For a few very hard years this word was my mantra.
The word means
-undismayed; not discouraged; not forced to abandon purpose or effort
-undiminished in courage or valor; not giving way to fear
But the truth is, I was often dismayed by everything that had taken place, and I did battle discouragement. I battled fear and doubts. I hurt and was angry, and sometimes "undaunted" sounded more like a mockery than a mantra, and I was determined to be real about all of it in these posts, thus the name, Undaunted Reality. More than that, though, I was determined to live undaunted, not because I'm so great or strong, but because my God is, and no matter what this world looks like, He is the only reality that matters.
I pray I live the reality of Him beautifully undaunted.

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Real Question

I am not drowning in feeling overwhelmed. Choking and coughing some, but not drowning.

ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference is coming soon. I'm excited. I am looking forward to learning my craft, getting through some rough patches, and becoming a better fiction writer. The folks on the first timers loop are wonderful. The leaders have incredible hearts of encouragement and support. My heart is in good hands.

However, last week I ran into a wall, and I feel like I haven't been able to really function since. It's like a pile of wet blankets fell on my creative side, and suddenly I couldn't breathe.

All the talk about one-sheets, synopsis, 45-page proposals, pitches, websites, social media, comps, and more hit me like a train, and mentally, I just sat down and shut down. That's pretty much where I've been for the last week. Trying to find my way out of the avalanche, and really not caring if I find my way out or not.

The voice in my head honestly kept muttering, "I don't want to do this. I just don't want this."

Except, that is only partially true. What I don't want is to define myself by the publication of a book. I don't want to define my success by the number of people who like my Facebook page or the number of books I sell. I know writers who do that. They say they writer for God, but really, when the numbers aren't what they think they should be, they go into an identity crisis. I don't want to be one of those writers.

I also don't want to spend so much of my time marketing to people that I don't actually know and minister to people. I look at all the papers I'm supposed to take to the conference, and I feel like I just need to lock myself in my room and work on nothing else. The maybe I'll be finished in time. But while I'm doing all the "need to", my kids are growing up, finding their way into adulthood, launching out of the house, friends are dealing with parents' aging...and dying, and people I know are battling hopelessness and discouragement. And I'm wondering if this writing gig is really part of my really living gig or not. I wonder if I am so busy trying to be a successful writer that I'm missing being a successful mom, friend, and pastor.

Understand, I'm not in any way criticizing what is wanted by the agents, mentors, or editors. I think their requirements are reasonable.

I just can't figure out how to take care of my kids, get them where they need to go, check on the people who trust me with their hearts, get my tire on my truck checked, get to the unexpected dental and medical appointments, clean the house for Bible study, write a blog, research books, prepare for a conference, "be a presence on Facebook", be a pastor, and....sleep.

I'm not telling you this because I expect anyone to have answers. I don't want advice. Believe me, I'm the queen of packing-36-hours-into-24-hours-and-staying-sane. If it is a time management issue, there is no issue. I'm telling you this because most people have the answer of managing time better, hiring a maid, or finding a new way to keep all the plates in the air. I have been looking, and I don't find that in the Bible.

I read, "Be still and know that I am God."
I read, "For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: 'In returning and rest you shall be saved;
In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.'"
I read about Jesus being still and communing with the Father, hearing Him, listening to His heart.

It is easy to become so sure of what I am called to do that I forget to be intimate with the One who called me.

It is also easy to become so fixated on doing a big thing, like selling a million books, that I forget the immense impact of the seemingly little things, like listen to someone tell me about their hard day or praying with someone who just received heartbreaking news. I can become so fixated on becoming a writer that I forget the importance of really living Jesus.

My intention is not to bash writing or writers. I love to read, and someone has to write those books. I am merely pondering MY writing.

Human logic tells me that as much as I have invested into this conference that I should do everything possible to sell my book. Plus, I'm in my mid-40s, and the time clock is ticking I believe God is time? Do I believe His plan is perfect in its timing? Do I believe if I sell this book or any book at 50 He can use it any less? Do I believe that it's okay to say I'm just going to learn this year? Do I believe my purpose at this conference may not have anything to do with writing at all? Do I believe God is bigger than that box?

And if I do, do I have the courage to live the bigness of Him...even when it looks very small?

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