When Your Doubts are Greater Than Your Faith II

When Your Doubts are Greater Than Your Faith II

Last week we focused on several ways we can combat the enemies to our faith. We all experience doubts sometime, but God has provided us with the answers we need so that we always come out on the winning side. Be blessed!

 

Know the Will of God Regarding Your Situation

So you’re not sure whether God wants you healed. Maybe this is the way you’re supposed to…go? Or maybe He is punishing you for something you did?(remember in college when…) Or maybe God has favorites (avid church goers or those that give tons of money to various causes). Yeah? Really? Find the Word to back that up. His Word is his will and it never changes. (By the way, you won’t find anything in His Word about wanting to keep us sick or to punish us. Trust me sin is its own punishment). Find the word and believe it. Take it to heart. It may seem ineffective at first–like empty words on a page. Go back to it again and again. Now read it again.  Meditate on it. I can remember reading passages as tears dripped on to the pages. I was broken and hoping that this Word would free me. And I read it again until His truth begin to stir within and bring life to those dry places. The fears and doubts begin to dissolved. It didn’t happen over night or even over the course of a week (Although it may happen quickly for you). But when we have strongholds on our thinking, or in other words we’ve been thinking wrong for so long, we have to make a determined and deliberate effort to change our way of thinking. Our thinking must become parallel to God’s way of thinking, otherwise God’s provisions will be there waiting for us and we won’t have a heart to receive them because we will be blinded from the truth.

“We tear down arguments and every arrogant obstacle that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to make it obey Christ.” (II Cor. 10:5, NIV)

Watch Your Mouth!

What are you saying about that problem? Are you agreeing with the doctor and getting your affairs in order? Are you quoting God’s Word one day and then recounting how bad and hopeless this thing is the next? Like with integers the negative and the positive cancel each other out. If you can’t say anything positive then wait to say anything until you can.

What is God saying to you?

You can quote verses all day if we’d like, but if God has spoken to you specific instructions about your situation, your words will have little effect. I knew a woman whose husband was a heavy drinker. She would quote Bible verses and pray over and for him daily. But one day God simply spoke to her and told her not to say another word to him about his drinking–just show him love. But she wouldn’t stop. She would nag, threaten and use manipulative tactics to try to get him to stop. You’re killing yourself and your family. She would say. I’m only telling you to stop because I love you! She’d try to sit quietly or ignore it for a while, but she just wouldn’t let it go. Simple instructions—don’t say another word to him about his drinking. But the smell of liquor and the language and drunkenness drove her to a fit. And because she had put herself in God’s way, she limited his ability to do anything about it. Not only that, it played a part on her health and sense of well-being and she literally grew sick with worry and frustration over time.

Jesus said He only did what my father told him to do. You notice that Jesus didn’t heal the same way every time. Sometimes he simply laid his hands on the person. Other times he spoke the word or commanded the condition to leave. I was always hearing from His father. I mean, the very act of submitting to the cross represented his obedience to His father. Obedience is key. Jesus’s ear was open to that voice. Is your ear open? Are you listening and obeying?

“He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be

done.” (Matt. 26:42, NIV)

 

 

Read the Word of God

Get into the greatest book ever written. It’s really as simple as that. God often speaks to us. But he’s got this book that contains his truth, his will, his way. He wants us to read it; it is a love letter of His redemptive plan. You want something fresh and new? Read it. It’s alive and relevant to your situation. You need something of old, tried and true? Read it. It has not changed.

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Heb. 4:11, KJV)

Don’t Give Up

Whelp. I’m done. Maybe it’s God’s will for me to go this way. Momma had it and went peacefully in her sleep. Auntie had it. She didn’t put up a fight, but checked out gracefully.

Is it God’s will or are you simply giving in because you’re too tired for the fight.

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. (Gal. 6:9, NLT)

Listen, this battle, this situation is not just about you. It’s about all those that will come after you. It’s about those that are watching you and are really hoping that this Jesus thing really works because they haven’t seen the power of God played out.

Jesus came with signs and wonders because he wanted people to see and know the power of the living God. Well, now he works in and through us. We show the world that his power is still awesome to save and heal and get you through stuff that seems impossible. The world is watching us. Are we giving them something good and true to watch? Are we displaying an accurate representation of the power of God? If we’re falling out and giving up are we strong ambassadors for Christ?
Get up with sweat on your brow and tears in your eyes. Get up when everything in you is telling you to stay down. Get up and believe. Believe when everything in you doubts. Believe because someone else needs to believe.

Be committed to the craft…

Write Your Experience

Write Your Experience

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How to pace your story

No one has ever accused me of being too patient or of moving too slow on a decision. By my very nature I like short, sweet explanations and components that actually move.

My mother was the opposite. She lingered at the grocery store, took time to speak to everyone at church. She ate slowly, methodically and never allowed anyone to put her into a hurried state. As a teen I would ask permission to attend a basketball game or show and she always had to think about it. Think about it? Really? To say that we bumped heads is to put it mildly. Perhaps my biggest frustration was that she did not make my hurriedness her problem. Her pace was proper for her lifestyle and suited every decision she made. It would take me years to appreciate this virtue. And indeed it is a virtue that can be priceless when writing fiction.

When I first began to write fiction I felt compelled to get it all out there at once. I was concerned that my reader would get bored with the story if I took too long to get there. I was fearful that if they didn’t have enough story within the first few chapters they would yawn, close my book, promise to get back to it later, but would never do so.

 

Now, there was some validity to my concern. But my problem (which I now realize) was that I did not know the difference between dragging a story and creating suspense. Suspense by the very meaning of the word is to leave the reader in a state of uncertainty and our curious nature compels us to seek answers. And when it comes to fiction, the only way to get those answers is to continue reading. My problem was how to get them to continue on with the book and not give away all to goods only to be bored later. Here is what I found:

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Make the reader care about your character

 

Let’s face it—if the reader doesn’t care about the characters it won’t matter what they do. They could get hit by a bus and the reader couldn’t be less interested. But we care about things, people for one of the following reasons:

 

  • Wethink that we know them; it’s why you peek through the blinds when the cops show up at your neighbor’s house
  • We have some connection with them; friends and associates with whom we share the same interest
  • They are interesting; they may be over the top beautiful, smart or gifted. They may be completely narcissist or evil or high strung or funny.
  • They have something we wish we had

So I had to take time to develop my characters to make them compelling, interesting, keeping in mind the reasons above. I had to make the reader feel that there would be payoff if they just continued to read.

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Create foreboding

Movies create foreboding all the time—that feeling that something is about to happen. They do so with music—when all know the something-bad-is-going-to-happen chords. They do so with lighting and close-ups. In writing we do it a number of ways. And here are a few:

  • Build a semblance of peace or tranquility and because it is a story we realize it is a set-up for something to disrupt this perfect peace.
  • Write short sentences to create a sense of urgency.
  • Use questions. She knew she’d closed the door and locked it—or had she?

Honestly we love foreboding even if we don’t admit it—but that is only if the payoff is worth it. Build them up, up up and then let ‘em have it.

Keep the story moving

There is nothing more grating than reading a long, lofty description that seems to go…well…nowhere. Descriptions are great when they are essential and become a true element of the story. Keeping the story moving becomes easier when we keep the point of the story in mind; when we constantly remember that there is a place that we are headed. If we get stuck in a place or scene then our reader is stuck too.

Save the best for last

Even as the story is moving remember that the reader wants a payoff. We all love a surprise element as we near the end. As readers, by the time we get to the last portion of the book we think we have it figured out. It is nice to get that twist, that final OMG. If it is crafted correctly, in other words, fits into the story line it works well as an excellent last ping.

To make sure your story is paced properly I believe that beta readers are invaluable. And what are the words you want to hear? I simply could not put it down.

 

Why Inspiration may be the biggest enemy to your success

The thing about success is that it is elusive to most of us. It is a risky thing to work at something for weeks, months or even years before seeing results. In the beginning everyone is your biggest supporter. Everyone likes a good success story; more than that, people just like new, including you. That fresh, clean smell of a brand, spanking new project is like euphoria unleashed. The air feels cleaner, your back’s a little straighter and you have a positive word for everyone who crosses your path.

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Even if you haven’t quite done anything yet; you’ve thought it through, talked about it, prayed over it, read as much as you could take on it. You’ve inspired yourself into a type of: Tony Robbins/T.D Jakes/Joel Olsteen fit. You and your parents, mentors, sisters, brothers and closest friends all agree that this is the perfect time to do it.

So there it is. Grinning like a guy in an ad for a Colgate commercial, you give your sleeves the proverbial roll-up, turn from the inspiration to the task it takes to get there and…sigh.

 

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It is then you remember the errand you have to run, that phone call to what’s-his-name that has to be made now because you haven’t spoken to him in forever. You find everything to do but work. I could call this procrastination, but this really wouldn’t be digging deep enough.

Hardest decisions

It is that fear of, I am not enough that creeps in after the dust clears and all you can see is labor. Let’s face it inspiration doesn’t last forever. It’s like falling in love. At some point in the relationship, your stomach doesn’t do that, ‘thing’ when you see him, down the line you won’t think of him every hour or giggle to yourself when you do. Nope. It’s doesn’t mean that the love is gone. It simply means that you have settled into something more sustainable. The energy of love is still there but it has been redirected to the needful things…nursing him back to health when he or she is sick, washing her clothes, remembering to order the Chinese food without shrimp because he’s allergic.

Likewise, with projects the energy of shouting it to the mountaintop has to be redirected to actually developing the business plan, making the cold calls and perhaps hearing a 101 ‘nos’ before you hear a ‘yes’. Writers know this all too well. We spend months, even years creating our masterpiece hoping that someone will connect with our story without even a glimmer of indication that they will. It can be both exhilarating and debilitating at the same time

The thing with inspiration is that it is a great starter, a springboard. But too often we keep returning to that starting point instead of trudging ahead. Tremble in the face of fear, but move forward anyway. There is always the fear that you will invest time and money in this and your project will mock you and then kneel over and die. A tiny dark voice will whisper that you are not enough; no one will ever read, invest or believe in this thing and that they will all stare at you with glazed eyes in the middle of your presentation. Your books will sit in an unused corner of your basement. There will be that sickly feeling inside that all those who are on board with you will be embarrassed and disappointed by this fantastic dream of yours. And yet you will have to tell yourself that this will work and it is meant to be. When you stop believing it, you will have to say it again and again until you believe it again. Eventually you will have to find that place inside that will sustain you through this task. It is not always inspiration. It is will. It is God. It is this fine line that separates the winners from those that just like winners–we all do.

This thing of yours is not for any prize or accolade but it is because something has weld up inside of you and won’t go away until it is realized. It is the God inside of you telling you that this is His plan, His will, His way. But it won’t work itself. When inspiration kicks rocks, work it still.