Thursday, April 17, 2008

Settling on the East Side?

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that this year, I'm on a quest to find out what God wants me to do about my writing at this particular time in my life. Specifically, should I keep on the path I'm on--striving to turn out a daily word count, to follow all the rules, to throw myself into trying to get published? Or should I allow myself to relax a little, take life and writing a bit more slowly, and try to rediscover the joy in this gift?

When I started praying about this, I seemed to immediately be bombarded by allegories about the Children of Israel crossing the Jordan into the Promised Land. You know how that is, right? When God seems to be trying to get your attention by sending you the same Bible verses or story everywhere you turn? That's what happened with this. I heard about crossing into the Promised Land in Sunday Schools and in sermons. I read it in two or three books. Of course I read about it every day in my Bible reading, because the Israelites are just now reaching the Promised Land in my one-year Bible. (Which is going to take me 18 months to read this time around, apparently. But that's a different story.)

But that's not all. I'm in a rental club for audio books, and I've had Believing God by Beth Moore on my wish list for months, but it was never available. Suddenly, there it was in my mailbox. Guess what Beth proceeded to talk about at great length? How the Israelites didn't believe God right away. Hence the wandering and settling for less all those years, rather than claiming the destiny He had for them.

Here's the craziest thing of all. The novel I'm currently working on is called Jordan's Shadow. My niece read a portion of it during this same time period and asked me why I called the character Jordan. I told her it was because when this mysterious girl with no memory shows up in the story, she goes around humming "On Jordan's Stormy Banks" all the time, so they call her Jordan. And the song plays a part in the story. Remember the lyrics to that hymn?

"On Jordan's stormy banks I stand
And cast a wishful eye
To Canaan's fair and happy land
Where my possessions lie.
I am bound for the promised land..."

So here I am, praying about the direction for my writing as I work on this book, and God seems to be bombarding me with messages about believing him and not being afraid to cross that river and claim what he has promised for me. It's even in the very thing I'm writing!

I started to feel a bit uncomfortable. Maybe down inside, I really have been wanting permission to slow down. And God seems to be telling me, "Stop whining and doubting like the children of Israel. Cross that river. Do what I called you to do!"

But then the story took a little turn from there. I'll tell you about that next time--hopefully tomorrow.