Decision-making takes care of goal-setting, but discipline also takes care of goal-getting. Decisions and discipline can’t be separated; one is worthless without the other.
- John C. Maxwell
Ye have not, because ye ask not. (James 4:2)
I had been on this crazy book deadline for weeks, writing 12 to 14 hours a day just to meet my word-count quota.
It wasn’t ideal but at least I love what I do. As most writers are, I am a creature of habit. I have a favorite place to write in my house, a room just off our kitchen with two walls of very large windows and the best views of M Street. In the corner of that “office” is a comfy chair with a matching footstool, made especially for people with short legs. It’s one of the only pieces of furniture we have that actually fits me. I can sit with my back all the way against the chair and my feet still touch the floor. I love my writing spot. The problem is, my writing spot doesn’t always love me.
After weeks of my bum being planted in the soft, comfy chair, my lower back started hurting so much that I could no longer sit anywhere. I had to stand at the kitchen counter to write. At night, when I tried to lie comfortably in bed, I could find no relief from the pain that started in the left side of my lower back and shot all the way down my leg. I was miserable, and Ibuprofen was no longer helping. Finally I called a local chiropractor and explained what was going on. She told me to come right in, and after two meetings with her, I still had intense pain, sleepless nights and a book deadline that I was trying desperately to meet.
“You can’t sit in that soft chair anymore,” she instructed. “And you can’t jog, vacuum or lift anything until we get this worked out.”
The doctor’s orders to abstain from working out and manual labor weren’t so bad, but finding a new place to write was problematic. And I was having trouble focusing on my writing because I was in such pain.
While icing my back one afternoon, my cell phone rang. I smiled when I saw the name Cecil Stokes pop up on my phone, always happy to hear from my über-talented writer/director/producer friend.
“Hey, how are you?” I asked.
“I’m great,” he said, in his usual upbeat voice. “I have three really exciting things I need to talk to you about, but first, how are you?”
I paused for a moment, not wanting to be a “Connie Complainer.” But the pain got the best of me and I confessed, “Well, I’m a mess, actually...” and proceeded to tell Cecil all about my back situation and everything I’d been doing to try and rectify it.
He listened without interrupting and then very matter-of-factly asked, “So I know this may be a silly question, but have you prayed for God to heal your back?”
“Uhhh, you know, I haven’t done that,” I answered, completely embarrassed. “That might be a good idea, huh?”
We both laughed.
“You know what’s really ridiculous?” I asked, not even giving him a chance to answer. “I was just writing a devotion about healing.”
We laughed again.
“Would you pray for my back?” I asked my good friend and prayer warrior.
“I would love to pray for your back,” Cecil said, and he proceeded to do so.
And you know what? My back has been 100 percent better since that afternoon. I even worked out that same day.
The Bible says, “We have not because we ask not.” So why don’t we ask? Why don’t we go to God and ask for healing? In my case, I think I got caught up in the business of all I was trying to accomplish and simply tried to “manage” everything myself. I do that a lot; maybe you do, too.
I don’t know what you’re trying to “manage” right now, but let me tell you, from someone who can speak from recent experience: asking God for his divine intervention is way better than trying to take care of everything on your own.
Go ahead: Ask for his help. If you need healing, God is the Great Physician. If you need peace, he has the peace that passes all understanding. If you need a financial miracle, he owns the cattle on a thousand hills. If you need direction, he promises to order your steps. Whatever you’re trying to handle on your own today, just give it to God. He has a promise with your name on it. He has the very answer you’ve been needing. And he is on call 24/7. So ask! There are no silly questions when it comes to God.
Michelle Medlock Adams is an award-winning journalist and best-selling author, with more than 60 books and 1,000 articles for newspapers and magazines to her name. She was won several SELAH Awards (best children’s book and book of the year for God Knows You in 2014 and best children’s book for My Big Book of Prayers in 2012), and her book Divine Stories of the Yahweh Sisterhood was named a Family Christian Bookstores Premiere Pick in 2006. When not working on her own assignments, Michelle ghostwrites books for celebrities and some of today’s most effective and popular ministers.
Michelle is married to her high school sweetheart, Jeff. They have two college-aged daughters, Abby and Allyson, as well as a small petting zoo. When not writing or teaching writing, Michelle enjoys cheering on the Indiana University Men’s Basketball team, the Chicago Cubbies and the LA Kings. Find out more about Michelle at her website.