Month: December 2023

204 – Advent Anchors for Troubled Waters

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Advent Anchors for Troubled Waters Write from the Deep Podcast with Karen Ball and Erin Taylor Young

The Advent season is about celebration and expectation. Though we’re almost finished with Advent, the four themes of the season can be anchors for you all year long! Come explore these Advent Anchors to keep you safe and steady in troubled waters.

But first, thank you to all our patrons on Patreon! You help make this podcast possible!

I love Advent. I love the sense of anticipation, the way it teaches us to watch and wait, to celebrate and prepare for not just Christ’s birth, but for the day He will return to this broken, weary world. It’s celebration of what has happened and expectation of what will happen. Though the Advent season this year is almost over, the four themes of Advent—hope, peace, joy, and love—can carry us all year long. In fact, we need to carry a spirit of Advent through the whole year. To help us do that, we’re going to discuss four Advent anchors that can hold us firm and fast, no matter what troubled waters come our way.

Advent anchor 1 – Put your hope in God’s word

Let’s start with the Advent theme of hope. Writers are well acquainted with hope. When we embark on the task God gives us to write, we are full of hope and expectation for what God will do in us and through us. As time passes, though, and we experience the good and bad of the writing life, it can become harder to hold on to hope. And when we get bogged down in the state of the world and the church and publishing, it can become almost impossible.

How do we hold on to hope? We take a firm grasp on Advent Anchor 1 from Psalm 119:14: “You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.

Advent Anchor 1 is to put your hope in God’s Word! What does that mean? It means trust. Trust what his word says rather than what you see around you, i.e., the world and all its problems.

If you trust what the world is saying, there’s no way to avoid becoming discouraged. Hopeless. But when you put your hope in God’s word, you understand this world is the enemy’s playground. He’s doing all he can to derail God’s work and His redemption of the lost. Compelling truth.org says it this way: 

“When humanity chose to listen to Satan rather than God, Satan became ‘ruler of this world’ (John 12:31). This means that Satan has a degree of authority on earth, and Satan’s objective is to cause suffering, death, and separation from God. …Never forget that ‘the devil prowls like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour’ (1 Peter 5:8). Satan is the king of deception and desires us to believe the lie that God does not care about our suffering (John 8:44).”

The key to being hopeful in a seemingly hopeless world is to keep our focus on God and the undeniable truths in his word. 

John 3:16 begins with, “For God so loved the world…” That means he cares about every one of us, believer and nonbeliever alike. He sent his Son to die for us and restore us to Him and His love. 

Psalm 34:18 tells us that God comforts the brokenhearted. If He didn’t care, why would He do that? And Psalm 89:14 says, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne; love and faithfulness go before Him.”

These are only a few of the many Scriptures that put the lie to all Satan is and does. Hope in God’s word, friends. Trust what God says. Then, no matter how turbulent the waters around us, we can know we’re held fast by Almighty God. We can echo the psalmist in Psalm 42:11, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

Advent Anchor 2 – Let Christ’s Peace Rule in Your Heart

Many of our books have carried a theme of peace to readers. We’ve crafted stories that take readers on a journey through struggles into the arms of God’s peace. Yet, how often do we ourselves wrestle with anxiety, fear, and a sense of inadequacy? How often do we wonder if God really gave us this task to write his stories and books, especially when we consider things like sales and contracts and the many human measuring sticks of “success”?

Which leads us to Colossians 3:15: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…” That leads us right to Advent Anchor 2: Let Christ’s peace rule in your heart.

Colossians 3:15 ends with a fascinating fact: “…since as members of one body you were called to peace.” Called to peace. I looked in Webster’s for a definition of call, and found a boatload, many of which didn’t seem to fit in this context.

Then I looked for the Jewish word used in this verse, and found that it’s kaleó, which means “I summon, invite” and “I name.” That last meaning really hit me. In fact, kaleó is also used in Matthew 1:21: “…and they shall call his name Immanuel.”

God summons and invites us to peace. But more than that, as his followers he names us peace. In other words, that’s who we are in him. His peace is a part of our spiritual DNA. Even as a father imparts traits to a child, so God, when we accept Christ, weaves his peace into the very fabric of who we are. All we need to do is embrace it, as his beloved children. To choose it over those powerful worldly emotions that seek to drown us. 

If you’re struggling with negative emotions, with wondering why God asked you to write when you can’t seem to gain any ground, with family or personal crises…it’s time. Choose God’s peace. Place it, not emotions, on the throne of your heart. Usher God’s peace in with an open heart. Because his peace is more powerful than any turbulence. His peace pours oil over troubled waters. 

Okay, story time. I’ve always wondered where that phrase, pouring oil over troubled waters, came from. Turns out it’s an Irish priest named Utta and the Irish missionary, St. Aidan. Before a sea voyage, brother Utta went to St. Aidan and asked him to pray for them as they traveled on the sea. He did so, but also gave them some holy oil, saying, “you will meet with a storm and contrary wind; but be mindful to cast this oil I give you into the sea, and the wind will cease immediately; you will have pleasant calm weather to attend you and send you home by the way that you desire.” 

Sure enough, Utta and his companions were caught in a terrible storm, and were sure they would die. But Utta remembered St. Aidan’s words, grabbed the vial of oil and threw it on the raging waters. Immediately, the waters calmed and the sun came out, and the rest of their voyage was safe. 

What we see in that story, and in Scripture, is that embracing God’s peace requires action on our part. Yes, it’s a part of us, but we must turn to it and choose it when everything seems to be saying the last thing we should be is peace-filled.

How do we do that? Philippians 4:6-9 gives us the perfect guide: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” 

Step One: Prayer and petition with thanksgiving in every situation

To be clear, this is telling us to be THANKFUL for the difficulties that have made us anxious. Why would that be? I think it’s to give us opportunity to do exactly what our guest Rachel Hauck was talking about in our last podcast episode: Watch and wait and see what amazing thing the Almighty God is going to do.

Step Two: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

It’s an old principle: Garbage in, garbage out. What you put into your mind will produce a result. Put in what is true, noble, and so on, and you get God’s peace. Put in Satan’s lies or the world’s ideologies, you get anxiety, worry, and worse. 

Step three: “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice…” Philippians 4:9

There’s so much wisdom in the Bible, and Paul shares a wealth of guidance for godly living. But we need to do more than just read it. We need to put it into practice. Follow the wisdom in the word of God. Do the things we’re instructed to do as his followers.

The result of following these three steps? “…The God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:9

Advent Anchor 3 – Tap Into God’s Joy 

I’m sure you’ve all heard people speak many times about the difference between happiness and joy, so we’ll just start here with this: Joy is based on internal factors. Happiness is based on external factors. 

Now, there’s nothing wrong with happiness. It’s fun and positive. But it can be gone as fast as it comes. Poor book sales, canceled contracts, massive rewrites, unfair reviews…so many things in the writing life can kill happiness.

But joy that’s based in God has staying power. It’s an attitude of the heart and spirit. Because it’s from God, it can co-exist with other emotions, even negative ones. We can be joyful in the face of anger, fear, even unhappiness. Joy is grander and deeper than happiness, and God’s joy carries us through whatever storms we encounter. 

Advent Anchor 3, then, is tap into God’s joy. How do we do that? How do we immerse ourselves in that divine, sustaining joy?

David gives us some tips. Consider Psalm 16:11: “…in your presence there is fullness of joy.”

Step One: Spend time with God

Just as you can’t build a healthy relationship with other people without spending time with them, you can’t find joy in your relationship with God unless you spend time in his presence, talking with him, getting to know him and learning what he thinks of you. Trust me, it’s good news!

The great thing is that wherever you are, God is there, too. All you need to do is turn your heart and thoughts to him. Seek his presence. Revel in his accessibility to you. He’s never too busy, never distracted, never dismissive. Think about that. There is no other person in the whole wide world you can say that about. God’s attention is always on you, and he’s waiting for you to seek him out. So do so. 

David’s next tip is from Psalm 33:21: “In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.”

Step Two: Trust God

My hubby and I have been through a lot of difficult things over the nearly forty-four years of our marriage. Some of them were devastating. After a number of years and crazy things happening, we developed a sort of mantra for our lives: “God is in control. I may not understand it, I may not even like it, but I trust him.”

Do you trust God? Really trust him? To the point that you can echo with Job, “Yea, though he slay me, I will trust in him” (Job 13:15)?

If you’re not sure, then let me encourage you to dig in and explore whether or not God is trustworthy. Even if you do trust him, dig in and be reminded of God’s character. If you seek him, he’ll show you who he is. I guarantee it. 

The next step to tapping into God’s supernatural joy comes in the first half of Psalm 9:1: “I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart”   

Step Three: Praise him

When we praise God, we focus on who he is, what he’s done. Praise ushers us into his presence, and centers our hearts and minds on him. Praise reminds us of God’s intervention in our lives and of the blessings he has given us. Praise breaks the chains Satan tries to put on us by enlisting God’s protection and action. Praise restores our souls and infuses us with joy. 

Finally, consider the second half of Psalm 9:2: “I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.”

Step Four: Testify

If you’re a parent, remember the first time your child took a step? What did you do? Told everyone about this amazing feat! Or the last time you saw a great movie, what did you do? Told your friends and family about it. Or the first time you got a writing contract? You sang it from the rooftops!

When God works in your life, when he blesses you or upholds you, when he brings you relief or an answer to prayer, when he opens your imagination and gives you a story solution you never would have thought of, when he speaks to or through you at a writers’ conference…whatever he’s done through and for you, tell others! Let people know the wonder of following this loving, all-powerful, unbelievably kind God. Don’t keep it to yourself, friends. Sing it out!

Follow these tips from David, and you’ll be able to say with him: “I will be filled with joy because of you…O Most High.” Psalm 9:2

Advent Anchor 4 – Dwell in God’s Love

Love is my favorite Advent theme. My favorite theme for the whole year! Love. Not just any love, but God’s love. There is no comparison to God’s love. No love so amazing, eternal, or far-reaching. His love is what draws us to him. It’s what motivates us to do whatever task he’s given us, even when it’s something as hard at times as writing. 

Advent Anchor 4 is the simplest, and yet the most profound: Dwell in God’s Love.

There are so many verses in the Bible about God’s love. In fact, He tells us about his love 310 times in 280 verses! But here’s the deal: even if you read those verses over and over and over, you’d never fully understand God’s love for you.

In Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:18-19 he says, “And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” 

Yet there is nothing more deserving of study and exploration. God’s love is the beginning and end of all that exists. It is what brought us all into existence, and it is what will usher us into eternity with him. So what are some resources to help you better understand God’s love? 

  • Scripture is your number one resource. Meditate on it, read it, study it. God’s word is a love story.
  • Fellowship with other believers is another resource: church, Bible studies, fellowship groups. The more we share our experiences with God’s love the better we all understand it.
  • Books about God, both fiction and nonfiction
  • Podcasts about God
  • Spending time with God, listening to him
  • Singing or studying hymns

As someone who grew up in the church, I’ve long cherished hymns. I’ve often told writers that if they want to see powerful, concise writing, read the classic hymns. Their powerful truths reveal the wonder of God’s love.…

O Love that Will Not Let Me Go

“O Love that will not let me go, I rest my weary soul in thee; I give thee back the life I owe that in thine ocean depths its flow may richer, fuller be.”

The Love of God

“The love of God is greater far
  Than tongue or pen can ever tell.
It goes beyond the highest star
  And reaches to the lowest hell.

“The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
  God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled
  And pardoned from his sin. 

“O love of God, how rich and pure!
  How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
    The saints’ and angels’ song.”

And Can it Be?

“And can it be that I should gain an interest in the Savior’s blood? Died he for me, who caused his pain, for me, who Him to death pursued? Amazing love! How can it be that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?”

Can it be? You’d better believe it! Because God’s love for us has no end. When we accept that love and dwell in it, every moment of every day, nothing can shake us. No storm, no trial, no disappointment, no upheaval…nothing can dislodge the anchor we have in his love. Not just for the coming year, but for our whole lives. 

As Romans 8:38-39 tells us:

“Nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Benedictions

As we close this podcast, we want to offer the following benedictions for each of these themes. May they encourage and bless you today and in the coming year. 

A benediction of hope from Romans 15:13:

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

A benediction of peace from Philippians 4:7:

“[May] you …experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

A benediction of joy from 1 Peter 1:8-9:

“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and … you believe in him… [May you be] filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

A benediction of love from 1 John 3:1:

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”

The writing life is almost never smooth sailing, but as Christian writers, we have rock solid hope. Here are 4 advent anchors to keep you safe and steady in troubled waters. #christianwriter #amwriting Share on X
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

What is your favorite thing about the Advent season?

THANK YOU!

Thanks to all our patrons on Patreon! You help make this podcast possible!

Thanks so much to our December sponsor of the month, Priscilla Sharrow! She’s working on her memoir called Bonked! Life, Love, and Laughter with Traumatic Brain Injury, which will release with Redemption Press. Learn more about Priscilla at her website priscillasharrow.com and follow her blog for the TBI/PTSD community.

Many thanks also to the folks at PodcastPS for their fabulous sound editing!

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203 – Watching, Waiting, and Anxiety with Guest Rachel Hauck

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Watching, Waiting, and Anxiety with Guest Rachel Hauck Write from the Deep Podcast with Karen Ball and Erin Taylor Young

So many things can go wrong on our journey as writers, leaving us wondering how we will ever deal with the problems that come at us. Guest Rachel Hauck encourages us not to waste time and energy on anxiety, but to learn how to watch and wait on Almighty God.

About Rachel Hauck

Rachel Hauck is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. She’s a RITA finalist and winner of Romantic Times Inspirational Novel of the Year, and Career Achievement Award. She writes vivid characters dealing with real life issues. Her book, Once Upon a Prince, was made into an original Hallmark movie. She also loves to encourage new writers and sits on the Executive Board of American Christian Fiction Writers. Visit her website at rachelhauck.com to find out more.

Thanks to our sponsors on Patreon, we’re able to offer an edited transcript of the podcast!

Erin: Welcome, listeners. We’re super excited that you’re here with us. We’re continuing our conversation with the fabulous Rachel Hauck, and we are going to dive right in.

I love this other thing that you had said, Rachel. You said, “God removes those things that hinder his love and hinder our love.”

I’m guessing you’ve probably had some experiences that taught you that. Do you want to share some of that?

Rachel: Absolutely. We have this chorus that we sing in a church. It says, “I want to be free from everything that keeps me from loving you.”

I think I’ve prayed for years, “God remove everything that hinders love.” 

The writing journey itself, you know, the highs and lows and the successes and the disappointments and all of that kind of re-fixes your gaze back on him. It’s like, “Why are you doing this?”

Learning not to compare yourself to other authors, for example.

Karen: Oh, that’s a biggie. 

Rachel: That’s a biggie, biggie, biggie. Cheering them on, being on God’s team. You know, when I hit the New York Times in 2016, probably a little bit of the Eeyore in me said, “Okay, next year, it’s not going to be you. It’s going to be somebody else and you’re going to have to be on their team. You’re going to have to cheer that person on.”

She wasn’t in our market, but Lisa Wingate, she just blew up the world with Before We Were Yours. 20,000 times more sales than my book The Wedding Dress. 

But, I cheered her on. Praise God for that story. Praise God for the gift of her writing and that story.

In 2021, out of the blue, an opportunity came to me. In the midst of the opportunity, and considering the opportunity, and going through the process—which ultimately we did not do—I started getting hit with this anxiety. Out of the blue, like I couldn’t do it. Or, “What if I can’t do it?”

It would come like once a week for 24 or 36 hours, and then I would go through it. First I thought it was the project, just working through, “Are we going to do the project?” 

Then it was not the project. So I felt like, “Okay, whew, done. That was weird.”

But then something else would pop up or, I would see something on Facebook or whatever. It was the weirdest thing. It would just come. I could feel it coming, and guys, it just drove me to my knees. 

I had dealt with it before probably more hormonally, but not at this kind of intensity, not like this at all. What’s funny, what the prelude to that was that during COVID, Tony said, “Hey, I’m going to get up at five and pray.”

I started getting up at five and praying with him. Then he said, “Well, let’s pray on the fives.”

So we’re praying at 5:00am and 5:00pm, and with the few prayer meetings that we had at church, somedays I was praying three hours. I was really doubling down on reading the Word every day on the YouVersion app. I’m thinking, “I’m ramping up.” 

I was ramping up for a battle. And bam, here comes this battle in 2021, about a year later. I started in May. Finally in July, I said, “All right, I have had enough of you. You hit me, I’m gonna hit you back.” 

I downloaded a counter on my phone like the old counter your mom might use to count up the grocery money in the store. I put an app on my phone, and you could put little titles on it, and I loaded up the verse addresses. You know, Philippians 4:6-7. I did Psalm 43:3-4. I did 2 Timothy 1:7 and Isaiah 26:3. 

Peace verses. God verses. I loaded them up and then I just quoted them, and I counted how many times I quoted them. I think I quoted Philippians 4:6-7 around 118 times in two weeks. 

I said, “It’s a divine exchange. This anxiety that I don’t want to admit must somehow reside in me body, soul, and spirit, so I’m going to do a divine battle. I’m going to put God’s Word in and drive anxiety out with God’s Word.” 

It is a fight. It is a battle. Every night on my five o’clock walk, even in July in the Florida sun, I’m walking, and I’m talking, and I’m sweating. 

Other things then would come up. “Rachel, you have a little bit of bitterness towards some things that happen in publishing. You need to deal with that.”

“Rachel, you have some resentment. You need to deal with that.”

It was gentle. As I was gazing at God, I was seeing the things in me that needed to be dealt with. These things were hindering love. Finally there was this deep down moment that I had to say, “God, I think deep down, way, way, way, way down there, I don’t trust you. I don’t trust that you have my good at heart.”

But in the midst of the suffering, I was seeing the good. I’m telling you guys, I probably wept every day. Good God tears every day for two years. 

Just somewhere along again, in that moment of suffering, in that dread, in that uncomfortableness, whatever would hit me. I remember one time I was in church, I was leading worship, and I was sitting on a stool, and I literally felt like I was going to fall over. I was just clinging to the keyboard. I’m like, “I’m just going to fall off the stool.”

I hadn’t slept well that night. I just felt crappy. But he stayed with me. 

The anxiety began to lift going into 2022. The Lord just began to lift it. In April, I kind of had a small wave and the Lord said, “Be in Psalm 139.”

So I read Psalm 139 every day. I just turned it into a prayer. There was an issue I had with a certain food and the Lord said, “You’ve got to stop being anxious over this.”

Hebrews 4:12, says that the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, and that it divides between soul and spirit, joint and marrow, thoughts and intentions of the heart.

That is every part of our being. The Word of God can rightly divide. Those things begin to change as I begin to do the divine exchange of my stuff that hindered love for the reality in the living Word being sown in me.

Yeah, you got to stay with it. We’ve kind of missed the fives lately. Still in prayer, but different hours and kind of off our routine. But it’s still me fighting to be in the Word, and fighting to stay in that place, and fighting to stay passionate. 

Of course there are seasons of rest. That was an intense season. I didn’t have to stay that intense because I was in a fight at that time. But I don’t want to lose the passion. I don’t want to lose the reality of just feeling his presence.

I’m telling you now, even more than ever before, and I’ve been a believer since I was six years old, I’ve been in prayer meetings since I graduated from college, regular prayer meetings. I’ve been in one prayer meeting we’ve had at church for 30 some-odd years. I’ve been at that meeting. 

But after 2021, I can sit in there and just begin to pray with the people and just begin to weep. The presence of God is so different for me. I believe he removed those things that hindered love.

Erin: Yeah, exactly. Oh my gosh, that’s a lot. You went through a lot with that. I guess what I want listeners to catch is that it was years. 

Rachel: Yeah. 

Erin: It was years of intense prayer and intense suffering and intense fighting. Sometimes I think we don’t realize that we are called to that battle. The Christian walk is not a walk in the park. It’s a fight, and it’s a fight that we’re meant to win. We’ve already won it through Christ, but yet we still fight to take hold of it. To completely grasp it all through prayer, through the Holy Spirit, through our Scripture memory. That’s it. 

Rachel: And if you don’t know what to pray, open your Bible and start praying it. 

Erin: Anything.

Rachel: Yeah. Anything. I mean, even just naming the patriarchs, just do it. It’s living and active. 

I think it was warfare and that’s one of the things we don’t…well, we’re uncomfortable with that, right? We don’t want to talk about warfare to that extent. But when those things come, and they do come, and it may be more external for you—maybe it’s someone who’s selling your name or bad mouthing your name or gossiping your name or hindering you on the job… 

Karen: Or critics. 

Rachel: Or critics. Right! We don’t read reviews, writers. You go to the Lord with it. But you’re also a critic of yourself. 

Erin: Yeah. 

Rachel: You know as a writer, I have to stop. I have to be very careful of that, because I’ll accuse myself of not being good. “I’m not as good as so and so.” 

Well, who’s the accuser of the brethren? Satan is the accuser of the brethren. Let’s not agree with him. 

Erin: Right. I think that’s a common thing that, especially women, but all people go through this imposter syndrome and the constant thought of, “What if I can’t do it?”

Man, I have sure had that going through my head! I’ll confess right now, every time our website pops up with some kind of gobbledygook problem that I don’t understand and I call Karen and whine to her about it, the whole time I keep thinking, “What if I can’t fix this?”

It’s always just, “What if I can’t? What if I can’t?”

I forget to think, “So what if I can’t? So what?

It’s helped me so much to put that word in front of it. So what if I can’t do it? 

Rachel: That’s right. 

Erin: God’s going to figure that out. Sometimes it’s so hard for us to remember that the battle is the Lord’s and we take it on and we’re not supposed to. We’re just supposed to walk where he tells us to walk and do what he tells us to do, but trust him for the getting it right and the doing of it and the making of what he wants to happen happen. 

I don’t know why in our humanness we keep trying to pull that job back. I don’t know what we can do to not do that but what you did, Rachel. Keep on praying. Keep on battling it. 

Karen: Don and I watch a lot of BBC mysteries and in one of them, the protagonist who was an inspector in the law enforcement kept doing that. Kept going by himself to deal with stuff, and kept getting hit on the head, and kept getting accused of killing somebody. Every time he went off by himself to try and do what he thought needed to be done, Don and I were like, “Don’t do it! Don’t go by yourself!”

We need to realize that for ourselves. Don’t do it. Don’t try to take this on by yourself. This is God’s work, not yours. 

Rachel: That’s so true. One of the things that I learned, without getting into too much detail, one of the things that hit me—and this started in May, now this was October, and I was going to take off November from social media. But I saw something on Facebook with some old friends and there was kind of a little bit of a hesitancy for me to be involved. 

I got in this huge dilemma. Do I go to this gathering? Do I not go to this gathering?

Guys, it was just weighing on me. It was dread. I would hate to even open up Facebook because if they nailed down a date, then I had to decide.

Oh my gosh, I was darned if I do, darned if I don’t. That kind of thing. And it never happened. I felt like the Lord kept saying, “Watch me, watch me, watch me.”

I’d counsel with younger women at church or younger people at church and I’d say, “I just don’t know how to get out of this.”

But now I’ll say, ” Oh no. Oh no, watch, watch.”

What it taught me was to say, “I don’t know how this is going to work out, but you’re going to work it out. You’re going to work it out.”

Again, it was getting rid of that thing in me. To be honest, it could have been one of those deals where it was like, you know, “Rachel, just deal with it. Don’t worry about it. Just deal with it. It is what it is.” You know, kind of like why would God interfere with these other people? 

But it was like, “No, watch. Watch what I do. Watch what I do. Watch.”

Karen: I love how often God says that in Scripture: watch and wait. Watch and wait. 

Now, we watch, but we’re not so good at waiting. We’re kind of like, “Hey, Jesus, you’re not operating on my timeline here. I’ve been waiting a long time.”

And he’s like, “You’ve been waiting five minutes. Get over yourself. Trust me.” 

Erin: I think that’s part of the childlike trust and faith that we just can’t seem to catch on to as adults. When you have kids, they’re going to trust you when you tell them, “Hey, don’t worry about it. We’re not going to get lost going to the store.”

I had that fear when I was like five years old. We’d be driving in the car somewhere and it’d be like forever. I’d be like, “Oh my gosh, we’re just going to get lost. How does Dad know where to go?” 

I always trusted him. But I kept thinking, “What happens when I grow up? I’m not going to know.” 

As a child, we can trust that Dad knows where he’s going. That’s what we need to have. That’s the attitude that we need to have with God, the trust that just stops thinking of all the human things we keep trying to think of, and instead grab on with that childlike faith. You know, “Dad’s going to catch me if I jump into the pool. It’s fine.” 

Rachel: That’s really true. You know what else Jesus says a lot and God says a lot: Don’t be afraid. Fear not. 

Erin: Yeah. Do not fear. Everywhere. 

Rachel: Yeah. Watch for that, guys. 

Erin: So why are we afraid? 

Karen: Because we’re human. 

Rachel: The world we live in. 

Erin: I’ve loved this conversation. We’re pretty much at the end of our time here, Rachel, but I want to mention one other quote of yours: “I discovered dreams are best realized when running in partnership with the living God.”

Would you have any final words of wisdom or encouragement that you would want to give to help listeners hold on to that partnership and understanding?

Rachel: I think that’s it. Find that place in God. I think we make it so hard. We think in our mind, “How am I going to do this thing with God?”

I just say fix a time that’s yours. Get your Bible reading going. Just do it. There’s Bible reading apps. YouVersion has a Bible reading app.

You read a couple of chapters a day, and just start there. Start filling yourself with the Word of God. Even praying prepared prayers. A lot of times that helps. I am horrible at praying a list, but in my notes on my phone, I paste prayers in there. I paste Scripture. 

As you’re reading the Word, go to the Psalms and just open it up. As you’re reading it, turn it into a prayer. It’s getting that part of your heart alive that will make the reality of running with God all the more real, and maybe that you won’t care as much if it takes so long for something that you want to happen. 

You can start asking God,”In this journey of waiting, draw me near to you. What’s the process?”

If you’re wanting to have a book published, if you’re learning to write, if you’re waiting for something to happen with your writing, just keep leaning on him. God doesn’t want any one of us sitting on the bench. He’s got a plan for all of us, and each one of our journey is unique. 

Mine’s not the same as Erin’s, not the same as Karen’s, not the same as any other writer. It’s unique, and it has blessings in it for all of us. He’s loving. He’s a kind father, and he leads by the positive. 

As parents, we often go, “Kid, you can’t do that,” or “Kid, you’re like this,” and we point out the negative. But God’s more likely to go, “How about you do this? How about that?” Or, “Kid, you’re this,” and he points out the positive. 

I was walking down the street one day and I helped this lady. This was during all of that 2021 mess. I’m walking and praying and doing my Scriptures, and this lady needed help with her groceries. So I carried her groceries to an apartment across the street. I’m walking back, and the Lord just says to my heart, “Rachel, you’re so kind.”

I almost fell on the sidewalk weeping because it was just such a moment with the Holy Spirit. I told my husband that God telling me that I’m kind, rather than the negative of telling me I’m selfish, or that I only think of myself, or whatever, did more to make me want kindness than pointing out the negative would have.

Listen for that positive voice of the Father. And yes, every once in a while he still says, “Hey, you need to stop doing that.”

Karen: This has been wonderful. Thank you so much for all the wisdom and all the guidance. Friends, I think that we can all say an amen to what she shared with us, and especially an amen to watching and waiting. In everything that we do, let’s keep our focus on God. Let’s watch and wait and know that he’s in control and he’s at work.

Erin: Amen. 

Rachel: Amen.

Guest @RachelHauck encourages us to give up anxiety and instead to watch and wait on Almighty God. #amwriting #christianwriter Share on X
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