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 Click To Tweet

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