Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Dangers in Waiting by Diana Flegal

As God would have it, I picked up a friends book titled; Empty Promises by Pete Wilson, published by Thomas Nelson.

When I read some books it sometimes goes like this; Amen, ah hah, yes, that’s it, right on! This is one of those books. Affirmation of a truth I am learning to walk in. Joy fills me. I now have a book I can pass along to someone I have been praying for, have a desire to discuss the very issues presented here, and Pete says it way better than I could.

I am crazy about words. I read voraciously, but all too often I cannot express what I want to say. So when I find a book that says it for me, way better than I can, I celebrate, do a happy dance. 

This is one of those books.

The subtitle is: The Truth About You, Your Desires, and the Lies You’re Believing

Live long enough, we pick up a lot of baggage. And a lot of that baggage is lies. Lies others tell us, or we grab hold of in misdirected hope.

As writers, and agents, we need to ask; what lies are we believing?

You have written the book, edited it best you can. It’s in its third or fourth draft.  In your estimation it is ready for publication. You wait to get an agent. Then you wait while that agent attempts to find a home for it. And you wait. You rewrite it, deepen the point of view. Catch the head hoping, and strengthen the motive of your protagonist. And you wait some more.

And we lie to ourselves. We say, “If I get published, get my client that contract, many doors will open with more opportunities to reach others. Or, they will definitely respect me then, and we grow impatient and attempt to discern the why’s of the waiting. Maybe God intends for me to self publish this. Maybe I have the wrong agent. Maybe I am not a writer. ARGH!

Enter the DANGER ZONE.

We hate waiting. Our culture feeds us instant gratification.  In Empty Promises, Pete quotes Lewis Smedes; “As creatures who cannot by themselves bring about what we hope for, we wait in darkness for a flame we cannot light. We wait in fear for a happy ending that we cannot write. We wait for a ‘not yet’ that feels like a ‘not ever’.”

As believers we know we are designed to worship God Almighty. But in our daily lives, we place many things and people in high places. If we are single, acquiring a mate takes all of our focus. If we are childless, we long for a child to fill our empty arms, seeking out fertility experts. Or if we lack the margin in our finances to provide the simplest basics for our loved ones, we idolize success and pursue it. Nothing in this list is bad. All legitimate, doable, and commendable. It is what we do while we wait for the longing of our hearts to be fulfilled that determines if we cross the line into idolatry.

Pete says it this way: “Idolatry isn’t simply a sin, it is what is fundamentally wrong with the human heart”. We are idolators. Not pretty. A rather harsh diagnosis. I personally have no statues I light incense in front of, but I have been guilty of idolatry. I have placed people and things above God. Yet I know God and HE only is worthy of my adoration and worship.

The lies we tell ourselves are insidious, deceptive, and we clock them in biblical verbiage and spiritual platitudes. We know how to guard our idols. Defend our present stand.

The very first commandment is, “You shall have no other Gods before me”. Yet when Moses came down off the mountain, just three months after seeing many miracles and seeing the hand of God deliver them out of Egypt, the Israelites had built themselves a golden calf and bowed before it, worshiping it.

Moses was gone too long.

When are we most susceptible to this sin? In the waiting.

That book contract might help us pay a bill and get the attention of a few friends and family members, or even a little of the limelight, but it will never satisfy our deepest longings.

Pete said, “God gave us that first commandment to spare us the heartache of believing in empty promises.”  

Looking to someone or something to give us what only God can. Get the girl, the guy, lose the weight, climb that ladder, win his/her respect. Been there, done that. Empty promises.

As you wait in your writing path and journey, continually place the next step before him. Psalm 119 reminds us He will guide. He will illuminate the next step. Wait with expectation. He is faithful. And in the waiting:

  • Write another article, blog, or book.
  • Pray for the publishing houses and their editors: ask for wisdom and favor.
  • Help promote another author who made it across the finish line and got published.
  • Take a course, attend a writer’s conference, and read a book that will help you hone your craft.

Keep your focus on Him and not your wait.

Have you ever entered the danger zone? How did you recognize it? How have you avoided this trap of the enemy’s?


Jim Hart said...

Wow. Excellent post! Thanks for some great insight. I'll have to get a copy of Pete's book.

Joy Avery Melville said...

Great post - Even Greater reminder as to WHO we're to put FIRST. Thanks for this post, Diana. I've definitely entered that danger zone - then am reminded by the Spirit that GOD connected me with an agent who firmly believes and reminds me that WRITING WHAT GOD PLACES ON MY HEART comes FIRST - then - THE TIMING IS ALL UP TO HIM. . .when an agent, who does not get paid before my work sells, tells me that. . .I am affirmed in having signed the contract for his representation and can SAFELY trust God with the details. How did I recognize it? DOUBT/FEAR and neither comes from GOD. . .HE nudges me with that same reminder I gave above. . .and how do I avoid the trap? Under advisement of the same agent who's encouraged me to write from the heart. . .I AM WRITING A NEW PROJECT based on a Spark of an idea given me JUST before the ACFW conference - St Louis 2014. . too busy to worry/doubt/fear or anything NOT OF GOD. . .thanks again for this excellent post!

Linda Glaz said...

Amen, Diana. We just never know what will touch us as well as others.

Diana Flegal said...

I highly recommend it Jim. Joy, how beautiful that you recognize the temptation in your waiting. Linda, That is what I love about our God. He uses each of us to get life changing words to those that need them. :-) There is No god like our God.

Anonymous said...

Diana, I love this post.

It reminds me of a quote I came across this morning by Melody Beattie. "Waiting time is not wasted time. Something is being worked out--in us, in someone else, in the universe."

I felt lost, empty, and scared after I sent out my first query last week. As always, I asked for God's will to be done. The idea of doing NaNoWriMo intrigued me, since I know that working while waiting is wise, and I signed up. 22,000 words later I'm at peace that this is where I'm supposed to be...waiting and writing.

Thanks for your encouraging words.

Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

Amber Schamel said...

This is a fantastic post, Diana. Thank you for the encouragement.

Amber Schamel