Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Back-Peddling on the Road to Success



  
“I believe God made me for a purpose,

but He also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.”



— Eric Liddell, Chariots of Fire

Okay, let’s paraphrase that for this blog, shall we?

I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me a weepy CDQ (caffeinated drama queen). And when I write, I feel His pleasure.

So, how about you? Do you feel His pleasure when you write?

Boy, when I wrote my debut novel, A Passion Most Pure, I sure did! His pleasure rolled over me in waves, manifested in moments of deep spiritual truths when I couldn’t see the keyboard for the swell of saltwater in my eyes and Kleenex was as essential as my computer.

You see, A Passion Most Pure was my love letter to God, the whole of my heart for Him alone, when all was right in my writer’s world.

Until I tried to get published.

Yikes! Suddenly His pleasure—and mine—was lost in a sea of rejections. I found myself huffing and puffing and peddling like crazy to crest that silly summit of success: Publication.

But I made it … despite 46 rejections and a 3-month lapse in hormone replacement therapy that created some pretty volatile moments for my family. Like the time I got a bad contest score from a judge that went something like this:

“Mom, it’s not that bad, really.”

“She hated it,” I cried, sobbing into my pillow.

“But the other judge liked it—she said you had a nice voice.”

“Who cares! I got a 50% score … I’m garbage.”

“Mom, ya gotta handle contests better than this.”

I fisted a tear-stained entry in my hand. Rrrrrrrrip! I stared my daughter down and tossed the pieces in the air like confetti. “How’s that for handling??” I rasped. “Tell Dad we’re eating out.”

The rest of the story is a hoot, so if you’d like to read it, it’s called CAUTION: Hormone-Free Zone and Other Contest Horror Stories.


But I digress.

So there I am, standing on top of Mt. “Ever-Rest,” which is a misnomer if ever there was, because there is NO rest for the published! Not with umpteen social media platforms to conquer, conferences to attend, newsletters to send out, edits to do, deadlines to meet, and on and on.

I close my eyes. Am I feeling His pleasure yet? Heck, am I feeling any pleasure at all?? Not much because maybe it’s just me, but a hamster wheel is not my idea of a good time, especially when you toss emotions into the mix with high and low sales, bad reviews, and contest debacles, depending on those things for your confidence instead of God.

"But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,

whose confidence is in Him. — Jeremiah 17:7



For the Lord will be the source of your confidence,

and He will guard your foot from being caught in a trap. — Proverbs 3:26


WHOA! I could feel the teeth of that trap sinking into my very soul and suddenly I was reminded of the first Scripture title I ever came up with. I remember telling my prayer partner way back in my twenties that someday, God willing, I would write a book called Some Trust in Chariots.
 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,

but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. — Psalm 20:7


And that’s when I decided to back-pedal. Stopped dead in my tracks on that steep, steep hill of my dreams and reevaluated. Could I feel His pleasure?

Heck, no.

Because suddenly I realized that my confidence as a writer was in all the wrong things. I was trusting in chariots and horses (contracts, book sales, reviews, contests, rankings) for my confidence rather than Him. Oh, yesiree, I had big, big plans. But so did God.

We can make our plans,

but the LORD determines our steps. — Proverbs 16:9



Ahem.


Because the true road to success is the road God chooses, not us, especially since what we think is “success” often is not. So now I am a firm believer that we not only have to put our trust in God, we have to put our dreams in His hands, too, trusting Him to lead the way.

Which means we have to hop in the backseat and let God take the wheelseeking and praying for His will for our writing, not oursbecause heaven knows HE is far more qualified to take each of us to the peace and joy and contentment we all so long to have.

I won't lie to youI'm a very aggressive driver, which is why it's probably a good thing that these days, I mostly let my hubby cart me around. In fact, the last time Keith even let me drive him was when he had a colonoscopy and had no choice, a procedure he swears was far superior to my driving.

Regrettably, I'm inclined to agree. By the time I get home from driving somewhere, I'm usually stressed and hyper and going a mile a minute, which for a CDQ (caffeinated drama queen) is NOT pretty. But ... it's the strangest thing. When Keith is behind the wheel, I am suddenly relaxed and content and able to read or chat as if I've been tranquilized (I know, hard to imagine, isn't it?). And that's when God finally got my attention with that still small voice:

"Julie, take your hands off the wheel."

Excuse me?

"Lay it down," the gentle thought came, brimming with love.

I swallow hard. "Uh ... lay what down, Lord?"

A quiet pause, as if God were waiting for me to finally listen.

"Your hopes and dreams. Your need for control. Your need for approval. Put it on the altar, Julie, and take your hands off the wheel."

Gulp. "But you don't understand, LordI have books to promote, emails to answer, comments to write."

"Give me the keys, Julienow."

I blink, visions of my daughter wresting the car keys from my hands when I turned 65, like she always threatened to do. My hands begin to sweat as I stall. "I don't understand, Lordwhat keys?"

"The keys to your career. Lay them on the altar like Abraham did and walk away."

A shiver travels my spine as "The Abraham Factor" looms large in my mind, something Bram Hughes introduces to Logan McClare in book 3 of my Heart of San Francisco series, Surprised by Love. And something I knew God was calling me to do the minute I penned that scene as follows.

Bram propped elbows on the arm of the chair and steepled his hands, staring out the window over Logan’s shoulder, the gloom of night the perfect backdrop for the subject he broached. “You see, I’ve learned the hard way that when it comes to the most precious things in my life, the safest place to keep them is in God’s hands. To trust Him to do for them and me the very best thing.” His eyes met Logan’s. “No matter what that is.” He expelled a wavering sigh. “Because if I love someone—really and truly love them—I’ll always want to give them God’s best, not mine.”
Rising from his chair, he nudged Logan’s cup of coffee toward him before he picked up his own. “Abraham loved his son fiercely, waited decades for God to honor His promise to give him a son in the first place. And then one day, God—Abraham’s ‘friend’, mind you—asks him to lay that precious son on the altar and give him up. Sacrifice him—just like that.
“And you know what?” Against his will, tears glazed Bram’s eyes as his gaze locked with Logan’s. “That man didn’t balk or miss a beat. Nope. Because Abraham’s trust in God was so strong, he actually told his traveling companions to ‘abide ye here and I and the lad will go yonder; and we will worship, and come again to you.’”
Bram shook his head, overwhelmed as always at the strength of Abraham’s faith, the certainty that somehow, someway, God’s best would prevail. “And you and I both know what happened, Logan. God stayed the knife in Abraham’s hand, giving him his son back because of his remarkable trust.”
“Trust,” Logan whispered in a low drone, “the very reason I’ve lost Cait.”
Bram nodded, his tone quiet but sure. “And the very thing that will help you find God in a way you’ve never experienced Him before. He wants you to trust Him, Logan, to put your love for Mrs. McClare on the altar where God can do with it what He wills for your good and hers. And whether He stays your hand or not, your sacrifice of obedience will be rewarded with more peace and joy and hope than you ever believed possible.”
Logan’s brows dipped, the deep wedges indicating his skepticism. “And you really believe that?”
Bram smiled, remembering his own lack of faith before God had proven it true. “I do."

And you know what? So do I. Deeply. Which is why I finally took my hands off the wheel and gave the keys to God. Told my editor I wasn’t going to pitch any more books or series for a while so that I could focus more on God, family, and writing for the sheer joy of writing. Then I took an 8-month sabbatical to do just that, and for me, that was the beginning of the true path to success, shifting my focus as a writer from me to Him. A God Who not only knows the direction to my ultimate peace and joy, but can steer me there while I sit relaxed in the back seat, enjoying the ride. Driving Miss Julie, if you will.

And you, too, if you let Him.

So, hey -- what do YOU need to put "on the altar"? Because there's plenty of room in the back seat ...

Giveaways!
Because Scripture prayer is SO important to Christian writers (and readers), I have Scripture prayers for any writer who would like them on the FROM THE HEART tab of my website. You’ll also find Scriptures for hope and healing there, along with a personal story of how Scripture prayer sustained a wired CDQ like me when a doctor told me he thought my son had cancer. The Scripture prayers for writers are at the bottom of the page, so just scroll down.

Leave a comment telling me what your personal paraphrase would be (like Eric Liddell’s was “I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.”  

Or … just leave a comment, and you will be entered to win your choice of e-book or paperback of any of my indie novels including Romance-ology 101: Writing Romantic Tension for the Sweet and Inspirational Markets, A Light in the Window, the prequel novella rewrite of A Glimmer of Hope, Isle of Hope, or my latest release, Love Everlasting PLUS a signed paper copy of SPARK Magazine with my flash fiction alternate ending for Gone With the Wind.

Newsflash! 
Whoa, baby ... I just found out that the February issue of SPARK Magazine, which includes my alternate ending for Gone With the Wind, is available for FREE DOWNLOAD when you take advantage of the FREE SUBSCRIPTION to Splickety, so all you have to do is send a blank email with "Subscribe" in the subject line to:  info@splickety.com


Deal Alert!!

Book 1 in Julie Lessman’s Heart of San Francisco series, Love at Any Cost, is ON SALE for only 79 to 99 cents for a brief time, so check out the fun video and buy links below!

VIDEO FOR LOVE AT ANY COST



AMAZON, BARNES & NOBLE, and CBD (79 cents)



CHECK OUT SPEEDBO 2017!
 




152 comments :

  1. Reminds me of the movie "Driving Miss Daisy" when you say there's plenty of room on the backseat, lol!

    Ah yes, handing over control to God. Easy to say, hard to do. Laying things on the "altar" even harder. I think those two go hand in hand, at least for me. I don't know why I have such difficulty sometimes letting go of something. Because I know in my heart that God will take care of things much better than I ever could. He'll see things through the way they should go. I do have to say though, I'm not as much of a control freak as I used to be. God has been working on me over the years. Maybe it was a trust or faith issue, and those two areas are much improved in my life. God has used situations to teach me that I CAN trust Him and have faith that He WILL take care of me. But letting go is still hard for me at times. You know that "Frozen" song when Elsa sings "Let it Go"...yeah I need to learn some more lessons on that! I've especially learned to let go of things I truly have no control over & trust God in those times. I never have liked the unknown things, but we have a God of the known & He sees the big picture and our future. So I've trusted more in those times. There have been things that He's asked me to "lay on the altar" and walk away from. I've eventually given into that because He'll keep gently nudging me until I do. And you know what, He works out things so much better than I ever could or even imagine!

    So I can totally relate to you in some areas Julie! And I was certainly nodding in the affirmative at a lot of your post. I need to take the backseat more often and enjoy the ride God has for me :-)

    I'd love to be in the draw for a paperback of one of your books (other than Isle of Hope). Thanks so much for sharing your journey with God when you took a sabbatical. Sometimes God calls us to do just that, I'm so glad you had such great communion with our Father! Isn't He so good? :-)

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    1. TRIXI, good morning, my friend, and I'm impressed that you can come up with such a profound comment so early in the morning -- I'm jealous!!

      You said: "I do have to say though, I'm not as much of a control freak as I used to be."

      LOL ... I hear you on that one, but OH, the struggle as God wrests control from our hands over the years, eh? One of my favorite shows growing up was Father Knows Best, so you would THINK I would have gotten a clue before now! Sigh.

      You also said: "I've especially learned to let go of things I truly have no control over & trust God in those times. I never have liked the unknown things, but we have a God of the known & He sees the big picture and our future."

      Yes, He does, and to be honest, I have NO problem turning over to Him those things I truly have no control over. It's the things I DO have control over that give me (and HIM) the run for our money! ;)

      I'd love to send you a signed paperback, my sweet friend, so here's to a win!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    2. Actually Julie, this was posted at 9:37pm my time. Seekerville is in EST and I'm three hours behind, that's why it seemed like almost 1am. LOL....I am in BED by then :-)

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    3. LOL ... thanks for clearing that up, Trixi! Does make me feel a wee bit better ... ;)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  2. .
    "While we may place our lives in God's trusted hands, it is still with our own hands that our life on earth must be built."

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    1. So very true, VINCE! However, for a WCF (wired control freak) like myself, the biggest part of learning to trust God has been to let go and let God direct my path instead of me forcing it the way I think it should go. A hard lesson for me over the years, as it is for most people, I'm sure.

      It's been my experience that for me personally, that trust factor has grown exponentially with how willing I am to turn the navigation over to Him.

      I must say, I don't believe I've ever seen a shorter comment from you, my friend! I may frame it. ;)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  3. Hi Julie,
    So nice to see you find your way. I find it hard not to believe I'm supposed to be in control! Plenty of evidence to the contrary, but grabbing that wheel often feels safest. Thx for this thought-provoking post.

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    1. Hey, LAURA, based on your and Vince's comments, perhaps I should clarify that this post is not about abdicating physical control -- we must always live and walk through life to the best of our abilities, making decisions and hopefully progress along the way.

      My wrestle has always been with spiritual control, and all too often the only way to abdicate that -- at least for a control freak like me -- is to lay down some physical control in a particularly stubborn area in order to wait on the Lord for clear direction before I take another step. A lamp unto my feet, if you will.

      But each of us must follow our own path and if we are wise, hopefully it will align with His path for us rather than with our own.

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  4. Oh, Julie Thank you for touching my heart,making me smile, and inspiring me with this latest post! You reminded me that instead of worrying about things I should let God be in control.(In fact,leaving God in the driver's seat has given me many blessings including getting to know and become friends with you! :) ) Thank you so much Julie for sharing your heart and encouraging us to seek a closer relationship with God. I pray He will always shower you with many blessings! As for the drawing I have most of the ones you mentioned ,Although I would love to have a signed copy of the spark mag containing your GWTW story. :) Oh,also going to take advantage of the Love At Any Cost sale! Believe it or not I don't have the HOSF series on e-book,yet! Many Hugs ,Julie! Your beautiful post came at a time that I really needed it.

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    1. Hey, LYNNE, thanks SO much for coming by and for your sweet comment!

      And I have to say you are one of the reader friends who I must thank as well for "touching my heart, making me smile, and inspiring me" too, so thank you AGAIN, my sweet friend, for your continued love and support!

      Hugs and more hugs!
      Julie

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  5. Hi Julie, great post. I try to live by "Let go and let God". It's not always easy to let go and leave it with Him, but when I do, that is when I fell His presence the most.

    Blessings,
    Cindy W.

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    1. Oh, CINDY, AMEN to that, my friend!!

      "His presence" is something I've been seeking more and more of late, that sometimes elusive pearl in the field, if you will, per Matthew 13:44-46 below:

      “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. ... When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it."

      I suspect this is more applicable to an eternal state of mind rather than one during the here and now, but I certainly want to get as close as a human soul can get. And, no, it most certainly is "not always easy,"but then perfection is an eternal attribute, not a human one.

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  6. Great post, Julie! Each day and especially at stressful times, I meditate on Psalms 46:10. If not, I probably wouldn't be able to get out of bed. Thanks for this! I love the photo of you!

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    1. Hi Jill, I've spent the last few months in Psalms. And what was really cool was some days my husband and I had read the same chapter.

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    2. Thanks, JILL! And boy, oh boy, isn't it hard sometimes to "10 Be still, and know that (He is) God"???

      Oh, I have NO problem with the "KNOWING" part, but the being still?? YIKES!! ;)

      And I hear you on meditating on a Scripture during difficult times or even to just get out of bed in the morning. One of my favorites is the 23rd Psalm, which I memorized years ago when I still had a memory ;). That psalm has saved me more times than I can count, from a time when a doctor told me he thought my son had cancer, to cancerous thoughts the enemy whispers into one's mind in the dark of night.

      Hugs,
      Julie

      HUGS,
      Julie

      : I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

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    3. Oh, JACKIE, isn't that the truth?? I have SO many Twilight Zone moments with my Bible time that warm chills are usually par for the course. I read three devotionals most mornings -- Jesus Calling, Jesus Today, and Jesus Always -- and what's really freaky is how two of them ALWAYS coincide, which is strange because one is dated, but the other isn't, so I started it halfway through the year, which means the passages are not linked by date AT ALL!!

      Of course, it's no secret to anyone who reads Jesus Calling daily just HOW much the Holy Spirit correlates the day's reading with our own individual lives, heightening the impact all the more!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  7. Thank you Julie for your passionate post. I felt like I was riding the waves of your journey right along with you. What a great reminder to keep things in perspective.

    I'm still keeping up with my very modest speedbo goals. Making them realistic has kept frustrations at bay so no drama queen moments so far and I'm enjoying writing without angst. Sometimes God tells us to pace ourselves or just be still and know...

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    1. No, thank YOU, BETTIE, for taking the time to read and comment on it, my friend!

      And good for you for setting modest Speedbo goals so frustrations cannot derail you! VERY wise!

      You said: "Sometimes God tells us to pace ourselves or just be still and know..."

      Sometimes??? He tells ME that ALL the time, it seems! ;)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  8. Great post, Julie!! I have been studying and memorizing Psalm 27; God has led me to that chapter to wait on Him. I will look at your scriptures to see if I find more treasures. Thanks for your wonderful encouragement. God bless!

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    1. Oh, KELLY, what a GREAT psalm, my friend!! Waiting is NEVER easy if one is a control freak, but it is SO necessary if we want God's direction for our lives!

      One of my FAVORITE Scriptures on waiting came to me during my sabbatical fast, and I truly felt it was a Word from God for me:

      Psalm 37:34 -- Wait passionately for God,
      don’t leave the path. He’ll give you your place in the sun.

      I have a dual Bible, meaning it has an NIV column on one side of the page and a Message Bible column right next to it. I almost NEVER read the Message one because I am more of a traditionalist. But on the 23rd day of my sabbatical fast, I felt led to read the Message version, and that's the Scripture I found.

      Now, honestly, have you ever heard the word "passionately" used in reference to waiting?? I sure hadn't, but WHOA, BABY, it sure spoke to me, an author who does everything passionately, from brushing my teeth, to writing a novel! ;) Because, you see, that sabbatical fast was basically to seek God's will on whether I should leave the CBA market for the ABA, which a part of me wanted to do. And I personally feel I got my answer in that Scripture passage.

      God bless you back, girlfriend!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  9. Oh, Julie, what a powerful post! Lay our dreams at God's alter.

    When I was younger, my dad told me to be careful what I ask God for because sometimes He says yes. When I add that to your words, I'm encouraged to keep writing and learning to make my stories better, and trust God with the outcome.

    Thanks for sharing today!

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    1. Oh, JACKIE, YES, because His timing IS perfect. Not always according to OUR plans, mind you, as we all know too well, but certainly in accordance with His!

      Still praying for you to sell that house, girlfriend, so give me an update, okay?

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    2. Hi Julie, we sold the house. Praise the Lord!!! I'm now in SC surrounded by boxes needing to be unpacked. Thanks for your prayers!

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    3. WHOO-HOO, JACKIE!!!! I can't tell you HOW happy this makes me, my sweet friend, so PRAISE GOD!! You're off my hit list, which is a good thing!

      Hugs and more hugs,
      Julie

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  10. Great post. I've been frustrated lately in my life and my writing and you're thoughts here Mair me think it's long past time I had a sit-down with God to find out what He thinks I need to lay at His feet. Thanks for a wonderful post just when I needed to hear it.

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    1. Hey, GLYNIS, I am SO glad my post could direct you God's way because the bottom line is, His way -- not ours -- is the path to our highest pleasure.

      I know this post isn't for everyone, especially the go-getters who believe we are in control of our own destinies. And although that is true to a degree, for most folks -- me, at least -- it isn't. I learned that the hard way, which is why I took the spiritual sabbatical in the first place. And let me tell you, Glynis, it was THE BEST thing I have ever done, for both my spiritual and mental health and for that of my family. So I can't encourage you enough to have that sit-down, my friend, because as the Scripture above so gently instructs, "We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps." And sitting down with him to determine what you need to lay down IS the first "step" in the "plan" that will truly make you happy.

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  11. Thank you for a powerful and timely post, Julie! God reminded me just this morning that I, like Peter, am focused on the waves around me rather than the Savior who walks to me on the water, and who enables me to do the same...so long as my eyes are fixed on him.

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    1. Oh, CELLOGAL, isn't THAT the truth!! Which is why this video song by Hillsong (with lyrics) is one of my TOP favorite songs, so I encourage you to listen to it and read the words:

      OCEANS BY HILLSONG

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  12. Julie! Love this post! "I blink, visions of my daughter wresting the car keys from my hands when I turned 65, like she always threatened to do. My hands begin to sweat as I stall. "I don't understand, Lord—what keys?" My daughter says when I go into a nursing home, she is going to take all my books and tear out the last page. Because I like to read the last page first. But I also don't think she will return the last page ever...hmm.

    So, I'd made a point of giving this writing over to God, saying wherever it goes, it's because of You. The pastor was preaching one Sunday morning and stops and looks at me and says you'll be speaking next Sunday night. Umm. I heard share devotions on facebook, or do devotional blog posts, not stand up in front of everyone and speak. I survived, but don't remember a word I said. But God does. And He knows who was there to hear and what they heard. So did not see that coming!

    My word for 2017 is expectation. When you're expecting something, you prepare. If you're expecting a baby, you prepare a nursery and all the things you need. If you're expecting company, at my house anyway, there's cleaning involved and probably putting some pets up. Preparation. So how do you prepare for something you didn't know about? God knew. He'd been preparing me. I already had most of what I spoke on written out, something I thought would be used for something else, but God knew when He gave it to me what it would be used for.

    Personal Paraphrase: Write and see. Write what God gives you and see where He takes it.

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    1. I love that, Sally. God is preparing a way for us. There's no need to strive without Him. Just rest in Him and let him take the wheel.

      ~ Renee

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    2. Oh, SALLY, WOW!! You should be writing this post today, girlfriend, not me, because this is BRILLIANT:

      "My word for 2017 is expectation. When you're expecting something, you prepare. If you're expecting a baby, you prepare a nursery and all the things you need. If you're expecting company, at my house anyway, there's cleaning involved and probably putting some pets up. Preparation. So how do you prepare for something you didn't know about? God knew. He'd been preparing me. I already had most of what I spoke on written out, something I thought would be used for something else, but God knew when He gave it to me what it would be used for. Personal Paraphrase: Write and see. Write what God gives you and see where He takes it."

      I have never looked at it this way -- as preparation, but you are SO dead-on! I always looked at it like, "not yet, because you're not ready," but your take is SO encouraging and uplifting, so THANK YOU!!

      You also said: "My daughter says when I go into a nursing home, she is going to take all my books and tear out the last page. Because I like to read the last page first. But I also don't think she will return the last page ever...hmm."

      LOL ... boy, did I need that laugh, my friend, so a DOUBLE THANK YOU!! ;)

      And you know what? I'm with your daughter on that, you little stinker!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    3. RENEE, and I LOVE what you said too:

      "God is preparing a way for us. There's no need to strive without Him. Just rest in Him and let him take the wheel."

      AMEN AND AMEN!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  13. Julie, you are so right. I've been feeling very "Jesus take the wheel" lately, over about, well, just about everything. For Lent I'm doing a modified version of what you did last year, dropping out of social media (EXCEPT FOR SEEKERVILLE, THAT IS REALLY TOO MUCH TO ASK). I was going on Facebook and Linked In about once every half hour checking my stats, such as they were, and getting hurt or mad if people didn't respond to my posts. I fell into the "stats" trap more than once. So this is kind of peaceful, no FB no Linked In, I told people where to find me if they needed me and I am concentrating on a Lenten devotional and Speedbo. Which is no coincidence if you ask me. I got lockjaw yesterday and it still hurts to eat or talk. When I do have to talk it comes out as that kind of Boston Brahmin nasal drone, if you know what I mean.
    I made some good positive strides on my WIP this morning so I'm happy, also I found my cell phone (it was ON THE CHARGER ALL ALONG) and the sun is out, which is no small feat in NH in March.
    Will check in later,
    Kathy Bailey
    Holding her own in NH

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    1. KATHY!!! SO glad to see another "Miss Daisy" in the group, willing to turn the wheel over!

      And, oh goodness, do I commiserate on those pesky stats -- DELIVER ME FROM EVIL!! ;)

      You said: "For Lent I'm doing a modified version of what you did last year, dropping out of social media (EXCEPT FOR SEEKERVILLE, THAT IS REALLY TOO MUCH TO ASK)"

      LOL ... good girl! ;)

      And you seriously got lockjaw????

      Hear you on the phone being on the charger while you look high and low. Kind of like me looking EVERYWHERE for my sunglasses ... except on top of my head! Sheesh ...

      Hugs!!
      Julie

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  14. Julie, please enter me in the drawing for anything paper, still not much of an e-book person, thanks, KB

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    1. KAYBEE ... You are IN, my friend, for paper only!

      Hugs and good luck!
      Julie

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  15. Julie, Great post. Probably something I need to hear daily. I'll have to check out your prayers for writers. Maybe I need to give up the feeling that my worth is in my writing. (If I don't write—don't work at something and do it well—who am I? That thinking, of course, depends on how I'm feeling about my writing from day to day, which naturally varies and often has little to do with reality.) I'd love to have a copy of your most recent book. I guess I haven't gotten it yet because I've been busy and I know, once I pick it up, I won't be able to put it down! :-)

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    1. Lara, I struggle with this too. "My worth is in my writing." Um, no. BRINNGGGG, wrong answer, as they say on the game shows. Good points.

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    2. Hey, LARA, which is why all those measures we use -- sales #s, Amazon ranking, good reviews, contest wins -- can be deadly, as the following Scripture confirms:

      For the Lord will be the source of your confidence,and He will guard your foot from being caught in a trap. — Proverbs 3:26

      And I would LOVE to send you a copy of my most recent book, so fingers crossed for a win, my sweet friend!

      Hugs and good luck!
      Julie

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    3. I think the funny thing about me (or maybe this is normal??) is that someone can say 9 nice things and mention just 1 area in need of improvement and all I can see is “failure.” And even if I get a bunch of positive feedback but know in my heart the work is not where it needs to be, I can still feel like a failure. BUT… I can look back and see improvement, so I can realistically expect that more improvement will come with time. After all the emotional ups and downs I've been through, I still enjoy creating and editing, so I guess that desire is planted too deeply in me to be uprooted by a little discouragement. And once I get past that fierce need to measure up, I actually enjoy the challenge of it. Kaybee, I'm saying a prayer for you and me both ;-)

      Delete
    4. Oh, LARA, move over, darlin'! That is my M.O. to a T! And it's not so funny, my friend -- more like universal, I think, to the human condition.

      I can have hundreds of incredible 5-star reviews on a book, but it's that one nasty 1-star that stomps my confidence into the ground. The good news is that after a number of those discouraging comments (which I always feel are straight from the pit of hell), you grow that wonderfully thick skin that insulates you in the future. Which allows you to focus on the readers who really matter -- your supporters and encouragers.

      Saying a prayer for both you and Kathy, too, so you go, girls!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

      Delete
  16. Oh, Julie, forgot to mention, I am a TERRIBLE driver. I have to drive because my work is all kinds of different hours, so I can't carpool, but the day I can give up work (except for writing Christian fiction from my home) is the day I give up my keys, joyfully. The problem is there is next to no public transportation in NH, except for in the three largest cities which, trust me, are not all that large. And I can't walk to anything from where I live.
    I was in an accident last week, I grazed a woman's car when I was coming out of a parking space, so I have been thrust into another insurance bracket. I Loathe Driving. Jesus, take the wheel. State of NH, take the keys.
    KB

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    Replies
    1. "I Loathe Driving. Jesus, take the wheel. State of NH, take the keys."

      LOL, you are SO cute, Kathy!!

      Sorry about the fender-bender and the new insurance bracket. NOT fun!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  17. I loved this post! Very inspiring but oh.so.funny! One of my favorite verses is Philippians 4----"I can do all things through God who strengthens me". I have come to understand that many of the things that I try to do may not be The. Very. Best but with God's help, they will be my best! I recently read this quote from Saint Francis and I am making this my mission. “Preach the Gospel daily and when necessary use words"
    Blessings!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, CONNIE, but not so funny if your daughter reallllly means she wants to take the keys away ... ;)

      You said: "I have come to understand that many of the things that I try to do may not be The. Very. Best but with God's help, they will be my best!"

      VERY PROFOUND, my friend! I struggle with perfectionism (read: anality), so this is a BEAUTIFUL antidote to that -- THANK YOU!!

      And that St. Francis quote??? Absolutely LOVE it! Don't always live it, but truly love it! ;)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  18. Julie - you crack me up. I love the story about your bad results from a contest. I have got to the point where when I get contest results I don't even open them, just forward them to my husband. He can give me the gist of it before I have to swallow whatever it is. Funny, he loves doing that for me.
    I have been substituting writing into Eric Liddell's words for a long time now. So glad to see you do that too. When I write I pray first, same words every time, "Your words, Your will, Your way." Then I tell myself "Write like no one is going to read it." Those two things usually get me going.

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    Replies
    1. I love that mantra, Cindy. Sounds like something I need to adopt.

      ~ Renee

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    2. Oh, CINDY, love, Love, LOVE your writing procedure, my friend!! I need to copy that (which isn't plagerism, I hope) and say (after I pray, of course), "Your words, Your will, Your way"!!! WOW!!!

      And that's excellent advice about writing like no one is going to read it. Although I'm not too sure how well that would work on a card-carrying perfectionist like moi, who continually edits a prayer I typed out -- one that asks for help in ridding myself of perfectionism -- WHILE I'm praying it!! Sigh.

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  19. GOOD MORNING, SEEKERVILLE!! My apologies for showing up so late, but hubby and I are working 12-hour days helping paint/clean/restore a "new" home my daughter and son-in-law bought, so these old bodies sleep in a wee bit later than usual!

    But, I brought my trusty laptop along for all those coffee breaks so I can chat with y'all.

    Please dig into the butter kolache-style fruit and cheese pastries (MY FAVE!!), homemade cake and glazed donuts, and streusel cinnamon coffee cake for that sugar high I need to get started this morning. Of course, it's a must to supplement that with my daily staple these days -- homemade steel cut oatmeal with brown sugar, walnuts, and bananas or blueberries.

    Happy Hump Day!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  20. Wow, thank you for that...but not for making me cry. Though I guess I can blame that on pregnancy hormones. ;) I really needed this right now. A lot of life is happening this year: we just sold our house and will be moving, my debut novel just released a month ago and the second one comes out in April, and baby 4 makes his debut this fall. Plus my oldest starts school at home...so we'll see how that works in with everything. A year of so many blessings, but so much unknown...especially the direction of my writing career. I think it's time I actually turn this all over to God. <3

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    1. Oh, WOW, ANGELA, you definitely have a full plate, girlfriend, WHICH as you already noted, is THE opportune time to take your hands off the wheel and let God drive your life the direction HE wants while you actually enjoy all these good things from the back seat. ;)

      And SUPER CONGRATS on all the good news, girl!! Lots of new babies going on -- from the real thing to the written one, so enjoy the ride!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  21. Great inspiration for Speedbo month, Julie! I've definitely experienced times when the joy of writing seemed to vanish. Focusing too hard on writing for the market or obsessing over sales numbers can definitely be joy killers! I need regular reminders that writing is, first of all, God's gift to me, which then becomes my gift to my readers. Without His strength, guidance, and inspiration, nothing else matters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MYRA SAID: "Focusing too hard on writing for the market or obsessing over sales numbers can definitely be joy killers! I need regular reminders that writing is, first of all, God's gift to me, which then becomes my gift to my readers. Without His strength, guidance, and inspiration, nothing else matters."

      BEAUTIFULLY put, my friend, as always!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  22. I don't have a personal paraphrase but did want to say THANK YOU, Julie, for such great inspiration! LOVE this post! I'm working on something a little different, a little off what I thought was my path, but it's honoring to God. It's my obedience to Him, and I trust that it's going to glorify Him! He gave me this gift and this passion, and I need to use it as He determines.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, MEGHAN, good for you, my friend, for following the passion He has obviously instilled in you to travel this new path that HE has in mind for you!!

      You said: "He gave me this gift and this passion, and I need to use it as He determines."

      AMEN AND AMEN!! Saying one that He blesses your socks off with it, girlfriend!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  23. Such a great post, Julie.
    I have NONE of that, or at least none of that drama externalized.
    Instead, I nod, and smile and get very very quiet and divert anyone's attention who's asking.

    And then I shoot people in my books.

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    Replies
    1. I love that about you, Mary :) Please don't shoot me.

      Delete
    2. LOL. You're such a rabble rouser, Mary.

      Delete
    3. LOL ... Mary, you shooting people in books is akin to all my emotional angst and drama I put in mine. Your method saves you from going to jail ... and mine saves my marriage! ;)

      Hugs,
      Julie

      Delete
    4. SHAREE SAID: "I love that about you, Mary :) Please don't shoot me."

      LOL ... girlfriend, you are spending WAY too much time with Mary Connealy! ;)

      RENEE SAID: "You're such a rabble rouser, Mary."

      Ohhhhh, yes!! She's soooo sweet and shy on the surface, but deep down???? ;)

      WHICH, is why she is a top-selling author!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  24. What do I need to lay down on the altar?

    Food maybe.

    I can think of a few others.

    God bless you, Julie. Your passion sings through your work.

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    Replies
    1. LOL, MARE!! Me, too, but right now I only have the energy to focus on my spiritual problems, not my physical ones! ;)

      You said: "Your passion sings through your work."

      Oh, dear Lord -- I hope it's not as tone deaf as I am ... ;)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  25. Ms Julie, this was exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you for the holy spanking :)

    The road to publication is long and it's hard for this goal-driven-control-freak not to focus on the goal rather than God.

    I don't know that I have a personal paraphrase either, but IN GOD'S TIMING seems to be my daily chant.

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    Replies
    1. LOL, SHAREE, well I do happen to believe in corporal punishment, but I never thought of it in the spiritual sense, my friend, till your statement. But you are absolutely right -- I've gotten whopped MANY a time in the spiritual sense, so I hear you!!

      You said: "The road to publication is long and it's hard for this goal-driven-control-freak not to focus on the goal rather than God."

      LOL ... if not near impossible for we perfectionist "goal-driven-control-freaks." But the good news? ALL things are possible to him who believes ... Mark 9:23.

      Hugs!!
      Julie

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  26. Good morning, Julie!

    I'm inspired every time I read your testimony. You and I have similar contest stories. Thank you for sharing such personal spiritual experiences today.

    Last year, my fingers were wrenched off the steering wheel of my emerging writing career with an illness. Only recently has He given me back my legs to run. During my sabbatical, I could hear the Lord say in my heart over and over again, "Be still and know that I am God." ~ Psalms 46:10

    As I sat still before Him, I learned that, "Better is a handful, with quietness, than two handfuls with labor and striving after the wind." Ecc 4:6

    You see, my type-A personality and daily striving to make my career "happen" was not pleasurable to God. It was a hard lesson to learn, but I'm starting to feel whole again, and He's letting me write with a new set of training wheels.

    I've concluded that God made me for a purpose--to write--but He also created me to be dependent on Him. And when I sit still before Him and cease my endless striving, I feel His pleasure.”

    Thanks for sharing today.

    ~ Renee

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    1. Sitting still before Him, that is the key. But sometimes it is so very hard to do.

      Delete
    2. I say good morning to you, Renee McBride. Love the verses you quoted. The Lord gives us exactly what we need at any given moment. We only have to open our souls to receive His manifold blessings.

      Delete
    3. OH MY GOODNESS, RENEE -- where to start on your AMAZING comment!!!

      You said: "Last year, my fingers were wrenched off the steering wheel of my emerging writing career with an illness."

      Have you ever read Catherine Marshall's Beyond Ourselves? She wrote it after a debilitating sickness that took her out for over a year, I believe. It's EXCELLENT!!

      YOU SAID: "You see, my type-A personality and daily striving to make my career "happen" was not pleasurable to God. It was a hard lesson to learn, but I'm starting to feel whole again, and He's letting me write with a new set of training wheels."

      WOW, move over, girlfriend, because I could have written the paragraph above (not as well, I assure you, but same premise). We are spiritual twins, sis!!

      FINALLY, YOU SAID: "I've concluded that God made me for a purpose--to write--but He also created me to be dependent on Him. And when I sit still before Him and cease my endless striving, I feel His pleasure.”

      Okay, THIS made me cry, my friend -- absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    4. Hard lessons to learn. But worth feeling the arms of the Holy Spirit around me. It's been good to share this with everyone for the first time.

      LoRee, good to see you here this morning. Lord knows you've been a blessing to me during my illness.

      Hugs to you,

      ~ Renee

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    5. Renee, I love your comment. So beautifully put! I learned over many years of striving and working and being a "go-getter" that God wanted me to be dependent on him alone. We are to go to him like little children, raising our arms up to be picked up and held by our father.

      Delete
    6. RENEE SAID: "Hard lessons to learn. But worth feeling the arms of the Holy Spirit around me. It's been good to share this with everyone for the first time."

      I am SO glad you did, my friend -- a blessing for us all!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  27. Hi Julie, the wonderful author who introduced me to seekerville. I enjoyed this post,

    I am rejoicing that my world has stopped spinning. It had been spinning since Sunday morning. I have no idea how long before it begins again. I have written every day and so far I am at 8,000 words.

    So thankful for the beautiful sunshine.

    The Lord laid it on my heart to write a devotional book on Rejoicing in the Lord. Hoping to get started on it in the next few days.

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    Replies
    1. WILANI, WOW!!! 8,000 words??? You ROCK, girlfriend!! And a devotional?? That is sooooooo very cool, so you go, girl. :)

      Hugs and more hugs,
      Julie

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  28. Julie, your posts always give me something to think about. I have to admit I'm not exactly where I thought I'd be at this point, but I'm holding fast to Phil. 4:13 - "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." It's so important to remember that the strength is His!

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    Replies
    1. Oh, SARAH, AMEN TO THAT!!! We tend to forget it when accolades and success come our way, but God has a gentle way of reminding us, doesn't He? And ... uh ... sometimes not so gentle ... ;)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  29. Loved the post, Julie. My hubby likes to ask,
    "Is Jesus Christ the steering wheel of your life, or the spare tire?"
    With a name that means victorious, I believe the call to write for His glory is covered by His providence.
    I sometimes forget to ask Him to be my co-Author, and try to write on my own strength. Those stumbles reveal His providence is still working within me for His purposes.
    Speedbo is going good so far. Write on, people -- for Him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LoRee!! So good to see you here!! Isn't Speedbo fun?!

      Delete
    2. LOREE!!!

      Tell your hubs that I absolutely LOVE his quote and I request permission to use it often!!

      "My hubby likes to ask,
      "Is Jesus Christ the steering wheel of your life, or the spare tire?"

      You also said: "With a name that means victorious, I believe the call to write for His glory is covered by His providence."

      Yes, I believe that, too , my friend, with all of my heart!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    3. LoRee,

      Your hubby is a wise man and a wonderful prayer warrior. Tell him I said hello and thank him for his prayers.

      ~ Renee

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  30. Julie, I don't know how you do it, but each post from you is so sincere and gentle, and yet such a firm smack o'r the head! :)

    This is a great reminder for me. One I think every author battles at every stage of their career. The hardest part for me is actually leaving it on the altar. I don't know how to let go and walk away.

    I believe God made me with a purpose. He also gave me a wacky imaginative brain. I feel His pleasure when I write.

    To me, the "pleasure" stage is the first draft. Maybe even the second. After that, I tend to get very discouraged during edits and the whole get-to-market process. (Like my story I've been editing and subbing to my crit group and now feel like hiding in the depths of my laptop files never to see the light of day again because it's a train wreck.)

    But my SPEEDBO draft I'm working on? Now there's fun and excitement reincarnate.

    Thanks for this post, Julie. God bless ya!

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    1. Uh-oh, AMBER ... that's the second time I've been accused of a gloved hand as compared to Ruthy's boot. She always gives me the kick in the pants I need, and I like to slap sense into people gently. Which is WAY better than Mary, who just shoots them. ;)

      And I think you're right, my friend -- "every author DOES battles this at every stage of their career," or at least I have!

      SO glad you are enjoying your SPEEDBO draft, girlfriend -- that's AWESOME!!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  31. You and I are cut from the same cloth, Julie! I feel it! I don't have the years of experience you or the other seekers have, but lately I've been feeling confused and not as excited about writing. The first book I wrote was just done from the heart, the sheer joy of writing shooting off the tips of my fingers. I was on cloud 9! Or maybe it was the honeymoon phase? (If so, that was quick!)

    Lately though, I've just felt bogged down. Unsure of whether to write for ABA or CBA, whether to go the indie route, the Amazon-exclusive route or the traditional route. I'm totally overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information coming at me. The blogs, conferences, online classes, books, etc etc. I pray, seeking God's wisdom and it's...quiet. Not clearly pointing me in any particular direction but at least it's quiet. This age of information we live in, for all its benefits, is deafening.

    Today, Tina reminded me we're storytellers first and it was exactly what I needed to hear.

    I want to become a better writer and so I keep studying up on the craft but then it stifles me. I reread what I wrote and click backspace, backspace, backspace.

    I desire nothing other than what God has planned for me because even my most wild dreams pale in comparison to what he has in store for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. JOSEE SAID: "Lately though, I've just felt bogged down. Unsure of whether to write for ABA or CBA, whether to go the indie route, the Amazon-exclusive route or the traditional route. I'm totally overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information coming at me. The blogs, conferences, online classes, books, etc etc. I pray, seeking God's wisdom and it's...quiet. Not clearly pointing me in any particular direction but at least it's quiet. This age of information we live in, for all its benefits, is deafening."

      Oh, TRUST ME, JOSEE -- I hear you, sis! Twins separated by birth ... and uh, about forty years!!

      And, WOW, you are SO RIGHT when you say, "This age of information we live in, for all its benefits, is deafening."

      Which is why I don't even try to keep up anymore. I do the basics on social media and learning, but mostly I just want to write, so don't confuse me with the facts of how to get better! :)

      Once when I was worried sick about keeping up with all the social media, newletters, building platforms, conferences, skill-building classes, yada, yada, yada that authors are told to do, author Camy Tang once told me (I'm paraphrasing here) that I need to choose the thing or things I enjoy and am good at, then let the rest go by the wayside. That has always helped me to let Pinterest and Instagram go to focus more on FB and Twitter. I don't need to be queen of all, just enjoy what I do focus on.

      And, YES, your dreams and mine DEFINITELY pale in comparison to what God has in store, ESPECIALLY when you realize that HIS plan ALWAYS draws you closer to Him and gives you more peace and joy than you can imagine. Now, mine? Lock me up and shoot me, Mary, please!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    2. Good morning, Josee!

      I know exactly what you mean about the constant barrage of social media, craft books, classes, and the like. Sometimes it's best to unplug and let everything soak in for a while. Reading too many craft books can paralyze me. Something I found that helps is to lay on the bed, close my eyes, and think about my story in scenes, like I'm watching a movie. It switches your brain into a creative alpha state and busts through mental blocks. You may need to do this a few times to train yourself. It's part of my new "Cease to Strive" campaign. I hope that helps.

      ~ Renee

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    3. Julie! Forty years??!! NO WAY! But you are filled with so much vitality! I love it.

      Delete
    4. Renee, I wrote my first book in less than three months BECAUSE I had the whole thing, start to finish in my head like a movie. (I even pictured it on Hallmark with commercials and everything!) Back then I was so naive...I didn't know about scene structure and word count and all the other rules. But you're right! I need to get back to that creative imaging.

      Delete
    5. LOL, JOSEE ... that's because the more wrinkles I get, the livelier I act to help deflect my age ... ;)

      DOUBLE LOL on the Hallmark movie with commercials and everything -- TOO CUTE!! And, TOO TRUE!!

      Hugs!!
      Julie

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  32. Julie, I just read your Splickety submission. Oh, wow! I could hear Scarlett talking. I could see Rhett. Thank you! That ending is so much better! Next time I read through the book, I will let my daughter tear out that ending and I'll put yours in it's place!

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    1. LOL, SALLY, thank you SO much for your sweet comment AND for reading the Splickety piece. It was SO much fun to write, even though I tried realllly hard to match Margaret's voice for each of the characters. So much so that when a Splickety editor suggested an alternate word for a Rhett sentence, I thought -- that's not Rhett! I explained why I thought my word was more in keeping with Rhett's core and the time period, and he finally agreed. That was one time I took the wheel, I'm ashamed to say, before I jumped back into the backseat.

      HUGS!!
      Julie

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  33. Would you believe me if I said that my personal paraphrased quote was the Eric Liddell one as well (only with fast replaced by a writer, and run replaced by write). I was literally just quoting that to myself yesterday (in my best Scottish accent of course). It was quite surprising when I popped in here and saw my quote staring back at me as if asking "How you doin'?"

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    1. LOL, NICKI ... that is SO fun when that happens, isn't it??

      And by the way -- how ARE you doin'? ;)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    2. I'm doing fine. Tired, but still kicking, and writing. I'm trying to get in a couple thousand more words so that I can have written ten thousand words in three days, which would really be great for both getting my book done in one month and my confidence that I can get my book done in one month.

      Delete
    3. WOW, that's a lofty goal, but one I have no doubt you can accomplish, so I'm saying one for you right now, my friend, and you go, girl!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  34. Julie, I LOVED this post! Don't we just do such a stellar job of taking what brings God pleasure and make it our own? And then dealing with the stress of that decision about breaks us.

    God has been reminding me that "my" journey will be walked out in His timing. Learning to trust that, to lean into the lessons He wants to teach me as I walk alongside Him . . . it's hard sometimes. But I'm also learning that as I trust Him, I'm finding peace and rest in the writing process. :)

    Let's see, in answer to your challenge at the end of your post: When I convey God's beauty through word and camera lens, I feel His pleasure.

    SUCH a great post!

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    1. LOL ... yes, Jeanne, we DO!! But it's in the breaking that we find our healing, so all's well that ends well with God, eh?

      You said: "But I'm also learning that as I trust Him, I'm finding peace and rest in the writing process. :)"

      Long, wavering sigh of relief. OH, YES, YES, YES!!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  35. Love this, Julie! :)

    And I'd have to see this to believe it: "When Keith is behind the wheel, I am suddenly relaxed and content and able to read or chat as if I've been tranquilized."

    :)

    Ha! Love you bunches!

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    1. LOL, PAMMY ... you know me a littttttttle too well, I think, you little brat! ;)

      Actually, I am SO in the ozone (read: Isle of Hope, GA), that it's my characters feeling all the stress and angst, not me, but BOY, is that fun. Not as much fun as Mary shooting someone, but close ... ;)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  36. So sorry to be late. This was vehicle inspection, oil change day!

    Which segues nicely into your post.

    Have you heard the Carrie Underwood song, Jesus Take the Wheel. It's all our theme song!

    Jesus take the wheel
    Take it from my hands
    Cause I can't do this on my own
    I'm letting go
    So give me one more chance
    Save me from this road I'm on
    Jesus take the wheel.

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    Replies
    1. This song is now going through my head. I thought of it as I read Julie's post too, Tina. :)

      Delete
    2. OH. MY. GOSH!!! No, I had NOT heard that song, but immediately went to Youtube to listen to it, Tina, and started crying. I know, I know, I'm a weepy CDQ, but when that woman with Ahlzheimers put her hand on her husband's, I started bawling. LOVED IT!!!

      And is Carrie Underwood not a truly beatiful person, inside and out???

      Hugs!
      Julie

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  37. Well done, Julie!

    “I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast. And when I sing, I feel His pleasure.” That's not to say that I sing well... but it's what popped into my head :) I love to sing His praises! God is awesome!

    Please enter me in your drawing. And congratulations on your successes!

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

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    1. LOL, PHYLLIS ... so may I assume you sing while you run?

      I love to sing God's praises, too, and I am SO grateful He is tone-deaf and blind to our failings!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  38. Climbing into the back seat with you Miss Julie! It is a great place to be when God is at the wheel. Hamster cage is where I have been for a while and God has been speaking similar things to my heart! Thanks for sharing your journey! Hugs!

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    1. CARRIE!!! SO good to see you here, my friend, and trust me, there's plenty of room in the back seat and it's a great ride, especially if we can get Jesus to run through a Starbucks drive-thru, eh? ;)

      Turn in that hamster cage, my friend -- it's an awful place to live, especially when God has your plan ALL mapped out already!! I turned mine in a while back, and I have been breathing sooooo much easier! ;)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  39. Great post, Julie! I've been wrestling with similar things and, like Tina Radcliffe, now have Carrie Underwood's song in my head, too! Thanks for helping poke holes in the overwhelm so I can see the hope beyond. :)

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    1. Hey, CONNIE, I'm guessing this train of thought is pretty universal among Christians lately because I truly believe God is trying to get our attention on HIM, not our careers.

      And isn't hope THE BEST???

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  40. JULIE, I love your post! We all--writers or not--need to trust God for His plan for our lives. And just let go of the wheel. That may not be easy, but when we remember how much He loves us and wants the best for us, we know He's trustworthy.

    Love your beautiful excerpt, too!

    Hugs, Janet

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    1. Aw, thanks, JANET, and you are SO right!! Lately, I've been trying to focus more on how much He loves me, and what a difference it does make in our lives!

      Love you!
      Julie

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    2. JULIE, isn't it nice to know that no matter how sideways we get in live, God never stops loving us. We're popular with God!

      Janet

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    3. Oh, JANET, I LOVE IT -- "popular with God"!!! What every single human being has always longed for -- popularity -- but with the one Person (or I should say "three" Persons, I guess) Who really matters!!

      HUGS!!
      Julie

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  41. I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward. [Philippians 3:14 AMPC]

    Pressing On - that scripture has been front and center for me long before March 1st. That was one reason I thought it was so awesome it was the Speedbo verse for this year.

    I would like to be entered into the drawing for: Romance-ology 101: Writing Romantic Tension for the Sweet and Inspirational Markets,
    Thank you! :D

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    1. Ah, MEGS ... "the supreme and heavenly prize," which contrary to my original thoughts in life, is NOT a Christy Award! ;) Took a LOOOOOOOONNNG time for God to get THAT realization in my brain, let me tell ya! ;)

      LOVE that verse, and yes, it is PERFECT for Speedbo!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  42. I'm back from my road trip! Thank God for larger computer screens. Truly. Getting caught up on what I've missed.

    Updates: My side project is now finished, so I'm diving in to my Speedbo Goals - See Ruthy - it isn't too late!! Woot. ;)

    I've spent the day working on the goals. So far I'm 1500 words into my non-fiction goal. Yayhoo!

    Depending on how things go tonight, I'm hoping to start back plotting the rest of my fiction story.

    Happy Wednesday everybody!
    Blessings,
    Meg =)

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    1. WHOA, BABY, MEGS, you are ROCKIN', girlfriend, so you go, girl!!

      And non-fiction? I soooo admire you for that. I am strictly a fiction gal because heaven forbid I should better myself with nonfiction! ;)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  43. I'm not sure I have a life's paraphrase. But I love the image of pressing and running our race for Christ. Thanks for posting and hoping for a win!!!!!!!

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    1. Hey, KATE, a life paraphrase is not necessary, sweetie, only a life Scripture, so pick one or a gazillion, and you'll still come out ahead!

      And, goodness, I hope you win, too, but if not, I just might have a consolation prize for you ... ;)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  44. Hi Julie. Great post. I probably need to put fear and lack of confidence on the altar. I need to trust God always in my writing.

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    1. Hey, Sandy, those are two biggies for sure, and ones that plague every one of us. But the good news is we don't have to put them on the altar -- all we have to do is rebuke and bind them in Jesus' name, and we are good to go! Then repeat as necessary. Which will be OFTEN, if my life is any indication!! ;)

      Hugs!
      Julie

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  45. PS Thank you so much for your separate Bible verses for healing/hope/writers post! I've been reading them throughout the day and they are a mighty blessing <3

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    1. Oh, PHYLLIS, I am SOOOO thrilled to hear that! I think as Christians, we tend to take Scriptures for granted,thereby missing the power within at times. I know I sure do!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  46. I've read this post twice, Julie. Not because it is hard to understand :-) but because there is so much to consider ... and admit. Thanks!

    Nancy C

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    1. LOL, NANCY, thanks for clarifying that, my friend, because my first thought was -- oh no, I made it too complicated, which I do tend to do at times. ;)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  47. Great post, Julie! On Monday, Mary said "It's an encouraging month. We're all putting the pedal to the metal here!" Oh my, she was right. Thank you! And I can just see that contest scene in my head - you truly paint a picture with words. I'm headed back to work now, thanks for the encouragement!

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    1. Thanks, LAURA! And, OH YES, the pedal is definitely hitting the metal in Seekerville, and I can almost smell the burning of the breaks!

      Thanks for dropping by, my friend, and happy writing!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  48. Great post, Julie!

    Three of my favorite scriptures"I can do all things", "Let go", and "Be still" are mentioned in most of the comment posts. If we put them all together..."Be still, let go, and I will strengthen you", we can feel the arms of our Heavenly Father around us, reassuring us we are not alone in our struggles.

    Marcia


    p.s. My Speedbo counts are way behind. My passion to write, and Debby Guisti's prayer will catch me up!

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    1. MARCIA, you are GENIUS, girlfriend!!
      ""Be still, let go, and I will strengthen you"

      Love, Love, LOVE that Scripture compilation, girl, so THANK YOU!!

      NO WORRIES on the Speedbo count -- you will have WAY more written on March 31st than you did March 1st, and that has to count for something, yes??

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  49. Oh Julie - - WOW!!!! I read your post this morning, but then the day zipped by and I realized I hadn't left a comment. This is WONDERFUL, my sweet friend - - I LOVE your "way with words" and how you can get a point across and have us chuckling at the same time! :) This goes to the front of my Keeper File - - so much food for thought here. For me personally, this is a great reminder to let HIM be in charge - - His ways are always best. :)
    Thank you and sending hugs from Georgia, Patti Jo

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    1. PATTI JO!!! Why do I ALWAYS get hungry when I see your name?? Could it be that peach cobbler (or anything peach) are my absolute FAVES???

      Yes, letting Him be in charge, indeed! No easy matter, but He already knows we are dust and OH, SO weak, which is good, I suppose, since in our weakness,He is strong!!

      Love you, my friend!
      Julie

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  50. This is great, Julie! I'm one who wants to be in control. I'm struggling to be like calm water....quietly flowing around the obstacles in my way... but more often I'm crashing against the rocks which are blocking me. Love your thought to give the KEYS to God. I'll continue to work on that. Thanks for the driving lesson...or the who's driving lesson!

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    1. Oh, SHERIDA, that's good, my friend --"I'm struggling to be like calm water....quietly flowing around the obstacles in my way... but more often I'm crashing against the rocks which are blocking me." LOVE IT!!

      LOL, you're welcome, my friend. And definitely a "who's driving lesson," because if you ever saw me drive, you sure wouldn't want to take lessons from me! ;)

      HUGS!!
      Julie

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  51. I know how you feel with giving God control. Somehow, the wheel always seems to end back in my hands! How does that happen? Then God clears His throat and, I think, oh, do You want Your spot back?... Are you sure?...

    Anyway, my paraphrase would be, "God made me for a purpose. But He also made me OCTSHtD (obsessive compulsive thinks she has the disorder) heavy on the creative juices.

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    1. LOL, BOO, you are TOO cute, my friend!

      LOVE: "Somehow, the wheel always seems to end back in my hands! How does that happen? Then God clears His throat and, I think, oh, do You want Your spot back?... Are you sure?..."

      2nd LOL ... OCTSHtD ... and I thought I was bad as a WCDQ (wired caffeinated drama queen!!). You got me beat, girlfriend. ;)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  52. Also, I love how you put it Sherida- who's driving lesson?

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  53. Fantastic post, JULIE! Thank you for reminding me that He truly is in control.

    Please enter me in the drawing.

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    1. Hey, CARYL, you're in the draw, darlin', so GOOD LUCK!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  54. Popping in late to say ... Wow, wow, and wow! what a fantastic post! "And when I encourage others, help them step toward their dreams, I feel His pleasure.” Thanks, Julie. :)

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    1. WOW, JESSICA, I LOVE that ... or as Woody Allen said in Annie Hall when "love" wasn't quite enough, I LURVE it!!

      Encouraging others offers SO much pleasure all the way around, doesn't it? God, the person we encourage, and us!

      Hugs and GOOD LUCK!
      Julie

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  55. Julie, I'm sorry I missed today. What a touching post. I remember those 8 months and am so glad you came back renewed.

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    1. Are you kidding, MISSY, with all you have on your plate, girlfriend??? I'm just thrilled you made it at all, so THANK YOU!!

      You are on my permanent prayer list, my friend, so God bless you for all the help you are giving your parents.

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  56. Aww, Julie - even though I've heard/read the story of your hidden rejection letters numerous times, I always enjoy the laugh I receive from my mental pictures when reading it again.

    I so love the stand you always take for God and His role in the writing of your books - the reason I love them so much. He really is the answer to all our problems, big or small.

    I do find joy and peace in my life because I know I'm following His plan for this stage of my life. Even through the trials, I know He has charge of my "keys" (life)and find comfort in the words of Romans 8:28: "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them", and trust Him to do so.

    Thanks for the testimony and insight of your wonderful, enjoyable, post - and the reminder of the true source of our joy, the one answer to all life's trials and situations.

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    1. Oh, BONNIE, I always smile when I see your sweet name, my friend, because you have become so very dear to me!

      You said: " do find joy and peace in my life because I know I'm following His plan for this stage of my life. Even through the trials, I know He has charge of my "keys" (life)and find comfort in the words of Romans 8:28: "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them", and trust Him to do so."

      AMEN, my friend, and I know I have told you before, but it always bears repeating -- I admire you and your beautiful attitude more than I can ever say. You are an inspiration to me, Bonnie, ALWAYS!!

      Love you!
      Julie

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  57. working overtime at work and forgot to comment on this great post yesterday. very encouraging and a reminder to seek out how God wired us and to do that thing He wired us to do. If I played with the Eric Liddell quote, it would be: I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also gave me artistic talent. And when I draw, I feel His pleasure.
    This also includes writing, so I have a mix of draw and write and a love of children, which probably means writing and illustrating children's books, except there's no burning desire there right now. perhaps it's not my time yet. I don't know...

    thanks Julie, for this post. it's timely and wonderful.

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    1. Oh, DEB, that is soooooo exciting that you possess both drawing and writing abilities because writing children's stories DOES seem a given when you combine it with your love for children.

      But it's true -- God's timing is perfect and, unfortunately, not always in line with our own. I fell in love with writing at the age of 12, but it wasn't until my 50s that God brought my heart's desire write a novel to fruition with a 3-book contract.

      In my 20s, 30s, & 40s, I was a travel writer, so I did utilize my skills, but not for my own personal writing until He said the time was right. And when it was? All the passion I needed to get it done was suddenly there!! :)

      Not saying you have to wait till your 50s, mind you, just until He infuses you with that burning passion to do the next thing He wants you to do!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  58. Julie,
    Thanks for sharing your personal love letter to God. Reading your post about your walk with Him during your writing journey speaks to my heart. What a great testament of overcoming our will and trusting God and moving forward.

    And, so courageous, too!

    I'd have to give it some thought, or fervent prayer for faith to say what my personal paraphrase would be, but I'm considering it...

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    1. Aw, LAURA B, thank you for your sweet comment, and for taking the time to read my very lengthy post! I am glad it speaks to your heart because He sure spoke to mine, which is really what being a Christian writer is all about -- listening to Him, and sharing His wisdom with others.

      HUGS!!
      Julie

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  59. Wow, this post was so full of hammers...each one pounded a nail. After all, if I write for MY pleasure instead of God's purpose...what IS that purpose? I need to keep focused and keep in prayer and...yes...let go, too. wow. Thanks so much for this. I am truly a control fanatic...part of my anxiety issues. Whew! Another 750 words yesterday for Speedbo. Whatever would I do without your inspiration, Seekers?
    Blessings to you all!

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    1. REBECCA, LOVE your phraseology here:

      "Wow, this post was so full of hammers...each one pounded a nail."

      LOL ... I'm glad, my friend, because I spent WAY too much time in writer's hell, beating myself up and striving for my dreams instead of God's purpose. So If I can shed a little light on the twisted path I took, maybe -- just maybe -- I can spare you the same frustration and pain.

      750 words is AWESOME, and boy, oh boy, do they add up, day by day!

      Hugs and happy writing!
      Julie

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  60. I am so incredibly far behind on reading the posts for Speedbo and commenting as well as my own writing.

    I suppose if I were truly giving this whole writing thing completely to Him the words might flow a little easier. My main problem is I have too many irons in too many fires and I can't seem to get myself to give one or two up to make it easier. I am a teacher, aunt, friend, writer, photographer, and the list goes on. How do I juggle it all?

    And I have no idea how to paraphrase myself...

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    1. Emily, I have no idea if you will ever come back to see my response, but I hear you, my friend.

      How do you juggle it all? Put God first, which means He wants you to put Him and your family first. As long as God is a priority and your family is covered, then tackle the next things that the Holy Spirit tells you to.

      Hugs!!
      Julie

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