Writing Life: Facing a Spiritual Battle

Have you ever been annoyed about someone else’s bad attitude? Then later, you look into the mirror and think, That’s me!

How do we abandon destructive attitudes and thoughts?

The other day, I found myself at my wit’s end—in one of those brutal, self-deprecating moods. I felt depressed and frustrated about being isolated in my home office, even though I needed solitude to work on my writing projects.

Through the years, I’ve struggled with the seclusion that being a writer brings. And often my frame of mind distracts me or tempts me to go back into the workplace for more social interaction and close relationships.

A spiritual battle. This particular day, I decided to pray about how to win this battle, instead of dismissing it. I knew it was a spiritual battle—an attack from the enemy of my soul—trying to discourage me. So, I decided to revisit a familiar passage in the Bible.

I thumbed over to Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (NIV).

As I read the passage, my mind focused on the word “lovely,” and I wondered, How on earth can I find something “lovely” to think about? I wasn’t feeling “lovely,” and nothing around me seemed “lovely” either. But I continued to focus on the scripture, even questioning God’s purpose in leading me to this specific verse.

A way of escape. Struggling with my angst, I carted my portable office outside to our backyard patio (a benefit of working from home). I hoped this scripture could possibly help me refocus—away from my negative thoughts.

As I sat down to read again, a rustle in the branches of our Bradford pear tree distracted me. Two squirrels, playing tag, tumbled from the tree and scampered up the wooden fence, as a large blue jay drove them from his territory.

I enjoyed God’s creation, surprised at nature’s battle right there in my own backyard. The leaves rustled in the breeze, and the sun peeked through the branches, casting moving shadows. Surrounded by shades of green, I settled into my lawn chair.

Lovely. I thought, “This” is lovely!

A lovely thought. The word “lovely” swept across my mind again like a stirring wind. In a sudden and unexpected way, a calm settled in on me, and everything seemed right with me once again.

Then, blessed by the “lovely” moment—bathed in the shades of green and focused on God’s Word—I returned to the peace and solitude of my office to begin my next writing project.

How do you win the spiritual battles in your writing life?

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29 thoughts on “Writing Life: Facing a Spiritual Battle

  1. I find myself using that word a lot, too! “Lovely…”
    And that verse it so applicable to writing, isn’t it? I have a post coming up about it this week.
    Thanks for reminding me that I should always turn to God first!

  2. What a refreshing post! I find myself on the opposite end of the writing angst, though–I can’t seem to get ENOUGH solitude, no matter how hard I try. 🙂

    • This week, I can’t seem to get enough solitude either. I’m helping my daughter with her four kids; she had emergency surgery this past weekend. Life is like that, huh? From one extreme to another. I pray you find some moments of solitude soon.

  3. A great scripture. I love it when God can take our bad moods / thoughts / attitudes and refocus us back on Him. Good to know we are never truly alone in this!

    • What a great reminder: “… we are never truly alone.” I needed to focus on that thought again this morning. My “attitude” slipped in the back door today. Blessings!

  4. Karen, this was exactly my struggle today as well. I did have a successful writing day, but there was a huge spiritual battle going on in the midst of it. That’s a fabulous verse to re-focus our thoughts. Tomorrow will be different. thank you for this perfect reminder!!

    • Leslie, thanks for the reminder! I need stay aware of the spiritual battles going on around us all the time to discourage and distract us. “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8 NLT)

  5. An amazing word picture. I can picture you in that lawn chair enjoying the lovely play of nature. Isn’t it nice to know we’re only a few steps from leaving Wit’s End behind. God’s blessings on all your writing.

    • Thanks, Anita. I know you’ve been to Wit’s End lately yourself, right? Thankfully, that’s where I find God–when I come to the end of myself. Blessings back to you!

  6. I thought this was nice. It can be very tough to deal with being alone when one does not like it. I think this is true for everyone, all of the time. However, the opposite is also true: it can be very hard to not be able to get any space or time to oneself. Really, since we are all still here, we can only give one another some space and ignore each other for a while and pay attention for a while. That’s all it is.

    • I totally understand not having enough space, too. That’s where I am this week, as I help with my grandkids. I’m hoping to get time for my writing projects.

  7. A lovely post, Karen! Thanks for the reminder of how powerful our thoughts are, something the Bible is pretty clear about.

    • Yes. I guess the enemy of our soul knows where we are most vulnerable, huh? If I entertain negative thoughts, I leave myself wide open for spiritual attacks.

  8. Thanks for the transparent and uplifting post. The solitude writing requires (and the loneliness it can bring) is something we writers share that the rest of the world can’t fully understand. It’s wonderful to connect with others who walk a similar walk.

    “As iron sharpens iron, so one man (or woman!) sharpens another.” -Proverbs 27:17

    Thanks for the sharpening this morning, Karen.

    • I agree–it’s encouraging to know we’re not in the battle alone. And it helps me to know how to pray for my other writing friends.

  9. Hey Karen, I’d like to echo Mindy. Thanks for the transparency. We all need spiritual attitude adjustments occasionally and it’s nice to peek over a sister’s shoulder and see how she handles such moments. 🙂 Blessings~

    • Thanks for your encouragement, Shellie. At times, I hesitate revealing my weaknesses. But I know those are the very areas that God can reveal his strength.

  10. There is no better time for your post than right this minute for me. I am having one of those days, except I needed to have time alone to write today. Spiritual battles galore. Sometimes I feel like I short my family of my time, that results in guilt, and then I have to wonder if I should give up the idea of writing and “do something productive.” With a sigh, I checked my email and there was the link to your blog. It is nice to know I am not alone. Reading your post today is how I am fighting the battles today, Of course I will continue to write, it is what I love to do. I’m heading outside to find something lovely. Thank you. 🙂

  11. Good reminder that we’re not alone in feeling alone.

    In response to your question, I suppose the first step in winning spiritual battles is to remember they’re spiritual. We fight them with our spiritual weapons.

    When my mind’s assaulted, I try to remember (with thanksgiving) how we’re privy to our weaponry (helmet of salvation, etc.) The weapon that helps me a lot, besides the sword of the Spirit (Word of God) is the belt of truth. Since I’m such a “feeler,” truth brings balance. Truth breezes into my mind, reminding me that feelings are just feelings. Truth celebrates God’s Sovereignty and leading. It always wins.

    Lovely to hear how God whispered His truth to you.

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