Just Look at Me: Encouragement for the Highly Distractible Writer

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When my sons were toddlers, they were so easily distracted (look: a squirrel!) that I often knelt down and gently placed my hands on their cheeks to help them listen.

“Look at me,” I’d say, waiting until their eyes met mine. Then I asked them, “What did Mommy say?”

Lately, I’ve felt God kneeling down, kindly pressing His hands to my cheeks. “Look at me,” He says. It’s not only a call to attention, but to single-minded devotion.

“Yes, Lord, ” I reply, taking my eyes off Facebook, Pinterest–even the Wordserve Water Cooler–and focusing on Him.

I feel Him kneeling down when I get jealous about other writers’ accomplishments; when I spend too much time clicking and too little time praying; when my tendency to compare Facebook “likes” and Twitter followers distracts me from the reasons I write.

Last week, I let Satan discourage me. Look at that author, he said. She’s your age and has written twice as many books as you have. Plus, she has a radio show, and her speaking resume is much better than yours. 

I started to get insecure, until I remembered the Lord’s hands on my cheeks. “What did I say?” He asks.

“Just look at me,” I respond.

I get it, Lord, I really do.

However, it’s hard to keep my focus when I am required to use social media for my part-time editing job. Plus, our post-recession world of high technology and low discretionary income means that book publishers’ marketing budgets are shrinking, while editors’ expectations are rising.

Sigh. This business is not always good for a highly distractible author…and yes, the apple does NOT fall far from the tree. (Look: a new webinar on building your tribe!)

I know I’m not the only author who struggles with this. Or at least I hope I’m not. So, let’s lean in and focus on our Parent’s eyes for a second.

“Do you hear what I’m saying?” God says.

When we spend time with Him, and hear His perspective on this crazy profession He’s called us to, we realize that He has uniquely called each of us to a highly specialized path.

I don’t have to be like anyone else. Although God calls me to work diligently at my craft and creatively tell people about my books (not for my glory, but His), I shouldn’t obsess about numbers, lists, or honors. All that leads to a place called “Crazy-ville.” And trust me, I can get there on my own.

My fellow scribes, God is calling me–and you–to be faithful and obedient:  “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matt. 6:33)

Just look at me, He says, and write what I’ve told you to write. Write out of the overflow of our relationship, and trust me for everything else.

As a friend says, “God’s got this.” We can trust Him. After all, those heavenly hands on our cheeks are nail-scarred…from His scandalous, all-consuming love for us.

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23 thoughts on “Just Look at Me: Encouragement for the Highly Distractible Writer

  1. I just clicked through from Facebook, and I’m SO glad I did! What a beautiful, poignant, heartfelt call to worship with our focus. So needed in my heart today. Thank you! If it’s alright, I’d love to add this to my “writing as a ministry” tab on my website… for this is a post I’ll return to again, I’m sure of it. Thank you again!

    • I’m so glad it ministered to you, and of course you may add it to your website. I’d be honored. Thanks for reading, commenting, and sharing. Blessings on your writing journey!

  2. Oh that’s a timely reminder, thanks so much! Everybody’s writing journey is so unique, yet we all seem to feel the need to compare ourselves. I, for one, need to get over it and stop.

  3. Thank you for these wise and wonderful words that we need to hear again and again. God often reminds me, “Eyes on Me…look to Me alone.” What a difference that makes in every realm of our lives.

    • Amen, It really does make a difference, no matter what we’re facing. Thanks for taking time to read and leave a comment, Judy!

  4. Beautiful words of wisdom! Just what I needed to hear today. Thank you for yielding to the Holy Spirit and sharing the words He gave you. It’s so easy to become discouraged if we let our focus slip from Him. How lovely and comforting to close our eyes and feel His gentle hands on our cheeks.

    • I’m so grateful that God used this to speak to you, Bonnie, and grateful you let me know. I pray He blesses you today and that you continue to feel His presence as you write.

  5. What a blessing that I read this today. I’ve been whining and complaining that my words had stopped flowing on my first Christian novel that I’m writing. How can they flow without focusing and getting rid of the distractions! Facebook is a highly addictive site and I’ve given excuses of wanting to keep up with the lives of my friends. I don’t need to know every little aspect of their lives so as of today, I’m giving up Facebook for a week and resolve to write the words He will give me to write. Thank you!

    • Good for you, Glenda. I pray this time will give you the focus and attention you need. God is so wonderful to remind us of what we need to be reminded of, at just the right time. Thanks so much for encouraging me with your feedback.

  6. Your words could have been describing my life and writing. It was encouraging to me to receive your picture of talking to a distracted child. I will use that picture to remind me to trust God–who has us in his hands.

    • Thanks for letting me know, Kathie. I’m glad the post was a blessing to you. I need to be reminded of His grace and sufficiency every single day. 🙂

  7. This is such a good reminder that God has an individual plan for each of us. Instead of turning inward when I see someone else’s success (Look at all the books she’s written! Look at her fabulous agent!), I need to celebrate how God has used someone else to spread the good news of His kingdom. Thank you!

    • Amen. We need to celebrate that the good news is being spread, no matter how or when. But it’s hard, isn’t it? To rejoice with another, when their success is what we long for? God is patient with us, thankfully. And forgiving. 🙂 Thanks for responding. You blessed me today!

  8. And it’s not just writers. Anyone doing just about any kind of work can find themselves looking up from the desk and seeing that other guy or that other girl who has gone so much further, seems so much more focused, smiles so much, laughs so much, runs so far, dresses so nice, and has so many friends.

    It’s a dangerous thing when I start comparing my insides to someone else’s outside.

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