Image by Viktor Ivanchenko at Pixabay
Meltdown in Aisle 3
Last Thursday, I launched my author website with the tagline ‘Weaving Words of Courage and Hope’. I’d come up with that line last year and it seemed like a good fit for most of my writing
Rewind to last Tuesday, and I was standing in the toilet paper aisle at Woollies, fighting back tears because the lady in front of me had grabbed the last pack of toilet paper. You know how it is when you want to cry, but you’re in a public place and don’t want to make a spectacle of yourself? So you open your eyes wide and work your tongue round the inside of your cheek, trying to hold it together. Yep, that was me.
Now to be fair, it wasn’t just the toilet paper. I think the enormity of everything suddenly hit me at that moment and I had a lot of things rolling around in my head. Would my parents’ nursing home go into lockdown? How could my cousin’s wife plan his funeral with only ten mourners? What if it’s months before I can catch up with friends for coffee? What about the people who were already isolated before COVID-19 reared its ugly head?
I felt like a hypocrite. How could I possibly have any words of courage and hope for people in this crisis when I was having a meltdown myself? But you know what? We don’t have to try to dredge up some skerrick of courage from within ourselves. God is by our sides right now and He can help us through this. He WILL help us through this.
The Example of King David
I did a study of David’s psalms a while back and discovered something surprising. Although he was described as a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), he didn’t sanitise his words. He expressed his fears, worries, griefs, frustrations and disappointments in poetry and song without censoring or filtering them. He was authentic before God.
I am worn out from groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears (Ps. 6:6).
I am forgotten by them [my friends] as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery (Ps. 31:12).
I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart (Ps. 38:8).
|Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash|
But David didn’t stay in that place. After expressing his real feelings of fear and despair, he handed them to God. Where there was sin, he repented. Where there were fears, he stood on God’s promises and proclaimed His faithfulness. Where there was uncertainty, he prayed and put his trust in the One who holds our past, present and future in His hands.
But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands … Praise be to the Lord, for he showed his wonderful love to me when I was in a besieged city. In my alarm I said, “I am cut off from your sight!” Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help. Love the Lord, all his saints! The Lord preserves the faithful, but the proud he pays back in full. Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord (Ps. 31:14-15a, 21-24).
So how does David’s example apply to us as writers, especially during these challenging times?
- Be real. If you’re feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed, don’t deny what you’re going through. Do some journaling or free-writing and express what you’re really feeling and thinking at this moment. Don’t try to spiritualise it. Don’t censor yourself. If you’re angry with God, or don’t understand what He’s doing or why this is happening, tell Him. He can take it. He knows what you’re really thinking and feeling anyway, so cut to the chase and be authentic with Him.
- But don’t stop there. Take what you’ve written and bring it before God in prayer. If there’s anything you need to confess, come before Him humbly and ask for forgiveness. If you’re afraid or frustrated or lonely, read scripture and pray out His promises. Listen to worship music or read an inspirational book. Give thanks for what you do have. Remember that there are still many blessings, in spite of the challenges. Connect with others by phone, Skype, or email and encourage one another. God will see us through this.
- Ask what God would have you write in this season. For some, it might be a continuation of what you’re already doing. For others, it might be a nudge in a different direction for a time. For others, it might be the courage to start writing something that God has laid on your heart. You could step out of your comfort zone and start a podcast or run writing workshops via Skype or Zoom. Or maybe it’s as simple as writing a letter to someone who’s isolated. (For more ideas on that, see Adele Jones’ post You’ve Got Mail).
Photo by azboomer on Pixabay.
Please don’t feel you have to have it all together in order to speak into this situation. You’re not doing it alone. God is with you and He may have a word that only you can share. For more on that topic, see Belinda Pollard’s inspiring post on Being a Christian Writer During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Yes, these are challenging times, but it’s also a time of great opportunity. Many are looking for answers that only God can provide. He loves us intimately and cares for each one of us more than we can imagine. He is our protector and defender and He will never let us go. How will our responses to this current crisis influence those around us for good? What will it mean for us to ‘write brave’?
(N.B. All scripture references from the NIV Bible)
Nola Lorraine (aka Nola Passmore) lives in southeast Queensland, Australia, where she and her husband Tim run a freelance writing and editing business called The Write Flourish. She has a passion for faith and social justice issues, and loves weaving words that inspire others with courage and hope. She co-edited the Christian charity anthology Glimpses of Light; and has more than 150 short publications, including fiction, poetry, devotions, true stories, magazine articles and academic papers. Her debut novel Scattered is being published by Breath of Fresh Air Press later this year.
To find out more, please visit her author site: https://www.nolalorraine.com.au
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