same for a few moments. This was so out of character for her, it didn’t occur to me to be angry. What in the world was going on?
     I brought her to the step and we sat down.
     “Tell me what’s going on, Sweetie.”
     Silence for a minute. And then, “Do I have to go to school, Mom?”
     “Is something wrong at school?”
    “They keep….   doing things.  Every day they DO things. Why can’t it just be school?”
     Discovering our children’s personality is an ongoing exercise for a parent. It was in this moment I identified that my little girl thrived on routine. An occasional diversion was fun, but day after day after day? The excitement had become too much of a good thing.
     “Well, do you want to stay home on the activity days, and just go for the school part?”
     “Could I?” she begged, her eyes wide and glistening. 
     “You can.”
     We stuck to our agreement, and nothing more was destroyed. 
     Twelve months later, as Grade Two wound to a close, I sat Andrea down to make a plan. 
     “Do you remember last year when you got so upset about all the activities at school?”
    “I think that this year you should pick just two things they’ve planned, so you don’t get all worn out again. What do you think?”
     Tears filled her hazel eyes and she stuffed her thumb in her mouth.
     “Do I have to pick two?”
* * *
     This week, had there been a basement window near my foot, I might have had the same urge my child had, all those years ago. So many exciting things have been happening in my writerly life in the past year, that only by the grace of God has this introverted newbie-writer been able to survive the intensity. Good things in the writing and speaking world come with work - work being directed by those requesting your presence, your participation, your words, according to their agenda.
     It seemed things were winding to a close with an event last Monday, but then edits for a dangling project I’d almost forgotten about arrived at my inbox. When I opened it and saw the barrage of comment boxes, I crashed. 
      No more, Lord. I can’t do it. Please, can’t I just pull out? Would you mind?
     Just as I had taken my little girl and sat down with her on the steps, the Lord drew me close to him. I knew from his Spirit within me that it didn’t matter one way or the other what I did with the story. I was, I am, his little girl. His pleasure is in me, in our love for each other, not in what I accomplish. What a glorious sense of peace, to know if I never produce another word, I am still his beloved child.
     I haven’t come to terms with what I’ll do with my story that now seems to be more the editor’s story than mine. I have determined not to decide until I am well rested and can think about it without feeling stressed. Then I’ll ask the Lord what he would have me do.
     In the meantime, I will rest in the pleasure of knowing that he takes pleasure in me, just as I am. 



  1. Oh, Bobbi, what an honest acknowledgement this is! Here we are basking in your success and the big upsweep in your writing career without even thinking how this could be way over-the-top for you. Your writing career has swallowed up your life at the present and you are overwhelmed. I know this would be too much for me too. I seek quiet. I need quiet, slow, peaceful, rhythmic days.

    Thanks for sharing this with us and sharing how you talked this over with God. Sometimes we need to be careful about what we want and pray for. I especially like what you have concluded: "I knew from his Spirit within me that it didn’t matter one way or the other what I did with the story. I was, I am, his little girl. His pleasure is in me, in our love for each other, not in what I accomplish."

    I pray that, after a step back, Bobbi, you will know what to do about this story. When someone changes what we are saying too much, we can graciously retract it for further consideration.

  2. Also, Bobbi, I see one of your links is "burnout." That is what I experienced some years ago. This becomes a pattern that repeats itself. Again this spring, the doctor told me, "Stress and exhaustion." We really have to love ourselves enough to take care of ourselves. When Jesus said, "Love your neighbour as yourself," he was inferring that it's okay, it's important to love ourselves. We are God's creation and his beloved children.

    It is okay to say, No or Not at this time.

    1. I really like your take on "Love your neighbour as yourself", Sharon. If we don't do that, if we don't mindfully watch for our own signs of burnout, then there won't be any of ourselves available to love our neighbour! A very good perspective.

  3. This reminded me of a time at Track & Field when my grade five son got so overwhelmed with the excitement and stress that he kicked one of his best friends! That was when I took him home....and was glad that I was there to do so!! And yes...as adults we can also go through times where we feel like 'kicking out a window' although hopefully not our best friend LOL...This also made me think of my reporting days so much....I miss reporting on my 'good' days and am glad that it is gone on my 'not so good' days. I was reading Ecclesiastics this week...the chapter that talks about 'for everything there is a time and a purpose for every season under heaven." There is a lot to glean from that chapter both as a writer and as an individual. I pray that God will continue to show you His perfect timing in all that you do.

    1. So my little girl wasn't the only child to become overwhelmed with good things? Thanks for sharing your son's story. Solomon's words were indeed wise. To everything there is a season. Asking Jesus what the weather is like is probably a good idea on those not-so-good days. :)

  4. I love your candour. For those of us that know you personally, we have been especially excited to see you receiving so much publicity and success. It's interesting to see the other side of the coin. But God will not give you more than you can handle. Your analogy was spot on and sometimes we just need to fall into the arms of Jesus and let Him shelter us from too much of a good thing.Praying that God will give you new energy for what lies ahead. (I'm not claiming to be a prophet, but I predict a lot more 'opportunities' for you in the future. You heard it here first!!) Your words are having an impact and God has allowed a lot of things in your life for a reason.I'll be amping up my prayer support!

    1. Thanks for your prayers, Tracy. This writerly walk has many twists and turns. All good, but all requiring that we lean on the Lord.

  5. Bobbi, I know Track Changes can look very intimidating when you look at it first. I'm sorry it was difficult for you to see. I can certainly assure you that I love this story and in no way is it my intention that it be anyone's story but yours. My edits are always suggestions as to ways something might be made even better, and I am always open to dialogue with you privately about anything I've suggested. I do understand how it could be overwhelming.

    Because our books go all over the world now, I always read as if I were a person in some other country who has no idea who you are or how our culture works, So I try to suggest things I believe will help that person grasp the story.

    As writers, it's very difficult for any of us to be completely objective about our work because we know what we meant.

    1. NJ, you make an important point. In the role of writer, we tend to see, almost with tunnel vision, the story, the concept we want to get across. But an editor, a good editor, will be looking at the big picture and all that entails. Both perspectives are important, and with Jesus in the middle, both perspectives can come together to compliment each other and bring about a work that will glorify him. Thanks for your gracious reply.

  6. Patricia Anne Elford7:59 pm GMT-7

    You don't need my approval, Bobbi, but I join in saying, Snuggling into Christ's arms and regaining/maintaining perspective is definitely the way to go. Positive stress, as you already know, is every bit as stressful as negative stress. It's just that the negative stress is so much easier to recognize, and for others around you to recognize, as a threat to the equilibrium.

  7. Thanks for reminding me that I too am that little girl--that Jesus sits down with me on the steps and snuggles me close to Him and it is there that I can relax, rest and find peace. And it is there, as we sit quietly with Him, delighting in Him, that He gives us the desires of our hearts. (Ps 37:4--Remember?!)

  8. Bobbi, Thank-you for this post ... I have been too busy for several weeks, all good things ... thank-you for this, it was just what I needed to hear.


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