I wasn’t which category to put this post in: “Life” or “My 15 Minutes.” True, it’s linked to my quiet time but it’s equally linked to my prayer journal and life where the first post, Unmasked, in this duo trio started. So I guess it’s both.
Like Unmasked, this post is unfiltered, raw, and vulnerable. I’m about to share what God and I talked about while writing my journal during my quiet time. Some of it I already knew, but the majority of it is what He reveled to me over the last few weeks.
Lord Jesus, that’s how I feel right now, in the midst of this depression—Formless. Empty. Dark. Hopeless. It’s also how my dreams feel.
Yet, God’s Spirit is here, like and Eagle keeping watch over the nest. I know He is. I can feel Him. Protectively hovering. Present. Active.
He’s acutely aware. Preceptive. Discerning. Missing nothing.
But He’s so far away; just beyond my reach.
Regardless, like the eagle, He sees everything. Even into the depth of my own personal darkness. He sees my shortcomings. Where I’ve erred. The times I’ve dropped the ball and wasn’t faithful. My thoughts. My sins. He sees it all. Nothing escapes Him.
And, yet, He’s remained faithful. Vigilant. Protective. Active. Involved.
When I can’t see or feel Him—He ensures my security. When things fall apart (Or I do)—He holds the pieces in His hands. When everything is silent and so is He—He guarantees my safety. When I’ve ignored Him and pushed Him away—He remains close, a whisper away. He is faithful.
Lord, forgive my stupidity, selfishness, and pride. Forgive me for NOT praying and engaging in Your Word. For allowing myself to get distracted and push it aside. To letting it slip from being a priority to another thing on my To-Do list. To even going so far as to look for excuses to NOT to do it. What an entitled wretch I am.
Lord, as you brought form to the universe, I pray you will do the same for me, my future, and my dreams. Show me where to go and what to do. Please reignite the fire in my soul. Clear the lies from my mind and fill it with Your Words.
Jesus, bring form to my Tribe and fill it. Do the same to my writing projects. Anoint my words—let then originate from your throne.
I’ve been numb and empty for so long. I’ve worn a mask and pretended. I’m so good at it—knowing full well it’s a lie, and it disgusts me. And inside, I’m dying. I’m so down and so broken. I’m weak with fatigue, weary from striving and fighting. I’m lonely. And feel so very alone. I hate these feelings, but I can’t deny them anymore. I have to face them. Deal with them. Conquer them. And get to being who you’ve created me to be.
So, Lord, as I look up at Your Spirit hovering, please fill me with His presence. Chase away the darkness. Help me see myself through Your eyes—and help me BELIEVE IT! Jesus, I do believe I’m valuable to you, but I struggle to see that value in myself. Give me confidence while protecting me from arrogance. And diminish my unbelief.
But, Lord, I have to ask—how did I get to this place?
1) I stopped praying daily
- My prayers were sporadic at best
- I offered up insincere uttering when paying myself
- I didn’t focus and engage with God daily
- I didn’t continually seek Him with all my heart
- I was good at praying for others but neglected to pray for myself, my writing, my ministry, and my health
- I am back to using my prayer journal and listing out the prayer requests for
- Myself (including my writing and ministry)
- My husband
- My marriage
- My boys
- My friends and extended family
- My church
- My Tribe
- My country
2) I stopped spending time in His Word regularly
- Like my prayers, my quiet time was sporadic at best and surface-y
- It was relegated to another item to cross off my To-do list
- I no longer lingered in His presence, inviting His Word to penetrate my heart
- I quit treating it as the privilege it is, and started treating it as a chore
I’m back to journaling my time in the Word. I’ve found that even if what I write becomes a blog post, it’s the best way for me to engage with God and interact with His Word. It forces me to linger with Him as His messages flow into the deepest recesses of my soul.
Make “Increase my desire for you, Lord, and give me a thrill for Your Word” a daily prayer before opening my Bible everyday.
I could stop right here and you would have no trouble seeing how glossing over these two vital daily activities would create chaos as well as cause my Spiritual muscles to atrophy. But there is more. So much more.
3) I followed others’ instruction/advice rather than seeking God’s direction
In a previous post I told you how there are many, many, many Godly voices with great advice vying for a writer’s attention. (That can be said about anything) They tell you all the things you need to do to be taken seriously as a writer. What you need to do to be published. How to best grow your tribe so publishers will give you the time of day. And with so much good information, it’s difficult to determine what’s BEST. Which pieces of advice should be absorbed and implemented and which should be ignored. (Read HELP! I’m Drowning! here now)
The problem: I implemented a lot of what I’d learned, but I neglected to seek God’s guidance in all of it. I failed to ask Him what would be best to implement now, save for later, or ignore all together.
The results were disastrous.
I felt like a failure, I was exhausted, over-committed, and unable to fulfill my calling with excellence. And it didn’t stop there, the results of my poor choices flooded into my family and other relationships as well. I was tired, stressed, feeling behind, and CRABBY! Which of course made me feel horrible about myself and more like a failure. And the cycle raged on.
- I’m actively praying for my writing ministry
- Asking God
- To show me what’s appropriate for this season and reveal what’s not
- For patience
- To trust His timing
- I purchased to large wall calendar to create a content calendar.
- To get better organized with posts in hopes of producing more quality and valuable content with a better sequence
- To better schedule my time with
- Blog posts
- Other writing projects
- Get back to Follow Friday Posts. I miss doing those
4) I allowed unsubscribers to my website determine my value (as an individual and a writer) and the quality of my writing rather than trusting God to grow my Tribe and provide the words to write.
(This is further described in HELP! I’m Drowning)
How stupid can I get?! As much as I love my Tribe, their numbers aren’t the rubric that determines my worth and value. But I still allowed that to be my truth. I know my writer friends may be able to understand this, but seriously—this is skewed thinking!
A quick update: God has gathered several more since then to be part of my Tribe since then as well as has grown the number of WordPress followers of my website. He is so faithful! (For those of you unfamiliar, WP followers get my new posts sent to them via email, but they don’t receive my newsletter so they’re not counted as part of my Tribe as far as a publisher is concerned—they have to subscribe to do that.)
Friend, I lost sight of Who I write for! My primary audience is God. Period. My secondary audience is people. Somewhere along the way, I got that order reversed.
I also lost sight of my “WHY,” which is:
- To help Christians discover and apply the Vibrant Relevance of God’s Word in their daily lives so that together we can impact the world for Christ.
- I posted my “WHY” by my desk
- I’m continually asking God to build my Tribe and leaving the rest to Him
- Get back to writing newsletters
- Praying more diligently and fervently for my current Tribe
5) I listened to Satan’s lies—and BELIEVED them!
Of all the idiotic things for me to do! But I did.
I knew they were lies the moment they were whispered into my mind. You know how you just know? I knew.
But little by little, I stated to listen to those lies. I started to think about them and believe them, until they became my truth.
- Those lies ravaged my confidence and fed my doubt—in myself, my writing, and my calling; my ability to be a good mom, wife, and friend.
- I started to believe I was doing more damage than good for the Kingdom
- I felt useless
- Eventually my writing reflected what was inside—crap!
No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t produce anything of quality. And there was no way I was going to to post anything so bad just to add content to my blog.
I learned the hard way: It’s impossible to produce anything of quality when you feel so low.
- I started to remember and proclaim out loud Whose I am and Who I am.
- I started looking up verses in connection to my identity in Christ
- I started calling out Satan’s lies for what they are and use those verses to refute them and fill me with their Truth
See you next time for mistakes 6-10
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