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With me it wasn’t a single rock; it was a rockslide. A long, slow, never-ending rockslide, until I was buried under stones too deep to shove off my back.
I’ve always made up stories, always wanted to write them down so I could hold them in my hand and read them anytime I wanted. When I became a Christian at 45, I asked Jesus to teach me to write, to give me things to write for Him. And, I promised I’d do whatever it takes.
The world had other ideas.
To write, I have to go deep into the story world, so deep that being jerked out is as painful as bone surgery. Enough of that, and I grew afraid to even try.
I used to have the luxury of time for Jesus, time for writing. Then I remarried. My life is so much easier, so much richer, with this one Jesus chose for me—but there went my time. Too busy with too many things. Too much competition for my time when I did try to reclaim a share.
It wasn’t just the lack of time to write. It was the lack of time for my long journaling visits with my Source.
Discussion, and the busy got better; the distractions didn’t. My husband is inventive, but not creative in the sense a writer is, and he isn’t strong on body language. He’s eager to help, to encourage, but he can’t tell when I’m actually working, when I’m getting psyched up to write, or when an idea hits me and I have to catch it before it darts back into its hole.
Answer: a writer’s hat. When I put it on, I’m not to be disturbed. Except sometimes, when an idea strikes, I can’t get to the hat fast enough, even if I can think of hats at such a time.
I went to conferences, got fired up, came home to write. Joined writers’ groups, local and online, got fired up, sat down to write. Same problems, same results.
Lots of helpful writers—and now I had another problem: trying to follow advice to build a platform before I even finished a book. I couldn’t handle that much.
Then one super-frustrating day I said to myself, “Hey, Self! We’re old, and trying to learn all this strange new stuff takes all our brain power. If we’re so busy and worn out with these things that we never finish a book, what’s the point, anyway?” So I hopped off that wheel-spinner and got back to writing—but with half my mind on the safety of my dogs outside and the other half anticipating the next interruption, it was a no-go.
Still, Jesus wouldn’t let me alone. He didn’t tell me to control my circumstances. He didn’t tell me to spend myself on social media and platform. He didn’t even tell me to publish. He told me to write these stories He’s given me. Talk about a sense of failure… I’m not keeping my promise to Him, not doing whatever it takes.
That sense of failure pushed me even further away from my God-given purpose.
For years I prayed for His help with focus. I prayed for come-alongside people to help me with craft, with marketing, with techie stuff. I prayed for a place to write.
Not even prayer seemed to help.
I know I can’t write these books. I know He can. I know His plan is to write them through me, no Plan B. I have to write.
I searched for a place—but there was nowhere I could go and set aside my fear. Even if I had found a place where I wouldn’t be jerked out of my story, I couldn’t have had my dogs with me there.
The only place I was at all productive was under the trees up in the dog pen. AHA! “Hey, Self! We have a yard. We’ll have a building! Even if we have to convert our ragged little chicken house.”
Jesus took care of that, too. I ended up with way more than I’d dreamed of for far less than it should have cost. There I found my God-time again—but my creative enthusiasm was gone. I was still afraid to dive in deep and write.
I prayed for words. Silence. I prayed for mentors. Silence. I prayed for a refilling of enthusiasm. Silence.
I dreaded going home at the end of my life a disappointment to Him.
Then came insight: maybe I wasn’t having success with the big things I longed to write because I hadn’t been faithful with the small things I’ve written. I started an inspirational blog to post smaller pieces. What a life-saver. I was sharing my God; I wasn’t a total failure.
But I was still afraid to dive back into my novels.
Does Jesus answer prayer through email?
Jerry Jenkins was starting up a new guild, and I was invited to join. Was this the answer to my prayers? Must be; with this reassurance that Jesus has heard me, that rockslide just slid right off me, and my enthusiasm is back. The distractions are still here—I’m having to live more and more of my life on other peoples’ schedules—but I’m writing again, really writing.
Thank you, Jerry Jenkins. You have a share in whatever fruit I bear.
PS. I’m still praying for that techie mentor.