Posts Tagged 'spiritual gift'

I’m Back

Quigley wearing free dog antlers from PetCo

Quigley wearing free dog antlers from PetCo

Hi everyone!  And a happy 2013 to you all!

Yes, I’m back. Not necessarily back from physical travels, though we did get over to Southern California to visit the kids and grand-daughter, as well as my 92-year-old stepmother. I am back from that, and also, apparently, from my recent and unexpected blogging silence.

I have no explanation, other than that I had neither  motivation nor words with which to generate a blog post for almost a month now. I haven’t even kept up on my emails. In fact, I’ve done very little on the computer since last I posted, except for Bible Class.

Part of that was the shingles and the fact that it was hard to even look at the screen for a while. Plus I had a regimen of eye drops and pills to take there at first, and kept going back to the doctor for them to gauge my progress. This, added to Christmas preps, demolished my normal routine, which had been suffering anyway. I was also consciously trying to avoid the computer, not only to rest my eyes but in hopes of getting a handle on my addiction to reading blogs and news articles.

Pastor John spoke about this awhile back, how reading the things on the web — things invariably from the world — mess up your mental attitude and make it harder to go back to your work — in his case, studying the Word and preparing his lessons, in mine, working on the book. I had already noticed that effect on my own, but didn’t really give it the attention it deserved. I thought it was just me having no discipline as opposed to information and enticements from the world registering with my sin nature, which in turn agitated for “No More Struggling With that Lame Book! Who’s going to like it anyway? It’s not going to be any good, and you have no discipline…” or…. “You’re just not into it today. Tomorrow will be better. Why not take a break now and go do something else?”  To which I answered “Okay” far too often.

Or… “But I really want to find out what happened/why he did it/more on this subject! I’ll work on the book later…”

On another day, in another lesson, he talked about how sometimes God will shut us down in the operation of our spiritual gift in order for us to realize that it’s His power that’s doing it, not ours. That really resonated as well, but I haven’t really been able to get my arms around it all enough to write about it in any way that makes sense.

A third concept that keeps floating through my awareness is the fact that all this with the blog… specifically the call to do a post 5 days a week, was really more than I could handle and actually write a book, too. Add to that the notion that since this was supposed to build my readership I should be trying to do posts that people would like, and keep track of the numbers and all that… and it only piled on more pressure. And, I see in retrospect, drained energy away from whatever it is in me that comes up with my stories.

Long ago I had determined that God was not calling me to be a marketer — He would do the marketing, and the promoting and publicizing, and my job was to concentrate on writing the book (which He would also do, but that was where I was to focus my attention, not the other stuff).  He told me that in a very vivid and compelling way, and I immediately obeyed and stopped thinking about the marketing.

But the world is relentless in promoting its positions, and after ten years, I became infected with it again. Maybe I had grown enough, I thought arrogantly, that I could handle it now. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to at least try it out, see if it was what I was to do. After all, everyone else is doing it.

No. Not what I’m to do. All the things they suggest one do to build a readership distracts me from my calling. It takes away my time, changes my mental attitude and focus, really seems to mess me up when it comes to my primary calling, which is to write my novels. I learned that once, but as with so many things, forgot the lesson and went back to try it again.

If I’m honest, I have to admit I like the idea of me doing stuff to get folks to read my blog and books. Well, no, actually I don’t like it at all, at least not the actual doing of it. I just like the idea of having some control over it and that’s probably the main issue right there. That I’m going to control things, when God’s the one in control.

Anyway, I’m not going to be doing five posts a week, but 4, and that may not be all the time. I’m not going to be trolling about various strangers’ blogs to see if I might “like” them. I might like them, but I don’t have time to read them. I’m not going to be going out to comment on other folks’ blogs, like they tell me to, in hopes they’ll visit my blog and like it. I’m not going to be trolling about on the internet looking for good ideas for content that will bring in a lot of readers.

I’m going to go back to what this all started out as: me writing my book, posting thoughts that spring primarily out of that and my life and lessons and research. The book comes first. The blog second.

And if the world thinks that’s dumb, I’m okay with that. If I only have six readers, I’m okay with that, too. As our recent lessons on spiritual gifts have taught me, God is the one in charge of the results of my gift, not me.

“For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised (or unknown), God has chosen, the things that are not (ie, humble) that He might nullify the things that are (ie, proud), that no man should boast before God.”   ~ 1 Co 1:26 – 29

He is Not a God of Confusion

Sea Voyage: Leaving the Land Behind

I think the thing that most helped me from the discussion on the open ended writing process wasn’t so much doing the process itself, but realizing that what I am doing IS hard, and DOES take a lot of time and I WILL feel chaotic and disoriented, even frustrated with all the choices, but that it is okay. It’s actually the point.

The point of the sea voyage is to leave the old “wrong” ideas behind and find a new vision. New ideas, something based on the old, but not the old.

All that was on Tuesday. On Friday I listened to a Bible class from summer 2011 about how the spiritual gift works. I’ve been slowly working my way through those classes as time allows and it had been awhile since I’d listened to this particular series. I can’t even say why I chose to do it that day, but the content fell right in line with what I had been learning about the writing process. Again I found myself transcribing quotes into my journal.

From my entry last Friday:

(This Lesson from Sunday, July 17, 2011) is speaking directly to me!

“The power that flows through my spiritual gift and the results of its function are up to God.”

In my case “results” can mean what I’m seeing as accomplishment, as acceptable “progress.” So even when I can’t see anything, it’s still Him.

“So what does that leave for us to do? We’re merely to nurture a willingness to do the work (write the story) and be prepared. And to put ourselves in the place where the gift can operate. We let Him pick the right time for its operation.”

Which means for me, when the story “emerges” when things finally begin to come together, whether plotwise or world-buildingwise.

“This is new! This is different! This is not the way you’ve been trained (by the world) from birth to get things done.

 “The results are up to God, not you.”

“Therefore, don’t judge your effectiveness in your spiritual gift by the results. Be faithful to what God has called you to do, whatever it is. Just trust that He knows what He’s doing. Don’t freak out. Don’t get depressed, despairing, thinking that maybe you’re not doing what you’re supposed to. If you’re following the Word of God, hearing the Word of God, and being obedient to it, God’s gonna get you where you need to be.”

This on the surface relates to physical position, like at the corner where there’s a person waiting to hear the Gospel from you. But lately I’ve been reading about writing in terms of a journey – the sea voyage. You set out, leave land behind, get lost, don’t know what you’re doing and then gradually you come to a new land…. God will get you where you need to be.

This all SO applies to my circumstances right now. I’m looking through notes, reading various writings, doing open-ended writings and nonstops… trying to figure out/decide whether to have a more direct parallel to our situation today as a nation ( with other nations in my created world, covert ops, war, military actions… ) or make it a more abstract, even stylistic allegory, without all the grand political arena and dispensational stuff…Except I’ve already started both in the prologue, at least hints… And here I’m conflicted again. I feel like I’m getting nowhere..

But in all this mess I must stop and reflect: God will get me where He wants me to be.

Oh! And another message in today’s lesson:

“God is not a god of confusion. This is a very important principle when it comes to your spiritual gift because there’s a big temptation for them to get out of hand, lead to chaos rather than clarity. And God is all about CLARITY. Making things clear.”

So trust Him to do just that. Trust Him to show you the way you should go and believe that He is, even if it doesn’t look like you think it should look.

Greater is He Who is In Me

So Monday I was reading in my old journal as part of my pre writing routine and found this, dated 25 November 2000…

“Just getting started. I’ve again wasted the morning and I suppose I need to stop blaming my circumstances… [My husband]’s gone hunting and [my son]’s playing computer games before getting read to go to his friend’s… maybe… I find myself just waiting, feeling like a leaf blown here and there — no goal, no target, just whatever moves me. Not good.

“Anyway, even now I need to do Bible class, I don’t know when my hubby will be back, I want to start (writing) but I don’t want to if I’ll just have to quit. Plus I still haven’t developed any momentum. I feel detached from the work. It’s like when you read a book in small increments over weeks. It’s hard to bring it all together in your mind. Right now I can hardly remember where I am (in the book).”

Well, that’s exactly where I’ve been for way too long in this current work. I could’ve written those words on Monday (or today, for that matter) and was excited to copy them into my current journal (don’t ask me why but I like copying things down into notebooks and journals — I guess it makes the thoughts stand out more; and I think I hope it will make they stick in my mind though clearly, that’s not often the case the way I keep getting surprised by things I’ve written down in the past that could describe today.)

Anyway, as I copied it, I recalled how Satan will send distractions — and it seems there have been a lot of hindrances, distractions and interruptions of late… come to think of it, not just of late, but for a really long time. Some are big and obvious, some are small, some are things that get me sidetracked and focused on stuff that may not be what I’m supposed to be doing but I’m so caught up in the moment, or the focus of “getting it done” I don’t think about that. (At least not clearly enough to STOP what I’m doing and get to work).

And he sends more than just distractions. At this point  I recalled a little excerpt from notes from Bible Class  I’ve got tacked to my bulletin board where I can see it every day, if only I’d look (one I’ve probably posted here before, but obviously it doesn’t hurt to be reminded):

“Satan knows how to attack your mind, body and emotion(!!) and his intent is to STOP you from going forward in God’s Plan for your life. That could mean the intake of doctrine, the application of doctrine, and specifically the function of your spiritual gift (!!) If we saw the invisible realm, we’d be shocked at the plots to disrupt concentration, cause problems and get us to quit. To rip apart our mental attitude and get us sidetracked with something that doesn’t matter. He destroys patterns and routines. He loves to tear the mind apart with negative viewpoint. He attacks the emotions, gets you to react, beats you down. And he’ll attack your body…”

I had forgotten much of this but as I read it, it all jumped to the fore. I’ve been experiencing a lot of this. Even the attack on my body in the form of sleep deprivation… Could this be a reason I seem to have been stymied at every attempt to get back to writing?

And lately it seems almost worse to get in a day or two and then be interrupted for five, then not to do anything at all. Why? Two reasons.

First, because the days I do get some work done make me think that the interruptions are just anomalies, happenstance. That today was just an aberration, but tomorrow it will be back to the “routine”. Then I let my guard down and when tomorrow doesn’t work out either, I give up and just let things go and days go by… filled with legitimate activities — it’s not like I’m sitting around watching old movies. I’m getting stuff done, I’m doing good things, worthwhile things… just not functioning in what I believe to be my spiritual gift.

Second, because when I only get in a day or two and then get interrupted for five, and come back, I have to start all over and when you keep repeating that cycle, you really do get worn down. I never make any progress so when I finally get back to it, I start to dread a repeat of what’s happened so many times before. I also get bored with the work, since I keep going over and over the same stuff and never breaking out of it.

I confess I’ve been waiting for circumstances to change, to “settle down.” Today, right now I believe they are not going to settle down. I’ve realized this is just like the decisions you have to make when you embark on making sure you listen to Bible class every day. As soon as you do, all kinds of challenges come up. And if you give in to them, each time you fail to do the class, it gets easier the next time.

I know this sequence well. I’ve been very hard-nosed about making sure I get class in every day. I think it’s time to apply that (once again) to writing — though it makes me uneasy to declare it so clearly here on the blog because now the enemy will know what I intend. And adjust accordingly.

Fortunately greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world.


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