Confessions of an Insecure Writer, Part 2

A war continues to wage within this writing sinner’s heart.

My first three confessions covered identity, comparison, and motives in writing. Here are the final four:

Confession #4: I often don’t (think I) know what I’m doing.

There. I said it. Someone’s going to find me out because I’m not sure I know what I’m doing. By this, I don’t mean I know nothing about how to write. I know something about this. Otherwise I wouldn’t have scored well on research papers in college or be writing anything remotely helpful today…

What I mean is: I’m young and inexperienced and don’t have a turnkey process for writing. I compare myself to other writers (there it is again), and I see the sin in my heart, my mixed motives. All this makes me feel unqualified, undeserving, and, most of the time, incapable.

But this is a good place to be.

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Have You Found the Life You Wanted?

Every day, I search for satisfaction, joy, significance — life.

But I don’t always look for life in the right places. I search, but my quest often comes up empty. I keep chasing after something, but I lack what I’m seeking, even after I think I’ve found it. I hunt for purpose, but I’m left hungrier, thirstier, needier in the end.

I search for meaning in many pursuits — and I ask them to give me life — but they don’t. They can’t because I’m searching for water in the desert.

Only Jesus can give me what I’m really looking for.

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Confessions of an Insecure Writer (Part 1)

A war is waging within this writing sinner’s heart.

We’ll call this war “The Battle of the Insecure Writer.” It’s an (almost) everyday battle, a consistent fight. This is an attempt to describe that war, in hopes that I’ll better grasp its ins-and-outs and fight sin and temptation by the strength God supplies.

I’m also hoping this will help you, fellow writer. You, too, are fighting an inner war against sin, pride, and other fruit of the flesh. The ins-and-outs of your battle may look different than mine, but I’d guess much is similar. I’m hoping this will help you identify sin and temptation, and rest in God’s infinite grace as you pursue writing as a gift, a vocation, a calling.

So here-goes my first three confessions (and there are more to follow)—

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What Should I Do When I’m Struggling to Read God’s Word?

There are times when I read God’s Word…and the words seem to fall flat. I’m hungry to hear from God, eager to meet him in my Bible—yet nothing jumps off the page or particularly moves my heart.

This can feel like looking at a delicious meal, and wanting to enjoy it, but having no appetite for it.

Identify Your Motives

Such hunger and disappointment reveal two attitudes about the human heart, one we should pursue and be thankful for, and one we should confess and flee from:

First, our hunger and disappointment mean we desire God—this is good! We want to hear from him, because we love him and want to obey him. We desire to know the God who speaks and walk closely with him by opening the Scriptures.

But our hunger and disappointment can equally say we expect God to reveal himself on our terms and timing, according to our needs and feelings. If we’re not careful, our time in God’s Word can become less about knowing him and more about checking off a list of spiritual duties to make ourselves feel good.

Usually, our hunger and disappointment are some combination of both. So what can we do? Where do we turn?

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When Satan Demands to Have You

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you…”

Jesus spoke these sobering words to Peter before going to his death. And what a terrifying thought!—to be had by the evil one, to be under his dominion and rule and a prisoner to his deathly purposes. Jesus continued,

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.” (Luke 22:31-34)

Yes, this exchange would’ve been sobering for Peter—how should it impact us? Equally sobering is Satan’s active work to make this a reality for as many people as he can—and especially for Christians. If you’re a believer, what the enemy wants is to fail your faith. He wants to have you: eternally defeated, estranged from God, condemned for eternity—

But Jesus promises he won’t let you go.

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Thoughts from Limboland

We’re moving this weekend. Finally! After closing on our house over a month ago and delaying the move on multiple occasions, the time has come. Right now, I’m looking at the towers of boxes piled throughout our small apartment—and it’s funny because it suddenly doesn’t feel like home anymore. Nor does the new house feel like home—  

It feels like we’re in limboland.

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A Three-Part Formula for Fear

Israel refused to enter the land.

After years of wandering in the wilderness, and after freedom from slavery in Egypt, God’s people should’ve been thrilled to draw ever nearer to the land flowing with milk and honey, the land God had promised them. Finally to be home! Finally to be settled.

Instead, they were afraid. Between them and the promised land stood the Amorites, an enemy God commanded them to defeat, and promised they would defeat, with his help. The Israelites couldn’t see a vibrant, good land for their possession, but only the obstacles. Nor would they take God’s words to heart: “Do not fear or be dismayed.” I will be with you.

In looking at Deuteronomy 1, where Moses recounts the story to his people, we see a three-part formula for fear that’s most likely at the root of our fears today.

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Broken Down on Every Side

I found this in my files last week; I had started writing it a while back, but hadn’t finished. The content was incredibly timely for me, and I pray it will be useful to you:


[God] has stripped from me my glory and taken the crown from my head. He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone, and my hope has he pulled up like a tree. (Job 19:10-11)

Stripped, broken, uprooted. These are difficult words to read, though they’re a strange comfort to those enduring such pains. Job’s confession resonated with me, as he put into words what I failed to speak, not by choice, but because I simply did not know how.

In the darkness of suffering, which looks different for everyone, we are faced with the uneasy, painful reality of having to die to ourselves. My confession: I still don’t fully understand what that means. Yet, day by day, God is teaching me.

Most recently, this dying-to-self has come from feeling that God is far away when I need him most, and that there is nothing I can do but keep believing that he will help me trust him.

We lean on earthly glories, and we boast in our crowns—until they are stripped from us. We then realize that they were crummy gods, unable to give us life, meaning, or joy. They couldn’t bear the weight of our soul’s greatest need, which is to be satisfied in Jesus alone, forever. They couldn’t provide what we were searching for—and it is good when they are “gone.”

God strips earthly glories from us so we will learn to treasure him.

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Don’t Miss the “Hope When It Hurts” Ministry Pack Giveaway!

To walk with others through suffering is a wonderful gift from God.

That’s why we’ve created a special giveaway for you. The Ministry Pack contains two books: one to keep, and one to give to a friend. Whether you’re the one hurting, your friend is struggling, or you’re both enduring a difficult time, walk together through Hope When It Hurts and discover how Jesus is our eternal hope.

In honor of Hope When It Hurts’ launch month, we’re giving away three (3) Ministry Pack Giveaways!


Enter to win a giveaway package when you leave a comment below.


We’ll announce the winners on April 27, 2017.

Thank you for your support, prayers, and ministry to one another!

ministry-pack

 

9 Ways to Miss the Point of Small Group

Thursday night. Bibles open. Six men from the local church pray together. One of them reads Psalm 31 and applies it to his brother. A strong sense of God-dependence fills the room.

Sunday post-lunch. The church is quiet after a busy morning. Kids play in the next room, while five couples gather to discuss the sermon. They hunger and thirst together for God’s truth.

Small group. Missional community. Home group. Life group. Whatever you call the gathering of an intimate number of believers outside of worship services, the goal is the same: fellowship and encouragement around God’s Word.

9 Ways to Miss the Point of Small Group

Yet we can easily miss this. Despite our best intentions, we get sidetracked and forget the goal. Sometimes, despite this goal, we’d rather pursue what’s easier and more comfortable for people—but this lacks transforming power to draw us nearer to God and each other.

Small group has a point, and we’d do well not to miss it. Here are nine ways this can happen:

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