Wednesday, August 27, 2014

You Don't Have Time to Read This- A Guest Post By Allen Arnold


Ashley here! Today, I'm excited to be hosting an industry expert and a dear friend of mine, Allen Arnold. Previously the founder and Publisher of Thomas Nelson fiction, Allen now leads Content & Resources for Ransomed Heart Ministries. I know you're going to be encouraged by his post today. Please leave any questions or comments you may have for Allen, and help us welcome Allen to the Alley!

Allen Arnold loves the epic adventure God has set before him. From the mountains of Colorado, he leads Content & Resources for Ransomed Heart Ministries (led by John Eldredge). Before that, he spent 20 years in Christian Publishing - overseeing  the development of more than 500 novels as founder and Publisher of Thomas Nelson Fiction. He was awarded the ACFW Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. But those facts don't really describe the man. Allen savors time with his family, craves the beach, drinks salsa by the glass, is hooked on the TV series "Once Upon a Time" and is passionate about helping storytellers write from an awakened heart.

***

If you have more than enough time to read this and an abundance of time to pursue your writing – I’m happy for you. But this post isn’t for you.

I wrote this for those of you who are stretched so thin it’s either read this or brush your teeth.

You don’t have time to write...much less read this.
I get it. I didn’t have time to write this post.

And yet here we both are.
Because God wants to talk to you about writing...and time.

But I have to back up just a bit. See, God plays this odd game with me. Often before I write a post like this – I’m drawn to a movie scene or I get hit with an emotion that pulsates through me... a deep sense of loss or maybe confusion or perhaps joy. I’ve learned this is God’s way of giving me a foretaste of what the people I’m writing to are feeling.  
It’s taking me to the sweet spot of what he wants to go after.
Kind of an advance preview.

As I write, here are the three emotions I’m sensing:
1) overwhelmed, 2) disheartened, 3) alone.

Which is odd. I love to write and God has given me a clear calling to go after the hearts of creators. And when I write with him – I know I am not alone.

So I push in to these feelings. I want a clear read on the thoughts that are circling around me but yet are not of me.

So here is what I’m feeling.

That I have absolutely no time to be writing this.

That God should give me more hours in the day if he really wants me to write...or at least take away all these never-ending distractions.

That I am a loser father for writing this while my family is eating dinner without me.

That no one will read this post.

Because I am getting hit with these feelings now, my guess is that you get hit with them – or something similar – when it comes to your writing.

So that’s why we’re here.

God has given you the gift of words and story. But in what feels like a cruel joke, there simply doesn’t seem to be enough time in your day to pursue it – much less savor it.

You’d love the luxury of hours of writing time at your favorite café as you sip a double whipped, chocolate-infused latte with sprinkles. But you have a full time job. The laundry is overflowing. Young children are spilling things on you. Perhaps there’s an ill parent, an unsupportive spouse or a recurring health issue.

God has called you to write
and yet,
There is no time to write.

Those sentences seem to collide with each other – unable to exist in the same universe. Yet they co-exist in your life.

I sense right now that God wants to breathe life into you.
To speak to your heart. Because it’s impossible to write words of life when you – as creator – are burnt-out, worn-out, or stressed out.

God certainly doesn’t promise us time to do everything.

But it doesn’t make sense that the Creator of time would somehow underestimate the time we need to do what he’s called us to do.

If he’s called you to write stories,
he will give you time to write them.

He doesn’t stir a desire in you to leave it unfulfilled.

That sounds great in theory, right?
But how does it work when there simply isn’t
an extra two minutes in your day?

I don’t know. But that’s okay.
The place where we get to the end of our understanding is one of God’s favorite places to do his magic.
The place where we have no idea.

Stay with me. Actually, forget me.
Stay with God on this line of thinking.

When we give God our days and follow his lead, we live in his abundance. To the Creator of time, there’s no such thing as a shortage of time. He never plays catch-up.

That’s why the psalmist says of God, “You’ve got all the time in the world – whether a thousand years or a day, it’s all the same to you.” (The Message, Psalm 90:4).

Like a good father, God loves to provide for our needs.
To come through for us. In abundance.

So rather than me offering you five tips to manage your time,
l want to invite you to give your calling and
your time back to God.
Think of it as your offering.
Think of it as your couple of pieces of fish and bread.
I want you to give God your fading dream of writing and
your lack of time. It may not feel like much. But I urge you to do it now. That’s why you’re still reading this.

Just say these words out loud to God.
It’s just for the two of you.

“God, I love that you’ve given me the gift of words. I don’t understand why there’s never enough time for me to enjoy this gift with you. I feel overwhelmed, disheartened and alone.

I want to live in the abundance of the Kingdom.
I want to write with you.
But even more, I want to spend time dancing and dreaming with you. It almost sounds too good to believe this could be a normal part of my life.

I pray today that you will give me this daily bread.
Not just sustenance. But my daily portion of time.
My daily bread to savor as a feast of words
and creativity and story with you.
My soul hungers for this.
Give me this daily bread.
I won’t try to make it happen.
Or try to earn it.
It is a gift from you.
I ask for it boldly and expectantly.
Let this gift of time and creative fellowship
rain down on me like manna from heaven.
Mostly, give me you.
Because only you can satisfy me.
And I’ll only be satisfied if we do this together.”


I think that should do it.
If this feels too simplistic, don’t let that throw you.
Psalm 3 reminds us not to try and figure everything out on our own. God can handle our biggest mysteries.

Now, watch expectantly how he provides this gift of time and fellowship. I suspect you’ll notice it in both big and small ways.
But it likely won’t be in the exact way you’re expecting.
I do know this – if it’s from God, it will be far better than what you would dare to imagine.

I sense God is smiling at you right now.
Spend a few minutes with him celebrating what just happened. And what is to come.


You have the time.


***


GIVEAWAY!

Don't forget to enter for our huge giveaway at our Facebook Party, Saturday, August 30! For the big giveaway, we are giving away The Writer's Alley New Design Launch Basket containing the following:

  • $20 Amazon gift card
  • Here to Stay by Melissa Tagg (paperback book)
  • Sandwich, with a Side of Romance by Krista Phillips (paperback book)
  • A Side of Faith by Krista Phillips (paperback book)
  • Duchess by Susan May Warren (autographed paperback book)
  • Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Squares
  • A Writer's Conference Jamberry PediPack 

Throughout the day of our Facebook party August 30, we will be giving away the following:
  • A Side of Faith by Krista Phillips (ebook)
  • A Home At Trail's End by Melody Carlson (paperback book)
  • $10 Amazon gift card
  • Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund (paperback book)
  • The Writer's Toolbox
  • Showdown by Ted Dekker (paperback book)
  • Love's Reckoning by Laura Frantz (paperback book)
  • Vanished by Irene Hannon (paperback book)
You can enter for a chance to win HERE. Just scroll to the end of the post and enter through our Rafflecopter giveaway widget!


Have a great day!

28 comments:

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

My goodness, your words were a balm to my soul. Seriously, as I read through the post, I could feel tension flow away, leaving me in a state of...anticipation. (which is exciting, because ANTICIPATE is my One Word for the year). Thank you for taking your precious time to write this, for I know there are many who need to read it.

Nancy K. Sullivan said...

I copied your prayer to paste and print as a daily reminder to surrender my time to the One who can actually use it so much more effectively than I ever will. Thank you for this empathetic and encouraging post!

Melissa Tagg said...

This might be my favorite (and most-needed) blog post I've ever read. SO thankful I stumbled across the link on Facebook. Thanks, Ashley, for inviting Allen to post and thanks, Allen, for writing it. Seriously...so needed. And so encouraging.

(p.s. Just saw you guys are including Here to Stay in your big giveaway. FUN! Thanks!!)

christinacli said...

Thank-you! I was really blessed by this. Sometimes in working hard FOR God, I forget that I'm supposed to work WITH Him. This is a great reminder and takes away the stress. I still remain responsible to obey my calling, but I'm no longer alone in attempting to accomplish it. God bless you, Allen, and each one of you wonderful ladies in all your hard work!

Krista Phillips said...

Holy wow.

Seriously.

This momma of four needed this, like I think we probably ALL need it.

Just... wow.

THANK YOU!!!

Anonymous said...

Dealing with homeschooling my daughter through her last classes of high school within a month because she's getting married and planning that as well, and caring full-time for my husband while in at-home hospice, I definitely needed this! Thank you so much!

(I wanted to send this privately, but I can't see a way, so I'm posting anonymously.)

Ralene said...

I think it's a good thing you listened to God's pulse for this post. Seems like we all struggle with "finding time." Thank you, Allen, for the encouraging post and the prayer.

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Wow, Allen. I'm chiming in with the commenters above. I NEEDED THIS POST. TODAY. Thank you for keeping your heart sensitive to the Lord to know what He wanted you to write.

I loved this prayer, and I too plan to cut and paste it so I can pray it regularly. Giving God my time and trusting Him with it? I forget to do this.

Thanks for the reminder that it's good to dream and to state them out to God, and then trust Him to do what He knows is best. I find myself afraid to dream. Your post reminded me that dreaming is good—and then placing them in God's palms to do with as He knows is best.

Thank you, Allen!

Rachel Hauck said...

Wise post, Allen. So love your heart here.

Rachel

Laurie Tomlinson said...

Thank you for visiting the Alley, Allen! I really needed this reminder today that when you're doing God's work, time and productivity and even money are a completely different currency. Perfect timing! Thanks again :)

Pepper Basham said...

I'm on lunch break and am SO thankful I 'took the time' to read this post. Allen (and Ash) this was definitely a word spoken in due season!
It doesn't look like I have the time...but God does.

Thank you for sharing this - for carving out the time to encourage those of us who are feeling these feelings too.

Sherrie Ashcraft said...

Allen, I just want you to know that I brushed my teeth at my computer while reading this! Seriously!! Loved this reminder of what you taught in the coaching class at OCW last month. I often go back to the wisdom you and Jim shared there.
Thanks for taking time to share!

Joanne Sher said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE this. Thank you so much for sharing, Allen - and Alley Cats, for inviting him. Blessings!

Becky Wade said...

Wonderful encouragement! Thank you!!

Becky Wade said...

Wonderful encouragement! Thank you!!

Karen Schravemade said...

Goodness, I needed this. It resonates perfectly with where I'm at. Seriously - perfectly. Every. Single. Word. Thank you so much for being obedient to that nudge. I needed that.

Marian Pellegrin Merritt said...

Thanks, Allen. My heart overflows.

Sarah Forgrave said...

What a Spirit-breathed post. Thank you, Allen, for writing it. And thank you, Ashley, for inviting him to write it.

As I'm currently waiting and praying about an extra responsibility that may be added to my calendar, this is exactly what I need to hear. If God is calling me to add more to my schedule, He'll provide the time to get it all done.

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

I told myself I was going to skim this, but I devoured every word... Even while the baby screamed and spit up on my shirt and my son spilled his juice on my lap. :) better go change my clothes. ahh, the joys of parenthood. Thank you for this, Allen. We are so blessed to have you as our most esteemed guest here in the Alley.

Allen Arnold said...

I just wanted to say how much I appreciated each of your responses to my post today. I am in awe of the creative gifting that God has clearly given to each of you. A great psalm to keep nearby is Psalm 27:14. "Stay with God. Take heart. Don't quit. I'll say it again - Stay with God." (The Message). As you step into the abundance of his time, the enemy will oppose it. But stay with God, nourish your heart, and don't quit. I can't wait to see how that impacts your future stories (both
the ones you're writing and living)! - Allen

Ashley Clark said...

This post was so filled with encouragement and inspiration... thank you for coming today, Allen! :)

Maresa said...

Needed this post. Thank you for taking the time to let God create through you.

First, we did read the post.

And, you reminded us that we're not alone... never alone.

God used your post to give me my manna. And I'm feeling soul-full of the good bread He gives.

Praying His abundant blessings of creativity and the time to use it,

Rebecca Yauger said...

Will definitely keep this lovely reminder that you mentioned from Psalms: Psalm 27:14. "Stay with God. Take heart. Don't quit. I'll say it again - Stay with God." (The Message).
Wonderful blog post and wise words. Thank you for sharing, Allen.

Lynnette Jalufka said...

Thank you for this post. It was just what I needed to hear. And the prayer was beautiful.

Janice Boekhoff said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you, (how many times can I say it in one comment?) for following God's prompting to write this post, even though you didn't have time. I'm in tears over the way this affected me, especially the prayer. How easy it is to get caught up in schedules and to do lists, but we can't micro-manage God. Thank you for the reminder that He is in this and He will provide. And now, I'm going to brush my teeth and head for bed.

Michelle Lynn Senters said...

My heart is overwhelmed with gratitude that you listened to the words God gave you... "overwhelmed, disheartened, alone". He was speaking to you about me and many others apparently. I leave your article personally touched by the Father, reminded that He is the provider of relief, encouragement, and companionship. I am not alone. Thank you.
-Michelle Lynn Senters

Lynda S. said...

How often at the point of giving up—and then along comes something like this to blow on the dying embers. Thank you.

Kathryne Leach said...

I am wiping tears from my eyes and cleaning the drops off my glasses in order to type my appreciation for this anointed prayer. Thank you is not a large enough sentiment. What a blessing your words are!