Mama used the quote above quite often, and always in a voice so weary it sapped my energy, just hearing it. For the record, with eight kids, a husband she spoiled even worse than she did her children, and very little money to make things easier…I’m sure she was “all-fahr’d tired.” She’s gone now, and I sure do miss her, but I get a lot of pleasure out of imagining Mama in her mansion, without a thing to do unless she wants to do it, and with a brand new, healthy body—including feet without bunions and callouses and bone spurs.
As an adult, I’ve discovered the reality of being so tired it’s hard to drag one foot ahead of the other. As a Christian, I’ve also come to realize that sometimes the difficulty in taking that next step lies not in weariness, but in fear. Doubt. Lack of confidence in oneself…or in God.
I recently typed “The End” on a novel I’d struggled through for months. Satan seemed determined to keep that particular story from ever seeing print. But with God’s help and the encouragement of one incredible, special friend, it happened anyway. Writing “The End” relieved a lot of pressure for me, since I still have another novel to complete before the end of the year.
Funny thing, though. Despite the relief of having finished Book #1; and although I already had the next novel pretty much laid out in my mind…I found myself incapable of opening up a brand new document and starting to type words onto that blank screen. I could…not…take…that…step.
I was “s’ all-fahr’d tired” mentally that my mind refused to dive into yet another book so soon after finishing the last one.
So I gave myself a break—a short one. Just a day or two, because that’s all I could afford. While I was “resting from writing,” I thought about my inability to type “Chapter 1” and get going. And I realized something: I couldn’t take that next step because I was afraid. Afraid of stepping back into another battle arena with the devil. I was “too all-fahr’d tired” from the last go-round to willingly face another one.
But if I don’t take that step…put one foot in front of the other, and then take yet another step…I’m standing still. Making no progress. Going nowhere.
Death happens when life ceases—spiritually, physically, emotionally, or any other “ly” word that works. Lack of forward motion indicates the absence of either fuel (the “oomph” that makes things happen) or desire (the “want-to” that makes things happen).
I remember wondering, as a child, how come Mama kept getting up every morning and doing what she said she was “too all-fahr’d tired” to do…putting one foot in front of the other. Now I know why. Mama may have only had a second-grade education, as far as what she called “book learnin’,” but she was a pretty savvy lady, after all. She knew that when she stopped putting one foot in front of the other, she’d die.
So here I sit, typing words that I hope will mean something to you. Because when I stop writing them, the words will stop coming.
When you and I stop caring enough to take the next step, we’ve reached the end of the road…and our journey as writers (Christians, wives, mothers, friends…fill in the blank) will be over.
Think of the words Paul said to his beloved Timothy (2 Tim. 1:6)—“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you…”
When the flames are dying in a campfire, the watchperson will blow on them, or fan them—providing a little more oxygen to add life to the dying fire. Remember the old-fashioned bellows? That was their purpose, as well.
And that’s what God expects us to do when we think we’ve taken the last step we can take, written the last word we have in us, sang the last song our voices can handle, helped the last person our pocketbooks can survive. When the fire seems too far gone, He wants us to fan into flame the gift He placed within us. When we’ve stood until we think we will surely fall flat on our faces, He wants us to stand a little longer. (Eph. 6:13…and having done all, to stand.)
When we truly, truly reach the end of our strength, He will be there with His.
In the meantime, however, it’s important to not be weary in well doing (Gal. 6:9); for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
You know, I think that means we ought not get “s’ all-fahr’d tired we cain’t hardly put one foot in front o’ the other’n.” Because weariness leads to growing faint…and the promise of reaping goes to those who faint not.
We could learn from Dory, the cute little blue fish in the animated film Finding Nemo. “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.”
So here goes. One word. And then the next.
One foot. And then the other.
Until the end.
Rev. 21:15--And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
Lexi's Heart - Part of the Heart's Haven Series by Pelican Book Group!
DELIA LATHAM is a born-and-bred California gal, currently living in the small mountain town of Tehachapi with her husband Johnny. She’s a Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend—but above all, she treasures her role as child of the King and heir to the throne of God.
A former newspaper Staff Writer and frequent contributor to her hometown’s regional publication, Bakersfield Magazine, she has also freelanced projects to a public relations firm and various magazines; has compiled, edited, and designed cover art for various Kindness Incorporated projects; and sold greeting card verse. Find out more about this author on her website, blog, Facebook Author Page, or Twitter. She also shares a blog with the Heart’s Haven