Monday, October 20, 2014

Writing For Him...or With Him?

It's been a long journey through a valley. At least, long to me. I know that we have a whole Biblical heritage of those before us who journeyed days, months, and years in deep valleys and over rocky terrain. But when one is in the thick of it, with the agony heightened and the pain overwhelming, it's hard to not beg for it to end. It is hard to not hope for a sudden stairway to appear that will take you up and out...or better yet, a giant hand to appear that you can climb up into as it lifts you away from the rocky path. Sometimes, I catch myself waiting for something better, wanting the end to come quickly, and in the mean time I make myself miserable in the here and now.

www.freedigitalphotos.net by Evgini Dinev

If you are anything like me, you may have taken this perspective on your calling to write stories. You may have decided that God gave you a story and sent you out to write it down, and once you've fleshed it out, you try to hurry up and present Him with a job well done. That's when you hope for the blessing, right? To be published, to be noticed, to climb out of the valley of learning and critiques, and into the world of awards and reviews. The tricky road of story-crafting is your part in the deal, and God acts as the agent/publisher role of getting your story to where it must be read. 

www.freedigitalphotos.net by Evgini Dinev
For several years I thought this way--that I was writing for God and would see His fruit at the end of it. But just like when I am going through a valley in life, the writing becomes taxing and strenuous when I try and do that part in my own effort. I can only look to the end of it and beg for God to come. Why do I forget that, actually, He is with me all along?

Does God want me to write FOR Him, or WITH Him? We are so blessed to be in this part of God's plan history-wise, where He has gifted us with the Holy Spirit and the knowledge that He is truly with us everywhere we go...even in the writing, the creating, the telling. 

I am still in a valley in life. And just now, I am finally giving myself permission to enjoy life regardless of the circumstance. I thought I would just hold my breath and survive until it was all over. But since I don't see a way up anywhere along these cliffs that surround me, I am about sick of holding all that air within me. I need to breathe in the Holy Spirit who is with me all this time, and I need to know there is everything good beside me in the valley. God's not waiting at the end of the trial. He's walking it with me.

When I sit down to write, I am not doing anything FOR God... But even better, I am privileged with the chance to write WITH God. To allow His Holy Spirit to direct my words and imagination and heart is just as rewarding as reaching the destination. I learn to abide that way, and take pleasure in the God who created me for His pleasure. I get to "do life" with the God of the Universe, instead of meeting Him down the road.
www.freedigitalphotos.net by tirverylucky


What journey is not worth that? Even in the valleys, even in the hidden corners of your writing cave, meet God in each moment, and He will walk with you to the higher ground.

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Angie Dicken is a full-time mom and lives in the Midwest with her Texas Aggie sweetheart. An ACFW member since 2010, she has written five Historical Romance novels, has a Historical underway, and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency. Angie also spends her time designing one sheets, selling Jamberry Nail Wraps, and drinking good coffee with great friends. Check out her author page at www.facebook.com/dicken.angie and her personal blog at angiedicken.blogspot.com 

14 comments:

Casey said...

I love this Angie. So much. I really don't have any other comments outside of that. Except your point about writing WITH God really stood out to me. We're partners in this dream together. There is such strengthening and freedom in knowing no matter what man thinks of what I'm putting on paper, God is pleased with my faithfulness and efforts. Awesome post, my friend.

kaybee said...

ANGIE,
This is a good way to start my writing week. I write full-time secular nonfiction (well, really I'm a newspaper reporter but that sounded better), and it's a constant struggle for me not to apply the rubrics for secular success to my "real" writing. I need to be reminded almost every day. Fortunately my crit partner is a godly woman, in addition to having a killer knowledge of the MRUs, GMCs and POVs. Where would we be without our acronyms?
Kathy Bailey
Figuring it out in NH

Anonymous said...

This was an absolute balm to my spirit, Angie. Thanks so much for the reminder.

Sarah Forgrave said...

What a beautiful post full of truth, Angie. I've been through crazy-hard valleys in my life, so I know exactly where you're coming from. One of my favorite verses that I clung to during that dark time was Deuteronomy 31:8 -- "The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you; do not be afraid, do not be discouraged." Hugs and prayers, my friend.

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Angie, such a beautiful, transparent post! Thank you for this. I've been in those valleys—in writing life and in real life—unmet desires, physical struggles, writing disappointments? They're all hard to walk through.

Your post reminded me of what Allen Arnold shared here at The Alley earlier this year. I so appreciate your re-iteration that God walks WITH us each step of the journey. Reaching out to Him in the trials and in the joyful times adds comfort and strength to our spirits.

I'm so thankful for you and your vulnerability. It speaks to me. Thanks!

Kathleen T. Jaeger said...

I enjoyed this perspective today, Angie, and enjoyed reading some of your personal blog, too. It encouraged me; it is an approachable style.Thanks!

Angie said...

Thanks, Casey. I was inspired by my new church. Great sermon yesterday! And I have been chewing on my perspective on life trials this past week since I am on such a roller coaster. Funny how God links it all together! Actually, amazing!!

Angie said...

Kaybee,

Wow, you are amazing! Writing both non-fiction and fiction! And to have that experience in the secular world is also unique. I hope that you are able to enjoy God beside you no matter who your audience is, and that you continue with a great crit partner! They are so important, aren't they?? :)
Have a great week!

Angie said...

Sarah, Thank you! You were such an encouragement to me at conference, and what you shared means a lot to me. It really has been an affirmation of what God has been speaking in my life.
Have a great week!!

Angie said...

Jeanne!
I went back and looked over Allen's post, and had to laugh at myself for it taking so long to sink in until now! HA! Thanks for being uplifting and appreciating my transparency...sometimes I feel like I don't know how to be anything but transparent! Oh well! :)

Angie said...

Kathleen,
Thank you for visiting my personal blog! I have taken a break from it...this valley in life has kinda sucked me dry. Hopefully I will get back in a regular schedule. I hope you have a great week!

Janice Boekhoff said...

Such wisdom, Angie! I also go about my day thinking I need to do my part FOR God (writing) and then His part is the stuff I can't do (getting me published). Yes, sadly, I often leave Him out of the things I think I can do by myself. How foolish, and yet I continue to do it. Thanks for the reminder that He is always there, ready and willing to do this life WITH me. Your faith through this time in the valley is an inspiration, my friend.

Leslie Basil Payne said...

What a wonderful thought, how we get to "do life with God" rather than just meeting him at the end of the road. Thank you for sharing your insights.

Meghan Gorecki said...

Wow...I have to say I never really thought about writing *with* God, only *for* Him. Such a better perspective that keeps me humble and continually leaning on HIS strength instead of my own. Thank you SO much for this--really lightened the load on my heart. :)