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When Doing What You Love Terrifies You

I have blocked off my calendar all day today to do what I love.

Write.

But I have to admit it terrifies me!

I know from the core of my being that I am called to write and yet my mind plays tricks and tells me twisted lies that I can’t do it or it won’t be good enough, who wants to read what I write as the little minions continue their rant.

When it comes time for me to sit down and actually write, a few things sabotage me. I can so easily get distracted! I am like, oh look, a squirrel! And off I go.

Today for instance, it took me two hours to get to my desk.

YES! TWO HOURS!

Not because I wasn’t at home or I have an office somewhere else but rather from the lower level of my house to my upstairs writing space there were a myriad of distractions.

So what did I do? I cleaned, not a bad thing! After all, I don’t want to live in a pigsty.

I finished putting away the last of the Christmas decor. Yes, it all needs to be organized.

I made granola, yes of course because we were out, and I did a load of laundry so my dear husband wouldn’t have to wear his underwear inside out tomorrow.

These are all good things but they are distractions when I need to work on my book. I actually have a deadline, not self-imposed, but a legitimate-I-signed a-contract-with-a-publisher deadline.

Here is the irony. I love to create words on a page to encourage and yes even challenge, yet it is sometimes difficult to posture myself in a space to write. Anyone who believes that it’s easy is grossly mistaken. Most writers I’ve talked to don’t just sit down randomly to create a project that gets put into a book.

It can be agonizing and feels like I am hiking up a mountain in 120-degree weather with a 100 lb. pack on my back. There are moments where the climb is easier but it is still a push to move forward with sweat and yes, even tears!

The exhilarating part of the climb is reaching the top of the summit. When I get there and the project is moving along and then finished, it is like standing on the highest mountain peak looking out at the magnificent panoramic view with gratefulness of being able to climb and reach the top.

It truly is a gift, a miracle each time I hold a finished project in my hand and I thank God for the honor of bestowing the gift even when it’s hard.

Whether you are a writer, speaker, leader, teacher, coach, whatever you’ve been gifted and called to do, if we are honest, living out expressing our gifts can be terrifying.

Here are a few things to encourage you and what I am learning on the mountainous journey.

The gift isn’t about ME.

The gifts I have, and in this case, I am writing about writing.

It isn’t about me! It’s about God. He is the giver of the gifts.

I don’t write to bless me, I write to bless others!

My hope is that in someway the stories and thoughts will transform the reader and move them forward in a way that is life changing. My dream is that it will draw people closer to the heart of Jesus and living lives that are intentional and purposeful. These are the reasons I write.

I don’t have to do it alone.

I can ask for help.

God expects us to walk and live in community. That means we don’t have to do things all by ourselves.

Being a strong independent person, it’s easy to fall into the trap of not asking for help. I don’t mean asking that someone actually sit beside me as I write, it means finding a tribe of people who can support, pray and encourage you and I on our path of exercising our gifts.

I have an amazing group of women who do this for me, they pray, give me encouragement and inspire me as I learn from those who are just a bit further down the road than I am. It’s way more fun to have companions on the journey. And when you get to the top, you have people to celebrate with you. That is the best part of all!

Who wants to party all alone?

Remember that God wants us to succeed.

After all He gave us the gift in the first place! You and I are responsible to unwrap the gift, take it out of the box and actually use it!

God didn’t give us gifts for them to sit on a shelf or to hide them in a closet. He gave you and I gifts for a purpose and He is our biggest cheerleader!

It’s a NEW Year with new doors that are waiting for us to walk through with fresh opportunities. Take that gift off the shelf that you have been hiding because maybe like me you’ve been a little afraid to actually start using it.

Let’s stop whining,

put on our packs,

start climbing,

and ASK God to do what He does best, helping us put one foot in front of the other even if we are terrified.

He promises to help us every step of the way as we seek to honor Him with the gifts and the call He has entrusted to us.

Hey, I will see you at the top of the summit to celebrate!

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3

 

 

 

How Cleaning My Oven Took Over My Day

Yesterday my calendar said, “Writing Day.” As I proceeded to get organized to sit down and make my favorite cup of tea, I was woefully distracted as I waited for the water to boil. I stood by my stove and made the mistake of leaning down too closely.

I have a confession, there has been problem in my kitchen. It has been lurking for several years. Nearly seven to be exact and I am now going to make a full confession.

I haven’t cleaned the inside of my oven since we moved into our house.

Please don’t judge me.

I hadn’t thought it looked too dirty until it was sparkly clean and besides I regularly wipe it out if I spill something, at least mostly. Just for the record, my oven is well used and I like to keep a relatively clean kitchen but the oven door is closed 99% of the time right?

Instead of writing (and that is why this blog post is a day later than scheduled) I set the dial to clean the oven. You are probably thinking, if this is a self-cleaning oven why couldn’t you write while it was cleaning?

Sounds logical.

Practical.

Reasonable.

Somehow because I decided to get that oven clean, everything else  screamed for attention and then I made a decision. Monday is going to be a cleaning day so I can feel better about the house when I really sit down to write. Did I tell you that I am a recovering perfectionist? More on that later.

As I was wiping out the charcoal dust after cleaning the oven I noticed some extra stubborn baked on spots that needed a little soft scrub and muscle. I was scrubbing and scrubbing when God gave me a picture of my own heart. There are crevices that are months and probably years old that I have turned on the self-cleaning button thinking that it was fine.

He reminded me that sometimes I have to get a little ‘Holy Spirit Soft Scrub’ and put some muscle into those stubborn spots of bad habits and wrong thinking patterns. I have to linger and scrub, wash out the scum, wipe, scrub and repeat several times until the remnant of my burnt on habits are gone. I have to pray and pray some more. Take captive those thoughts that would stick to the old places already baked on. Have you ever noticed that when you bake how one and then another layer of oozing dessert or a casserole might fall on an already burnt spot making it more difficult to get off?

One of the burnt on baked on places in my heart is falling into negative thinking. It’s easy for me to clean around everything else and wipe right over the crusty habits believing I am okay. I whine. I justify and it doesn’t work, because God cares about my whole heart, not just the places I think are clean.

I realized that the way I think represents a few crusty baked on places in my heart. Life has thrown some curve balls as of late and I can’t fix any of it.

Frustrating!

The negative thoughts pile on one another and it can build and build until it screams for attention. God showed me through a simple once every seven-year chore of cleaning my oven. It may take longer than it took for me to clean it but I am making a choice to stop long enough to pay attention to the crusty places and what needs to be surrendered in my heart.

Here are three simple steps to attack those burnt on places in our hearts.

  1. STOPYes, we might even have to set aside something planned, something good, something needful to take a step back and pay attention.
  2. CONFESSBe honest with yourself AND God. Sometimes I think that we think God doesn’t know about the crusty baked on places in our hearts. HE DOES! And the beautiful piece is that He still loves us. His love isn’t based on how thick or crusty those layers might be.
  3. SCRUBand then scrub some more. Make time to reflect and use the tools God gives us. Scour those places away by renewing our minds with His promises and pray over wrong attitudes and thinking patterns. Get feedback, honest feedback, not from someone who will tell you what your feelings want to hear, but someone who will help hold up the mirror and be brutally candid.

As I was leaning into scrubbing the baked on crusty junk, it was hard. My shoulder hurts today from pressing in. It’s the same way when we work at getting rid of old habits, it can hurt and it might take a while. Lean in and know that God will reward your efforts and your desire to please Him with a pure heart.

After David had sinned and repented, he wrote this, Create a clean heart in me, O God, and renew a faithful spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 (God’s Word Translation). That’s what I am asking God right now. After the scrubbing happens and the crusty places are removed that God would clean me up, create new thoughts and renew in me a faithful spirit. How about you? What crusty baked on places are layering up in your heart?