Friday, June 16, 2006

Decisions

Where to start …

Monday begins another blog tour, this time highlighting Donita K. Paul, author of DragonSpell and its sequels DragonQuest and the most recent DragonKnight, released this month. Begin, as before, at Rebecca Miller’s blog (see link on sidebar). I’ll offer a review of the first and second books; Rebecca offers a 2-part interview with Donita and (I believe) a review of her third book.

I may also finally revisit some of the themes I started during the last blog tour. All week I’ve intended to do so, but have been snowed under by the canning, etc.—an additional 17 pints of sweet pickle relish, 4 quarts of squash, 5 of green beans, 6 of zucchini, 10 quart freezer bags of shredded zucchini, and 2 more gallon bags of blackberries … plus another large cobbler devoured over two days. Yesterday offered a lull, which I was grateful for since we picked green beans again tonight and I have another raft to can tomorrow after Bible study …

I’ve also been trying to maintain my equilibrium where my writing is concerned … and not doing so well. Along the way, the Lord has been speaking to me about how our value is His eyes is not tied up in our performance (here and here), and Karen Hancock described how decision-making is … tiring. That was especially comforting—to know that I’m not the only one who finds it very stressful to continually have to make decisions. I think that’s why I have such a hard time decluttering my house, not so much the sorting and putting away of the stuff that piles up in the course of everyday life in a dwelling with ten people, but in deciding what to keep and what to pitch, and the added stress of knowing I’ll face my husband’s displeasure if I get rid of too much, and wind up having to pay money to reacquire something that we already had at one point.

So. I started the summer hoping to spend time deep cleaning and decluttering … that was blown away by my husband’s decision that we should continue homeschooling through the summer. (Not a bad decision, just one that caused much adjusted thinking.) Then just as I’m preparing to dig in and do school, we receive the news that my husband is being sent out of town, and that we’ll be coordinating a long-overdue visit to extended family with his work time—thus neatly bisecting the summer and in turn disrupting any sort of school routine.

God is always allowing us to be kept off-balance, isn’t He? Because, if we could control this thing we call life, how would we ever need Him?

Last night I intended to catch up on the Beth Moore Bible study I’ve been doing with the ladies from church, but God had other plans for me then, too. It was one of those times that's almost too intimate to write about … I was weeping almost the moment I sat down and opened my Bible, and I just couldn’t face the chapter I was supposed to study (the temptation of Joseph by Potiphar’s wife). All the anxiety and grief and tension over my writing, and the four rejections I’ve scored in less than two weeks from various agents, finally came tumbling out at once, and all I could do is cry and pray, “Speak to me, Lord … speak gently to my heart.”

Overdramatic perhaps … but it’s depressing when someone who has been published by the CBA in SF/F, and respectably so, to the best of my knowledge, tells me that if she were marketing a book right now, she’d probably take it to the ABA rather than CBA. I’m more than willing to make that move if the Lord leads, but … part of me is afraid. Afraid I’m not good enough as a writer, though part of me knows better. Afraid of being perceived as many Christians are, too preachy, too pushy, too evangelical. I want to be a light, but at the same time I don’t want to club anyone over the head with truth.

So, I sat there spilling all the stress as tears, and turned to Psalms. I don’t remember which one, but I started reading … the psalm was about praising God with our whole heart, and as I read, I wept and did that—and thought about how glad I am that despite everything—the uncertainties and all I have to get done and the pressure to hold it all together (because even though my worth is not measured by what I accomplish, I’m still required to accomplish a lot right now)—that I know God is, He’s with me and for me, and His very name stands as a strong tower to which I may continually run and be safe—Baruch HaShem Adonai, HaShem Yeshua Mashiach! And then near the end of the psalm was a verse I had just quoted to someone else earlier that day, a writing friend grieving the death of her sister on Easter—that God is near to those who have a broken heart and a crushed spirit.

How cool is that? I flip open the Bible at random and come right to that verse—and He tipped the cup of His word and offered me the very sip I’d given another just hours before.

And my fevered soul was soothed.

Of course, there was still the getting up and facing another day—more stress about getting everything done that I need to this next week, more doubts about my writing. I woke up this morning from a very disturbing dream—warfare of its own, I realize—and the frustration came to another head this afternoon. I tried to take just an hour to write (after writing those two pages last week, the craving for story has become almost unbearable), but it wasn’t happening. Not enough sleep last night, and my husband wanting to talk to me (a good thing!), and having to put the little one down for her afternoon nap, all conspired against it, and finally I gave up and took a nap. (Which still didn’t even take the edge off of the fatigue.)

But—I’ve come to a decision. I’m letting go for now. Despite the fact that I’ve got characters from both ends of my timeline clamoring to get out and on paper, I have to lay it down for now. I know the Lord well enough to trust that when the time really is right, He’ll tell me to pick it up again. That might be tomorrow, or a week from now, or a month—or longer—but that time will come.

I have plenty of writing-related things to do in the meantime—the critiques I’ve committed to, this blog, the new monthly article I’ve started for our local homeschooling newsletter.

And oddly, the one thing I haven’t been stressing over is my mothering. Tonight I rewarded my three oldest for their hard work with a movie not-for-the-little-kids while we stayed up and snapped the bushel or so of green beans they picked tonight. It was really neat to spend that time with them, and to discuss the story afterwards. If nothing else, I’ve seen the bond between all of us strengthening over the past weeks, and that’s the most important thing I could be accomplishing.

It feels marvelous to be at peace.

4 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting this, and for being so honest. It speaks to me in a day of too many decisions.

    I'm amazed by all you can do - obviously there is a supernatural source to your strength.

    As for CBA vs. ABA, know you're not alone in asking that question and the questions that spring from it (i.e. being "good enough").

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  2. Girl, you could be writing about me in some of that post. I stand in the midst of my own clutter (one of monumental proportions) and I tell my husband, 'I just don't know where to start or how to decide what goes and what stays!"

    It's paralyzing.

    And this week, I haven't written a word. I keep having those self-doubts again (I'm plagued from time to time).

    That whole ABA/CBA thing. I've been stressing about it, too. I am definitely too preachy for the ABA...no question. And I prayed before I started writing Christian fantasy, because I couldn't decide. ABA/CBA. ABA/CBA. And I kept leaning CBA. And yet, so many depressing announcements from within CBA.

    I'm with you. I just wake up and start saying Baruch Hashem, Praise be His Name...and do that until I feel centered and able to not scream at my own feelings of worry, inadequacy and indecisiveness.

    I hope your time of not-writing is short. It's good for the brain if nothing else. :)

    I think of it as part of my worship time. I worship writing.

    Mir

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  3. God's timing is beautifully perfect, and how wonderful that he never forgets.

    I am so there with you on so many of your salient points, Shannon!

    Keep on keepin' on! :-D

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  4. WOW, that is so awesome. I can totally relate. God told me to let it go and put it down, too, and I was so incredibly blessed by Him because of it. I know He'll bless you abundantly, too!
    Camy

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