Shut up and Begin

Read John 9:13-34

He replied, a “I do not know whether he is a sinner. I do know one thing- that although I was blind, now I can see.”

I am reading a book right now called, “Do the Work” by Stephen Pressfield. It’s a motivational book for creatives, business people, pastors and humans of all varieties. Basically the book is a short set of principles to motivate people to stop avoiding their dreams and passions and do the work needed to bring life to these things. There a a lot of strong principles in the book, but one that I has caught my attention is what he calls the, “Foolscap Method”. The following is an excerpt from the book posted on Pressfield’s blog that describes the method:

Here’s a trick I use on every project. I learned it from my friend and mentor, the novelist and documentarian Norm Stahl. Norm and I were having lunch one day at Joe Allen’s in Manhattan and I was complaining about how hard it was to get a novel started. Norm happened to have a pad of yellow legal-sized foolscap paper in his briefcase. He took it out and set it on the table in front of me.

“Steve,” he said, “God made a single sheet of foolscap exactly the right length to hold the outline of an entire novel.”

That was a lightning-bolt moment for me. In one stroke Norm convinced me to:

1) Stop wasting time writing “bibles” or “character profiles” or any other kind of Resistance-spawned preparatory material. Shut up and begin.

2) Forget doing research, at least at the beginning. Shut up and begin.

3) Shut up and begin.*

This text from John brought this to mind for me this morning… especially the emphatic, “Shut up and begin.” The man in this story still has a lot of questions. He doesn’t have much of anything figured out yet. He doesn’t exactly know who Jesus is. All he knows for sure is that he was blind and now he can see. He knows virtually nothing, but in front of a powerful group of people he declares himself a disciple… a follower of Jesus. He even asks this powerful bunch if they want to become Jesus’ disciples too.

Information and answers aren’t bad things. Sometimes, however, I wonder if we miss out on what God has for us in the moment because we are stuck gathering information, or because we refuse to move forward until all our questions are answered. I wonder if sometimes when we get a sense that God is saying something or prompting us in a particular direction if, even in our uncertainty we should just, “Shut up and begin.” That sounds like faith to me. Trusting in God, and acting upon it even in the midst of our questions.

Don’t stop asking questions, but don’t let your questions keep you from following in faith. Shut up and begin.

One thought on “Shut up and Begin

  1. Thanks Brian. Sometimes that is what we need to do, just stop talking and begin…on ventures, down roads, where we can’t see the ending, but know we are guided and cared for even as we wonder and sometimes wander.

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