Facing Distractions and Discouragement

How do you respond to distractions and discouragement when you’re seeking direction?

Writing my first book initiated one of the most intense spiritual battles of my life. I worried about my family—especially my seven grandchildren.

I had not been available for their needs with all my blogging, speaking, and writing. Guilty thoughts saturated me like a heavy rainstorm. And worry encompassed me like a dark thundercloud overhead.

Then, a Word broke through the storm clouds like a ray of sunshine: “[T]here is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1 NLT).

My husband, Dan, had scheduled his retirement date just weeks before the deadline to turn in my book manuscript. So my direction faltered, and my thoughts were like a honeybee, flitting flower to flower. Lord, how will I ever finish this book in time?

I completed my book, but not without spiritual battles. Ephesians 6 offers us this truth:

Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life.
God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. (Eph. 6:13–17 The Message)

What scriptures have helped you during the spiritual battles of your writing life?

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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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