Faith as a Friend

 

 

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.– Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

 When I start a devotional, an anthology piece, or a children’s story, I don’t know where or how long it is going to take to get my desired results. I have stories that were written years ago, when my girls were babies. It’s hard to throw those pieces of myself away. It becomes harder and harder to keep faith in my writing. However, I keep plugging along and nurturing my writing by gaining knowledge from more seasoned writers. In those moments, when anxiety floods my mind, I take time to refresh my perspective. I’ll lean back in my recliner, (that’s why I have a lap top) and ask for guidance. Only God’s unseen strength can fill my heart and give me the courage to keep on writing.

 Do you have those anxious moments? We all do. However, faith is a powerful friend because in the isolation of our writing life, we can gain new confidence. Because we may not talk to too many people day after day and we may worry about what tomorrow holds for us in our writing life. That’s why faith becomes our friend, probably our best friend. Our anxiety gets us nowhere. We can’t change what might be. We need to take time each day to get a fresh perspective. Keep your hope in the unseen. God may reward you with great words for the world. We have it in us, we just have to get it out into the world.

 Lord in our isolation help us keep our faith in you. Help us find the words to touch those who read them. Remind us that you are there as our friend and will calm the anxieties that flood our souls. We lean on our faith in you for the confidence and fresh perspective we need each time we sit down to write. Amen

Noble Plans

But the noble make noble plans, and by noble deeds they stand. Isaiah 32 NIV

God gives me the privilege of planning each and every day. This is the beginning of the New Year and there is no better time to revisit my old writing plans and create new ones. As I look toward the future, I want my writing to honor God, as well as others. My plans should include ways to bless others with my writing and things I do. I have been preparing the way by cleaning out emails, unsubscribing from emails, organizing projects and general cleanup. Even these honor God because I am preparing the way to honor Him with my writing by being prepared. Something I am not noted for. However, each morning, I need to pray, allow the Holy Spirit to guide me in following my well-intentioned plans, and by allowing God to lead my way. If I do, God will empower me to do them. That’s the most amazing thing about faith. I have faith in God and He places His faith in me.

God gives you the privilege of planning your life and writing life each day, too. However, He wants that alone time with Him each morning. Remember that “Our God is a jealous God.”.  He wants you to center your plans around His plans. Pray and He will listen. Our actions or inactions show God we are waiting for His lead. He expects us to follow-up our plans with deeds. Having the ideas and not following through is not honoring God or ourselves. No matter what we write, we are responsible for our words and deeds. You have the privilege of creating new and noble plans or plans that won’t withstand God’s desire for us as writers. Follow His lead.

Lord, help us to put You first in our plans and deeds each day. We want to honor You and ourselves in our actions and our words. Listen to our prayers and guide us each day. Amen

Don’t Be a Fool

 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7

When I sit down to write, my inner critic starts nagging right away. You’re not any further than you were years ago. Why don’t you quit? It’s a waste of time. You have so much else to do. Nag, nag, nag. I get frustrated before I start. If I do get started, the minute I have a problem, my mind wanders. I don’t try to find a solution. I’m like my five-year old granddaughter, who gets frustrated because she thinks she should already know how to tie her shoes, put her boots on, or other new things. Instead of practicing or asking for help, she gets angry and cries. I sometimes think that’s how I must look to my parent in heaven, when I give up. I don’t ask for His help right away. I struggle, cry, and complain. If I had remembered to ask for peace in my spirit, enlightenment, and the right attitude, I would have gotten much further.

Do you find yourself in the same predicament, during your writing time? It’s so easy to put ourselves down. You wouldn’t let your children put themselves down. After their outburst you would put your arm around them and encourage them to ask for help when they need it. Don’t fear God or fear of failure keep you from asking for help from your Father. Your Father will put his arm around you and lead you, too. I just wait too long. I can picture Him up there smiling and waiting to reach out his hand and help. I’m not trying to be flowery, when I use these words. It’s just the way I feel and the way the words come out. He wants to be there for us, but we wait so long complaining, instead asking for His wisdom and instruction in our writing. He wants the best for us and will lead us to where we can get the knowledge, wisdom, and instruction for the path He wants us to follow. He will give us just what we need.

Father, help us not to be petulant children. Help us to grow in our relationship with you and ask for Your encouragement and guidance at the beginning of our writing sessions. Show us where to go to get the knowledge, wisdom, and instruction to accomplish all we can in your name. Amen

Untrained Servants

I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way. II Corinthians 11:6 NIV

Paul and the other apostles made it clear that Paul was untrained as a speaker. When he spoke it was of his personal knowledge and relationship with Jesus. I speak of my personal relationship with Jesus through my writing. I don’t have the first hand and physical knowledge Paul had of Jesus. Paul and the other apostles were plain everyday people passing the message on the best way they could. That is what they were led to do. Now days, people who look plain, ordinary and even boring are looked over. We miss the knowledge and love that lies in their hearts. Paul would have been overlooked by our modern standards for spiritual leaders. People look for talent to entertain, instead of content to touch their souls.You know the preachers that can yell the loudest and have the biggest cathedrals. By commingling my knowledge and understanding, I pray I am successful in my small endeavors. For me that means I would like some spiritual nugget I possess to grow into a boulder for someone else and be passed onto others.

Through your writing or speaking you can only hope and pray that someone’s heart is touched. Whether we are children’s writers, spiritual writers, anthology writers ,we all want to speak to or touch someone’s heart. That’s what writing is all about. We are untrained servants too and no matter what we intend to pass onto others,we need to do this with some knowledge in our genre. If we are intimidated by our lack of knowledge, we should keep searching and learning. I know this keeps me searching and learning in my spirituality and writing endeavors. Just like Paul, our way of communicating may not always be the most eloquent, but if it’s coming through with love and discernment, people’s hearts will be touched.

Lord help us to always to communicate our knowledge to the best of our ability. Help us to communicate and touch people’s hearts and spirits through prayer and love. Amen

Many Parts-One Body

The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.– 1 Corinthians 12:12 22 In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. 23 

When I put it in the context of writing, I really didn’t know which part of this seemed more important, so I chose these two verses that spoke to me the most. I immediately thought of my critique group, which is made up of many wonderful individuals. Unfortunately, I always felt uncomfortable and out-of-place because most were accomplished writers. Some of us writers are weaker and feel less important than the more experienced and knowledgeable ones. These verses have helped me realize that I do have a place in the group. Being one of the weaker writers I was led with great care to encourage my strengths. God also put us together so the more accomplished writers can hone their leadership skills. I will be rejoining my group once again.

Pray about it and if you want to belong to a critique group, don’t hesitate. It may take a few tries before you mesh with a group, but there’s one out there for all of us. Sit, listen and take in all you can from their experiences and corrections. We all have a purpose in a group. Even though we may appear the weakest or less important, we are most necessary for everyone’s growth.

Lord help us to reach out to each other with love and care. Help us to grow in our writing and honor your choices for us. Help us to believe that even though we may be the weakest and feel less important that we are a necessary asset to the group. Amen

Chosen Ones

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,

There was great joy and freedom when I realized that I didn’t choose God, but He chose me! Someone wanted me. As a kid, I always waited to last to be chosen for a game. As an adult, it was wondrous to realize I was chosen before I was born. God had a predestined plan for my life. I realized that’s why, even as a  child, I always had  in my heart a desire to write. I’m ashamed to say have been very lax in my writing in the past few years, but it’s always there nagging at my heart. God wants me to get involved in my writing life, once again. I love writing, but sometimes I let the ups and downs of my life dictate, when I write. I’m so glad God works with me on my weaknesses. He keeps urging me on in my destiny. He may not have a great book in my future, but He has the confidence in my will to move on with my life, writing and desire to share and help others.

This great love we have for writing is nothing compared to the love we will face when we come into the kingdom of heaven. The overwhelming desire to please the Lord with the talents he has given us should be used with respect. Whether you write for children, spiritual, fiction, or non fiction, God chose you for a purpose. God’s choice in me or you didn’t just happen at salvation and it will continue throughout our lives. God is working things out in ways that you aren’t even aware of.  Get involved in your writing life. God works in ways that are invisible to our view. Rejoice in that truth. Trust in His unending love. We will fail at times, but need to pick up where we left off and continue on with the talents he gave us and the love he is giving us. I am and will continue to follow His lead.

Lord, lead us and we will follow.

Serve Wholeheartedly

“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.”  Ephesians 6:7

When I sat down to write, I used to worry a lot about the words I wrote. Will they hurt or touch someone’s heart? Will they make someone angry or happy? Will I find the right words to put on the paper. Sometimes, I wrote an article or passage over and over trying to find just the right words. It’s in my nature, I am predominately a people pleaser. I don’t want to make anyone angry, hurt or confused by what I say or write. If I continually change my writing, who am I serving? Am I serving God with my writing? Am I doing God’s bidding or am I people pleasing?

Do you find yourself in this dilemma? It’s a demobilizing state for any writer. Thinking and changing words continually is non- productive for you, as a writer. Later in my writing and faith journey, I’d offer my writing, as a sort of offering to God. I felt some comfort with the belief he would guide me.  He helps when we reach out to Him in times of need. It’s a battle, when I sit down to write. Do you feel the tingling of stress mounting in your body? I used to. I would get so nervous, my head would be swirling. I would realize I was almost hyperventilating. Sounds silly, but it was true. Ask and God will give you the words. Allow Him to lead your fingers on the page. He wants to be in charge, let Him. You will make Him happy and you will be happier, too.

Lord help us to remember in those times we lose the words we need to allow you to give us the words you want others to hear. We are your servants. We offer our hearts and words to you.

God First in Everything

warm-mouse-heated-keyboardIn everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success. Proverbs 3:6 NIV

I don’t know about you, but when I had a lot to do I used to jump right in and get right to work. I would start one writing project jump to another, and so on. At the end of my writing session, I didn’t feel any sense of accomplishment. Nothing was finished, I hadn’t taken time to revise each project, and nothing could be submitted. I felt defeated because I had worked so hard. One day I threw my hands up and said, “What am I supposed to do?” I was totally frustrated. I took a deep breath and took in the quietness around me. “Finish one project at a time,” popped into my head. Now for anyone else, this wouldn’t be a great revelation. We’ve all been taught this, but I get excited when I have more than one idea and I have to get started. I am afraid I’ll forget my ideas before I get to them.

If you’re getting ready to get into a writing session, stop and take some quiet time first. Put on some music, no rock and roll. Try some spiritual or instrumental music and quiet yourself. Take a few minutes and put God first. Ask him what he wants you to accomplish. Let him direct your efforts and he will crown your efforts with success. I’m not saying everything will be published, but you will feel a sense of accomplishment because God came first. He gives you the talent and he will direct your writing.

Lord quiet our spirits and guide our thoughts, as we begin our writing. Direct our writing path and give us the words to guide others. Speak through our writing and help us lift up another person’s spirit with laughter, guidance, and knowledge.

The Spirit’s Nudging

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“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil 1:6)

When I first started writing after a seven month siesta, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to get back into the daily grind of writing. It never was a grind before, but my desire and ambition had dwindled to nothing. Even though some silent spirit kept nudging me to get to work. I tried hard to ignore, by only writing, if I felt like it. However, as I began writing, I felt the old excitement more and more. My mood lifted and I connected with my spirit once again. God was in charge because if I had my way, I wouldn’t be writing. God wouldn’t let me ignore the desire he put within me. I am not sure I have anything of interest to write because of the lack of comments, likes or shares on my web sites. I do know someone is reading because my stats go up ever so slowly.

If you are having a hard time writing be confident, God will complete his good work in you. He will carry it on until he feels you have answered his call. He won’t let you ignore your calling. Don’t look at your stats. Don’t wait for praise or comments, though it’s nice to know your efforts are appreciated. Sit and write. Start to journal in the morning. These writings can and will lead to other writing. Ask God for insight when you create your weekly writing schedule. Move at a pace that is right for you. Be wise writers who choose and avoid the trap of rushing, which often leads us in the wrong direction.

Dear Lord, give us Your wisdom as we plan our daily schedule. If we begin to feel anxious because we’re trying to do too much, remind us to slow down. Help us to focus on what we’re doing and help us avoid the trap of rushing in the wrong direction. Amen.

Vulnerability in Service

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Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others (1 Peter 4:10-(NIV).

God gifted me with the desire to write. I try to use it to use my thoughts to empower others with some meaningfulness in their journey. I constantly strive to improve on the skills God did give me. Some people find it cathartic to write about their trials. Being an introverted person, I find it extremely difficult. I try to follow through on my commitments but I sometimes fall short of my goals. I let life get in the way, like when my husband became ill. I couldn’t focus. The words weren’t able to break through my scrambled brain or the sadness of my heart. I was only able to use my writing to ask my friends for prayer. For me this was enough, as I went about getting through each day.

If God gave you the skill of writing, do everything you can to improve it. God gave you a gift, but he also waits for you to do your part. You are not a bystander in your life and can only improve by strengthening, reaching out and sharing your faith and journey with others. It’s a difficult process, but it is one that will enrich your life and someone else’s. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. God will use your words to heal someone’s heart and faith. That is his part in your gift and life journey.

Lord help us to remember you are in charge of hearts. You will lead others in the right direction for their journey. We are only one catalyst in reaching another’s life and journey. Thank you for your many gifts in our life.