Monday, November 23, 2009

Know When to Let Go

I sat down at my keyboard, closed my eyes, and traveled back in time twelve years. As I recorded my initial symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) for my friend Kelly's RAWarrior blog, little "oh!" moments kept popping up. Now, as I've mentioned here before, I am a minimalist at heart, and I usually struggle to get enough words on the page. This time, however, words gushed forth. My typing couldn't keep up with my memories. My friend had asked for two pages; I ended up with five.

I read and revised and cleaned up my contribution and sent the email flying through cyberspace. I apologized to my friend for the excessive length and told her I'd be happy to cut. She said, "No, no! It's fine as is."

A couple days later, Kelly questioned something I'd said about a particular medication. When I adjusted that section, I corrected a few other things and added an entire statement about a symptom I'd forgotten. I then sent her Version 2.0. A day or so later, I realized I hadn't attached my photo, so off it went. Today it dawned on me I'd forgotten to mention an RA related health issue I experienced in high school, and I hadn't even touched on stressors and triggers.

Writing is intimidating. As a writer, I expose my very soul when I put words on a page. I offer my most personal thoughts and expressions up for the judgment of strangers. I want the best of my best presented to minimize negative response, so I could edit and revise my work to infinity. There must be a point at which I say, "The End," and release it from my grasp, though.

As I have had to come to terms with my ailments and release what control I thought I had over this body, I also, as a writer, must let my words go. I can write and edit and rewrite many times over, but when each piece is ready, I must set my words free to accomplish their own work.

My RA onset story is indeed complete. Though I am tempted to continue revisions, it is out of my hands. I've released it and set it free to do its own good work. It is finished. The End. I pray that my experience, posted here (scroll down to second story), will benefit others who are blessed with chronic illness, and I pray that the lessons I've learned as a writer may benefit those who read this blog.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


God has chosen and appointed you, you who have been called to write. However, Satan is a master at distraction, deceiving us with false urgencies and hindering our obedience. When we sit down to write, he whispers thoughts in our ears like, "Check out what @soandso just tweeted," or "Shouldn't you be cleaning the toilets?"

God desires us to work for Him. He needs us to work for Him, to go out into the world and represent Him. Whether we write mainstream fiction or daily devotionals, we need to "work at it with all [our hearts], as working for the Lord, not for men" (Colossians 3:23). When we commit our ways to Him, He helps us resist the devil. James 4:7 reminds us that if we resist the devil, he will flee from us. He will be unable to distract us or prevent us from doing God's will.

Go sit down and write. Produce fruit out of your obedience to the Father's calling. "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed" (Proverbs 16:3).

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Consider Others

Facebook, in its infinite wisdom, recommended I reconnect with a friend I hadn’t heard from in quite some time. It turns out my friend’s family had recently experienced some tough times. When she thanked me for my prayers, her comment caught me off guard. She said, “It’s not often we’re missed.”

My heart broke for my friend, not just because of her difficult circumstances, but because she seemed to be alone in her struggles. I was reminded of Philippians 2:4, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others.” We can do that with our writing. Not every word we write is meant for thousands to read. Sometimes our words may be directed to an audience of one.

Last week, four of my friends heeded God’s nudge to minister to me. None of them knew my particular needs, but God did. I hadn’t asked for help. On the surface, I didn’t appear to need help, but the Lord knew what weighed on my heart. Two friends emailed me and two sent messages through Facebook—through written words. God spoke to these ladies and they listened, and they looked to the interests of others, of me.

Remember others. Don’t let anyone slip through the cracks. Be receptive to God’s whispers and hear broken hearts crying out. Let loved ones know when they are missed and reach out to them. A personal note may make all the difference.

Thank you to my dear friends, Suzanne, Pam, Carol Beth, and Lynn. You brought me encouragement, restoration, hope, and healing when I myself didn’t realize I needed it. I am eternally grateful for your compassion and truly blessed by your friendships. Thanks for looking not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others, of me.

This sums it up ;)

This sums it up ;)