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Better Not Bitter

Responding God's Way to Life's Challenges

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writing

Quit Editing Yourself

So I titled this post as if I’m telling you all to just flow with the script God gave you, but really I’m talking about myself.

Yesterday I had a very soberly dose of reality.  I attended a writer’s conference that I almost didn’t because of a number of minor excuses.  But boy am I glad that I did go!  The information was not only specifically what I needed to hear from the experts who spoke about writing memoirs and techniques to use in non-fiction writing, but the new folk I sat next to were by far the best reason to attend.

One young lady and I immediately hit it off. The ice breaker was original unsettling because as we found out, we both were introverts so the fact that we were required to walk around the whole area arm and arm telling one another a story about the other as we made the trek.  We both agreed on at least three occasions during that little adventure, “This is so weird.”

Regardless of the weirdness of that situation, I am thankful for that meeting and the next.  The main speaker for the first portion just happened to have a lot more in common with me that I expected. I was immediately intrigued because she had been a professor in the writing center from UALR.  I felt the need to gain some further direction about the book I’d been working on for what seems forever!

After a few breaks and sharing a bit more of myself with the young lady to my left.  She asked whether I record myself and transcribe it. I admitted that I used to do that and sometimes I will find myself talking about my story and regretting that I never pressed record.  Even in that conversation, I wish I had not paused it.

Maybe subconsciously I felt I had nothing to say worth hearing again.

I’m glad that this young lady admitted as a disclaimer that she’s gotta work on tact before she shared with me exactly what I needed to hear.

As I shared bits and pieces about my mother and the trials I’d faced with my ex-husband and the ups and down f single motherhood, her words stung but they were just the hypodermic needle I needed to push me to accept the fact that indeed I did just need to quit editing myself.

“You need to just do it.  I think that you’re trying so hard not to be like your mother than you are going to send yourself to the opposite end of crazy!”

Pointing out that I did possess a few OCD tendencies when it came to editing my work and even reading the work of others, the meat of my issue was revealed in another very telling statement she made, ” I think you are so worried about what people will think that you are editing yourself.”

I knew that I’d always had the tendency to correct my grammatical errors as well as that of others for years and I knew that I have a tendency to procrastinate.  What I couldn’t get was why I could set a goal to finish grad school with a 4.0 when I started, maintain that 4.0 except for one B+ and an A- at the end of that trek, settling for a 3.875.  I was still proud that I’d been graced to receive that after having been out of school for so many years prior.

This other new acquaintance mentioned the reason I managed to get it together when I was in grad school was that I had forced structure- a plan that someone else had made for me, and that I hadn’t completed the book because of I lacked a rubric.

We were given an exercise to write on the fly and one other young lady’s feedback jolted my spirit.
“I wanted to hear more. I could identify with your desire to reconcile with your mother and whether it was even possible to do so because I too struggle with issues within my family.”

We were told to write for about ten minutes on the fly.  We were told to pick a person from a list of names that I’d jotted down earlier and just to write.  We were not told that we would have to read it aloud to someone else for feedback

I’m glad I didn’t know what.  Had I known that I would likely have done what I’ve done, I would have edited myself…my words…my story.

Well no more!!

I know that that has been my crutch and I’ve held onto a cast for too long.  I’ve been healed but I supposed I’d gotten used to the comfort.  So while I am still an editor at heart, I understand that writing from the heart doesn’t require that I go back and undo the wrongs that I have done, but that I just am in the moment.  With that, from this point on, I’m deciding to be perfectly okay with my grammatical mistakes on this blog.  I want real people to read and be blessed  and that by no means requires perfection so today I’m finally able to stop editing myself if for no other reason but to entice you to do the same

©2015 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

Revisit the Vision

I’m convinced! Whoever invented the snooze button on alarm clocks obviously had a diabolical purpose, one I have succumbed too for many years sadly. In fact, I did it this morning.  Thankfully I only hit it twice…well maybe it was three times…

I was weak!!!

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Well now that I’ve had my coffee I can honestly say that I hate that doggone thing! That said, my mission today is to simply leave you a little reminder on how to deal with this pesky little invention.

Simply Put:

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Stop Snoozing Your Gift!!!

Yes, You!!!

Think about those things that you can do so easily and how others who cannot marvel at your ability to do so. You might even find yourself amazed that you can do it.  That, my friend, is a gift from God.

Now, every child of God is endowed with at least one gift while many others are equipped with multiple ones so I have a question for you?

What are you doing with it?  With them?

I’ll be transparent a moment.

For years I did nothing with mine.  I figured what I had was just “talent”. There was a time I even considered one of my gifts a curse.  For instance, I have this awesome ability to pinpoint typos immediately…Editor’s eye…I suppose, but I now consider my eagle eye a gift because though that example is natural, it aligns with what God has given me in that my “spiritual” vision soars beyond my “right now.” Better yet, I also possess the gift to encourage others to not just take that next step but to keep walking.

The problem I had before was that I almost allowed naysayers convince me that I had no business doing anything differently…like dreaming…like walking in a vision too big for most to imagine.   But see that’s the beauty of how God works, He equips his children with gifts that are literally meant to change the world and all He asked is that you have faith to make it happen.

I’ve watched God do some pretty awesome things in my life over the years and in the lives of others but when I found myself drafting outlines for books and design plans for a publishing company years ago, I allowed the lies of the enemy distract me from that tug.  I allowed the reality of my bank account coax me into forgetting that nothing is impossible for God.

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I’m so glad for God’s grace to literally begin again….not just beginning books or plans for my publishing company or even gathering interviews for my upcoming e-zine…His grace really had indeed been sufficient for the things I’d been through and I know that He will see me through this process as well.

The doors that have opened and the Kingdom connections I’ve experienced in just the past few days is proof of His plan.

I could say that I became speechless, but God’s too good for me to clam up and not boast about His goodness.  He is El Roi:  The God who sees”

Let me tell you…in 2014, you might have had it bad because by all accounts I know I did, but one thing that sustained me is that inkling of hope that things had to get better.

The irony is that had I not gone through the trials and the depression, I would have never tapped into the original source of my discontentment.  I would have never had the courage to cry out to the Lord for guidance to help me to forgive my mother.  I would have never had the opportunity to truly honor her role as mother regardless of what she did or did not do when I was a child.  I was able to grasp God’s perspective of her and myself.  I was able to completely pack up that baggage of guilt and shame that had me tied down for nearly twenty years.  I’m so much lighter and better for it!  My smile is genuine all the time now and I’m looking forward to its permanence no matter what comes my way because I know God always has my best interest in mind.

That said, given this lightened load, I now have the confidence to load my plate with the things that matter…the things that I should have been focused upon years ago…my writing…my encouragement…my publishing…my ministry…well, I guess blog family, you’ll be the first to know that I’m working on four books simultaneously!!!

Ecclesiastes 5 English Standard Version 

Fear God

[a] Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. [b] Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes with much business and a fool’s voice with many words.

When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. Let not your mouth lead you[c] into sin, and do not say before the messenger[d] that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands? For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity;[e] but[f] God is the one you must fear.

While it seems a bit daunting when the idea dropped in my spirit to do that, I immediately recalled that nothing is impossible with God, so I’m going with God on this. Furthermore, I understand why I’ve always been a constant multi-tasker. My Father reminded me this morning of this scripture that I want to leave you with:

John 4:35 English Standard Version 

35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.

Essentially, before I realized again all that God put me on this earth to do for His glory, I assumed that one person couldn’t do that much…more aptly…that I was not worthy of being that person.  Yet, again…He led me to Jesus’ example…one man…one purpose…literally saved the world.

So blog family, I encourage you to begin seeing your problems as steps to His goal for your life.  Stop thinking you have all day or that you need a little more time to laze the day away because though the option to snooze your gifts is available, pressing it doesn’t really give you more rest.  Rather, those few extra minutes, hours, days, or even years only give you just enough shut-eye to make you restless and weary because you find that when you finally get the nerve to get up and get going, you’ve wasted the time that could have been spent in a more productive way.

No task is too big for God so know that He understood exactly what He was doing when He decided to choose YOU to pull it off.  All He asks is that you do what you can and that you trust that He already has done the rest.

inhishands

©2015 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

Yeah, I want to sing, but I’ve been called elsewhere for this Season

At work, I’m often intrigued and sometimes even a bit disturbed by the tenacity of some of our constituents.  Today, I spoke with a woman whose comments initiated the latter.  She called in response to our broadcast and immediately went into a tangent of how she has a business that has been going down for years and she did not want to end the business because she is an honest and godly person. She went on to say she needed advice.

blah blah

After she took a breath, I responded telling her that while we do not offer counseling over the phone, we have E-mentoring available. That’s when she broke in again stating that she had no access unless she went to a library. She then again went onto to say how she knew that what she was doing is good and again began spouting off the name of her “singing act” whereby she said she ministers to nursing homes in her area. The way she said it was as if she “needed my approval.”

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Again she took a breath and I seized the chance…I offered prayer, but not before reiterating I was no counselor. She agreed. As I began, the Lord brought to mind the story of Paul when he desired to revisit all the cities he’d preached in before.  I recalled how he mentioned the Holy Spirit would not allow him to go to Asia on at least two occasions…that his service was needed elsewhere instead. After that second attempt, Paul had his vision that help was needed in Macedonia.  Obedient to the Holy Spirit, Paul went. Regardless, Paul did what he had to do.

For those a little fuzzy about the specifics of the journey, the story is detailed in Acts 15:36-16:15.

Leaving Barnabas behind this time, Paul and Silas felt compelled to take an alternate route. They ended up going through the place they originally had planned to go around.

Of course, I didn’t share the specifics of this story in my prayer but bits and pieces came to mind as I interceded on her behalf.

As I prayed, at one point I must have mentioned something about allowing “her to accept Your will” even if it’s against what “she wants to do”…She interrupted the prayer and stated, “I don’t want to do that!” loudly and then began mumbling some other words similar to her original protest. After I closed the prayer…she continued her rant, except stating that she was continuing her prayer, but it was as if she was demanding that her business thrive…that she is praying for “going in” and not “going out.”

I realize that prayer is communication with God and we all communicate differently, but I couldn’t help but wonder where was her reverence?

Now, I applaud her fervor, but I felt like that portion was so not “right.”  I’m not judging her heart because I can’t, but neither can I sit by and agree with what I felt in my heart was wrong. I concluded our call and immediately began re-reading the account of Paul for clarity in my own life.  There had to be another reason that her words were so unsettling to me. Then it hit me! Before ending the call, the lady said, “The Lord knows what I want, and I want to sing!”

One might think that her words were words of faith, but the Holy Spirit showed me otherwise. Those words were of selfish disobedience.

You see I know that because I could identify with them myself….even today…prior to receiving her call, I’d been going through old emails I’d received from our music ministry with song selections.  I’d actually been compiling a spreadsheet of all the songs and artists with the intent of putting my own little organized choir book together so that when I returned to the choir, I’d be ready like I had been before I realized my commitment to that ministry had waned.

I like, Paul, wanted to revisit the places where I’d ministered before.

I, like Paul, wanted to be prepared with a spirit of excellence.

Yet, like this lady who I reluctantly identified with, I wanted to sing too… always have since age 4, so why was I not at peace even as I meticulously typed my little list of songs and artists?

Wasn’t being prepared a good thing? Wasn’t wanting to minister in this way the thing God knew I wanted to do?

Yes, God knows all about me as He does the young lady I spoke with this morning. However, I imagine by her comments, she like I have known for a few years our calling now is elsewhere.  For me I know that God wants me to minister with my written words,  but I hadn’t been as obedient as Paul.  You see as soon as Paul had no peace about his decision to go his way, he changed it in accordance with the Holy Spirit’s leading.  It actually took me almost 2 years to even get a clue as to why things were not meshing together in my life as they had before.

After getting off the phone with the lady, I found myself grieving….but not just for her… for myself as well.

Yet. my grief dissipated as I examined the scripture further.  I didn’t smile because I knew how Paul’s story ended, rather,  at the end of the 6th verse the words “at this time” gave me peace.  They reassured me that God didn’t give me a gift he didn’t want me to use, rather He gave me many to use at specific times and places.  So yeah, I may want to sing, but I’ve been called elsewhere this season and that’s okay with me!

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©2014 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

 

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