The Writer’s STEP

As some of you know, I have asthma. As does one of my very best friends. And you know what these two…ahem…”seasoned” asthmatics love to do? Hike! Yup. We plod along, coughing and wheezing and laughing (or, to be more accurate, gasping) about how they’ll find our poor deceased selves on the path, but that’s okay, because at least we went out doing what we love. I realize that people who don’t know us or don’t deal with asthma might think we’re being irreverent. Maybe even just a bit careless with our lives. After all, we have ASTHMA! What are we doing out there, hiking in the wilderness, taking such absurd risks?

But here’s the thing. It’s one thing to have physical limitations. It’s another entirely to let those things limit our experience and enjoyment of life. It’s precisely because we know our lives could, in the wrong circumstances, be cut short that we are so passionate about living it to the fullest.

So why am I telling you this? Because too often I see writers giving up on their dreams or their craft because of what they consider insurmountable limitations. There are so many obstacles writers have to overcome that it almost seems absurd to keep going when (take your pick) we can’t seem to build a platform, or we don’t have focused time to write or our latest book (or two…or five…) had dismal sales to not feeling like we know enough about this aspect or that new social media outlet…and on and on the list goes. All those seeming limitations out there can wear us down until we can’t dredge up the confidence to keep going. Keep trying. And so we admit defeat and walk away.

May I make a suggestion, from one limited person to another? The next time you feel this way–the next time you find your focus getting bogged down in the obstacles and limitations—STEP.

S–Seek God. Get your focus and mind and spirit off of the externals and turn it all to God. To His character. To His love for you. To the things He has promised you: strength, peace, perseverance, and so much more. Remember, He gave you the task to write. And only He can release you from it.

T—Trust the Gift. No, I don’t mean the ability to write. I mean the gift of God inviting you to create with Him. Think about it! The Creator of the universe, the Creator of life itself, has invited you to partner with Him in using words to teach and inspire and uplift. Would He have asked you to do that if He didn’t plan to guide and equip and enable you? Of course not.

E—Embrace the Journey. Remember, as author and speaker Allen Arnold likes to say, when you reach your destination, your story is over. I’ve said it for a lot of years: Don’t get so focused on the destination that you miss what God has for you in the journey. It’s not about getting things done, it’s about running the race with grace and obedience and peace.

P—Persevere. (You know that was going to be the P word, now didn’t you?) Don’t give up. Sure, if you need to, take a break. Step away from writing and seek God’s wisdom and guidance. But then, get back in there. Continue to work and refine and reach out to touch others through the words He gives you. Believe me, you—and your readers—will be glad you stayed God’s course for you.

 

 

23 Responses to The Writer’s STEP

  1. Linda November 30, 2016 at 4:44 am #

    Karen, I just love how you lift me up with Godly wisdom. Keep climbing and pray with me to find those words God wants me to write for Him. Blessings to you.

    • Sharon November 30, 2016 at 3:29 pm #

      Thank you so much. Blessings.

  2. Lami Abayilo November 30, 2016 at 5:26 am #

    Dear Karen, God will turn round to bless you so much for touching my heart. These words changed everything.

  3. Joan Campbell November 30, 2016 at 5:53 am #

    Loved (and really needed) this, thank you Karen.

  4. Janet Ann Collins November 30, 2016 at 7:46 am #

    Very inspiring, especially to a fellow asthmatic.

  5. Jaime November 30, 2016 at 8:27 am #

    Every time I read one of your posts I can’t help thinking that if I lived near you, you’d be one of my favorite people!
    Besides your sense of humor, I love your deep faith and ability to teach those concepts of faith in such a tangible way! I am ALWAYS encouraged by what you write.
    I agree, this journey is like opening a new gift from God every day! He seems to have wonderful surprises around every corner, if I take the time to enjoy where I’m at and stop wishing I was ‘there’ already!

  6. Beverly Brooks November 30, 2016 at 8:32 am #

    What an encouraging word for us! Thank you!!!

  7. Norma Brumbaugh November 30, 2016 at 9:08 am #

    I appreciate this. Your words are encouraging.

  8. Bobbie November 30, 2016 at 9:26 am #

    Karen, Thank you so much! First, for persevering and being an example to all of us. Second, for pointing us to God for our strength.
    God bless you.

  9. Richard Mabry November 30, 2016 at 9:28 am #

    Karen, don’t know if you get the blame or the credit, but thanks for all you’ve taught me. The very best sentence in your post? “Don’t get so focused on the destination that you miss what God has for you in the journey.” I have to relearn that on a regular basis. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Ginger Solomon November 30, 2016 at 9:52 am #

    Thanks.

  11. Stephen Schwambach November 30, 2016 at 10:12 am #

    Every writer can identify a glaring handicap that makes continuing to write an exercise in futility. But you two asthmatics are showing us the way: “I’m going to keep doing what I love even if it kills me!”

    Perhaps the LORD reserves His most stunning victories for those so convinced of the gift He’s given them that they put it all on the line.

  12. Cleo Lampos November 30, 2016 at 12:27 pm #

    You have encouraged this writer. The journey has been long, but I need to enjoy every STEP.

  13. Peggy Booher November 30, 2016 at 12:53 pm #

    Karen,
    Thanks so much for your encouragement, especially for your words, “It’s not about getting things done, it’s about running the race with grace and obedience and peace.” I’m finding out the truth of those words right now. I quit my “day job” after 9 and 1/2 years. I had physical/emotional stress; given the circumstances, I couldn’t think of how to measurably and permanently improve things without causing hurt feelings, more tension, etc. , so after working out my notice I left. I believe the Lord said He’d be with me wherever I went. I’m realizing that in the Lord’s eyes, the way I do things counts, not how much I do. I have peace about the way I left.
    Since I deliberately put myself “on the shelf”, running the race for this season means patience and faith while I figure out what the Lord wants me to do next, instead of letting anxiety goad me into taking the first job I find. Productive? No, not the way we usually think of it, but I am doing exactly what God wants me to do now.

  14. Rebekah Love Dorris November 30, 2016 at 12:55 pm #

    Thank you for encouraging us to seek God. I needed this. God bless!

  15. Mary Kay Moody November 30, 2016 at 1:18 pm #

    Thank you, Karen, for your timely and visual nudge. I love the reminder that God has invited us to create with Him. Just that perspective changes the journey from one racing to reach the destination to one we can and should enjoy each step on the path.

    I often feel that NOT having reached the goal is failure. Thanks for the reminder that the journey is the thing, and each step is a gift and opportunity.

  16. Melissa Henderson November 30, 2016 at 1:27 pm #

    Thank you. I needed this today. 🙂

  17. mary hagen November 30, 2016 at 2:31 pm #

    Thank you, Karen. I’m an asthmatic, too, and I love to hike, ski, and cross-country ski as slow as I am as I huff and puff and wheeze.

  18. Michael Emmanuel November 30, 2016 at 3:07 pm #

    Thank you, Mrs Ball for your lifting words. Praying the Giver of all good gifts would always fill you with peace, strength, and create more time for you to write.
    And to think you edited those life-changing books that introduced me to Christian fiction…

  19. Carol Ashby November 30, 2016 at 3:37 pm #

    This is a great summary, Karen!

    I’d like to add a thought to the Perseverance part. When my kids would complain that some task was just too overwhelming, I always asked them, “How do you eat an elephant?”

    It wasn’t long before they’d repeat in unison with me, “One bite at a time.” I ignored the rolling eyes because it still got them started again.

    A person hasn’t failed until they give up and quit.

  20. Sheri Dean Parmelee November 30, 2016 at 3:53 pm #

    Awesome words and thoughts, Karen. Thanks for sharing!

  21. Brennan McPherson December 1, 2016 at 10:38 am #

    I don’t know if maybe I’m just paying more attention to your posts now (don’t know why that would have changed), but there’s a fire in every post you’ve made more recently. Thank you so much for sharing your heart so openly. I think the comments above prove that you’ve been offering a whole lot of warmth and light to a whole lot of people.

  22. JPC Allen December 2, 2016 at 1:03 pm #

    Being a shy person, I find it very difficult to do social media. But I am getting more comfortable with it the longer I use it. Thank you for your words of encouragement.

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