I wait quietly before God for my victory comes from Him

One of my husband’s favorite movies is The Matrix. Every once in awhile, he straps me to a chair and forces my eyelids open while he watches, rewinds, and relates specific scenes. I’ll admit, the movie captures my attention because of its parallels with Christian belief. The One, Zion, plugging into reality, and living in faith regardless of what the situation looks like are familiar concepts to me. Difficult at times, but familiar.

The past few days I’ve struggled with reality versus appearance. As I work to promote my novel, learn marketing techniques, network, and still move on to a new book, the odds look stacked against me. It seems everywhere I turn, someone is telling me that I will never rise above the pack. They want me to believe that my silly little Christian fiction book is not worth attention, and that I’m wasting my time to dream big and push for success.

It appears that I’m defeated before I even begin. But what is the reality?

I must turn to the Bible for the truth. What’s the opposite of ‘defeat’? Not success, because that’s relative for every person and their situation. My definition of success changes with my mood and needs. To pay the electric bill, to turn my husband into a nanny, to see my characters come to life on the Hallmark channel, these have all been featured in my ‘success file’.

No, the opposite of ‘defeat’ is not ‘success’. It’s ‘victory’. Psalm 62:1 says, “I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.” It’s interesting how my feelings of defeat shrink when I read those words. How they lose potency when I read them out loud, and then how they disappear entirely when I say them out loud again.

I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from Him.

Defeat, though loud and in my face, is not the reality. Victory through God is reality. I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from Him. Will you reject defeat and confess this with me today?

Do you ever fight feelings of defeat? What is your reality?

He creates new things out of nothing

Forgive my quiet these last few days, dear readers. I have been contemplating the Creator nature of God, and today’s confession is an awesome concept that I can barely grasp. The all-powerful-ness of it both comforts me and challenges me.

Saturday, I catapulted myself into the fear zone by publishing my debut novel, Forsaken, on Amazon. (For a more detailed description of Forsaken, click on the Books tab.) I tried for almost fifteen years to get noticed by a traditional publisher. I wrote, met with critique partners, attended conferences, wrote query letters, sent proposals according to individual instructions, joined writers groups, networked, studied the craft of fiction writing, and studied the business of novel writing. I prayed. I wept. I prayed some more and I tried to quiet my desire to become published. God continued to light that fire within me.

Then, with the progress of the internet and some brilliant people, self-publishing became more realistic. Less of a stigma. It became, at the very least, a way to make a couple of bucks and find out if I really wasn’t ready for traditional publication. So my Great Experiment began. And so did my internal speech.

He makes a way where there is none. He guards my reputation. He opens doors that can not be closed, and He closes doors that can not be opened. Romans 4:17 says He brings the dead back to life and He creates new things out of nothing.

Since Saturday, I have been busy confessing this truth because of the peace and strength it gives:

God creates new things out of nothing.

As if we need examples of this, we can point to the creation of the world. Angels, light, dark, stars, the sun and the moon. Plants, animals, oceans. The creation of human beings in His image. And He made a way for us to be saved when it looked like there could be no hope.

Now, He has created another new thing. I’m a published author! Praise God for His creator nature and His faithfulness.

What has God created in your life?

I will rejoice

I hate resolutions. They’re counter productive and they make me feel like a mess.

But this year, in keeping with my no-fear mindset, I resolved to have a resolution. Just one because there’s no need to stress myself out, right? Besides working on ‘fraidy cat issues, there’s a lot I’d like to accomplish this year: publishing my books, writing a new book, continuing my blog, home improvements, better organization, a sense of humor. Yeah. Just one resolution because this list is stressful.

A few days earlier, my husband and I realized that in this very chaotic time of our lives, we need to work on having a sense of humor. Some people find joy an easy state to achieve. They laugh all day and find something funny in everything. Let’s get one thing straight. That. Person. Is. Not. Me.

So is it sad that I skipped right over sense of humor in my resolution list because it’s just too hard? Much easier to create a list of things to do and get busy. I can cross each job off my list when it’s complete. So satisfying! But it’s not laughter or joy…

Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” That’s so decisive. I love it. There is another piece of Scripture that comforts my heart and speaks to me in a more personal way. “I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul.” Maybe that one from Psalm 31:7 speaks to you, too. Knowing that the living God cares about my troubles and loves me makes the world a more bearable place. It makes today’s confession possible.

I will rejoice.

Whatever life (or one of my littles) throws at me today, I will rejoice. It will take time to make this an automatic response, but because of His unfailing love I know it’s possible.

Can you rejoice in spite of your troubles today?

My purpose is to please God, not people

Early confession here, peeps: today’s blog is slightly difficult to write because I’ve been watching Pride and Prejudice like a crazy woman and I want to slip into English prose. In my defense, I’m doing character research and I learn something new each time I watch the movie or read the book. (Yeah! That’s it! Character research sounds plausible.) I so love Darcy’s line in the 1995 version: “She smiles too much.” I have to use that somewhere.

Okay, enough P&P. For now.

Today’s real confession is also difficult because I’ve always been a fearful person. Ironically, I’m more fearful of people than of God. After all, God is kind and forgiving. I’ve hesitated to do things (approach book editors and agents, self-publish, audition for voice over roles, etc.) because people scare me. What will they think? What will they say? Worse, will they be kind to my face and snicker behind my back? Will I fail?

What if I succeed? GASP. There’s such pressure when you’ve succeeded. What are people saying? One time wonder? Accidental hit? She’ll never do it again?

Sigh.

Today’s confession is important for every area of our lives, not just professionally. To write this on our hearts can change the way we speak, the way we form relationships, the way we treat strangers. Indeed, the way we THINK is transformed as we live out this confession. Close your eyes and say it out loud with me:

My purpose is to please God, not people.

1 Thessalonians 2:4 says we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. So no matter what we’re doing or saying or thinking, we should do it with the Good News and God’s pleasure as our goal. That changes everything. I don’t have to live up to someone else’s expectations. I don’t have to live under the burden of anticipating what they want. The Bible tells me what God wants from me, so I’m free from the intimidation of others’ thoughts.

As I go about doing impossible and frightening things today, I’m going to repeat this confession. Who knows what I can accomplish when I forget my fear? Say it with me again: My purpose is to please God, not people.

Are you easily intimidated? What will you do in light of today’s confession?

I will not waver

One of the many great things about publishing your own books is the creative control you keep. Titles, covers, character names and places, even plot to an extent all remain what you envisioned for your story.

Of course, the downside is also that you get to keep creative control. No one else takes ownership of this project. No one else sees the potential and has as much passion for it.

Yes, it’s a wonderland of control and isolation. For decisive control freaks, it’s the life they dream of. For wishy-washy, I-can’t-decide-between-potatoes-or-pasta people, it’s a little more complicated. I have controlling moments (especially since becoming a mom… Okay, I have controlling days. I blame the toddlers!) but I’ll just be honest. I can’t decide between potatoes or pasta in the best of situations. Love ’em both!

That’s why I crave the solid certainty of the Bible, and today’s confession is a great example of the necessary middle ground between uber-control and indecisiveness. “Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:6) I can’t leave out the scripture immediately before this. Verse 5 says, “But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone.”

And that’s the key, friends. When you make a decision, make sure your faith is in God alone. Our certainty rests on Him. If faith in God is the basis for my decisions, I don’t have to waver.

So take a few minutes today to focus yourself on this truth and to let it impact your decisions. You’ll be glad you did!

No matter what I do today, my faith is in God alone. I will not waver.

Do you struggle to make decisions, or do you need to control every situation?

Make the darkness flee

Confession: The sun shines today, but my soul hides in darkness. I cower from what I think is the truth. That God will not provide, that He doesn’t think enough of me to bring me out of the disaster that I’ve become, that I’ll never get better. Self-publishing my books won’t happen because I don’t even have the measly amount required to put out a decent product.

In the midst of this downpour on my mind, I pray. Please show up, God. Forgive me for my unbelief.

God shows up in two ways this morning. Probably more, but these two I can see for being His.

First, my critique partner sends me a very encouraging blog by an author who recently began self-publishing. The author didn’t listen when people told her something wouldn’t work. She found out how to do it, and she did it.

Second was the verse of the day on Biblegateway.com. It amazes me how the dark always flees when I turn to prayer and the Bible. I leave that verse of the day as today’s Truth.

Truth: Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise. Hebrews 10:35-36

And this: The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you. Jeremiah 31:3

BONUS! Yahweh Yireh: And Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.” Genesis 22:14

What about you? Are you discouraged today? How has God spoken encouragement to you in the darkness?

Fear vs. Truth

The word ‘confessions’ has a dirty secret feel, doesn’t it? Something you share in the corner of a crowded room with a quiet giggle or a raised eyebrow, knowing the world will soon hear every sordid detail, truthful or not. Or is it something to shout from the rooftops, unburdening your heart and setting yourself free from the bondage of secrecy?

I choose to shout from the rooftops. Not only will I unshackle myself, I will confess the Truth. Some about self-publishing, some about myself and my own experience, lots about other things. But always sharing the Truth in response to my dark secrets. I do this to transform my own mind, and hopefully others will benefit as well.

Two ground rules. I give myself freedom to be transparent. And I give myself freedom to believe.

My first confession: I’m not self-published yet, and I’m so scared my insides quiver. I’m scared of everything, but mostly I’m afraid of doing the wrong thing in God’s eyes. What does He want me to do?

The Truth: He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

How about you? Do you know when God is leading and what your next step should be? Or do you get lost in doubt and fear?