“As a product of a strong work ethic from both sides of my family, I grew up believing that all work must be completed before indulging in play. Since the work never seemed to end, a time for play rarely felt appropriate. Even when I worked hard enough to earn a little relaxation, I tried to justify this free time to be sure it wasn’t “wasted,” by focusing on activities that were educational or strengthened me for more work….”
This morning I got home from a doctor’s appointment exhausted. I’ve been faithfully hitting my word count goal each M-F to meet my next writing deadline. I’m even a little ahead of schedule. Since my body feels beaten up, it occurred to me to take the day off.
Anxiety immediately began twisting behind my ribs. I was afraid that if I missed a writing day, I’ll totally forget how to write.
Writing daily is a good plan for someone who feels called to write. But I realized I needed to look at the “Why” behind that choice. I want to write out of obedience, the joy of creating, the hope that something I write will bless another…not out of fear of losing skill or fear of being left behind if I don’t produce enough.
Jesus challenges us to go deeper – to look for reasons and motivations and not just our outer actions. For example, praying is a good thing. Yet He showed us that the Pharisee who used prayer as a way to boast and make himself look good was praying for the wrong motives. Or those who tithed their dill but didn’t care for their parents. Or disciples who pledged to follow, yet argued about who was the greatest.
We can do good things for the wrong reasons.
I’m learning to pause and think about my choices — when to be gentle with myself and when to push — and why I make those choices. Today I’m going to ask for the faith to trust that a day off will be healthy for me.
How about you? Are you pushing and striving out of a need to prove your worth (Psst! Here’s a secret: you are already worth SO MUCH to Jesus that He died for you.) Or are you stepping back from a challenge, feeling like you can’t make a difference anyway? (Jesus can make a huge difference through our small fish and loaves when we offer them.)
Whether we need to rest or need to advance, let’s ask Jesus to help us obey out of joy and trust.
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I’ll be contributing devotions to Mornings with Jesus 2019. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been writing for them since the 2012 edition. (By the way, the 2017 edition is still available.)
Every time I sign a new contract, I uncover a tangle of emotions. I’m incredibly grateful to have work as a writer. I’m humbled by the opportunity, because since I know so many gifted authors, I find it hard to believe anyone wants to read my work. I’m also excited. Excited to share some of my experiences about our amazing Savior.
But before the ink dries, I’m often assaulted by deep insecurity. What if I have nothing new to say? What if I can’t finish the work by the deadline? What if this time folks will discover I’ve been pretending to be a writer?
This is always a good reminder that I CAN’T do this — not in my own power, wisdom, or determination.
When God calls us to a task–whether it’s offering comfort to a friend, caring for children, supporting a spouse, or writing a little devotion–He provides what we need and works through us.
How about you? Are you facing a new task that triggers insecurity? Or continuing an ongoing task that feels too big or too hard?
Let’s all sign a new contract today–a contract with our Savior. Let’s make ourselves available and ask Him to give us the courage we need to take the next step forward for Him.
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Creating can happen in quiet places.
When I released a fourth Sword of Lyric book, I made an effort to become more active on social media. I blogged, I posted on Facebook, I even tweeted a little.
However, I found that in order to write a new novel, I needed to put my “word energy” into creating a new world and a new story, and had to set aside those online efforts.
So I’ve neglected my blog. I figured I’m due for an update, for the sake of those who stop by to visit my website.
I’ve spent the last year making progress on a new fantasy series that I’ve very excited about. Then in the new year I was sidetracked by lots of editing jobs. I love helping other authors hone their work. So I’ve followed the path of least resistance and focused my time on the projects that have come in, with only occasional dips back into the story.
However, my plan is to resume writing soon.
Have a lovely summer! I hope you find your own quiet corners where you can dream, build, and create.
Along with my other American friends, I’ve been inviting waves of gratitude to roll over me during this week of giving thanks. The truth that God loves me, apart from any efforts I could make to earn or bribe or manipulate that love, floods me with wonder. The dear people that inhabit my life–family friends–send tides of joy splashing inside my heart.
But today I want to take a moment to thank YOU….whether we have been close in “real life” or never met. I thank each person who reads my blog, who comments, or emails, or reassures me that the effort to create these occasional posts DOES matter.
I thank every person who has read one of my books, who entered that precious conversation between author and reader. Extra thanks to those who purchased the book (even though they could borrow it from a friend or find it in the library) because that investment helped the publishing house continue its efforts to bring stories into the world.
I thank each reader who took the time to post a review, tell a friend, or invite me to a book club to speak. You made a huge difference–not just in my morale, but in preventing the stories from fading into invisibility.
I’m hugely grateful to those of you who are Book Buddies – those who get my rare newsletter and often join in to contests, promotion events, or other activities to support my books.
And I’m giving thanks for your prayers. When I type another page, alone, exhausted, often feeling inadequate and fearful in the work, I’m bolstered by your prayer support.
Please feel free to share some of the things you are thankful for this week. I’d love to read your comments!
Blessings from a grateful heart,
This week I cried with a friend over the phone. She’s been hit hard by trial after trial. I also prayed with another friend as we acknowledged problems neither of us could solve and asked our Might Warrior to fight on our behalf.
In times of darkness, joy is as unexpected and fragile as this late-season Morning Glory that bloomed on my front porch today.
Yet joy does arrive. In small graces, in kind words, in powerful reminders. We are still in the hard part of the story where the conflict builds, danger looms, everything seems uncertain.
We know there will be a joyful ending one day…a full resolution and dream come true time.
But God doesn’t make us wait until that time.
As fall weather nears, this fragile flower hangs on to a bit of summer color, making me smile.
Whatever dark night of the soul you are facing, I pray you will continue to hope for the morning of joy to come. BUT I also pray Jesus will remind you of His love with little surprising joys along the way.
Has something stirred your joy this week? Please share it in the comments!
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Today I read about the borders and boundaries allotted to the tribes of Israel in Joshua 13-18. In the past, I’ve struggled to glean much application from the names of towns I’ve never visited, and landmarks I’ve never seen.
But today, one thing stood out. God has a plan and a specific place in mind for us. Could the limitations that seem to box me in be a gift from Him in some way?
Not an easy question to answer. Contentment can dangerously shift to complacency. There may be times God asks us to strive and push beyond a barrier. However, many times we miss out on joy by chafing against a boundary.
What is my allotment?
Discerning that is such a challenge. Here is my prayer for today:
Lord, give me a heart of contentment and trust, so that I may serve today and not waste time staring over the fence at the boundaries You’ve shaped for others. That You’ve even granted me life is a profound gift. That You’ve placed me in a specific time and place for a purpose is exciting. That You abide in this moment with me is breathtaking. I trust You to reveal the tasks You have in mind for me on this precise day and in my current location. Amen.
How about you? Have you noticed yourself looking over the boundaries at someone else’s life and calling? Have you felt wistful at the success of others? Has God ever granted you discernment about someplace new that He wants you? Please share a comment – it will bless the rest of us! And feel free to share this post using one of the handy buttons below. 🙂
I’ve been reading Joshua this week – stories that many of us are familiar with. Rahab helping the spies escape, the walls of Jericho falling down. I love the drama and the tangible victories, especially when in my life progress feels much harder to see.
But today I focused on a very heartbreaking story. God told the Israelites to destroy everything from Jericho, but Achan admitted he, “saw a beautiful robe…silver coins, and a bar of gold…I wanted them so much that I took them.”
I identify with so much of his sad moral failing there. Seeing things I want and being tempted to grab for them. Not a robe or a bar of gold, but success, approval, popularity.
Achan’s choice led to not only his own destruction, but to the deaths of many soldiers who attacked Ai and failed. A sobering lesson indeed.
However, the new insight I found in the story comes in chapter 8. After Achan is dealt with, God tells Joshua to attack Ai again, and says, “This time you may keep the plunder.”
Wow. If Achan had only trusted God’s timing, treasures would have come his way anyway.
Can we trust God’s timing?
When our prayers seem to always be answered with “wait,” it’s tempting to forge ahead and decide to “make it happen” in our own power. Yet perhaps God has blessings for us in the waiting time. Perhaps He plans treasures around the next bend – if we can trust Him a little longer.
Will you pray with me?
Lord, there are things we long for. Some are dreams You’ve planted in us. Help us discern when its time to forge ahead, and when it’s time to wait. Help us trust You when Your calling for the moment seems to hold us back from treasures. Amen.
How about you? Have you ever spotted a blessing from God’s timing – even if it felt like a delay?
Please share in the comments below – and feel free to share this post using one of the handy buttons. 🙂
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When my heart aches at the cruelty and darkness in the world, it helps me to also remember beauty and love.
The pitcher in the photo was a gift from a dear friend that God brought into my life. The flowers are a gift from my garden. Both fill my heart with joy.
God created a world of infinite beauty. He also invited us to live in loving interaction with Him and each other.
Sin has marred the beauty and crippled our ability to love. But in Him we still catch glimpses of what was and will one day be again.
Can you remember one beautiful thing from the past week? Did anyone show love to you?
Please share your recent blessing in the comments!
Praying we all notice many reminders of God’s love this coming week!
This is me signing up to write devotions for Mornings with Jesus 2018.
I was honored to be invited again, and am hard at work on a new batch for them.
People sometimes ask me the best thing about being an author. My contributions to MWJ over the years lead to of one of those “best things.” I hear from readers. What they share gives me goosebumps. Sometimes they open the daily devotion on the worst day of their life – a scary diagnosis, the loss of a spouse, or another challenge. And the devotion for that day just “happens” to be targeted to their need. I love how God does that.
C.S. Lewis said, “We read to know we are not alone.” When I write in solitude, I remember that there is a reader who will long for a word of comfort one day. I pray that God will send the devotional musing to them exactly when they need it.
On another note, thank you to everyone who has been posting reviews for my latest book, The Deliverer. The story is only 7 reviews away from having 50 reviews on Amazon. That’s a benchmark that brings more visibility so others can find the story. Keep them coming!
Time for me to get busy. Thanks for letting me share my gratitude today. Is there something special you are grateful for today? Post it in the comments!
Have a blessed day,
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