Staff Meeting

As a writer I need structure, whether or not I want it at any given time. So I have a morning routine that is supposed to give me a good start to my day, energizing me for the segue into my “office” hours.

I start with a leisurely breakfast, complete with coffee and newspaper. Gotta work that Sudoku puzzle. Then I hop up, eager to get writing on my novel.

Oh, wait… I haven’t opened my Bible yet this morning. So I curl up on the sofa with Bible, journal, pen and another cup of coffee. Well, sometimes I do that. Many days I get sidetracked by anything from a load of stinky cycling clothes that need washing, to a stray piece of junk mail which engrosses me. Then I wander past the office, notice the computer, and sit down to untangle that character glitch or finish that half-done dramatic argument scene. Before I know it, it’s nearly lunch time, my Bible remains unread, and I have no idea what I’ve done with my coffee cup.

Yes, I get sidetracked and sort of forget about Bible study and prayer, but deep inside, a little part of me is actually… stalling. It makes no sense. If I want to write “Truth in Fiction,” my private motto, why am I so reluctant to settle down long enough to immerse myself in that Truth?

I suspect I’m not alone in my impatience to “get on with it.” I forget about the proverbial guy who has two hours to chop down a tree–heard about him?–He needs to spend the first hour sharpening his axe. So when I finally march myself over to my Bible and stuff, I may or may not really engage with my God. Often I feel more like a kid who begrudges having to finish her homework before she can play outside.

And when that happens, the writing that I was so eager to get to… um, let’s just say it doesn’t go too well.

The other day I was thinking about this and asked God how I could change my attitude. I asked the question more out of frustration than because I expected an answer. Nothing audible, anyway. Sure enough, everything remained quiet. But a phrase dropped into my mind, settling into place like a rose petal drifting down to float on a pool of water.

“Staff meeting.”

Huh? Then memory stirred–a pleasant memory, of my years on the support staff at our church. One morning each week we would meet with the pastors to discuss upcoming events, assign tasks and pray for each other and for our church members. It was cool. I always enjoyed being in on this behind-the-scenes preparation. Often our actions were pretty routine–Yes, I’ll design the flyers and print them, but don’t ask me to hang any in the men’s rooms–that sort of thing. But I always found it refreshing to hear the pastors’ dreams and goals, to see them brainstorm the challenges that faced us. Besides the camaraderie we all shared, these sessions generally gave me a sense of renewed purpose that I could take back to my desk.

The staff meeting never felt like an interruption to my work. Instead it was an important part of it.

Aha, I think I’m catching on. If I want to write fiction that conveys the truth and humor and wonder that life holds, fiction that blesses those who read it, then I am working for God. How can I work effectively if I don’t meet with the Boss? How would I know what to write? He sees the big picture; my random opinions add no value to the conversation.

And so this morning I ate, dashed off the Sudoku puzzle (Monday’s is the easiest one of the week) and headed straight for the sofa with my coffee. I read from God’s word, prayed for some folks, including myself, and thought about the story I am writing. Then I went into the office.

Most productive day in the last three or four weeks, thank you.

Long story short, it’s never a waste of time to sharpen your axe.

Thanks for reading,

I’m linking up with Jen for the Soli Deo Gloria blog party.

About Jan C. Johnson

Welcome! If you like food, reading, laughing over life's little disasters, and maybe thinking about the bigger things of life, you have come to the right place. Besides blogging, I write humorous fiction, though real life tends to leave fictional humor in the shade. But I'm not a total goofball. No, really. I'm also working on a biography project. I live in North Texas with my husband, Brent. We enjoy bicycling, Mexican food, and traveling to visit our kids and grandkids.
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18 Responses to Staff Meeting

  1. Anonymous says:

    Jan, Enjoyed reading, and your sharing how you felt about getting the day started.
    Just as you said, it works better when we start with God. How true are these lessons we learn from God! God love you for sharing.


  2. Rebekah says:

    This morning, I was tired and battled hard to get out of bed and then with my coffee and Bible in hand was blessed to read these words: “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” How I needed to read those words!
    Thanks for sharing, Your neighbour from SDG.


  3. Sammy says:

    Beautiful. When I miss that special time in the morning because I think something else is more important I spend the rest of the day with this feeling that I missed something very important. Thanks for helping me to remember what is most important.


  4. Dionne says:

    What a beautiful and gentle way to remind us of the most important meeting we need to have everyday! I love how you say that the meeting never felt like an interruption to your work…what a great picture of God…he is never an interruption, but leads us and gives us purpose and must be the first part of it. Love your post and will have to drop you a line over email. Missing you and praying for your process with writing! Blessings.


  5. Pamela says:

    Truth found here in your non-fiction writings. My writing goes better when I put God first, too. Rushing to my computer never seems to work, unless I’m writing my prayers. His praise on my screen easily flows from heart.


    • Jan says:

      Pamela, you always lift me up. Funny… the devotional I read this morning was about being a Mary, not a rush-around Martha. I get it… now if I can just remember it!


  6. yeah, you got me there, sister…………Jesus, help us all. Loved this!


  7. I’m so glad I read this today! The last two days I’ve needed that all important staff meeting and to do a little axe sharpening. But I’ve been a busy Martha… too busy to sit at the feet of Jesus. I’m going to grab some iced tea and my bible, and spend some sweet time with my Boss!
    Blessings to you ~ Mary

    Thanks for visiting my place!


  8. Valerie Freer says:

    Glad I read this (I’m behind on reading blogs again) AFTER I put in this morning’s post – else I wouldn’t have posted what I did! Great minds think alike??!

    Loved your post, however, and didn’t realize we also share a common history in ‘support staff at a church.’

    What a blessing that you can have all your hours to write…

    My own life is still divided…


    • Jan says:

      It’s an honor to be included with you in the “great minds” department. My life is divided, too, in its own way. But I am thankful to have much time for writing. Thank you for visiting, Sister.


  9. marlece says:

    I was laying in bed this morning thinking I would read later, it felt good to be all warm and cozy under the covers. Then, I’m sure I made it up in my head but it was like “no, you need to get up and spend time with ME so I can show you something” I actually thought this in my head, “I’m praying……” Then in my head I’m hearing, “you have done enough talking let ME speak to you” Ok, that was enough to make me jump.

    You always bring out the ‘important’ even when it is hard. Thanks Jan!


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