I was going to make my first post about the wondrously grueling task of rewriting a second draft, but that will have to wait till next time. Because in church today, my pastor’s message on God wanting us to rest really made me think about my workaholic nature. Are my dreams going to pass me by if I rest once and a while? It sounds silly, but the way I live suggests they will. I don’t want to live like that anymore.
Sometimes, I don’t know when to stop and say what I’ve done is enough. When you have such an ambiguous system of measurement as you find in writing, it is easy to work yourself to death, never having enjoyed the process. A few weeks ago I decided to make Friday date night. You’d think this should have been obvious being that I’m married and should hang out with my wife once and a while, but that was a hard decision. Not that I don’t enjoy my wife, it’s just that I am always under pressure to work.
I am blessed with a wife who helps pay the bills, and no children to support, but I feel a lot of pressure to make my non-paying job of writing pay off as soon as possible. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to keep my cosy job writing all day as a security guard, because having kids can put me in an insurance job real quick, and then I’ll have even less time to write. On top of that, I’ll admit to failing to love my wife and having peace in my heart because I want to see success in my writing, and it’s hard to say this word count or that brainstorm session was success when I am yet unpublished. It sounds stupid, but I doubt I’m the only one.
I was just trying to be clever when I first typed the title of Writer’s Wrest. Then I looked up the definition of wrest and found: “to gain with difficulty by or as if by force, violence, or determined labor”. As a writer, this really defines my daily struggle to find release in the passion that drives me to write. (Notice my tiptoeing around calling writing an idol? – maybe more on that in another post…)
Writing is something I feel I have to do, because otherwise I don’t feel satisfied, but at what point can we grab hold of that satisfaction and rest?
At the Ragged Edge conference, I realized that even successful authors like Ted Dekker struggle with the day to day of writing. And yet, he knows he can do nothing else. Without determined labor, we won’t be one of the few that make it in this business, but do we really expect to be successful if we try and sprint what we know is a marathon?
Today, I accepted the scriptural admonition of my pastor to rest. I listened and it felt great. My wife and I played tennis and I got to enjoy a day where I didn’t have an obligation to write. Sure, I didn’t hit my word count goal of 8k this week, but I did write 2,100 words yesterday and I spent a lot of time plotting and working on my back cover blurb. Even though the plotting and blurb work didn’t help my word count, they helped the story in the long run. I need to feel good about this week (now last week as this posts on Tuesday). Today, God told me to rest and trust in His timing and plan. Jesus could return tomorrow. Am I going to say, “No, go back! I haven’t published my book yet!”
No. I’m not going to say that. When He returns all this is going to be tested by fire to determine its worth. I want my writing to be of gold because I did it trusting in Him and desiring Him to use it for His glory. This means I rest in His sovereignty over the progress and setbacks, the timing and the waiting.
I need to relax. It was good for me to rest today, because it gave me the chance to accept God’s “Well done,” and it reminds me that my life is not meant to be at the grindstone all the time. I’d like to have a nose when I’m done.
God enjoys a fervent spirit, but He doesn’t desire one that is heavy laden and tired. Today, He said rest. Tomorrow, He says get your butt back in that chair and write, for Me. Everything will be okay.
p.s. later that night my wife asked what I wrote my post on.
“Really…” (pause for moment of shock) “What do you know about that?”