Tag Archive | fear

Lessons Learned While Writing: I’m Not As Good As I Think I Am (aka Humility)

I had started writing in a way many in that genre write, from an omniscient narrator perspective which meant I’d hop from one character’s thoughts and experiences to another without pause. Well, if older writers could do it, why not me?

Oh, how wonderful I thought my first book was, until I began to get the critiques back. What was head-hopping? What do you mean I have too may points of view? What is a point of view anyway?

Because that was then and this is now. I read, and got feedback and I rewrote the book taking out one character as it was too long. Then I rewrote it again with only two points of view. I revised it another time sparsely adding the point of view a villain who appears in subsequent books to give it a darker, more suspenseful tone. Instead of writing a lighthearted Regency-era romance, my novels were more Gothic!

Every time I write a story there is a mixture of pride and fear mixed into the process. Will it be good enough? Will the story resonate with readers?

Sometimes I wonder if big sales have eluded me because I’m poor at marketing or because God is protecting me from pride—that erroneous belief that I wrote those books and I’m wonderful.

I did write them—with God’s help and that of others. And I am wonderful, as a child of God which means I’m also a flawed human being.

Every round of edits can bring up fears of not being good enough. But in reality, I’ll never be good enough. I can only hope to grow to be better than the last book I wrote.

My daughter told me not to worry: “You’ll be famous when you’re dead.” I laughed. Guess I’m not in a hurry to be famous then because I have a lot more living to do should the Lord allow me to remain here.

Sometimes I wonder when it will end. Writers don’t really “retire,” so as long as I have the ability and the imagination, I suppose I’ll keep writing, and leave fame in the hands of God.

What projects do you struggle with to find humility? What works for you to keep you from wallowing in self-pity or puffing yourself up too much?

Your Courage, My Obedience

Two years ago I attended the Leadership Summit that Willow Creek Community Church puts on. I love learning more about leadership and God always has something profound to speak to my heart about at these events, usually on a more personal level than in how to lead better.

But good leadership ultimately begins in the heart.

Leadership in the Christian context ultimately begins with being able to follow a leader – Jesus.

That year, 2011, I had a “word” for the year and that word was “courage.”

Scary word.

God revealed to me repeatedly how much fear I had about the path he had me on. Fears I could do nothing about. He also showed me that often in His word the concept of courage was coupled with the words “Be not afraid.”

Courage means stepping forward in spite of our fears. If it were easy courage would not be necessary.

At this conference we were given broken pieces of terracotta pots. As we sought God in prayer we were to write on the clay, His words to us.

Mine says “Your courage, my obedience.IMG_0286

It hit me then that courage really isn’t mine. I do not have it in my flesh to persevere against difficult odds. It is only something I can do as I submit myself to God and obey and let HIM deal with the consequences of those actions. He knows better than I do what those ripple effects of obedience will be. I have to trust Him for the results. My only job is to obey what He leads me to do.

A year and a half later I still look at that and remember. I’m challenged once again that I have to cast my fears at His feet and step into the scary work He sometimes calls me to. Ministry is hard and it has a cost and if we think differently we are probably not following God. It should scare us. It should stretch us beyond what we think we can do. God calls us to live beyond ourselves often so that we are forced to depend on Him.

Last year I stepped into being even more serious about my writing. I stepped down from leading a ministry to write more because God called me to. The minute I decided to obey, God started opening up doors and affirming my choice. When my ministry responsibilities were done, instead of feeling a loss, I felt a huge weight off my shoulders and greater freedom to lean into His calling on my life – to write. To encourage. To redeem some of my pain through words. He pushes me further with every step and fear rears its ugly head and I’m reminded once again that it’s HIS courage – not mine.

My job is to obey regardless of how I feel.

Having said that, in what ways are you being challenged to obey, and what’s holding you back?