I got saved, and I stopped writing. I stopped writing, because I knew I could put together pretty phrases, but I wanted to learn to live them.
I stopped writing, because I knew I wanted to lay a firm foundation.
I stopped writing, because I heard Him tell me to “stop trying to know about Me and just get to know Me.”
I stopped writing, because I didn’t want to fall prey to performing.
I stopped writing, because I didn’t know what His will for my stories were. I stopped writing because, honestly, I couldn’t write anything good if I had tried. But most of all, I stopped writing because I was afraid of my pride. I didn’t want to trade eternity in heaven for pats on the back on earth…even from Christians.
I knew enough to know that pride was bad. That intentions mattered. I wanted to make sure that I was writing from a pure place. So I laid down my dream of ever being a published author at His feet, right after laying down the desire to be a wife and mother. To a Lauren Daigle CD haha.
But then there was that day in the beginning of 2016, after a year-and-a-half of quiet love, when God said it. The preacher shared the verse “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, and with all your strength” and the Spirit of God whispered “and all your words. Love me with all your words, Joyce. Love me with all your words to your patients, to your friends and in your writing”
It was as if God had looked this young Jedi in the eye and said “it’s time.” It was clear He was giving me the go-ahead to take the next step. I was spending deep time in His presence, deep time with His word, long amounts of time writing in my own personal journal, and I sensed His telling me that my character had developed enough to take the next step with Him.
And it was an easy labor, that first poem. Because I had lived the story. I had lived the story of surrender and I had a passion to share it with others in bondage…particularly women who were waiting for marriage or a child.
I was still terrified to share it. I almost didn’t.
I was terrified that even though I hadn’t written the poem with pride, praise or censure would take me down.
Three things changed my mind: 1) God. He literally used the same exact language that I was going to use to approach that person…and had that person approach me. I knew it was His confirmation. 2) Reading in Jennie Allen’s book Anything about how she meets women who are afraid of pride with stepping out in their giftings, and how God’s purpose is absolutely worth battling our pride over/for.
But it was really the third thing that took away my fear for sharing Waiting Rooms. The candle was lit and I was holding my fear up, when God gave me what has since been the formula for my life.
“God, pride is my poison.” His response: “Worship and unfiltered honesty are the antidotes.”
That wisdom from God gave me comfort I couldn’t describe. Because when I worship, I experience His power, and His presence and power are a pleasant reminder of my own lack of both. It’s impossible to think anything is of me or because of me when I experience that. And committing to unfiltered honesty keeps me humble, and reminds me it’s all about Him.
Because writing isn’t spinning a story of us. It’s not presenting ourselves as better than we are. It’s presenting ourselves as we are. It’s showing the real places God meets us, whether that’s in a dark corner or on a mountain top. In a brothel or in a church service. God challenged me, “so many of you put down roots in the dark. You put down roots in the dark, but don’t talk about it once you reach the light…once you break through. But other people are in the dark. They need to hear about you being there and then see your flower…not glorify the flower. You can’t bear fruit unless you share about the darkness where you put down roots.”
That has been my philosophy for the past year in terms of writing. Not to be fake-vulnerable. That’s been my philosophy with this blog. If you’re fearful of battling with pride, I want to encourage you. I want you to know that you’re not alone. I want you to know that if we wait on God, He will mature us and teach us.
And I want to share with you some tweets I wrote or re-tweeted along the way, that are also good reminders to me
God rewards the humble not the achievers
#PreachingToMyself – JD
God wants to use you, not be used by you.
“This…will affect your joy. Be entirely engaged in the process of your work, and be entirely disengaged in outcome of your work”-
Stop putting your identity in who you are and what you do. Put it in what Christ has already done for you. -JD
Lord, forgive us for all the times we have taken credit for the Holy Spirit -JD
Help us not to worship the gifts more than the giver. -JD
“Great people do not do great things; God does great things through surrendered people.” -Jennie Allen
“This world won’t be changed by fame-lusters like it will be by faith-livers.” –
The hardest, loneliest road may be the one that glorifies God the most -JD (because sometimes writing is lonely)
Jesus gained popularity, and gave it all up to give us truth and eternity. -JD (Don’t be afraid of being unpopular. Follow Jesus)
“Bravery is the capacity to perform properly, even when scared half to death.” -General Omar Bradley”
“Humility is the mother of all virtues; purity, charity and obedience. It is in being humble that our love becomes real, devoted and ardent. If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are. If you are blamed you will not be discouraged. If they call you a saint you will not put yourself on a pedestal.” -Mother Teresa