I began the year with plans…
Plans to read through the Bible and corresponding works of biblical fiction.
I started out plodding along with the same story I’d been brainstorming for over a year, indulging clunky tortoise-like steps with little progress while also wondering, “Is this really the story God wants me working on now?”
See, I’ve been feeling a steady awakening ever since God healed me of the anxiety and depression that kept me anchored to this pressing need to prove my existence had value. Before that, all I was trying to do was survive. Then I was taking little baby steps, finding a rhythm to my morning time with God, which led to my new reading goals a la biblical fiction + Bible.
Then God derailed those plans.
Just as I began wondering if my novel-in-progress was God’s purpose for my writing in this season—even while a desire within me was being birthed to write something deeper, not alone but with God—He downloaded a fresh idea. One I thought would end in a short story, but His inspiration kept flowing. Overnight, I transitioned… from striving and struggling to plot a novel that seemed determined not to flow… to a story exploding with creativity and floating as free as the wind. To go from plotting (yessiree, I have all the answers) to half-pantsing (no idea where it’s going or how it’ll all work out, but it’s going, it’s going, IT’S GOING—at last!)… that takes faith.
And with the shift in writing came a shift in reading as well. No rigid plans for me, thank you very much! Not that plans are bad, but I’m willing to ditch the sinking ship when God supplies me with an ark. I’m willing to surrender my wearisome plans for His so I can flow with His Spirit.
So now instead of only reading biblical fiction, I’ve taken a break to focus on Middle Grade (MG) fiction. The story inspiration God’s giving me f e e l s like MG (or perhaps YA, Young Adult), and I’m excited about that. Middle Grade fantasy strikes me as being among the most creative of genres and I’m enjoying the shift. (Want to read some great MG fantasy, check out this book I reviewed here.)
My devotional reading has proven fruitful as well. Just two examples below…
(1) Courageous Creative
I haven’t yet finished this beautiful devotional by Jenny Randle, but it’s inspired some prophetic art that touched one of my friends, and it also led me to write an inspirational song that speaks to my new vision for encouraging the downtrodden to lift their eyes to the ultimate Healer, God.
(2) Encountering Our Wild God
This inspirational book by Kim Meeder is absolutely amazing. There wasn’t a single chapter that didn’t touch me deeply to the point of tears. I felt God’s presence in reading this book, and I’m so thankful He helped me find it. Each of the author’s stories powerfully focused my thoughts on the Creator and Lover of my soul and started my day with a boost of faith and hope while driving me to a deeper hunger for the things of God.
Deeper… to the point of feeling like there’s a message inside me just waiting to burst out. A message of hope that longs to be shared to the right crowd in the right situation. Three weeks or so ago today, I took a leap of faith and, during our church service, shared a word I felt the Holy Spirit had impressed upon me.
It’s just like Kim says in her book, “The motivation to share our faith does not rise from courage but love.” When we see God as He is, we can’t help but love Him. The more we experience that love, the more we love God back and the greater our hopes to make a difference for Him.
So here I am. Embracing change inside and out, begging God to fill me and guide me.
Now my greatest hope is to be walking in God’s will. Now my passion for life is that I would press so close into my Savior that it becomes impossible to tell where He begins and I end. Now I have this vision that my writing can be about more than just me.
I want to be like Abraham in that my life would be a blessing for many.