Monthly Archives: April 2013

Parting Words

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So, ladies, that’s it. Can you believe our incourage group is almost over?  I hope you have been as blessed to participate in this group as I have been to lead it. As I reflected on our time together, the words of Paul came to my mind and I wanted to share them with you:

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever (1 Corinthians 9:23-25).”

You may never get published.

People may criticize your work.

Life events may derail your plans for a writing career.

You may feel at times like you are wandering in the desert, unsure of your next step and thirsting for some of the living water to hydrate your parched lips.

Remember, you are not alone.

Your prize is coming. You’ll get it when you cross your finish line. Your finish line may be further away than others, and require every ounce of  your strength, while you watch  with envy as others float by with ease.

In those moments, remember these words:

God is asking you to run your race, not theirs.

Keep your eyes on your own lane, put one foot in front of the other, and push through the moments when you want to quit. Those moments will come,too.

Because your Father is waiting, with arms open wide, to greet when you cut through the ticker tape.

Then you’ll get your prize.

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On the Journey Together

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 As I perused an email my husband sent me the other day, I noticed his signature at the bottom of the page along with four words that made me stop short: “On the journey together.” It made me think “What exactly does that mean?

This journey called Christianity is a process, not a product. As we meander through our spiritual walks, it is essential we have people to help navigate along the way. 

This has never been more apparent to me than my time leading a writer’s group through http://www.incourage.me. I volunteered to lead a group in the hopes to share the knowledge I have gleaned from three years of writing. However, I didn’t expect I would learn just as much as I have taught. Here are some things I have learned from being in community with other believers (and writers):

1) Give As Much As You Get– At the beginning of my time with my group, Holley Gerth’s book You’re Made For a God Sized Dream was just released. I had been eyeing the book for weeks, but tough financial times prohibited me from buying it. One of the group members (whom i had never met before) offered to buy the book for me. Astonished, I asked why. She replied, “Consider it an investment in your ministry.” When we enter into community with each other, we invest our time into them, in the hopes to produce the lasting fruit of the Spirit. 

2) Community Helps You Battle the Storms Together- Whenever I read the story of Jesus sending out His disciples in Luke 9, my mind immediately parallels it with the story of Noah building the ark to prepare for the impending flood. Noah sends the animals into the ark and Jesus sends out his disciples “two by two.” Why? In both instances, God wants us to reproduce together. When times get tough and the storms rage (much like before the flood), having someone with you helps you to do the work necessary even through the tough times. A pastor friend of mine once said, “When I take the time to mentor someone and invest in their lives, more than likely they will do what they are supposed to do.” The accountability that occurs within community helps spur us on towards love and good deeds.

3) Community Helps Sharpen You– Whenever someone poses a question to our group Facebook page, I often try to offer advice and help. Although I may not agree if someone offers an idea contrary to mine, each suggestion makes me think about how to apply it practically to my life. People who think differently than me help me to see things in a way I would not have before. They”sharpen” me (Proverbs 27:17) and I am better writer and person because of it.

If you are looking for a community, try the (in)RL, an online event where people from around the US gather together to commune together. Want more info? Click on this link to find out more: 

http://inrl.incourage.me/inrl

To see a video, click here:

http://youtu.be/Y-6yMAUG32I

How does your community help you in your spiritual journey?

 

The Three Fears of Hitting the Publish Button

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I labored for so long meticulously writing, editing then writing some more. My final manuscript was finally ready to ship off to the publisher for possible publication. I was so excited! I glided my finger over to the mouse, hovered the arrow over the word “send” on my email and…

sat there helplessly.

An overwhelming wave of fear gripped me. Why couldn’t I just push the button?

Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever struggled with putting your words and thoughts out there, baring your soul for all to see (and criticize?)

Writing requires risk. Our words have the power to encourage, inspire and illuminate the lives of our readers. Yet the wrong words can subject us to ridicule, shame and humiliation.

If we want to make an impact on our world, we have to take the chance that the words  we write will bring more good  to the world that the bad ones.

Here are three fears associated with the publishing of your words:

Fear of Perfectionism- Cecil Murphey talks about perfectionism in his book Unleash the Writer Within. He says when you are ready to submit your work, say to yourself, “This is the best I can do at this stage in my writing career.” No matter how many times you comb through your manuscript, it will never be perfect. I repeated these words to myself when I pushed that send button, and it helped me feel better about my final draft. Those words will  help ease your fears, too. As long as I commit to letting my mistakes improve my writing, those errors will help my growth as a writer, not hinder it.

Fear of Rejection- You will be rejected. Everyone does.  Go write anyway.

Yes, the sting of rejection will hurt, but only for a while. When you are done, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and learn from the rejection. Ask yourself, “Is there a grain of truth to what they are saying to me?”

Fear of Criticism- You will always have naysayers. King David had them, the Apostles had them, even Jesus had them. Sometimes people criticize due to their own jealousy. Their jealousy has nothing to do with your worth as a writer. Only those who are trying to do something great, meet their share of opposition. Anything worth doing is never easily accomplished. If you receive harsh criticism, you must be on the right track toward establishing your writing career.Don’t let them sway you!

How have you overcome your fear of the send button? Share a comment below!