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Archive for the ‘Overcoming self-doubts’ Category

Faith rock“Do you believe God can use you?” I asked in my last post.

It’s a question I also ask myself on days when doubts threaten to overwhelm me. I don’t doubt Him. I know He is faithful. It’s self doubts fueled by the accusations of the accuser that I struggle to overcome.

How can I – how can you – overcome the self-doubts that hold us back from experiencing the  victory that faith brings?

 

 

1. Cut the old tapes. “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32 TLB).

2. Stop listening to the wrong voices. “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:4 NASB)

3. Change your focus! “Look out for one another’s interests, not just for your own. The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had” (Phil. 2:4-5 TEV).

4. Renew your vision. “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov. 29:18 KJV).

5. Set specific and measurable goals. “We should make plans – counting on God to help us” (Prov. 16:9 TLB).

6. Refuse to let disappointments derail you. “No one who believes in Christ will ever be disappointed” (Rom. 10:11 TLB).

7. Don’t reinforce your doubts. “But I’m not the person for a job like that” (Ex. 3:11 TLB).

8. Refuse to fall victim to discouragement. “He is a mighty Savior. He will give you
victory. He will rejoice over you with great gladness; he will love you and not accuse you” (Zeph. 3:17 TLB).

9. Stop procrastinating and persist. “Dreaming instead of doing is foolishness, and there is ruin in a flood of empty words” (Eccl. 5:7 TLB)

10.Draw near to the Promise Keeper. “When you draw close to God, God will draw close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and let your hearts be filled with God alone to make them pure and true to him” (James 4:8 TLB).

11. Stay in the Word. The whole Bible “is God’s way of making us well prepared at
every point, fully equipped to do good to everyone” (2 Tim. 3:17 TLB).

12. Get to work. “Be strong and courageous and get to work. Do not be frightened by the size of the task, for the Lord my God is with you; he will not forsake you. He will see to it that everything is finished correctly” (1 Chron. 28:20 TLB).

13Put on the armor and commit to what He is calling you to do – NOW! “So I run
straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I fight to win. I’m not just shadow-boxing or playing around” (1 Cor. 9:26 TLB).

Now you have every grace and blessing;
every spiritual gift and power
for doing his will are yours
during this time of waiting
for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:7 TLB

Marty poster for web

It’s not too late to register for the August 3-6 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference and to request free one-on-one appointments. But the price increases tomorrow, July 25. None of the workshops or continuing sessions are closed. Lodging on campus is still available.If you need time payments or some scholarship help, please ask. And choose to believe that if the Lord wants you to come, He will make a way.

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I will commit everything I do to the Lord.
I will trust Him to help me do it, and He will.

Psalm 37:5 TLB

 

Have you ever been ready to give up? Have you tried everything you know but feel like you’re banging your head against a brick wall?   What do you do when the accuser tells you that your best isn’t good enough – that it never has been and never will be?

Perhaps it’s a manuscript you’ve been working on for years. You’ve rewritten it not just once or twice but many times. Still you’ve been unsuccessful in finding anyone interested in publishing it. And it makes no sense because you know it’s something God has called you to write. You’ve studied the craft. You’ve gone to critique groups and conferences trying to find that missing something.  And now . . . now you’re not sure you can keep on keeping on.

That was my experience with my first book that some of you know was rejected by 42 publishers over a six-year period. If I had given up (and believe me, there were many times I wanted to), it and the eight books that followed would never have been published. I would not have founded the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference in 1983 or said yes in 1997 to directing the Colorado Christian Writers Conference.

Yes, there have been many times when I’ve doubted and when, as my friend and writing mentor Lee Roddy admonished me years ago, I’ve “listened to the wrong voices.” The accuser still taunts me. “You’re not smart enough. You can’t do this.” And that’s true. What the Lord asks me to do is so far beyond my abilities. I can easily become overwhelmed and stressed. Like dangling my little toe in quicksand, I can get sucked down into that dark place of doubt and fear. It happened again just yesterday.

“Worship Me,” I felt the Lord say. “Put on a CD and worship Me.” To be honest, it would have been easier to continue wallowing in the quicksand. But I obeyed. The darkness began to lift. Lessons I thought I’d learned and even written about in my book,  Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers), came to mind.

I need, we need to …

Keep our eyes on the Lord, on how far we’ve come, and on the prize. It’s easy to allow problems and challenges to consume us and to blind us to the Lord’s presence, to how far we’ve come, and to the prize. “I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us” (Philippians 3:14 TLB) Paul wrote from prison in Rome. Paul had reason to be greatly frustrated and discouraged by the loss of his freedom. He could have questioned the Lord and concluded that his ministry was over. Instead he focused on the needs of the churches and wrote letters that continue to encourage Christ-followers almost 2,000 years later.

Cut the tapes from our past. Although Paul never forgot the person he was before he encountered the Lord on the Damascus Road, he did not wallow in the past or dwell on what others thought or said about him. Instead he embraced the truth of Zephaniah 3:17: “He is a mighty Savior. He will give you victory. He will rejoice over you with great gladness; he will love you and not accuse you” (TLB). Paul was able to preach and write about the message of salvation because of his firsthand experience of God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness.

Don’t grieve the Lord by our lack of faith. Although sometimes it may seem that He’s not listening, we need to trust that He will equip us with all we need for doing his will (see Hebrews 13:20). It’s not easy to wait on the Lord and to have Hebrews 11:1 faith in what we can’t yet see, but “God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn; he will never go back on his promises” (Romans 11:29 TLB).

Do our best and trust God for the rest. The fear of failure can paralyze us if we let it, and that’s exactly what our adversary wants. I grieve for the books that have not been published and for ministries that have been abandoned because of the evil one’s accusations. I pray for those who are frustrated and discouraged by the need to build their platform and questioning their call to “write His answer.” Friends, we must not leave God out of the equation. Instead we need to affirm His promise that He is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20 NIV).

Father, help us to believe You and not the accuser. Thank You for loving us and for being bigger than our fears. Thank You for encouraging us not to give up. We will keep on expecting you to help us. We will praise you more and more. We will walk in the strength of the Lord our God (Psalm 71:14, 16 TLB).

What promise do you claim when you are tempted to give up?


I keep an excerpt from Write His Answer
taped to the cabinet next to my desk.
When discouragement sets in,
when the loneliness of writing and the
enormity of the task threatens to overwhelm me,
Write His Answer spurs me on. I can think
of no better resource for helping a writer
maintain a biblical perspective than this book. 

Linda J. White
Christian Author & Speaker
www.lindajwhite.com

 

For 25 years Write His Answer has encouraged writers.

Autographed copy available for only $10.
Click here for excerpts and to order.
E-book available through Amazon.com.

 

GP banner 2016

I’ve worked all day yesterday adding bios, editorial needs, and what they are teaching for the 19 editors serving on this year’s faculty. Wow! Thank You, Father, for their willingness to come. The page isn’t live – yet! It needs proofreading, and I still need to add the pages for our authors, agents, and other professionals – a total of 57 faculty members. I’ll let you know when everything is live. Meanwhile, check out our 8 continuing sessions, 61 workshops, 3 clinics, and keynotes at www.philadelphia.writehisanswer.com. I’m extending the opportunity for an additional free one-on-one appointment (a total of FIVE for those who attend Thursday, Friday, and Saturday) to an additional 25 more conferees. Don’t miss out!

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Faith rocks2Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV

Some of you know that it took five years and rejection slips from 42 editors before the first book I wrote was accepted for publication. Before that I struggled for several years to finish the manuscript. Self-doubts, and to be honest, God-doubts had me close to giving up many, many times.

The “deadly Ds” – disappointment, doubt, discouragement, even despair – were my frequent companions. What kept me keeping on?

  • Promises such as Galatians 6:9: “Let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up” (TLB).
  • The very first words I ever felt the Lord speak to my heart: “Child, I never said it would be easy to follow Me, but I have promised always to be with you.”
  • My husband who has never told me to go get a “real” job even during times when things were really rough financially.
  • My pastor who paid my way to my first writers’ conference and held me accountable afterwards to use what I learned.
  • Friends who year after year babysat my three children so I could go to the St. Davids Christian Writers Conference.
  • The network of writing friends who encouraged me, and Gayle Roper and Anne Sirna who mentored me.

Yes, it took many long, discouraging years but that first book did get in print. The rest – eight other books, the Greater Philly and Colorado Christian Writers Conferences that I direct, the 70 conference faculties I’ve been honored to serve on, and my day-long writing seminars that I’ve given around the country over 50 times – are the fruit of abiding in Him and trusting Him to do what I could never do in my own strength.

The key really is trust, especially when the deadly Ds threaten to derail me. I’m learning that I am free to trust or to doubt, but when I do not trust, I grieve the Lord.

I want to encourage you not to give up and to make registering for a Christian Writers Conference a priority. Google these upcoming conferences: Write to Publish, Montrose, St. Davids. I’ve served on the faculty of all three and highly recommend them. Of course, I hope you’ll also prayerfully consider the conferences I direct.

It’s not too late to register for the May 11-14 Colorado Christian Writers Conference. The price increases tomorrow, May 7, but please do not let the cost stop you from coming. Remember, God can make a way when there seems to be no way. You can register with a $50 deposit and make monthly payments for the balance. And scholarship help is available. If making time to come in an already crammed schedule is the issue, then come just for a day. Walk-ins are welcome, and I’ll waive the additional $15 walk-in fee if you mention this email.

I urge you not to miss this once-a-year opportunity to

grow as a writer,

connect with agents and editors who can open doors,

make forever friendships with other writers,

and most important of all be spiritually renewed
to write about a God who is real, who is reachable,
and who changes lives.

Registration is also open for the August 3-6 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. The 16-page brochure will be off press today. If you’re on our mailing list, you should receive it  by May 16. Can’t wait? It’s posted online. The first 75 to register receive an additional FREE 15-minute appointment with an editor, agent, or author – a total of FIVE appointments of your choice. And we have 59 on faculty for you to choose from. The earlier you register, the more likely you’ll get your top picks.

If the evil one (the “defeated one” as Yolanda Powell called him in a keynote she gave a few years ago) is bombarding you with the deadly Ds, trust the Lord. Realize that you are obviously a threat or he would leave you alone. So, again, trust the Lord!

Father, thank You that You know the plans You have for us and our writing – and that they are good plans. Help us to trust You when we face the deadly Ds. Thank You for all the incredible people You have brought into my life these past 20 years of directing the Colorado Christian Writers Conference and 33 years directing the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. Thank You for all You have done and all You will do as I trust You.

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Grumbling face croppedHave you ever been ready to give up? Have you tried everything you know but feel like you’re banging your head against a brick wall? What do you do when the accuser tells you that your best isn’t good enough – that it never has been and never will be?

Perhaps it’s a manuscript you’ve been working on for years. You’ve rewritten it not just once or twice but many times. Still you’ve been unsuccessful in finding anyone interested in publishing it. And it makes no sense because you know it’s something God has called you to write. You’ve studied the craft. You’ve gone to critique groups and conferences trying to find that missing something. And now . . . now you’re not sure you can keep on keeping on.

Possible And Impossible Keys Show Optimism And Positivity

That was my experience with my first book that some of you know was rejected by 42 publishers over a six year period . If I had given up (and believe me, there were many times I wanted to), it and the six books that followed would never have been published. I would not have founded the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference in 1983 or said yes in 1997 to directing the Colorado Christian Writers Conference.

Yes, there have been many times when I’ve doubted and when, as my writing mentor Lee Roddy said years ago, I’ve “listened to the wrong voices.” The tapes from my childhood start to play again. “You’re not smart enough. No matter how hard you try, you’re going to fail.”

Many days I’ve sat in my office and wept. Frustrated and discouraged I’ve told the Lord, “I can’t.” And I know that’s true. Without His help I can’t get on top of the countless details that go with directing two conferences or anythiung else for that matter.

But what can I do, can you do, when He doesn’t seem to be listening? Has He abandoned us? Or is He using the problem(s) we’re facing to strengthen our faith muscles so that when the stakes are even bigger we won’t get discouraged and give up?

I’m learning that there are lots of lessons I thought I’d learned (that I’ve even written about in my book, Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers) that I need to relearn!


RunKeep your eyes on the Lord, on how far you’ve come, and on the prize.
It’s easy to allow problems and challenges to consume us and to blind us to the Lord’s presence, to how far we’ve come, and to the prize. “I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us” (Philippians 3:14 TLB) Paul wrote from prison in Rome. He had reason to be greatly frustrated and discouraged by the loss of his freedom. He could have questioned the Lord and concluded that his ministry was over. Instead he focused on the needs of the churches and wrote letters that continue to encourage Christ-followers almost 2,000 years later.


Cut the tapes from your past.
Although Paul never forgot the person he was before he encountered the Lord on the Damascus Road, he did not wallow in the past or dwell on what others thought or said about him. Instead he embraced the truth of Zephaniah 3:17: “He is a mighty Savior. He will give you victory. He will rejoice over you with great gladness; he will love you and not accuse you” (TLB). Paul was able to preach and write about the message of salvation because he had experienced firsthand God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness.


Faith rockDon’t grieve the Lord by your lack of faith.
Although sometimes it does seem that He’s not listening, we need to trust that He will equip us with all we need for doing his will (see Hebrews 13:20). It’s not easy to wait on the Lord and to have Hebrews 11:1 faith in what we can’t yet see, but “God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn; he will never go back on his promises” (Romans 11:29 TLB).


Do your best and trust God for the rest.
The fear of failure can paralyze us if we let it, and that’s exactly what our adversary wants. I grieve for the books that have not been published and the ministries that have been abandoned because of the evil one’s accusations that our best will never be good enough.

I’m reminded of the “pictures” my then almost four-year-old granddaughter drew in Sunday school. I had absolutely no idea what she drew, and she couldn’t tell me because she had apraxia and was unable to speak more than a few words. But, of course, I told her that her pictures are beautiful. She did her best and that’s all that matters.

And that’s all the Lord expects. When we give our best to Him, He is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20 NIV).


Father, help us to believe You and not the accuser. Thank You for loving us and for being 
bigger than our perceived failures. Thank You for encouraging us not to give up. We will eep on expecting you to help us. We will praise you more and more. We will walk in the strength of the Lord our God (Psalm 71:14, 16 TLB).

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                             Tougher Faith

Have you had a tough week?

Have you been irritated, frustrated, stressed
by things beyond your control?

Have the deadly Ds of
disappointment
doubt
discouragement
been causing you
to question whether God can really use you?

Yes, I’ve had a tough week but . . .I’m choosing to exercise a tougher faith and to affirm:

He is a mighty Savior. He will give you victory.
He will rejoice over you with great gladness;
he will love you and not accuse you.
Zephaniah 3:17 (TLB

Won’t you join me in clinging to His promises and choosing to exercise an even tougher faith in the face of obstacles? And remember, Even when we are too weak to have any faith left, he remains faithful to us and will help us” (2 Tim. 2:13 TLB).

And rejoice with me. Despite overwhelming a tough week the continuing sessions for the August 3-6 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference are now in place. Wow, Father! Thank You for all You are doing and will do. Registration opens April 15.

page 4 cs GP 2016

page 5 cs GP 2016Click here to go to the conference website and download a PDF of these exciting sessions. And be merciful, please, if you find any mistakes. I’m so excited for you to see what we’re offering this year that I’ve not yet had these pages proofread. Dangerous, yes, I know. One time I mailed a seminar brochure with a return address of “Drizzle Hill” instead of “Drexel Hill.” And that’s just one of my bloopers. I’m so grateful Father loves me and does not accuse me!

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elephantAre you facing an elephant?

More than likely your elephant, same as mine, is something you’ve been putting off doing because it’s just seems so big, so beyond your capability, so overwhelming . . .

You’d think after 20 years directing the Colorado Christian Writers Conference and 32 years directing the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference the task would be easier. Not so!

Each year the task seems more daunting.  And each year I have to remind myself that “God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn; he will never go back on his promises” (Rom. 11:29 TLB).

What has He promised you and me?

That it would be easy to follow Him? No! But He has promised always to be with us.

I’ve learned (but need to keep re-learning) that when I am weak, then I am strong—the less I have, the more I depend on him” (2 Cor. 12:10 TLB). elephant cookie

I know that in His strength you and I can eat the elephant a bite at a time!


Update: May 11-14
Colorado Christian Writers Conference

The faculty and program are in place. The brochure is in print. Lots of new to CCWC people are registering. Thank You, Father!

I’m slowly making progress updating the website that is now mobile-friendly. Sadly HTML is not user-friendly. Can anyone recommend a good book or website? And would you please pray that I can get the photos, bios, and editorial needs/areas of expertise of our 57 agents, authors, and editors online in the next couple of days?

 

Update: August 3-6
Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference

2 elephants
With the April 15 D-Day for opening online regisration looming, I feel like I’m facing not one but two elephants! There are days I fear I’ll be trampled under their weight. But “through your  faithful prayers and the generous response of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, everything he wants to do in and through me will be done” (Phil 1:19 MSG).

Are you facing an elephant today?  “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” (Heb. 12:2-3 MSG).

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Think Big3This spring I had the joy of keynoting at the Stay Focused Writers’ Retreat in New Jersey. The theme of the retreat was “Think Big” based on Dr. Ben Carson’s book, Think Big, written with my good friend, Cec Murphey. I highly recommend this book and Gifted Hands, also written with Cec, and the movie, Gifted Hands.

I began my message with this powerful promise:

Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes. – Ephesians 3:20 TLB

In my keynote I identified a baker’s dozen of attitudes and actions that hinder or help us to think big.

1. Failing to cut old tapes. – “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32 TLB).

2. Listening to the wrong voices. – “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:4 NASB)

3. Self-centered rather than God-and-other-centered focus! – “Look out for one another’s interests, not just for your own. The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had” (Phil. 2:4-5 TEV).

4. Lack of vision. – “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov. 29:18 KJV).

5. Failure to set specific and measurable goals. – “We should make plans – counting on God to help us” (Prov. 16:9 TLB).

6. Allowing disappointments to derail us. – “No one who believes in Christ will ever be disappointed” (Rom. 10:11 TLB).

7. Sinking in the sea of doubts. – “But I’m not the person for a job like that” (Ex. 3:11 TLB).

8. Falling victim to discouragement. – “He is a mighty Savior. He will give you victory. He will rejoice over you with great gladness; he will love you and not accuse you” (Zeph. 3:17 TLB).

9. Procrastinating instead of persisting. – “Dreaming instead of doing is foolishness, and there is ruin in a flood of empty words” (Eccl. 5:7 TLB)

Instead we need to:

10. Draw near to the Promise Giver and Keeper. – “When you draw close to God, God will draw close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and let your hearts be filled with God alone to make them pure and true to him” (James 4:8 TLB).

11. Stay in the Word. – The whole Bible “is God’s way of making us well prepared at every point, fully equipped to do good to everyone” (2 Tim. 3:17 TLB).

12. Get to work. – “Be strong and courageous and get to work. Do not be frightened by the size of the task, for the Lord my God is with you; he will not forsake you. He will see to it that everything is finished correctly” (1 Chron. 28:20 TLB).

Run13. Put on the armor and commit to what He is calling you to do – NOW! – “So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I fight to win. I’m not just shadow-boxing or playing around” (1 Cor. 9:26 TLB).

Now you have every grace and blessing;
every spiritual gift and power
for doing his will are yours 
during this time of waiting
for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:7 TLB

Banner 2015 GPCWC

It’s not too late to register for the July 29 – August 1 Greater Philliy Christian Writers Conference. A $15 late fee will automatically be added to your online registration on Thursday, July 23, so do it now. That’s a great motto for writers!

It’s also not too late to request free one-on-one appointments with our facuty of 53 authors, editors, agents, and publicists, but after July 22 you’ll need to schedule your appointments when you arrive. Appointments are 15 minutes long and give you the opportunity to pitch your idea to editors and agents and/or get helpful suggestions from professional authors.

I hope to see you there!

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Question Mark Key Shows Doubt And Help
Years ago my beloved friend and mentor, Lee Roddy, admonished me that I was “listening to the wrong voices.”

“Like me, you’re probably all too familiar with those voices that make us question and doubt that God can use us.

Sandy Quandt, a frequent attendee at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference (CDs from our May conference are available), writes,

We allow stuff to hold us back from becoming the person we were created in God’s image to become. We put self-imposed road blocks in the way of the Holy Spirit’s working in us. The shackles bind and restrict, yet we falsely believe we will never break free. . . . I encourage you to read more of Sandy’s powerful message at http://www.sandykirbyquandt.com/take-those-shackles-off.

Barb Haley, the registrar, appointments coordinator, and bookstore manager at the July 29-August 1 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference shares her experience as a first-time conferee at the Colorado conference 16 years ago:

I’m reminded of the time just before my first conference when I didn’t feel like I was really ready to go. I didn’t know if I was a writer, and I felt guilty squandering our money just for a fun trip. Our finances were tight at the time, and I wondered if I were being a good steward of the money God gave us. As the days before the conference ticked off, my anxiety grew. . . . Read more in Rick Marschall’s Monday Morning Music Ministry blog post, “A Mountain-Top Experience Accessible to All” at http://bit.ly/1DvtZ2F. Rick’s blog, birthed at the Colorado conference, has almost 100,000 hits and is reprinted internationally. Rick will teach a workshop on “Blogging Success” at the Philly conference on Saturday, August 1.

I can so identify with Barb’s feelings. My pastor sent me to my first writers’ conference about 40 years ago.Talk about anxiety! I got lost on the way to the conference and felt even more lost once I arrived as it immediately became obvious I was out of my league. If my pastor hadn’t paid for the conference, I wouldn’t have stayed. But I did stay, and that conference changed my life!

There’s still time to register for one or more days of the July 29 – August 1 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference and to request appointments with our faculty. We’ve just added Cheryl Price from Urban Ministries Inc. Also this morning I posted guidelines I thought were already on the website for Blackside Concepts (my goof!) where faculty member Scoti Domeij serves as acquisitions editor. Included in the guidelines is very helpful info on preparing a book proposal. Click Editors for Scoti and Cheryl’s information.

Possible And Impossible Keys Show Optimism And PositivityYou say it’s “impossible.” Friend, nothing is impossible with the Lord! He can provide the time, babysitters, finances – whatever is needed if He wants you to come. Far too often the reason “you don’t have what you want is that you don’t ask God for it” (James 4:2 TLB). Remember, He works through people if you will make your need known. If you need time payments, I’m happy to work with you.

As you seek the Lord for His plan for your life and your writing, be encouraged by His promise:

“Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied)
are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him,
who expect and look and long for Him
[for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy,
and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!”
Isaiah 30:18 AMP

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Faith rockTrust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV

Some of you know that it took five years and rejection slips from 42 editors before the first book I wrote was accepted for publication. Before that I struggled for several years to finish the manuscript. Self-doubts, and to be honest, God-doubts had me close to giving up many, many times.

The “deadly Ds” – disappointment, doubt, discouragement, even despair – were my frequent companions. What kept me keeping on?

  • Promises such as Galatians 6:9: “Let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up” (TLB).
  • The very first words I ever felt the Lord speak to my heart: “Child, I never said it would be easy to follow Me, but I have promised always to be with you.”
  • My husband who has never told me to go get a “real” job even during times when things were really rough financially.
  • My pastor who paid my way to my first writers’ conference and held me accountable afterwards to use what I learned.
  • Friends who year after year babysat my three children so I could go to the St. Davids Christian Writers Conference.
  • The network of writing friends who encouraged me, and Gayle Roper and Anne Sirna who mentored me.

Yes, it took many long, discouraging years but that first book did get in print. The rest – 7 other books, 32 years directing the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference and 19 years directing the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, the 70 conference faculties I’ve been honored to serve on, and my day-long writing seminars that I’ve given around the country over 50 times – are the fruit of abiding in Him and trusting Him to do what I could never do in my own strength. The key really is trust, especially when the deadly Ds threaten to derail me. I’m learning that I am free to trust or to doubt, but when I do not trust, I grieve the Lord.New WHA cover

I want to encourage you not to give up on the manuscript(s) Father is calling you to write and to make registering for the July 29 – August 1 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference a priority. The price increased July 15, but if you mention this blog when you register, I will give you a free copy of my book, Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers. 

  • If the evil one is bombarding you with the deadly Ds, trust the Lord.
  • If the logistics of childcare for your kids seem impossible, trust Him.
  • If you can’t see how to fit the conference in during a summer packed with activity and demands on your time, trust Him.
  • If you need more encouragement to overcome your self-doubts, trust Him and click here.
  • If financially it seems impossible, trust Him. Be bold. Ask family, friends, or your church to help. Apply for a scholarship. Even though it’s past the deadline, I will still consider requests for partial scholarships as well as requests for time payments.

Father God, thank You that You know the plans You have for us and our writing – and that they are good plans. Help us to trust You when we face the deadly Ds. Thank You for all the incredible people You have brought into my life these past 19 years of directing the Colorado Christian Writers Conference and 32 years directing the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. Thank You for all You have done and all You will do as I choose to trust You.

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Discouraged face
When I am weak,
then I am strong—
the less I have,
the more I depend on him.

2 Corinthians 12:10

Suddenly everything seemed to be getting in the way of my writing. Other things, good things, were demanding time and energy. I didn’t see how I could say no. When I walked past my office and felt a twinge of guilt, I told myself my hectic schedule was only temporary. Besides, I couldn’t let people down when they were depending on me.

One day Anne Sirna, my writing mentor, helped me to see what was happening. “You’re running from the very thing you most want to do,” she said. “You’re running from your writing. Don’t you see?” she explained, when I looked puzzled. “New writing opportunities are stretching before you and, to put it bluntly, you’re scared. You’re protecting yourself from the possibility of failure by becoming so involved with other things that you have an excuse not to write.”

She’s right. I am afraid of failure, I admitted to myself. I don’t have confidence in my writing ability. And I have been saying yes to other things to avoid having to prove myself.

“It’s a cop-out to see yourself as a failure,” she continued, as if reading my thoughts. “You’ve served your apprenticeship. It’s time to move on—to make a commitment to being successful even though success is a lonely and risky thing.”

Everyone who is serious about writing will face similar turning points when the choice must be made—move ahead or turn back. Repeatedly, we will be forced to ask ourselves whether or not we are willing to risk failure, if doing God’s will is more important to us than the acceptance and approval of men.

It is not just beginning writers who feel anxious when starting a new project, or mailing a completed manuscript. Even established writers know their work may not be accepted. Success brings with it a heavier responsibility to produce quality work. Self-expectations, as well as the expectations of editors, become greater. At any moment a “crisis of confidence,” as Anne calls it, can occur.

It can be triggered by many things. We may feel trapped in an interminably long period of writers’ block. An editor may require a rewrite of something we felt was our very best work. A manuscript we were sure would be accepted may be returned. It may even be a manuscript we wrote on assignment. I remember when that happened to me. I was devastated! Besides the blow to my ego, I felt I had let the editor down. He expected me to produce something he could use.

I had reached one of those turning points. I could choose to play it safe and turn down future assignments. I could accept them (and even seek them) despite my feelings of inadequacy. Or, I could give up and quit.

I remember flipping through the pages of my Bible. Colossians 1:29 leaped out: “This is my work, and I can do it only because Christ’s mighty energy is at work within me.”

Knowing that Paul wrote those words from prison made them even more meaningful to me. I imagined how the Evil One must have used that time to try to persuade Paul to question his call. Surely he did not miss the opportunity to remind Paul of past failures, as well as the times of hardship and hostility. Paul’s spirit had absorbed rebuffs and criticism, even from fellow Christians. His body carried the scars of beatings and lashings.

“Is it worth it?” Satan must have whispered more than once. “If God really called you to be a missionary, then why is he allowing you to rot here in prison?”

But Paul chose to remain true to his call to spread the Good News by writing letters that might otherwise not have been written. “What has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel,” he wrote (Phil. 12 NIV).

But Paul met the Lord on the Damascus Road, I thought to myself. He knew Jesus more intimately than I do.

Yes, I could argue that Paul had a greater measure of faith because of these experiences. Yet he also knew what it meant to go from tremendous spiritual highs to deep lows and to be plagued with a thorn in his flesh. If, as some commentators suggest, Paul had epilepsy or an eye disease, it must have caused him to wrestle with doubts. How could he preach if he might have a seizure, or write if he could not see?

God did not remove the thorn. Instead, he told Paul, “I am with you; that is all you need. My power shows up best in weak people” (2 Cor. 12:9). Paul chose to rely on this promise and to affirm: “When I am weak, then I am strong—the less I have, the more I depend on him” (2 Cor. 12:10).

The cure for a crisis of confidence is to re-examine in what, or more importantly, in whom, we have placed our confidence. “I know the one in whom I trust,” Paul wrote to Timothy (2 Tim. 1:12). That’s the key. It’s not self-confidence, but God-confidence!

“Stir into flame the strength and boldness that is in you,” Paul counseled Timothy (2 Tim. 1:6). Does that mean he expected Timothy never to be afraid? No! “I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling,” Paul admitted to the Christians in Corinth (1 Cor. 2:3). And he didn’t go to Corinth until his second missionary journey!

“Stand steady, and don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord,” Paul encouraged Timothy. “Bring others to Christ. Leave nothing undone that you ought to do” (2 Tim. 4:5). The NIV reads, “discharge all the duties of your ministry.”

If a crisis of confidence is holding you back from the work you know you have been called to do, it’s time to acknowledge that it’s not self-confidence you need but God-confidence. It’s time to learn what it means “to be a living demonstration of Christ’s power, instead of showing off [your] own power and abilities” (2 Cor. 12:9). And instead of running from opportunities to serve the Lord, you need to continue to focus your life and your ministry on the “firm, tested, precious Cornerstone that is safe to build on. He who believes need never run away again” (Isa. 28:16).

Responding to God’s Call to Write

Faith rockFear of failure, rejection, writer’s block, or not measuring up, can all create a paralyzing crisis of confidence. Read and reflect on the following antidotes to fear, noting beside each reference how God is personally speaking to you.

Psalm 9:10

Psalm 16:8

Psalm 25:3

Psalm 34:4

Isaiah 41:10

Philippians 1:6

1 John 4:18
___________________________

Unless otherwise noted Scripture is from The Living Bible.

In print & ebook

In print & ebook

From Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers by Marlene Bagnull that has been encouraging writers for 24 years. This new 176 page edition includes updated recommended resources. Autographed copy available for only $10. Click here for excerpts and to order. E-book available through Amazon.com.

Write His Answer is not just a book to read and put down . . . I keep my copy close to my manuscript and journals, dog-eared and tattered from use. I purchased the original version years ago at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference when I had no idea how to begin a writing ministry. Although I’m excited about getting the new edition, my first copy filled with personal notes is simply irreplaceable. More than a devotional or a “how-to-and-continue-on” manual, Write His Answer is written by a woman who knows the heart of God and the heart of a writer. This has been a rich resource to encourage and challenge me to respond and remain faithful to God’s call and use His Word as  my guidance for every page. This is a classic . . . for keeps.

                                                                                     ~ Verna Bowman

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