Monday, January 17, 2011

Startitis and Stick-to-itivity: Gratitude 20

Lately I've developed a case of startitis.  Usually I've heard this term used to describe a knitter's or crocheter's compulsion to begin a multitude of projects, say, a dozen, in an impossibly short time like a couple of days.  When the attack passes, the victim's home is cluttered with UFOs (unfinished objects), many of which the crafter doesn't even like when sanity returns.  Still, no one seems to have found a cure for this malady, although a straitjacket and temporarily freezing the bank accounts of the sufferer hold some promise.

My current case of startitis, however, does not involve yarn but books.  Suddenly I have a stack of seven or eight books, all of which must be read. Right. Now.  The oddity is that the compulsion to choose the books and obtain them from library or friend or shop does not extend as much to the actual reading of them.  Because I want to read them all immediately and cannot do so, I find it nearly impossible to commit to just one (or two or three) and get to reading.  It feels like rejecting all the others, but really it's just impatience.

In contrast, in my Bible reading so far this year, the repeated pattern of delays has struck me.
  • Most Sunday school children know that Noah's flood lasted 40 days and 40 nights.  It surprised me to notice that Noah, his family, and all the animals but the scout birds actually stayed in the ark for a year and 10 days before God said, "Go out."  Talk about cabin fever! (Genesis 7:11, 13; 8:14)
  • Abram had waited 10 years from God's promise of land, seed, and blessing before he and Sarai implemented the surrogacy plan resulting in Ishmael's birth a year later.  They endured 13 more years of waiting before God spoke again promising Isaac in another year's time (Genesis 16:3, 16; 17:1).
  • Abraham and Isaac persevered in obedience 3 days up Mount Moriah before seeing the lamb God provided (Genesis 22:4).
  • Isaac and Rebekah waited through 20 years of infertility before the twins were born (Genesis 25:20-21, 26).
  • Joseph waited at least 20 years between the dream-promise of honor among his family and its fulfillment (Genesis 37:2-11; 41:46; 41:53-42:3).
The Lord tells us in Psalm 105 that the word of promise tested Joseph during the delay (Psalm 105:19). Might we say the same of the other patriarchs and even of ourselves when we choose trust as we live in the gap between promise and fulfillment?

Until the time that his [God's] word came to pass,
The word of the LORD tested him.
Psalm 105:19

In that light, I see startitis as a temptation.  It's easy to make plans and gather ideas; the challenge and the honor lie in sticking with the plans God sets until His timing for their completion.  In the mean time, the word of the Lord tests us: do we really believe He is faithful to keep His promises and good in His timing?  How does such belief manifest itself in behavior and attitude?

Gentle reader, if this day finds you discouraged in your waiting, in indeterminate delays in the dreams you thought God had given,  I pray Paul's words to the Colossians for you:
May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,  giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light (Colossians 1:11-12, ESV).

And since it's Monday, here is a glimpse of my gratitude list, #3365-3375:
~Red roses still pretty on the table after two weeks
~Birthday balloon still afloat in living room
~Nephew-made art on wall
~Snugged up in warm house during days of chilly grey weather
~Greeting cards in mail
~Ability to contribute to the needs and desires of God's servants around the world
~A good report from the cardiologist last week
~A referral for possible treatment of persistent non-cardiac chest pain  (praying about this)
~A wealth of reading material
~God's abundant and gracious promises
~Our Father's perfect timing


  1. I needed this today, because I have Bible-study startitis. And 18 loads of laundry to do. Also one child who won't nap, one child who will nap only on my lap, and one child who is even now writing a 3-page book report on why he should speak kindly to his stepdad. There are many signs, groans, and pencil smacks coming from that room. Occasional "Mom!" yells, too, which isn't helping the napping situation for either of the babies. I need endurance and patience with joy. Blessings to you and yours.

  2. @Brandee Shafer You have my sympathetic prayers and admiration. Motherhood is such an important and honorable job but not for the faint of heart!

    Grace and peace to you and your family in Christ Jesus.

  3. Those are some amazing facts about time in Scripture. I did not know those. Thanks for sharing.

  4. @signingcharity You're welcome. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your Monday with me! God bless your week.

  5. Thanks for the well wishes! You inspired me to write a blog post on joy:


Thank you for sharing your day with me! Your presence here is a gift. *You* are a gift. Right now I am unable to reply to every comment, but please know I read and pray for each and every commenter. Grace and peace to you in Christ.