I don’t know about you, but as a writer, I struggle with managing my time.
I work full time. Serve in my young adults ministry. Belong to a community group. Spend time with my family. Juggle a writing contract. Spend free time with friends. Find time to work out. Sleep somewhere in there.
For those of you who have children, I’m sure this list is much longer. Somewhere in the middle of juggling that mess, I hit seasons of extreme burn out and discouragement. Everything seems to pile on at once, and ultimately my writing suffers.
I once heard that it is vital for a writer to be mentally, spiritually, physically, and emotionally healthy. To be honest, I don’t know how that is humanly possible. I am rarely completely healthy in a couple of these areas at a time, and healthy definitely hasn’t described me the past few months.
In January, I received a three-book contract. I couldn’t express my excitement! But, it went down hill from there. Work demanded all my time, I wrecked my car, edits came in right as I hit the most demanding couple of weeks on the job, and conflict rose in several friendships. With all the stress, I lost my appetite and my ability to sleep. Talk about unhealthy in every area.
I wondered how I could possibly finish the edits. I couldn’t concentrate. Creativity escaped me. But I stubbornly kept plugging away.
Then something clicked. My broken emotions began to pour into my character’s painful moments to a greater degree than they ever had before. Not only did I understand what the editor was requesting, but I finally felt like I could pull it off and be proud of the result!
The Lord used my weak moments to breed creativity. 2 Corinthians 12 says, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
Thankfully, the call and standard of a writer is not to be healthy but faithful. In times of emotional struggle, the Lord uses that brokenness to translate a truth someone can relate to in my writing. I love what the psalmist said in Psalm 139, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” If God knows our hearts inside and out, surely He can make beautiful writing flow from the inward parts of who we are, for His glory and the good of others.
Just as we labor to create a masterpiece, Jesus is in the process of molding us into His image. Sometimes He uses desert seasons to chip away excess. Sometimes He uses the mountain tops to create epic scenes. But He uses every piece of our story for His glory. We are never disqualified as writers when we can’t get it all together. Trust, obey, and write. Those messy seasons may just be used to encourage a reader, creating a mountain top moment in their life.
“The one who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24
What areas do you need to focus on in your own life to be healthy? How has the Lord used rough seasons in your writing?