“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” Mark Twain

Those Inopportune Times

A steering wheel is certainly not my favorite writing desk, but lately, it seems to be my most common one.

Don’t worry—you won’t find me writing the great American novel as I drive along the interstate at 60 plus miles per hour. I don’t even jot down notes as I motor along a heavily trafficked street at a snail’s pace. I am a bad enough driver without distractions like that. No need to endanger the population any more than it already is.

While I will admit to jotting down a few things at the occasional stoplight or stop sign, the majority of my “auto writing” is done with the car off—or at least in park.
You see, I’m a busy mom, and one aspect of being a busy mom that seems unavoidable (and that, by the way, I was not expecting) is “wait time.”
For me, much, though certainly not all, of this time is spent within my vehicle.

Each school day at around 11, for instance, you will find me sitting in my car in a line in the parking lot of my children’s elementary school, waiting to pick up my daughter from her half-day program. The line of cars isn’t generally very long—though the closer to dismissal time you arrive there, the more likely you’ll actually be on the main street. And, of course, the more cars there are ahead of you, the longer you will be starting and stopping as those in ahead of you receive their precious children. So, I arrive a bit early, allowing me to spend my time in solitude, in my “parked” car, often with a pen and paper in hand. There’s ten to fifteen minutes of good writing time for you!

I have the same routine mid-afternoon on the days I’m driving carpool for my son and another child. I’d much rather spend my ten minutes writing with the car off than in “stop and go” traffic in a lengthy line. Also not great on the gas mileage, you know?

I’ve also been known to spit out a sentence or two at a railroad crossing, while waiting for the drive-up ATM to be available, or even while waiting for my value meal. In fact, the majority of this piece itself was written while sitting in the driver’s seat of my minivan.

Is this the ideal method and/or timing for using this literary gift the Lord has given me: composing my thoughts in ten-minute (or less) increments? Probably not. And I must admit that I do, on occasion, get an opportunity to devote some more substantial blocks of time, in a more “writerly” setting, to my craft—though it is not often.
Yet, just because my circumstances are not ideal doesn’t mean I should wait until they are to act.
I shudder to think how much less writing I would have accomplished if I had waited until I had a “good chunk of time” before I put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). And if I had waited for complete silence before I started writing (which, by the way, is definitely my preference), my personal canon would be basically nonexistent. So, I do what I feel led to do, whether I feel like the circumstances are just right or not.
Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16, Amplified Bible
It is like that with most things—including exercising our gifts from the Lord and doing His will. It’s easy to put off sharing Christ, for instance, because you have an appointment to keep, or to decide you weren’t really supposed to make that meal for your ill neighbor because you’d have to make that extra trip to the store you weren’t planning on. I’m sure you can come up with your own examples.

We need to remember to grab every moment of our days for His glory. We don’t need to wait until “the time is right” to exercise our gifts, or until the circumstances are in our favor. God doesn’t need perfect circumstances—or perfect people—to work through us.

Heavenly Father, I thank You for guiding me to work for You whenever I can, not just when the time seems right. Help me, Lord, to make the use of each moment of time You give me to do things for Your glory, even if it is inconvenient. Help me to use my “wait time,” and the rest of my time, wisely and to not worry about whether the circumstances are ideal. You, Lord, can make any time ideal. In the name of Jesus, your precious Son, I pray. Amen


  1. Jo, I can see you sitting in the carpool line writing this:) So glad God inspires us in many different places and in many different ways for His glory.

  2. I think the Lord must be trying to tell me something today. I've read only two blog entries all day, and they both dealt with this subject.

    Thanks for letting Him use you!

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  4. Incredible exhortation and example. I love knowing someone who lives what they teach too. Wanna be just like you when I grow up...really do.

  5. JO, you are so smart! I don't like to turn on the radio in the car, because it distracts my mind from 'writing'.

    BTW....love your title...smile!


  6. This is a great post. I love your take on captive moments and making the most of our waiting. I usually am on the phone while waiting, but every now and then, something comes to mind and I find my pen.

    Like yesterday, when a precious lady (one of my "ancients) pulled me aside after the SS class I taught, and with tender repose simply said, "I'm working on finding my voice, elaine. I'm not there yet, but I'm working on it."

    Now if that won't blog, I don't know what will! I wrote it down. Rest assured, you will see it again.

    I've learned to take anything and everything to heart. When pondered long enough, there's almost always a story waiting to be written. We take what we have...like you did with this post. You took your quiet moments and wrote a lovely post about using our quiet moments!

    A true writer, my friend. Gifted and more than capable and sharing your insights with others.

    Love it.


  7. This has been a tripping point for me for a long time and I've been working hard a t changing that. Thanks for the encouragement!


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