Near the end of my homeschooling career, the Lord threw wide the door for fiction writing. It was time! Like a dam that had burst, a torrent of words flooded out of me and onto the page. I didn’t know how to manage the inspiration. It managed me. I became obsessed. Consumed with passion for this genre, I loved everything about penning fiction—imagining, creating, drafting, editing.
Added to the bible studies I write for my church, in nothing flat I clocked my 10,000 hours.
Twelve-hour writing days are alright, aren’t they?
After waiting nearly twenty years, how could I harness this inspiration (obsession)? I couldn’t sleep at night. Words and ideas pulled me from my bed. Once asleep, I couldn’t stay that way. My rising grew increasingly early in the predawn. Often I was awake at 3 a.m., tapping away on my keyboard.
During that time, my husband rediscovered grocery shopping and cooking, tasks he had done when our six children were small. One time he phoned from the grocery store, mentioning that he had a full shopping cart and asking if we needed anything in particular.
I was writing—I had no idea he’d even gone to the store. My heart welled with love for him.
“I love you so much,” was all I could reply.
At that point, I no longer knew what we had on hand—Groceries, what are those?
Over sitcom reruns, he bonded with our fourteen-year-old-baby-of-the-family daughter, the two of them grousing about my disappearance. I had prioritized my writing ahead of them.
I was out of balance. I needed to grow.
Halfway through that first year, they called a forum. We planned a sane writing schedule, determining hours for work and hours for play. Longsuffering family members could no longer be neglected. Task completion had to be reevaluated. They were right. I listened.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. A novel can’t be written without sleep or rest. Balance was necessary.
I had not grasped that the Lord was in the process. It was just as important to Jesus that I cling to him and obey him during the writing as it was that I complete the project and deliver the message. Completion wasn’t a measure of spiritual growth or good writing. Neither should it become an idol. The proof was in the pudding and the making thereof. How I went about my writing was indicative of my priorities and my spiritual health.
My family, my rest, and my life were significant in God’s eyes—not just my writing.
I had thought that if I worked hard enough, I could make things happen. I grew discouraged, because it was taking so long to see results. Meanwhile, the Lord patiently waited for me to depend on him.
Into my troubled dreams, he whispered: “Your responsibility is to use the gifts I’ve given you. My responsibility is the outcome.”
That was all, just his gentle reassurance. It was enough. He bestowed the strength to persevere, to trust him, and to chill, as my daughter put it.
Now, four years later, I have a reasonable schedule. Managing inspiration is still a challenge; but I’m learning. Diligently, I work to perfect my craft. For some projects, I can’t turn my brain off, so I ride the brainwave. When I’m piloted down inspiration’s path, we all flex. I skip and dance down the trail. But I comprehend now the need for rest, for reflection, and for stepping away from the project.
This has been one of the most faith-building processes of my life. Like a manuscript, I am a work of God in progress. Before time began, he planned ahead for the good works he intends me to do (Ephesians 2:10), and he’ll bring them to pass. I’m his workmanship, his poem—poiema in the Greek. His refining takes a lifetime. He is patient. In heaven, I’ll become the glorified final edition. But now, I am a draft that needs much editing.
My polishing comes as I learn to walk in the tasks he’s given me, relying on him for the process, the timing, the insight, and the outcome. I’m more than a workhorse. I’m God’s child, dearly loved. Whether it’s sanctifying my character or opening doors for my work, he always completes the tasks he sets for himself. I’m learning to let go, to trust him, and to follow his example.
What has God used in your life to craft you into the beautiful poem that you are?
All three images: FreeDigitalPhotos.net