No More Apples

My heart dropped and I bit my lip to keep from crying. On the page, in black and white, was all the evidence I needed. Never mind what positive and encouraging things folks had said in the past. Never mind that scripture assures me I was wonderfully and beautifully made.

That one negative comment blazed across my vision in a big red X. Who said that?

Oh, she did.

Her post garnered more likes than my post.

Her picture was perfect.

Her wit sharper.

Her humor funnier.

Her advice bolder, holier, and wiser.

Her story had a better plot, cooler characters, stronger verbs, and a more satisfying ending; and, it was just a tale of her niece’s recital. I don’t even have a niece. How am I supposed to compete against that?

I heard that oh-so-familiar voice slither into my ear … Who do you think you are?

As I cowered at the keyboard, another voice – steady and strong and sure – said, “Kristy, you are my redeemed, my inheritance.”

That’s the voice I leaned into, buried my head in His chest, took a few ragged breaths, scooped faith and perfect love and grace into every available pocket, and then turned back to face the screen before me.

For a brief span of time, I had been pinned down in the battlefield of comparison. Poison darts of self-defeat, an advancing army of past failures, the rocket-bright glare of a thousand blank pages I could never hope to fill on my own, and then the near-fatal wound from Miss Perfect. I faltered when I lost my line of sight on His plan and His purpose for my writing, and my life.

The distraction of comparison is a very similar tactic to the one Satan used in the garden, isn’t it? The slithery voice asks, “Is what God gave you really enough?”

I had a choice on that battlefield: walk away in defeat or, pick up my focus, dust it off, and keep on marching. The march, however, involves risk.

If we, as Christian writers, are to heed the call to write AND to complete the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), we must risk vulnerability on many different fronts: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.; both on our personal pages, and on our author sites. Rest assured, we will receive responses from ‘out there’ (others) and ‘in here’ (our own heads).

Take comfort, dear writers, for here are some practical steps to safeguard our tender innards against a wound on the Comparison Battlefield.

  • Pray – Pray for protection. Take up the shield of faith (Ephesians 6:16) so that you may believe that He who began a good work in you will also bring that work to completion (Philippians 1:6) Pray to do nothing but that good work (Ephesians 4:29) so that no matter what social media channel you are on, you will be found to walk worthy of His calling (Ephesians 4:1).
  • Decide your intention before you even open an app. Do you intend to encourage others? Do you intend to make an announcement/post? Do you intend to pick a fight, rumble out your rant, and sound off about the latest social stumble? Don’t make God sorry He gave you this word gift. Read Genesis 6:5-8 and determine to find favor in God’s eyes.
  • Set a timer for each social media channel. Then, obey the clanging alarm when your time is up.
  • Report to your Commanding Officer after every tour. Confess your faults, your fears, and your faith. Give praise where praise is due. Seek direction for your next assignment, or simply get some R&R. A weary soldier is as bad as a foe.
  • Find a comrade in arms. The NLT gives us a great picture of how and why to incorporate this principle from Ecclesiastes 4:12: “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”

Click to Tweet: If we, as Christian writers, are to heed the call to write AND to complete the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), we must risk vulnerability on many different fronts…

New Beginnings

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things are passed away; behold all things have been made new. ~ II Corinthians 5:17

I’ve recently discovered that sometimes procrastination isn’t procrastination at all, but rather a Divine delay (not always, of course). I’ve experienced this phenomenon several times in recent weeks; the first time with the accompanying guilt associated with … procrastinating.

Slide1

Imagine my delight when, as the deadline loomed ever nearer for a guest post on another blog and I had nothing written–nothing more than vague notion of what I intended to write. A smattering of notes and words and ideas. Then something happened as that deadline teased me, inching nearer. The very thing, the very topic about which I was to write–something, anything–landed in my lap. Acts of kindness— very tangible and very significant–were exhibited toward me. There, then, was my post. The words flowed, and I posted with a small breather to spare.

http://jenniferhallmark.com/2015/11/02/giving-a-smile/

For me, this New Year began very differently from the 57 preceding weeks (technically, I suppose the first 3 or 4 weren’t so goal-oriented, with the intrinsic pressure to please and measure up). This year, for the first time in my adult recollection, I rest. I rest in Father’s arms, I rest in His promises, I rest in His goodness.

Slide2

The past months for me have been, as my “word” for 2015 indicated, FORWARD. There were growth, movement, changes. Shift. Views I held about myself (of being insignificant, invisible ) from very nearly my first day, changed. (Caveat—Father laid years of foundation to bring this about, and in 1995, He brought me into the process.) 2015 was the year it really began to seep into my heart and soul. HE. LOVES. ME. I. AM. HIS. Nothing else matters because from that, all else flows.

Slide3

So, the new beginning is rest (incidentally, not my word for 2016). Oh, how I intended to write a post for my personal blog on my goals and direction for the New Year, for 2016. To talk about my “word” for the year. (Note—I had never heard or thought of seeking a word for the year. I “happened” upon a Facebook post about someone’s word, and before I could even ask, Holy Spirit whispered to me “FORWARD.”) I did not write that post, still haven’t. And oddly enough, don’t feel the need to anymore.

Slide4

My word for 2016 is INHABIT. I’m there, at my appointed place, in my domain where Father has placed me. That castle? I saw that in a vision a few years ago—then saw pictures of it online! I had no idea it was a literal place. It’s (the ruins of) Donnotar Castle in Scotland. And it’s EXACTLY as I saw in my vision.

Slide5

So, along with rest and INHABIT is trust and knowing. I follow the good Shephard and I know His voice—I hear His voice over the clamor of the world. And when outside expectations fall on me, standards that don’t line up with what Father has for me, they roll off like the rain today, dripping from the roof. Not all is my battle to fight, my hurdle to jump, my wrong to right.

Slide6

I rest in the knowledge of who I am and Whose I am, more so than ever before in my life. It’s an ongoing, perpetual journey for all of us. There are seasons of great and tumultuous—and painful—growth. And there are seasons of rest. Of calm and relative quiet. Of abiding.

And in this season, when I ask Him what he requires of me, He says, “write.” Doesn’t feel like work, doesn’t feel like battle, and it certainly doesn’t feel like Kingdom purpose. But that’s exactly what it is. It’s what He has purposed and planned for me to do.

Slide7

Interesting that as I rest, I see His promises in a new light. Surgery I’ve needed for years is imminent, and I feel like Cinderella on the steps to the ball. It’s a dream come true. My life will be so different. New. Beginning. But this token is more than just a new knee, it holds the promise of so much more. Of ALL Father has for me. Because I’m resting. Because I’m positioned to receive.

Slide8

So, new beginnings? Yeah, I’d say so. What’s new? Me. I’m new. Not changed, but who He created me to be in the beginning. Oh, and by the way, last minute-ish for this post too. It just sorta “fell out of me” today. Hmmm …

Slide9

 

WRITING PROMPT:

Once upon a time there was a little girl who was invisible. Or at least she wished she was….

 

ME - 041115

 

“I once said I should write down all the story ideas in my head so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!

 

Ms. Mason has been writing since 1995, and began working in earnest on her debut novel, Tessa in 2013. She resides in the Upstate of South Carolina since 1988. She is currently working on Clara Bess, the sequel to Tessa, which will be released in November of this year.

rem - 2 book giveaway images

Come visit me at:

 

http://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Robin-E-Mason-Author-Artist/224223274404877

http://www.amazon.com/Robin-E.-Mason/e/B00MR5IQ9S

https://twitter.com/amythyst212

 

 

 

#newbeginnings, #rest, #purpose, #forward, #inhabit, #procrastination, #cinderella