pray, write, study, relate…

In this current season of my life, I’m paying close attention to what God is directing me to do, where to focus my attention, and how to spend my time.

This isn’t new. Even in the years when I tried to blend-and-merge my Christianity with other paths, I continually prayed for guidance and discernment, and I did my best to do what I was guided to do. (Now… as to how that played out regarding getting involved in those other paths, specifically New Age and metaphysical practices – I have some ideas and understanding (although I might never know for sure, at least not completely) and maybe I’ll talk more about all of that at some point.)

First off – before going into sub-category areas, I should say that the focus of my entire life falls under the umbrella of growing my walk with Jesus… and that impacts everything and it comes first above all.

And another goes-without-saying focus for me is my physical, mental, and emotional health. There’s some chronic stuff that has affected my day-to-day life in many ways, and so there’s that.

But breaking things down more, this year I’ve been clearly shown that, for now, I’m meant to focus my time and energy and attention on four areas…

Pray.

At some point back in the early-mid 90s, I took to heart the verse to pray without ceasing. Not in the sense that I pray without stopping all day every day, but in the sense that I have an ongoing conversation with Jesus all throughout the day each day.

(And yes, this continued even in my years of trying to have a foot in both worlds, the world of following Jesus and the world of the metaphysical/New Age.)

Somewhere around 1998 or 1999, I realized I’m what is sometimes called a prayer warrior.

I am called to pray.

Even when I can’t do much of anything else – whether it’s because I’m not skilled or trained or talented for other things, whether it’s because I’m not called to other things, whether it’s because I don’t have the physical strength to do other things, whether it’s because I have times when I’m mostly at home due to my health challenges…

Even when I can’t do other things, I can pray.

And even when I do get out and about, and involved in other things, and do other things… still, I feel called to pray.

So that’s what I do.

Sometimes I wonder why I’m not being guided to do something more “active” – but whenever I have that thought or question, God reminds me that prayer is taking action… and He reminds me it’s one of the main things He’s calling me to.

My job is to obey. And so I pray.

Write.

From the time I was old enough to form letters, I wrote stories.

I’ve long felt it was one of the reasons I was put on this earth. Regardless of what others think – and trusting that whoever is meant to read what I write will read it – I always return to writing fiction, even after taking time away from it.

The Holy Spirit continues to whisper to me: write.

This blog is one part of following that guidance. Fiction, for me, is the main part.

Study.

Until last summer, I’d been away from studying the Bible for several years.

During my venture along other spiritual paths, I still prayed, I still had a relationship to God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit… but I stopped reading and studying the Word.

And that was a mistake.

That mistake (along with several other factors) contributed to my heading deeper into deception, and facilitated my ability to feel okay about being lukewarm and straddling the spiritual fence.

But God! But God used my mistake (mistakes, really) and my time in that deception to end up actually opening my eyes and my spiritual understanding to the Bible in a whole new way.

I’m now seeing God’s Word more clearly than ever before in my life, even though I’d spent my life as a Christian. I have an understanding of how it all relates, Genesis to Revelation, like I never have before.

Last summer I became hungry to read and study the Word again, and that hunger has only increased as these many months have passed. I read from a variety of translations, I use a variety of tools and helps in my studying and my research, and I’m doing Bible studies again.

This is something else I’ve clearly been told I’m to continue with as one of my main focuses in this season.

Relate.

And then there’s relate. Relationships.

My spiritual relationship (as I talked about above).

My relationship with my husband (which is sweeter than ever, after almost three decades together).

My relationship with friends … Friends I can talk to, where there’s give and take, both of us being there for each other, supporting each other, having a mutual relationship. And talking in real-time, whether it’s on the phone or meeting in person (because I got too deeply into a mostly-virtual world, and I’m craving real-time, voice-to-voice or face-to-face interaction and relationship). I can’t always get out and about to get together in person, but I’m doing more of that this year than I have in a long time… and it’s been such a blessing. Much of my family is lost to me now, due to deaths or brokenness, and my friends help me more than they probably know.

So… tending to relationships is another area I’m being guided to continue to focus on with my time and energy and attention.

I pray for discernment every day.

I ask to be the person God wants me to be, and to spend the time I’m given doing what He wants me to do. I pray for discernment to know the answers and to have the guidance to do those things.

There are many voices out there telling us to do this thing or that one.

There are only so many hours in a day.

There’s only so much focus and attention we have available.

So I ask to know where I’m meant to focus, what I’m being asked to do.

For me, for now, the answer is: pray, write, study, relate.

 

love to write – a printable…

Here’s another printable – this one is for anyone who loves to write. ♥

As with the other printable (you can find that one here), there’s no charge, nothing to sign up for, no need to give your email address… simply download whatever file(s) you wish.

The files include one pdf file (you can set the size when you print), as well as jpg files for sizes 4×6, 5×7, and 8×10. These are high quality, 300dpi, suitable for printing to frame, or put on a bulletin board, or put somewhere as an inspirational piece or a declaration: Love to write

The links are below – get all the files or just one, whatever works best for you.

Get the pdf file here.

The 4×6 jpg file is here.

The 5×7 jpg file is here.

The 8×10 jpg file is here.

(More printables will be coming!)

writing time…

I took the above photo of myself and uploaded it on instagram several months ago.

One thing I love to do is spread my notes and research around me as I work out some writing ideas and issues (I usually do the writing itself at the keyboard), and that’s what I was doing the evening I took the picture.

Here’s what I wrote when I shared the photo:

Tonight. In my workroom, modern jazz playing, manuscript notes for the novel spread out around me (in a comfy spot, not at the desk): a big sketchpad, 3-ring binder, spiral notebook, index cards, loose pages and pieces of scratch papers… all of it in addition to the digital files and the actual writing that’s on the computer. (And a purple pen with me, of course.) Notes and research are scattered among these places but it’s surprisingly much more organized than it might seem.

I’m a combo of pantser and loose outliner when it comes to long fiction but I’m pulling all these notes together into more of a “real” outline and I’ll see how that goes. It’s something I try now and then – but always before, I’ve ended up going back to my loose-ish way of bringing the story to life. Which I might do this time too, but I’m experimenting again.

Earlier today I was stuffed up and headachy with allergy/sinus stuff and not feeling well. Right now I feel so much better and sooo alive with joy-plus-calm as the music plays in the background and I work on the writing. Nights spent like this used to be my norm. I’m living in that world again – and I love that I am.

#creativelife #amwriting #indieauthor#thisismytonight #writersofinstagram #writersgonnawrite #creativityjoy#writeratwork

Although my writing times happen at various hours, writing after dark – lamplight filling the room and smooth jazz playing in the background – has been a way and a time I’ve loved to write for almost 30 years.

The music – which usually has no words – helps me get into the flow and  stirs my creative juices.

The night-time writing took advantage of a time of day when my energy was good.

As a night owl, I remember telling people that I often didn’t feel I was fully awake or completely alive until early evening. I said this to friends even back in high school. I was a night owl from my earliest memories.

But…

My energy patterns and sleeping habits have been shifting the past several months. To my surprise, I find I’m enjoying getting to sleep earlier at night and waking up earlier in the mornings.

And this means quieting my mind in the evenings earlier than I used to do.

If my mind and imagination are working on writing, if my brain is stimulated and focused on writing, if I’m feeling the alert aliveness I get while writing in flow, if my mind is streaming ideas and dialogue and plot lines while my fingers type it all out… it’s hard for me to shut off my mind enough to fall asleep soon after.

I need to start settling into comfy, cozy, ready-for-sleep mode earlier. And, unfortunately, working on my writing does the opposite of getting me into that zone.

I still write at night sometimes. I don’t want to give up that time completely when it comes to writing. It feels too good, too content, too joyful, too alive, to never write during the evening hours.

But these past months, my writing time has mostly shifted to mornings or afternoons, depending on my schedule for the day.

The joy, struggle, staring at the blank screen, or words flowing on the keyboard – all of those still happen, just as they always have, no matter what time I write.

And the main thing, regardless of what time, continues to be: I am writing.