4 Thoughts on Cultivating an Appetite for God

We (Christians) often talk about desiring God’s Word and God’s will and God’s glory and God’s blessings and God’s work and bunch of other things of God, and all those are good things, the best things, actually. Yet frankly, wanting the things of God is meaningless without wanting God Himself.

So let’s talk about cultivating an appetite for God Himself because so often I’m too distracted to chase, not the things He does or says, but simply (yet not at all simply) Him, God, Yahweh.

 

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Why crave God?

What’s the difference between yearning for the things of God and yearning for God Himself? Is there a difference?

They’re entangled, feeding into each other at different times, but they are not the same. God is a Person, not a thing, and the things of God are just that—things, not God. And the things of God do not satisfy the soul. They don’t fill up the cracks and crannies and canyons of the soul. They do not fill the soul to overflowing, to bursting; God does that. God satisfies and floods to the point of brimming and spilling over, and it is God, who crafted the soul, who can truly meet all its needs and longings. So that’s why we must go after an appetite for God—because in Him is the fullness of joy.

The appetite.

Perhaps it goes without saying, but I’m going to say it just to be clear: you and I cannot make ourselves hungry for God. There’s nothing we can do on our own to work ourselves into a true, salivating, soul-rumbling hunger for God. As it is with all things, we must first ask God to open us up to it, ask Him to give us what we cannot get on our own: an appetite for Himself.

This is not a “step” to breeze over because of its plainness or elementary nature; without this, the rest falls to pieces. Appetite is not based solely on craving, but instead craving and simple need are knotted together, and out of that comes the hunger. Thus, recognizing the base need and bringing it before God in spirit and in truth is where this all begins. So don’t skip this part.

Second, I think we need to return to wonder. I’ve been in church since the womb, and I get quite comfortable with God, used to Him (or, at least, I’m used to my idea of Him). God can seem stale to me, and I don’t think I’m alone in this. I’m hardly amazed by God, not because He isn’t amazing but because I’ve lost wonder.

Let’s take something that seems so simple, something I’ve sung since before I can remember, something I careen past unthinking, unfeeling every day: “Jesus loves me this I know.”

Take a moment and think. Jesus loves me. Jesus loves you. Consider who, what Jesus is—the image of the invisible God; the One by whom, for whom, and through whom the universe was created and is held together; the second person in the triune Godhead; the One so holy that it’s shouted back and forth in heaven and again and again and again, “Holy, holy, holy!”; the One who is so much beyond us, before us, that we can’t hope to express it. And this is a short, basic version.

Now, consider who you are, what you are—dust on a pale blue dot suspended in a universe wider and wilder than our minds can fathom. Now, not paying any attention to the things you and I have said and done, let’s go straight for the jugular: the things we think and feel. Varying degrees of indifference to God because He isn’t us. Varying degrees of disgust for others because they aren’t us. Not-really-varying-degrees of love for ourselves because we are us.

I’m an incredibly self-absorbed creature; so much of the time, I think of the world (and scarier yet—God) in relation to me, how I think things should be done, how it affects me, how other people make me feel, everyone else’s flaws, all my virtues. My world is me. My universe is me. (And remember, this is the short, blurry version because I can hardly bear to think about, much less write about, the seemingly endless, excruciatingly specific list of ugly things in me.)

Now, let’s put the two together. Jesus loves me. And since He’s the omniscient God, He knows all about that seemingly endless list of ugly things with more clarity than I can dream of and shudder to think of. And since He’s the Most Holy One, in my twisted, fallen, hideous state, I am an affront to Him, an offense to His awesome purity. Yet, He has decided to love me, has swept all that away, has given me His purity, His goodness, His righteousness, His holiness so that I might regain what was lost in Eden—the chance to come spotless before God and offer worship.

So that’s what I mean when I say that an appetite for God means recapturing wonder, and wonder is found in stillness and thinking. It’s been said that when you think about something for any lengthy bit of time, you can’t help but find wonder in it. So take time to wonder at and in God, to be broken and weeping at what you see in yourself and to be trembling and gasping at what you see of God. Seeing God with wonder, seeing Him as He really is, cuts open this profound need to see Him more. So we ask Him to graciously show us Himself, and then we take time to be wonderstruck.

Third, look for someone(s)—living or dead—whose appetite for God is/was worth emulating. And then emulate it.

For me, that’s the Psalmists (especially David), my brothers (Caleb and Luke), and A.W. Tozer.  See what they’ve done (or are doing) that compels them to want God so badly, and do it yourself. For me, it’s been reading Scripture, talking with my brothers, watching my brothers in their lives, reading good books, reading the Psalms aloud, and hearty, honest prayer.

Lastly, we have to eradicate the things—anything—that dulls our appetite for God, remove anything else that would slake our hunger and thirst (because we’re always hungry and thirsty for something; it just varies on what we fill up on). Locate the junk food in your life and cut it out. This can really be anything. Some will be sin, the obvious ones to get the axe. Slander. Fits of anger. Pornography. Gluttony. Lying. Slothfulness. Whatever it is, it needs to go. And then there are the less obvious ones, the ones that aren’t wrong per ce, but they also aren’t helpful (the whole lawful vs. helpful business). If it’s not increasing your appetite for God, it’s curbing your craving for Him. Whatever it/they is/are, we have to ruthlessly cut it/them out.

The paradox of it all.

God fulfills us, yet we can never get enough of Him. A voraciously hungry soul is fed beyond all contentment, yet is never satisfied. It’s absurd, enigmatic, too puzzling for me to actually understand, but I’ve found it to be true myself. A. W. Tozer puts it like this: “To have found God and still pursue Him is the soul’s paradox of love.”

The end of the matter (or rather, the end of this post).

An appetite for God doesn’t come about overnight (much to my dismay), but when it comes, it comes in intense hunger pangs because once the living God reveals Himself to a craving soul, even just a sliver of who He is, all that can be done is to lurch after Him, gasping, searching, crying out “More!”.

 “O God, You are my God; earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh faints for You, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” – Psalm 63:1-2.

What do you think? Any suggestions to add for cultivating an appetite for God? Where is your appetite?

With love,

Rosalie

P.S. – the topic of this post was decided by the lovely people over on Twitter. Thanks for voting for your favorite topic, Twitter peeps! I could not decide for the life of me.

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The Sunshine Blogger Tag

Lisa from over at Inkwell tagged me a couple weeks ago in The Sunshine Blogger Tag! It’s a fun tag with simple rules:

– Answer the eleven questions you’ve been tagged with

– Create eleven brand new questions

– Tag up to eleven people

So thank you for tagging me, Lisa! You came up with some fantastic questions!

Let’s get this party started.

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Question #1: What would be your second choice career (other than that of a writer)? Or, if you aren’t going to be a full-time author, what’s your job choice?

Well, writing doesn’t pay well, and so I’m going to have to do something along with writing/blogging so that I can live, buy books, and eat food.

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What, uh, oops, I got a little distracted. AHEM.

This is actually something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently (not eating, the whole second job thing), but it’s all still very much up in the air right now. I’m thinking possibly (emphasis on “possibly” here, people; major emphasis) massage therapy, Spanish interpretation, freelance editing, or graphic design.

Buuuuuuuut, I’m thinking probably not those last three (I know, like, can I just please make up my mind on what’s even going to be on the “possibly” list for goodness sake???) because I like tactile work, something that I would do as much/more with my hands than my head because it’s earthy and honest and hearkens back to simpler days. (Though, there’s a distinct possibility that whole last bit is just a mental thing I have in my little romanticizing heart.)

Question #2: Out of all the people you personally know (not internet friends) who has been the most encouraging/enthusiastic about your writer’s life and your works?

Haha, this one is easy: my Dad. He reads everything I write. After each blog post, he sends me an email with his comments and thoughts on the topic of the post/the post itself. He reads all my flash fictions, and then he rereads them a bunch of times when I hand him draft after draft after draft so that he can give me his thoughts. And I think he read the Alpha Draft (aka: Draft Four) of Beasts in two days. He’s always incredibly encouraging and offers such fantastic advice and helpful (and gentle) criticism, and he wants me to do what I need to do to be able to write as much as possible. He is, by far, my biggest fan.

Question #3: How would you want to die if you were to be killed by the villains of a fictional world you accidentally entered?

Ummmm, very quickly. That’s about all I’ve got for that one.

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Question #4: Who’s your favorite animal character of all time? (Out of a book, friends, not a movie.)

Breehy-hinny-brinny-hoohy-hah (or, more simply, Bree) from The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis. Oh, goodness, this horse. So much tude. So much sass. And also very vain and arrogant until he meets Aslan, which is something I relate to personally.

Question #5 Are you more excited about writing the dedication or the acknowledgements in your book?

Probably the dedication. I think the dedication is for the heart of the book, and the acknowledgements are for the village that raised the book.

Question #6: In one sentence or phrase, describe your writer’s life motto – preferably using symbolism and metaphors. It can also be your mission statement kind of thing.

Okay, I’m going to share my super secret writing manifesto that I will probably be putting on my new business cards (whenever I get them) and plastered all over my author website (whenever I get that set up).

Here we go: stories that are sweet aromas to Christ and signal fires to the world.

It may get tweaked, but that’s the general idea.

Question #7: Pick one song that best describes what you aspire to be.

Hahahahahahaha–easy.

To Live Is Christ by Sidewalk Prophets. Go watch the lyric video. Get chills. Cry. Lose your life in Christ. Thank me later.

I was going to share a few of my favorite lyrics in this post, but then when I was trying to choose, I realized that the whole song is my favorite lyrics, thus, we came to a conundrum. So excuse me while I paste the entirety of the lyrics below.

If I rise, let me rise on You,
Not on all of my successes, my esteem, or my pursuits,
If I lose, let me lose my life,
‘Cause if I belong to Jesus, the flesh is crucified.

For me to live is Christ,
For me to live is Christ,
For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.

If I grow, let me grow in You,
Wilt the seeds of wanting more,
Rippin’ pride out by the roots,
And if I’m still, let me hear You speak,
Not the tone of my transgressions,
But the song of the Redeemed.

For me to live is Christ,
For me to live is Christ,
For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.

My great desire is to be with You,
But this is the place You chose for me,
This is the place You chose for me,
To lift my cross and give everything,
This is the time You gave to me,
This is the time You gave to me,

For me to live is Christ, For me to live is Christ,
For me to live is Christ, to die is gain,
I’ll never be the same, I’ll never be the same,
For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.

But, basically, just go watch the lyric video.

Question #8: Do you listen to podcasts? If so, what are your favorites?

Yesssssss! I’ve recently been listening to podcasts more and more! So, my current favorites: Bright Eyes (sci-fi podcast), Ask Pastor John, Sermon of the Day, and TED Talks Daily. I get my fiction fix from Bright Eyes, edification from Ask Pastor John and Sermon of the Day, and then random curiosities from TED Talks Daily (though, I’ve found that TED Talks tend to be politically correct and leftist a lot of times, but there are still some good ones, like the one about creating safe artificial intelligences).

Question #9: If you had to rename your blog, what would you call it?

Renaming the blog?

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Lol, that’s never happened before. Don’t be absurd.

Anyhoo, if I had to rename it at this point, it would probably be something like Chirospasm (because it means “spasm of the muscles of the hand; a writer’s cramp”, and that’s basically my life), Glass Houses (a suitably mysterious blog name), Of the Soul (a suitably overly existential crisis name), High Command (because, seriously, you guys getting emails from “High Command” would just be too good), or The Pale Blue Dot (after the picture of earth taken from space that shows earth as “a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam”).

Question #10: What would you want written on your tombstone? (Got this one from a biography where a girl said she wanted “She lived life to the fullest” written there. Something of that sort, friend.)

If I were to have a tombstone, I would want Philippians 1:21 (For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.) or Psalm 27:4 (One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple.) carved on it.

Question #11: You know you will die in one year. What do you want to do in that time?

One year to live (in no particular order):

– read through the Bible one more time

– visit all my family

– write and publish a collection of flash fictions

– write one more book

– memorize Philippians

– quit apologizing (verbally or internally) for my tastes, interests, callings, or anything that is not actually apology-worthy

– get a tattoo (shhhhhhhhh, don’t tell anyone; actually scratch that and see the previous item on this list)

– sing my soul out more often and not care how it sounds or who’s listening

– reread the Out of Time series by Nadine Brandes (shocker)

– make a disciple or two

– wear sweatpants in public with no shame because life is truly quite short

– get rid of my smartphone

– NF (not finish) books more often because I don’t have time to waste on books I find “meh”


Questions for the peeps I’m tagging:

  1. What is the last 5 star book you read? What made it a 5 star read?
  2. What makes you feel most alive?
  3. Name a fictional character who as impacted you in some way.
  4. If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with all the extra time (besides write or read)?
  5. In one sentence, share your philosophy for life.
  6. Use a gif to describe your default mood.
  7. What are 3 little things that make you incandescently happy?
  8. Are you primarily feeling or logic driven?
  9. What is the thing that makes you write even when you hate it?
  10. If you were a dictator, what 3 main policies would characterize your regime?
  11. What song do you always play on repeat?

Katie Grace of A Writer’s Faith, RubySky of The Sea Calls Us Home, Moya Tobey of An Existence Transcribed, and Alea Harper of Elvish Pens, Fantastical Writingstag, you’re it. *sunglasses emoji*


Now, let’s talk, kids. What are your answers to some of these questions???

With love,

Rosalie <3

P.S. – I feel like I’m forgetting to tag someone who I really want to tag, but I can’t remember for the life of me who it is. This is frustrating. So, I might tag another person if I can remember. Or I may never remember. I guess we might not know.

P.P.S. – and have you watched that To Live Is Christ lyric video yet?

Mastered by Nothing [a beginner’s guide to self-control] [written by a beginner]

A couple weeks ago in my post about writing and its negative potency in my life, I talked very briefly on the idea of being mastered by everything but Jesus. Well, today, I’m digging into the idea and worthy goal of being mastered by nothing but Jesus.

So let’s roll up our sleeves and get going.

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“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. – 1 Corinthians 6:12

At the core of this post is I Corinthians 6:12, and at the heart of 1 Corinthians 6:12 is self-control. Originally, this verse was specifically about self-control in the area of sexual sin, which is important to remember, however, I think there is much to be gleaned here regarding self-control in all areas of life.

As Christians, we have great freedom because of the liberty Christ bought for us with His blood (literally, He paid for every angle of our freedom as Christians with His blood; the more I think about it the wilder and more wondrous I realize it is. So don’t breeze over the truth of the high cost of our freedom.).

Not only are we free from bondage to sin and spiritual death in this life and the next (a thrilling and freeing truth by itself), we are also free from the need of a temple to offer sacrifice in because Jesus was the last sacrifice. We are free from the need of a priest to mediate between us and God because Jesus is our high priest. We’re free from every rule and ritual of the Law because Jesus fulfilled the Law.

We are free to do anything, but not everything will help us be like Christ. We are free to do anything, but we are not to be slaves to anything but Christ. What I mean when I say that we’re free to do anything is that we are able to do anything because the grace of God doesn’t ever end and will never be used up, so we are “allowed” to do anything. However, doing absolutely anything is an abuse of grace. Paul says in Romans 6: “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”

So, let me say it again: under grace, all things are lawful because the Law is fulfilled and ended in Christ, but just because we can do it doesn’t mean we should. Under grace, all things are lawful because Christ set us free from the rule of the Law, but we are not to be controlled by anything. I think that’s the gist of 1 Corinthians 6:12.

Yet we so easily abuse our incredibly expensive, blood-bought freedom.

I misuse my liberty in a lot of different ways. I do things that are “allowed” but aren’t all that helpful, things that don’t spur me to be like Christ. I have habits and mindsets that aren’t forbidden but they’ve grown to a place where they rule me instead of living under my control. We can be mastered by host of different things, but I’ll just give a few examples.

I am mastered by my body when my alarm goes off and I hit snooze five times because I want more sleep and don’t have enough control to just get up (it’s a simple yet telling practice of the state of my self-discipline).

I am controlled by my cell phone when every little ding and blip and whistle has me tugging my phone out of my pocket and scrolling through notifications instead of devoting myself fully to the task at hand.

I am enslaved to my cravings and emotions when I breeze into the kitchen because my story just got rejected and I need some comfort food instead of dealing with rejection in a healthy, godly way.

I am dominated by my body when my hormones are on a warpath, and my anger comes lashing off my tongue.

I am mastered by my emotions when depression creeps up and drags me down into the mud, and instead of doing the work to haul through it, I wallow in it.

I am controlled by my aspirations when writing fills my thoughts, whips my emotions, and dictates my time use (see the post from a couple weeks ago).

And there are so many other things that so often end up controlling us: anxiety, money, sex, body-image, hobbies, possessions, ambitions, etc.; the list goes on and on.

And here’s the deal: sleep is necessary; sleep is good. But my body and however sleepy or tired it is should not rule me. My cell phone is good, but my cell phone should not control my attention. Food is necessary; food is good. Food is to be enjoyed and savored! But my desire for food for any reason should not master me. I have been created with hormones and emotions, and they do need to be processed. But that’s the things: I need to process my feelings, but my feelings should never process me.

I am free to sleep in and have a cell phone and eat yummy food and experience a full range of emotions, but not all those things are always helping my new nature slay my old one. I am free to sleep in and have a cell phone and eat yummy food and experience a full range of emotions, but none of them should ever control me.

So that leaves us with the problem of self-control. Self-control (or self-disciple or self-restraint) is one of those annoying things that’s far easier said (or written or read) than it is lived. So how can we make our bodies and emotions our servants instead of our masters?

Well, we can’t. This is the part that gets my pride all fluffed up, offended, and territorial because what in the world do you mean I can’t control myself?

Self-control isn’t a matter of self; it’s a matter of Spirit. Either we are controlled by whatever our personal vices are, or we are controlled by the Holy Spirit. There is no in between or part where we actually hold the reigns; we only get to decide who/what we’re going to pass the reigns to.

Self-control is one of the nine fruits of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5, and it’s one of eight attributes listed in 2 Peter 1. Both lists are like the process of sanctification in a nutshell. True believers will grow in these ways, but true growth is not a matter of willpower or work. Self-control is something to strive for, but we don’t get it overnight. It’s a process. And just like every other part of sanctification, it takes humility and time and intentionality and Spirit-reliance and daily, hourly, minutely gracious refillings of the Holy Spirit.

Recognizing that we can’t do it ourselves, that we’re still so weak, is the first step, and the next is faithful pursuit of knowing Christ and being like Christ. And then it’s a cycle of choosing to take those steps again and again and again.

In the everyday life, it looks like praying, “God, I can’t do this, but I want to because I want to be like You. I will run as hard and fast as I can to You, and I will trust that Your Holy Spirit will supply everything I lack to carve me into a better likeness of Your Son.” It looks like then asking in faith and expectation for opportunities to exercise self-control, to be shown where you need self-control, and prepare to be given lots of chances to practice self-control.

So, it is in being mastered by Jesus that we become mastered by nothing else.

Let’s drop a swanky bookend on this post.

As the title of states, this is only a beginner’s guide, and since it’s been written by a beginner, take it with a grain of salt and realize that this is barely even an introduction to self-control. For further reading on grace, sin, and self-control, I recommend Romans, 1 Corinthians, Proverbs, Ephesians, and this sermon from John Piper. (I’m recommending the whole books instead of specific verses because the fullness of the text is captured within its context, and the sermon from John Piper helped me write this post. Also, there’s a lot more to be found in Scripture about self-control; these are just the books I’ve been reading and ruminating over recently which spurred the writing of this post.)

Let’s chat it up. Anything to add? Do you struggle with self-control, or is there a different fruit of the Spirit/quality that you’re working on? What do you do to grow into the likeness of Christ?

With love,

Rosalie

P.S. – so, about the clickbait feature image of the Lego Loki in the tiny birdcage… well, I was racking my little brain about what I could photograph to capture the idea of self-control. I decided on the birdcage, and I was going to run with it and contrive some sort of decent explanation (like, we have to “cage our old nature” type thing; so brilliant, I know). But then I saw my little Lego Loki (curtesy of my Aunt Lis!), and then I was like: “Forget trying to make this picture relevant to the post or anything in life really. Some silliness is in order.”

And that’s how Lego Loki ended up in the tiny birdcage on Penprints.

A Bookworm’s Guide to Removing Sticker Stickiness from Books [you’ve waited all your bookworm life for this post]

First of all, you’re welcome for this post.

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You know that awful sticker stickiness that is left on book covers when booksellers ignorantly slap a price sticker on the cover of a book?

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Yeah, that abomination stickiness.

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It can be safely removed very safely without causing any further harm (it’s quite safe) to your beloved book (it’s an incredibly safe process).

I learned this technique from my friend Amanda (yes, the same Amanda who showed me The Way of the Bullet Journal; as you have probably gathered, she’s pretty incredible). I will now teach you this magic.

You should probably take notes (actually, that would be silly because this post is going to be on the internet until the internet dies).

Let’s begin.

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Supplies.

  • A book with evil sticker stickiness in need of removing.
  • 2-3 paper towels.
  • Lemon essential oil (grapefruit or orange essential oil would probably work as substitutes for lemon, but I don’t know for sure)

The Process.

Step 1: Remove as much of the sticker as possible.

The more sticker you can remove by hand the less you’ll have to scrub, so really try to get it down to just the stickiness. Otherwise, the rubbing could be awhile.

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Step 2: Put 2-3 drops lemon essential oil on the paper towel.

You don’t want to put the essential oil directly onto the book; if you do, there will be unnecessary oil/greasiness on the book that you will have to buff out later.

Step 3: Rub remaining sticker/stickiness with the paper towel vigorously.

Depending on the toughness of the stickiness, you may need to take this operation to a table. Also, don’t scrub; be gentle with your book and firmly rub.

Step 4: Add 1-2 more drops of lemon oil to your towel as needed.

Step 5: Buff out the remaining oil on the cover with a fresh paper towel.

Step 6: Revel in the smoothness of your book.

Step 7: Repeat Step 6.

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Again, you’re welcome for this post.

Have you encountered the evil sticker stickiness? What have you used to rid your books of it?

With love,

Rosalie <3

P.S. – 1/20 time spent on this post actually writing it; 19/20 finding gifs. So love the gifs.

When Something I Love Became Something It Shouldn’t

*insert witty post preface that makes you want to read this post*

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This past June and July were intense writing months for me. I reread Draft Three of Beasts, found a dysfunctional story, and decided that I could and would fix it. Because that’s what I do. I fix things. And if I can’t fix something, it drives me just a little bit crazy. And so help me, I was going to fix this story if it killed me.

A lot of June went into brainstorming how this fixing was going to happen and figuring out just how much of the 90,000 word Draft Three was going to be axed. As it turns out, 85k met the sword in my pursuit of a better fourth draft. I was on a deadline, one I couldn’t move again, so I dove into rewriting (fourth time’s a charm, right?).

I enjoyed very few (translation: zero) of the hours upon hours upon hours poured into the actual rewrites. Between hating the story itself and being drained spiritually, emotionally, and mentally by the other things going on in my personal life, the last thing I wanted to do was try and put what little I had left into fixing that stupid, broken story. As I wrote, I came to dislike it even more because the story was too warped to fix in one draft, but I had to do what I could because I’d postponed the Deadline too much already (the Deadline was an editorial review with an amazing freelance editor).

So I wrote, and I hated it. Doing the writing. The words themselves. Coughing up thousands and thousands of brand new words. Feeling guilty on days I only wrote 1,000 words. Sick with stress that made my family question if it was worth it, if I should write when it so obviously drove me to further physical exhaustion, anxiety, and emotional distress. I was wound so tight that I was popping a couple times a week in one way or another.

But I’m a writer, and writers write.

So that’s what I did. I wrote. I lived and breathed that story for five whole weeks. My sun rose and fell on how much progress I’d made, how many words I’d put on the page, how many days spun between me and the Deadline, and if I thought I could make it. Because so help me, I was going to make it. My thoughts ran in a constant, dogged cycle of plot and characters and questions and cringing over how people would react. Oh, yes, I was always anxious about what people would think when they read it, a bit of black terror crunching my heart whenever I guessed what they’d say. Too dark. Too confusing. Too simple. Too choppy. Too weird. Underdeveloped. Not enough description. Trying too hard. Too many plot holes. Childish. And let’s not even get into that rushed excuse for an ending.

I finished it, though, and it came to just over 60,000 words with just one day to spare. So off it went to an editor, and I was finally freeeeeeeeeee.

Except I wasn’t.

The anxiety and fear hounded me, and the remnants of the story hung in my mind, saturating my thoughts still because the whole time I was writing, something was missing, something big. And the absence of this thing was what put me into such a frenetic state, and I knew it. I knew what was wrong, why I was so agitated and turbulent; it wasn’t just about stress or dedication or perseverance or getting too little sleep.

It came into sharp focus when I received my edits. My editor had so many good thoughts and critiques, but one thing she said, an offhand kind of comment, struck me: “I can’t wait to see what God will do with it once it’s even more polished.”

Ah, right. God. Him. You know, the One I’ve said up and down that my writing is for blah, blah, blah. Yeah, Him.

I knew I was writing without Him, knew I was driving a wedge between us by how everything else was mastering me. I did my devotions faithfully, and I sought Him… but not as hard as I sought to fix that story. It’s sadly ironic—I didn’t like even one aspect of writing and story at the time, yet it was the writing and story that dominated my thoughts, took hold of my emotions, and consumed my energy instead of devotion to my Christ.

What I loved became something it was never intended—by me or my Jesus—to be. Ever.

It was a twisted form of worship, not to God, but to myself and what I could accomplish, had to accomplish, devoid of my greatest Vision. And after writing with and for God as much as I have tried to, I was keenly aware of how hard it was to wrestle against Him and try and make Him bless my work while I carried and would not give up a double-heart. A heart that wanted Him but not enough to make me seek Him with everything like I used to. A heart that wanted His blessings and hand in my writing but not enough to live like it. A heart that took the story He gave me and made it into something less, much less.

And I’ve spent the last month lying to myself, telling myself that it was so hard because I procrastinated (though, that did happen), it was so hard because the story was too much to fix in one shot (though, it was to an extent), it was so hard because of all the other things going sideways in life, it was so hard because blah blah blah.

Well, no, it was so hard because I did it alone, because I did it hoping to create something incredible by myself. I was all at once terrified of what people would say and yearning for their praise and approval, wanting them to tell me I had made something great and powerful. And most laughably of all, I wanted people to say that they were moved spiritually, that they understood grace a little better, that God spoke through it yet I wasn’t involving God in the writing. (And don’t mistake me: God can involve Himself in whatever He sees fit to with or without anyone knowing or recognizing it. My point here is that my heart was impure.)

What then? Now that I’m being honest—with myself and God and everyone else too—how do I untangle this? How do I put writing back where it is meant to be and bow my heart again to God?

Well, thank goodness I’m not doing it by myself. It’s been a lot of thinking and praying and wrestling with the Holy Spirit and opening hands and remembering and relearning truth I’ve somehow forgotten and coming back to full, true worship and communion with Him for the first time in weeks.

Why am I posting this on the blog? Because I’ve read that being honest and real (and ten other buzzwords like “authentic”) is important, and also because it hurts my pride more than just little to admit (on the freaking internet) that I struggled hard with things that this post and this post would have everyone believe I’m so far over.

There is always the danger that the things we love will become something they shouldn’t, will take on a role they aren’t meant to, and my prayer is that the Holy Spirit will help mightily, just like He helps me and is patient with me.

With love,

Rosalie <3