God’s been talking to me again, and when that happens, He speaks most often through impressions from different sources: A thought that flits through my head. A sentence with sudden revelatory depth from a paragraph just read. A conversation with a friend.
When these sources—like some cosmic compass from heaven—all point in the same direction, God holds my attention.
The message God gave this time is not so different from what He revealed in the writing of An Abiding Peace (of mind). In that post, I wrote:
It seems human nature to equate uncertainty with stress. (An uncertain future. Our plans up in the air. Confusion over the path ahead. Or maybe we’re stuck in circumstantial discomfort.) This manner of logic presupposes UNDERSTANDING to be the ultimate pathway for finding peace. Isn’t this the way our human brains think?
It even applies to writing fiction!
After several months hiatus, I began again on the story I felt God had inspired. The one of which I wrote in an earlier post:
“I thought [it] 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.”
But then I hit a block. (That and I sensed God telling me to wait.) Hence the hiatus.
For 4 months, I didn’t work on that project. Wasn’t sure I was meant to write fiction at all. Maybe it was simply God’s vehicle to bring me to the end of myself and set me free from all those binding perceptions. And maybe the free-flowing story was simply a momentary gift—to be enjoyed in a time of transition.
However, I’d already registered for the Realm Makers (RM) Conference and, in the weeks leading up to that time, new ideas began trickling in once more.
Then, through the suggestions I received at RM (the same answer from three people—Can anyone hear God talking? Ahem.), I began again in earnest, brainstorming ideas as fast as they came, pressing forward to break past the former block in my story… And I just kept going.
Not writing, mind you (Be gone from my presence you foul white page!)—but brainstorming.
Idea after idea after idea—in list form.
The suggestions received at RM clearly broke the dam, bringing a fresh creative flow (after turning over said stone). And since God often speaks to me through triplets, I don’t doubt their advice. Yet, as the ideas amassed, a little nagging voice whispered its doubts.
“These ideas are great,” it said, “but not quite comprehensive enough to get you from beginning to end…
“Not ready yet, luv. So keep plugging away on your list. Don’t try to face the page when you know you’re not ready.”
In other words, don’t start writing ’til you see a clear path through—the trail through the thicket. Does that sound like God to you?
Well, I reasoned, He did show me this craft book to read—and I haven’t finished with that yet. And besides, I’ve derailed too often without a plan—wasted countless hours writing garbage.
Though—in case you don’t realize—you’re amassing so many ideas your human brain won’t be capable of sorting them in the end. Not to mention…have you forgotten which story this is?
Mmm. The story of promise. The one I prayed for. The one that began with a flood of creative power unlike any I’d experienced in the writing wilderness of the last ten years.
If the conversation had literally gone as above, I’m sure I would’ve caught on faster. Even so, just a few weeks had passed since my story’s re-beginning, and already my feet were sinking beneath the slippery sands of trust in my own sense of understanding. A well-timed conversation with a wise writer friend confirmed my sinking suspicions.
In my heart of hearts, I knew I had to make a change, which I expressed in my journal:
Am I trying to create on the page a journey of the mind or of the soul? A logical journey, devised in the mind of man—or an authentic one, born of God? Perhaps in pondering each detail so methodically, so thoroughly, with a mind to predetermine the logical progression of character and plot in hopes of removing all risk, I’m refusing to take the journey with God. Perhaps I need to do that hard thing and face my fears (the empty page) with God as my Source.
After all, who am I trusting to bring me through if I have to plan every detail?
Whose story will it really be if I refuse to relinquish control to the One with the most pure and eternal perspectives?
If I only ever begin writing when the story makes sense, I’m trusting my own powers of reasoning above God’s…looking to Hagar to bring the promise—instead of the Miracle-Maker.
As Ted Dekker says in his Meditations, “When we humbly surrender our intellect’s need for certainty, we are set free to trust our Father as only a child can trust.”
So, as I received this re-revelation that seemed to be from God, I faced the chasm spiraling infinitely downward before me. With fear and trepidation, I shuffled my toes to the very edge. Heart pounding, I pondered the tiny pebbles plummeting away into foggy nothingness. But instead of building a bridge across, I looked to my Heavenly Father—and I jumped…
Father, it doesn’t matter if this outpouring of words leads to better understanding of my story. It doesn’t matter if the words are perfect or the plot solid. In this moment, it only matters that I begin this journey with You, a journey of discovery and trust in which I can’t help but grow. So I transition my worries to You, shifting that pressure to perform from my shoulders to Yours.
After all, we were never meant to carry the weight of the results—the unbearable weight of making our stories a success—only to practice the faithfulness of dining at the Father’s table each day. There, we eat with joy. We drink the cup He provides. We write what comes—without pressure!—knowing that our writing is better and purer that way anyway.
Instead of fretting, we trust. When our wheels spin, we cease striving. We let go of expectations of what we feel pressured to achieve and, instead, we invite God to fill the gaps. We don’t fear the blank page which is merely an invitation to trust. Instead, squinting, we take shuffling steps into the white-page snowstorm, flurries whipping past our face with a stinging chill.
Into the whiteout we go, leaning forward into the wind, and there we discover, through story, beautiful lessons from our Daddy.
How about you? How much are you trusting God each day to meet you on the blank page? And if He doesn’t seem to show? Is it because you closed the door to uncertainty, to risk, to trust? Is it because your expectations are hemming you in, thundering up from the ground like fast-growing hedges that block your sight of the One Who holds all creation in His hands? Can you trust Him, even when He doesn’t seem to deliver?
I’d love to hear where you are on the journey—to pray for you, to cheer you on—in the comments below or in a private message.
A Gift for You
In the meantime, here’s a little inspirational photo-collage I put together—for myself, for others. Feel free to save it for your personal use. It prints nicely to an 8 by 10 photo. If you want to bring a smile to my face, send me a picture of where you’ve anchored it in your home or your writing space.