#FEARLESS365 is a yearlong study of God’s commandment to us to live without fear. For 365 days, we will focus on one scripture and volunteers from all over the world will share their personal thoughts and what God has shared with them on the specific verse. For more info… go here.
For what has man for all his labor, and for the striving of his heart with which he has toiled under the sun? For all his days are sorrowful, and his work burdensome; even in the night his heart takes no rest. This also is vanity. Ecclesiastes 2:22-23
Hi there. My name is Neil and I’m a writer. It feels a bit strange to say that, but at the moment it’s the closest thing I’ve got to a job – I’m just not being paid for it.
To back up a bit, in November 2015, I began to sense god telling me to leave my job. I was more than a bit puzzled. Was that right? Why should I do that? And what would I do? Through much prayer over the next few months, I came to believe it was right to leave my job. Then that year. Then in the summer. When I got to that point, I started to get the sense that God wanted me to write a book about art and creativity. The book I am now writing.
I resigned from my job at the start of August, and finished a few days into September. Since then I have been writing the book. Which has been going well, I think – four months on, and I’ve almost finished the first draft. Which seems good to me.
And all this is useful background for the verse I was given, Ecc 2:22, which is about work. It asks the question ‘what does a man get for all his toil and striving’; so what does God have to say through that? What He said to me is (relatively) simple, but a bit more background is needed.
Over the last few months while I’ve been writing, I haven’t really had a regular income, and at times I haven’t known what to do about money. Which I have at times responded to with a certain amount of stress, and, yes, fear. I prayed with a friend about this at one point, and I remember him saying that he was sure I was doing the right thing; but also that he thought I was brave. I said in response that I didn’t see it like that – that I felt the situation was more like I could do something I would find fulfilling, or, well, not.
Which brings us back to the verse. At times, it has felt so easy to just focus on getting a job, and when I have one, just let this happen as and when it happens – or even if. And through this verse, God pointed out, very gently, that I could do that, but would I really want to? I have the chance here to make a difference, to do something that maybe no-one else could do; and would I really want to let that go in order just to get through life.
At times, that has seemed like a very attractive option, however. And that reminds me of something God said to me many years ago when I was listening to a missionary speak. I thought something along the lines of wanting to have stories like that, and God said, quite clearly, “If you want to have stories like that, you have to live them first”. Whenever I have told people that in the past, they have basically shrugged and said ‘well, yeah’; and now, I really wonder if they had any idea what it is like to live ‘stories like that’. Thankfully, God does.