National Novel Writing Month.
For years, I yearned for this experience to be mine. I tried one year – back when I was like, 13. It did not turn out well at all. I had no plans, I was writing by the seat of my pants, and didn’t even like the story I came up with. So it quickly failed and crashed.
Then I didn’t participate after that, because I was always working on another novel that I wanted to finish before I started a new one for NaNo. So I thought, “Next year…” but I kept thinking and hoping for that, as I was always buried deep in one of my other novels, or just unable to do it.
But this year – I thought, ‘This year is my year’. A friend was going to be doing it, and I wanted to be a sort of cheerleader for her, so I signed up. I wasn’t going to start a new novel, I was just going to try my best to finish my Beauty and the Beast Story (which is not a short story anymore). It was going well at first. I met a new friend on there, and we exchanged a lot of emails, which was encouraging and helped spur on my writing. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever written so much in one month. Though it may have only totalled around 20,000 or more words, it was still a lot to me. But then…God had me stop. I couldn’t write. It was, truthfully, a struggle of a month because I battled between wanting to write no matter what – in my flesh – and letting God control it and write through me. I wanted the latter, but that also came with the ‘if -then’. “IF I surrender my writing to the Lord,THEN He will bless it, BUT it has to be in His timing” which meant that I wouldn’t be writing much, unless I let Him set my heart back to ‘right’.
I wanted what God asked of me, but I still wanted to be accomplished and ‘approved’ by others because I wrote 50,000 words. But that didn’t happen. Over and over again the Lord reminds me that He doesn’t want me to look good in the eyes of the ‘public’. What matters most is my heart with Him.
So what if I didn’t get any words written day after day? Did it make me a failure? Will God hold it against me? No. And my head knows this well. But the flesh still struggles. And my heart yearns to daily accept His truth.
There is a tract/pamphlet thing that is titled “Others can – you cannot”. God has used it to remind me a lot – not just over the month of November, but in pretty much all areas of my life. I cannot be what others are – what the world is – no matter how ‘good’ it seems, because He has asked something different of me. This is what the pamphlet said:
Others May – You Cannot
If God has called you to be really like Jesus, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility, and put upon you such demands of obedience that you will not be able to follow other people, or measure yourself by other Christians. In many ways He will seem to let other good people do things which He will not let you do.
Seemingly religious and useful men push themselves forward, pull wires, and work schemes to carry out their plans, but you cannot do it. And if you attempt it, you will meet with such failure and rebuke from the Lord as to make you sorely penitent.
Others may boast of themselves, of their work, of their success, of their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do it. If you begin it, He will lead you into some deep mortifications that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.
Others may be allowed to succeed in making money, or may have a legacy left to them. But it is likely God wants you to have something far better than gold – a helpless dependence upon Him, that He may have the privilege of supplying your needs day by day out of an unseen treasury.
The Lord may let others be honored and put forward, and keep you hidden in obscurity, because He wants to produce some choice, fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can be produced only in the shade. He may let others be great, but keep you small. He may let others do work for Him and get the credit for it, but He will make you work and toil without knowing how much you are doing. And then to make your work still more precious, He may let others get the credit for the work you have done, making your reward ten times greater when Jesus comes.
The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch over you with jealous love, and will rebuke you for little words and feelings, or for wasting your time, which other Christians never seem distressed over. So, make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign and has a right to do as He pleases with His own. He may not explain to you a thousand things which puzzle your reason in His dealings with you, but if you absolutely sell yourself to be His love-slave, He will wrap you up in a jealous love and bestow upon you many blessings which come only to those in the inner circle.
Settle it forever, then, that you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, and that He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue, or restraining your hand, or closing your eyes, in ways that He does not seem to use with others. Notice Jesus’ reply when Peter was more concerned with what John should do than with his own responsibility. “What is that to thee? follow thou Me” (John 21:22).
When you are so possessed with the living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this particular, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of heaven.
“If ye then be risen with Christ,…Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3).
“And lest I should be exalted above measure…there was given to me a thorn in the flesh…For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9).
“So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” – G.D. Watson, adapted.
Did you read that? God may be asking something hard for you – something that may seem ‘unfair’, because “everybody else is doing it” – and they’re not getting ‘rebuked’. But it just means that Jesus loves you so much. Not that He doesn’t love others that much, but He has chosen you for something specific – He has chosen to wrap you in His unfailing love, to be the subject of His love and blessings.
Those words of the pamphlet are so true and minister to me so much. Because it is exactly what He has asked of me – surrender everything to Him – even my writing. Especially my writing.
And that is why I did not get much accomplished in November. And I praise God for that, because it is ultimately His story, and He will write it how and when He pleases. And I am so honoured that He has chosen me to pen this story for Him.
So, don’t worry what others around you are doing – just follow you Him (John 21:22).