Monday, July 14, 2014

Writing Is My Song

It's funny, a year after I wrote the post below, I can say it's my heart's state now-- BUT NOW, I am in a much bigger trial than no publishing contract (although I am still there!!!) This season, I find myself in a personal trial that has pretty much turned my heart upside down.

Yet, it is in that state of brokenness that I find God calling me to that very thing He told me a year ago: ABIDE. That is the only way my heart begins to tip the right way up again.

Enjoy this re-post of a pretty real-time revelation.

On my last morning of vacation, I forced myself to wake up and do something I wanted to do that entire week. Watch the sunrise over the ocean. It had been an amazing time to relax, rejuvenate, and just release all the stress from life and parenthood. Funny though, I began the week there against a vow I had made to myself.

To leave my passion of writing behind.

I wanted complete solitude from everything I focused on up North. :) But, something happened, and I allowed the writing to remain a focus, even as the waves lapped to the shore, and the sand swallowed my feet.

And suddenly, out of nowhere, a giant tidal wave of doubt and frustration threatened to knock me down. Funny thing is, I had just accomplished two big feats in my writing pursuit. It all makes sense now. But at the time, it threw me into a swirling downward mess.
My view from the balony
The pinks and golds of a rising sun took me from the balcony of my hotel room, and sat me right down at the water's edge. I tried to listen, tried to hear God's call for me. What should I DO, Lord? Am I DOING what you want? I am so frustrated with this process. So defeated in the DOING.

Some people might claim to hear the voice of God, clear as the sun's glitter on the waves. I am not one of those people. God doesn't speak to me in an audible way. That day, I begged to hear His voice. I wanted answers.

The Spirit knows better though. I wasn't moved to listen. I was moved to worship. And everything came into focus. Well, not everything, just One thing. It's like I was searching the horizon with a strained zoom lens, and once I zoomed out, clarity sharpened the Image my heart needed most. The answer my heart craved, even against what I thought to be the answer I wanted.

Through a prostrate heart, as prostrate as the sea foam submits to the shore after a crashing wave, I realized the answer to all my questions...all my concerns: God wants me to abide in Him.

That's it.

Nothing more.

He's the One that's in the business of DOING. NOT me. I am worthless if I think that if I just DO something, life will be better, God will be happy, Love will flow freely.

Eh, eh.

No. In a world where DOING is often the answer...where success is built upon a foundation of effort and stress, where power is built upon pushing and trampling those in the way....I have discovered that nothing is worth anything if the DOING is my focus. Because it is when I ABIDE, when I allow the LORD to be in control, just as He's in control of the ocean waves--they never stop, they continue to approach and retreat, to swell and to dissipate--God is the ONLY one in control of the DOING.

Only when I ABIDE in Him, and give Him the power to DO through me, will I be moved.

Only in HIM.

What happens when we ABIDE? We worship and fall prostrate. And it's there where we have focus, because it's through the heartbeats of the Almighty that gives us Life. Through the tug of the Almighty's hands that we are led to do. Not because a person, or pursuit, or preacher tells us to DO. It's because when we ABIDE in Him, our heart beats in rhythm with His own. And from the overflow of HIS Love, we DO.

I felt like I cried an ocean after my time on the shore. And I hadn't. But my body felt like it. Such release. Such PEACE. Such abiding.

So, after this long might wonder what this looks like for my writing. Honestly, I was about to throw in the towel on this pursuit to publication before that morning. There are a few things I have discovered after worshiping at the water's edge:

1. I can remember the exact moment God bestowed this craving to worship through stories. It was at a time of my life I had prayed for something more...for something to satisfy amidst the colicky babes, the clinging toddlers, the monotonous days of motherhood (and I LOVE my kids...don't heart needed something else). As much as the Christian writing community talks about writing as a Gift from God...that morning I grasped that it REALLY WAS a gift from answered prayer of giving me something more...something all my own. He gave me the outlet at just the moment I needed it most... a mother of three small children, in a season of chaos!

2. With the help of some amazing women (you know them as the Alleycats), I can finally understand that, because this writing thing is truly a gift, truly an avenue to joy in my life, truly Spirit led to bring me to abiding in Him, publishing really is just a worldly perk. Yes, it's still my desire to see my name in print some day, but it's not the culmination of this gift. Far from it. I think there will be a much grander finale to my story writing, and I will dream that it involves a more Heavenly audience.

3. The DOING is not up to me. Abiding is. And like I said, the writing thing is one way God allows for me to ABIDE with Him. AMEN! Wow, He gifted me in a wonderfully joyous personal way to ABIDE in Him. I feel BLESSED!

My husband and I talked a lot about creation that trip. It's hard not to when you have the vast ocean before
The sunset on our last night
you, the rising sun, and the sea of stars at night. And when I sit and allow myself to absorb the creation around me, I burst with an urge to cry and write all at once. If writing wasn't God-given, then could I be so moved to write by merely observing His Handiwork?

Writing is my song. It is my worship. Writing is the pursuit God has given me to ABIDE.

I can't DO. Just WRITE.

Angie Dicken first began writing fiction as a creative outlet during the monotonous, mothering days of diapers and temper tantrums. She is passionate to impress God's love on women regardless of their background or belief. This desire serves as a catalyst for Angie's fiction, which weaves salvation and grace themes across historical cultures and social boundaries. Angie is an ACFW member and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.


Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Angie, this is one of the best posts ever. I love your heart and your passion for God and for writing. May you be blessed by the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. (((hugs)))

Jill Weatherholt said...

Wow! Angie, this is such a beautiful post. Thank you.

Unknown said...

I needed this reminder today. Thank you for being so authentic with your post. God bless.

Unknown said...

Angie, this is one of the most beautiful posts I've read in a LONG time. Thank you for your transparency and for sharing your heart.

I went through a hard season of doubt and feeling like I was wasting my time about a year and a half ago. And God used a couple things to get it through to me that life and dreams and goals, they're not about what I DO...but about who I am in Christ...what HE has named me, what purpose He's given me. And if I really trust in Him, then I'm going to trust him to do the doing...and rest in the confidence that He's faithful.

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Angie, it's been said above, but this post is absolutely beautiful. I've appreciated how you share an honest look at your writing journey with us. I learn so much from you.

I love that God gave your heart it's "more" through writing. Thank you for sharing your life lessons. I'm listening. :)

Anonymous said...

Oh, I needed this reminder today. I sat back & just worshiped after I read this. Burden, instantly gone, when I stop striving to just do, do, do & take it all on my shoulders.
HIS yoke is easy, His burden is light--if we but abide in Him & Him alone.

Casey said...

Wow You've poured out your heart here today and I related to every.single.word. God used your post for me today. Thank you for remaining faithful to Him, my dear friend.

Angie Dicken said...

Thanks, Sherrinda! And thanks for stopping by my personal blog too!

Angie Dicken said...

Jill, Thanks for stopping by!

Angie Dicken said...

Cindy, Thanks for stopping by. Have a great week!

Angie Dicken said...

Thanks! When we turn our focus on Him, He is so willing to show us His faithfulness. It's definitely a deliberate act on our part. THAT is the only DOING worth anything--turning our focus to Him!

Angie Dicken said...

Jeanne, Thanks for your sweet words!

Angie Dicken said...

What a blessing to know how this helped you! Thanks for sharing!

Angie Dicken said...

Casey! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!! Love you!

Ashley Clark said...

Chills! I love this Ang! So glad you had such a refreshing beach retreat! :)

Mary Curry said...

Angie, this is such a beautiful post. You've expressed so much of how I feel about my writing. I'm bookmarking this for the next time I'm having one of those moments we know so well.

Thanks for opening your heart.

Krista Phillips said...

Yes, yes, yes, yes and YES!

Fabulous post, my sweet friend. I just... yeah. Fabulous!

Unknown said...

Fantastic post, Angie and just what i needed to hear today as well. It's so easy to get caught up in all I have to do and I'm finding myself burnt out. I need God's perspective daily. Thanks for giving it to me today!

Angie Dicken said...

Thanks, Janice! I am so glad it met you where you are at! Will you be at ACFW this year? Hope to see you!