Tag: calling

Great Expectations

2018 is the year of EXPECTATION.

I often choose a word or a phrase each year as a motivational tool to help keep me on track and this one came to me way back in October and has been reaffirmed several times through various means.

Psalm 62:5 says, My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my EXPECTATION is from Him. (KJV)

The word expectation means the act of anticipation – looking forward to something. It also has to do with probability and the likelihood that something will occur. God has birthed in me many expectations for my family, my personal wellbeing, and my desires. I am expecting God to deliver on His promises this year! At first glance this might sound selfish.

Godly expectation is not about getting stuff, however. In fact, it is quite the opposite.

Expectation is about FAITH – believing God’s promises even when I don’t yet see the evidence of their fulfillment. Expectation is about TRUST as I allow God to work out the details and timing in ways that don’t always make sense to me.  Expectation is about SURRENDER – the act of intentionally laying each area of my life at Jesus feet, be it physical, mental or emotional. It’s giving up my ‘rights’ to each person, idea, or desire and putting faith and trust into action.

Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it.” This is what the word expectation means to me for 2018. The past year, 2017, was a year of tremendous growth for me, although there were many trials physically and within my family. My word for 2017 was ‘Accountability’ and I feel God really took me to task in making me accountable to Him for my faith. It was a year of great change, much of which was painful, but which has brought about much fruit. The groundwork has been laid. Like Joshua and the children of Israel, I sense God’s call to move forward in 2018. To ADVANCE, as it were, into the promised land, with the EXPECTATION that He has great things in store.

“For the vision is yet for an appointed time; at the end it shall speak and not lie. though it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come. It will not tarry.” Habakkuk 2:3 (KJV)

Wise Words From WorDshops

I collected several ‘wise words’ from the four InScribe sponsored WorDshops I attended this past spring. Ponder and enjoy…

If writing is a calling, we must be obedient; but if He calls us to another season, we must be ready to do something else. Janice Dick: (Regina)

Every story needs high stakes. Alison Lohans (Regina)

I don’t have to produce, succeed, or publish… God does not identify us by our productiveness. Marcia Laycock (Blackfalds)

Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction. Proverbs 18:20

The need for gratification will not overwhelm us as long as we are deeply rooted in the One who put the compulsion to write within us. (Unidentified quote shared by Marcia Laycock)

Memoir is not autobiographical truth. it is YOUR truth. Susan Plett (after a ‘freefall’ writing session – Blackfalds)

There is a visceral connection between the pen, paper and creativity. Susan Plett (Blackfalds)

We have been given a trust as writers… the pain and the joy of being human. We don’t need sedatives in the form of Christian books. We must write about the dark things to put them in their place – not to glorify them. The discipline of creation is an effort toward wholeness. Literature is about the handling of secrets… and about the marvellous liberation when they are revealed. We must respect our readers by giving them words of value and worth. Marcia Laycock (Blackfalds)

 

 

How To Overcome ‘I Can’t’

Celesta Thiessen

I attended a workshop recently by author Celesta Thiessen with this very title. It was a very practical and worthwhile session, dealing with overcoming the obstacles that many authors feel when it comes to their writing. One of the things I appreciated about the session was how she focused first on the spiritual aspect of things before moving into the more ‘practical’ applications.

She talked about the need to deal with three spiritual areas in our life: unforgiveness, sin , and lies – and even allowed quiet time for reflection to let God speak to each one about what things we might need to ask forgiveness for, confess as sin, or identify as ‘lies’ from the devil. (Example: Your writing is no good; no one will ever want to read what you’ve written; you’re not really a writer etc…) As she so correctly pointed out, these spiritual areas can have a negative affect on our ability to carry out the calling to write.

Then she moved on to some practical  ways writers can gain encouragement, such as finding and connecting with writer friends –  both local and online – and participating in writing challenges like nanowrimo.

I especially liked her list of practical tips for success:

  1. Figure out what time of day is your best for writing and then try to write during that time.
  2. Find out what length of time is optimal for you and add that to your routine.
  3. Be intentional about your writing environment. Some people write in a specific location, have certain inspirational quotes etc. around, or what have you…
  4. Develop a routine and stick to it! Routines become habits and this takes away much of the resistance to write.
  5. Look after yourself – rest, nutrition, and other healthy habits are part of writing success. She talked about using light therapy for depression or getting whatever other kind of help you might need.
  6. Using external deadlines can be a huge motivator for indie authors. Some great examples are: setting up an Amazon ‘pre-order’ – if you don’t get the final copy uploaded by the date, those who pre-ordered will get the rough draft! Another great idea is organizing a book launch date in advance, which forces you to finish it by that date. Another (which I will probably never try!) is ‘Write or Die’ – an app which starts erasing your words if you aren’t meeting your own preset goals.

In all, this was a wonderfully practical workshop. Thank you to Celesta for sharing this valuable information with us at the Steinbach WorDshop.

Faithful to the Call

 

The words of Habakkuk Chapter Two resonate in the ears of many Christian writers I know – including me:

I will stand at my watch
and station myself on the ramparts;
I will look to see what He will say to me,
and what answer I am to give to this complaint.
Write down the revelation
and make it plain on tablets
so that a herald may run with it. (NIV)

words-on-typew

This passage is clearly about the calling that many feel to write. And yes, I believe this applies to fiction writers, too. The fact that God uses story to reach people is well documented. After all, Jesus himself used parables to get his message across.

Stories are a powerful tool in the hands of a skilled writer and can influence and impact long after the entertainment factor has worn off. Take for instance Frank Peretti’s iconic This Present Darkness. It continues to be a spiritual warrior’s call to action, even after almost thirty years. (Apparently a revised edition came out in 2003. I still have the original 1980s version…) Other authors like C.S. Lewis, Francine Rivers, and others come to mind as weavers of stories that have had a lasting and profound impact on a spiritual level.

I don’t presume to lump myself in with such glowing examples, but I have been blessed to receive feedback from readers telling me my work affected them in a positive way. I love to tell stories of redemption and grace based on characters that are less than squeaky clean, but whom God uses anyway. I think people appreciate the fact that God keeps short accounts when we come to faith in Christ. There is hope for everyone – even the most unlikely.

Keep on writing faithfully, my dear friends, both here and in the other things God has laid on your heart. It is a high calling not to be taken lightly.

This article was originally posted on the Word Guild blog Canadian Writers Who Are Christian on September 27, 2015. 

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