It doesn’t really matter what occupation you’re in, you’ll need a healthy dose of faith/perspiration to get through each day. What do I mean by that? Aren’t faith and work opposites?
Because I’m an inspirational writer, the simple truth for today may sound contradictory. Let me try to explain that truth from a writer’s perspective. Do I believe in inspiration? Absolutely! Without God “breathing in,” we writers have nothing to write.
It’s what we trust in but don’t see yet that keeps us going (2 Corinthians 5:7, MSG).
God Is the Source of Every Good Idea
God is the source of every good idea and hopefully, He is the One who inspires all that we do. But if I wait to write until I’m truly “inspired” with a new idea, my creativity might be limited. Perspiration is needed as well. Writing is probably 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration. And that’s true in writing–and in life.
Perspiration Equals Faith
But the “perspiration” also involves faith. To face a blank computer screen or notebook requires faith–faith that when I start typing, something of substance and significance will emerge from my brain (eventually). It takes faith to keep on going when you have no idea where you’re headed. (That’s not an excuse for poor planning or good organization of ideas. It just means that the perspiration of faith will bring you to a good destination if you keep at it).
When I write a book, devotion, greeting card, blog, etc., I generally have an idea that may have arrived on the wings of inspiration. But nine times out of ten, I then must flesh out that idea on faith. That’s when my perspiration truly equals faith. That’s when I cry out (in faith): “Lord, I can’t do this, but I know You can!”
Don’t Hold Your Breath
This principle applies to all of us, no matter what we “do.” Oswald Chambers says, “Never live for the rare moments, they are surprises. God will give us touches of inspiration when He sees we are not in danger of being led away by them.” He adds, “If we try to reintroduce the rare moments of inspiration, it is a sign that it is not God we want.”1
Living/walking by faith, rather than inspiration, means we are not holding our breath until God comes through with another miracle. Instead we recognize our life and work is a miracle from God in itself. God loves us, and loves to surprise us (and does so often), especially when He knows we want Him more than the surprises. But whether you’re a writer, a parent, a blue-collar or white-collar worker, it’s in the everyday work of life that we need and depend on God the most. That’s where God forms and firms our character–and it’s where most people see what and who we are really like.
If you haven’t guessed by now, “inspiration” is another word for “sight.” It’s when God makes plain to us the idea, the plan, the path–and yes, maybe the answer we’ve longed for. But when that’s not as evident to us, faith turns to “perspiration”: the dogged determination to trust God through any given situation, and to keep on being faithful, doing our work, even when God’s moments of inspiration seem distant or rare.
The Test of True Faith
The test of true faith is what you do “in between the miracles.” Thank God for the inspiration. But live faithfully by perspiration.
1Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest Journal (Uhrichsville, OH: Barbour Publishing, special edition, by permission of Discovery House Publishers, 2001).