A few weeks ago, I invited our StoryWriting Studio reader to join me in my “40-Day Challenge: Telling the Stories That Matter Most.” As part of that challenge, I discovered that I needed to take some time out from my on-going writing projects to examine why I continue to drop the ball on some of my most important projects. I need to resolve that problem. But instead of completely disappearing from my personal blog and the StoryWriting Studio, I decided to share a few post from the past that might give you more insight into my journey as a writer.
Writing Life: Taking Time Out
When you have a flat tire, you must stop long enough to change it. (Dan Jordan)
When life sends us a “flat tire,” it forces us to take the time to stop and deal with it. If we don’t, it might destroy the tire and the rim. Then, we will have an even bigger problem.
Flat tires. The “flat tires” of life are different for each person. You may discover another problem with your car, like a strange knock in your car’s engine. Or you might find a virus on your computer. But you’d better not ignore them.
My husband manages a lot of the business problems at work. And when people get computer viruses, they often tell him that they don’t have time to deal with them. But he usually goes straight to the root of their problem. He reminds them that if they don’t stop and take care of the virus issue, eventually it will corrupt their work and shut their computer down.
Health. It’s hard to just stop what you’re doing at times, right? Even if you experience a health issue, like chest pains, a back injury, the flu, or an allergic reaction to something? In fact, I almost killed my husband with my guacamole once—he had an allergic reaction to some overripe avocados. So, we both had to stop in the middle of our dinner to deal with his unexpected breathing problem.
I’ve learned that I can’t ignore symptoms of health problems, especially as I’m getting older. But even if you have a newborn infant, you can’t ignore some symptoms. My youngest grandson experienced a bout with the RSV virus. I’m so grateful that his mom didn’t ignore his first symptoms—he might not have survived without her intervention.
Spiritual. You can apply the same truth to a spiritual problem. Sometimes, I refuse to stop and seek God for guidance. But God’s Word encourages us, “Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God … above everything” (Psalm 46:10 MSG).
Work. So, when I complained about some work-related problems to my husband recently, he just repeated his “famous” statement to me. “Karen, when you have a flat tire, you must stop long enough to change it.”
Honestly, I had ignored Dan’s advice earlier, and my “flat tire” had put me out of commission for awhile in my work. And for me as a writer, that meant totally laying down my work and seeking God for new direction. But I still struggled with the decision, since I knew that I couldn’t explain my decision to everyone. “What would people think? I’ve made all these commitments!”
Promise. Then, I remembered a promised from God’s Word: “Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met” (Matt. 6:33 TNIV).
I hope you remember to stop and check out the “leaky tires” in your life. Don’t wait, like I did, until you’re stranded in the middle of a busy highway, without a car jack or any help in sight.
What changes to you need to make in your writing life to “tell the stories that matter most”?