Category Archives: Karen Jordan

Facing Criticism and Rejection

When Jesus finished telling these stories, he left there, returned to his hometown, and gave a lecture in the meetinghouse. He made a real hit, impressing everyone. “We had no idea he was this good!” they said. “How did he get so wise, get such ability?” But in the next breath they were cutting him down: “We’ve known him since he was a kid; he’s the carpenter’s son. We know his mother, Mary. We know his brothers James and Joseph, Simon and Judas. All his sisters live here. Who does he think he is?” They got their noses all out of joint. (Matt. 13:53-57 MSG)

Do you ever want to run and hide from criticism or rejection?

If you’ve ever spoken to a crowd, taught a small group, written for publication, or communicated your faith in any way, you may have faced a fickle crowd. And you might identify with this story from Matthew 13.

But how can we respond?

Jesus said, “A prophet is taken for granted in his hometown and his family.” He didn’t do many miracles there because of their hostile indifference. (Matt. 13:53-58 MSG)

I noticed a few helpful truths in this passages.

  • Jesus used stories to communicate.
  • People praised Him at times.
  • People also criticized Him.
  • Jesus stayed in tune with His audience.
  • Jesus moved on, when criticized.

Facing criticism and rejection. Reading the account of how Jesus handled this crowd reminds me of an event from my past.

When my close friend, Sara, invited me to her Sunday School class, I hesitated, uncertain if I would fit in. But since her friend, Glenda, taught the class, I agreed to visit.

Hoping I found the right place, I slipped in the door and scanned the room for a familiar face. No one seemed to notice that I had entered. I found a seat close to the door, in case I needed to make a quick exit. I fiddled with my purse, hoping my insecurity would not be obvious.

I got up the nerve to survey the room again, and my eyes met Glenda’s cold stare. I looked back down at my purse, pretending to search for something, as I questioned myself. Am I in the right place? Is this a closed group? Have I done something to offend her? Maybe I’m reading her wrong.

As I fought the urge to escape, I gripped the edge of the cold, metal seat and leaned forward just as Sara walked in the door. Her warm smile calmed my nerves. And as she sat down in the empty chair next to me, I found the courage to stay.

Pleasing people? After several painful interactions with Glenda over the next few months, I listened to some sound advice from my husband Dan: “Some people just aren’t going to like you.”

What seemed to be common sense to Dan, took me by surprise. Up to that time, I believed that I could always find some way to make people like me. I had been successful at pleasing people most of my life—until I met Glenda. She decided that she wasn’t going to like me. Why? Who knows? I could do nothing, but forgive her and move on.

Facing the Unknown Future. I realize that I will always face fickle crowds. And I am still tempted to try to make them like me. But the Bible assures me of God’s unconditional love.

And I am convinced that 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. (Rom. 8:38-39 NLT)

I also hope to remember the example that Jesus gives us in Matthew 13:57 the next time I face a fickle crowd. So, as I prepare for the future, I hope to remember a few important these things:

  • Continue to tell the stories that matter most.
  • Offer thanks for the praise I receive.
  • Ask for God’s help to deal with criticism.
  • Stay in tune with my audiences.
  • Move on, when criticized.

What helps you, when you face a fickle audience?

Untangled Women’s Conference

We are pleased to announce our new

Untangled Women’s Conference:
Detoxing Your Mind, Body, and Spirit to Release All You Are Meant To Be!
 

For more information, see our Untangled Contact Form,
or contact Anita, Kathryn, or Karen (see info below):

Building a Platform? Helpful Resources

“If you want to be a nonfiction author, you’ve GOT to work on building your platform?”

I perked up when I heard the word “platform” mentioned for the umpteenth time at my first writing conference.

Building my what? I didn’t expect this advice at a “Christian” writing conference. In fact, I didn’t even know what the workshop leader meant by “platform.”

Hands popped up all over the conference room, asking questions about “building a platform.”

“Can you give us more information?” Another frenzied writer whined.

A few seats down from me, an older lady with a wrinkled brow whispered to the person next to her, “What does she mean by ‘platform’?”

“I didn’t think ‘Christian’ writers should focus on building a platform,” someone mumbled. “Is that even scriptural?”

The murmurings continued…

I felt my blood pressure rise as I listened to all of the questions and observed the body language of the writers all around me.

I shook my head in disbelief as I considered all that I had done to prepare for this moment—particularly the last five years of academic writing. Is she saying that I need to study marketing now? Oh, great!

A few days later, I abandoned my first writing conference early due to a family crisis. So I didn’t get a chance to hear more about platform building.

Overwhelmed, my thoughts about building a platform and my mother’s untimely death left me dazed and confused. Should I even go forward with “writing for publication” now?

One workshop leader warned us against “quitting your day job.”

Great! I just quit my day job, I whispered under my breath. I had just turned down the offer to teach writing as an adjunct instructor again that semester. Why? I needed to help with our ongoing family needs, and I wanted to focus what time I did find on writing for publication.

After the conference, if someone even mentioned the word platform, I would voice my frustration with a favorite quote from Gone with the Wind, “I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.”

What’s a writer to do? Where can we go for information on building a platform? Back when I started, I had to dig deep for information. Now, you can find more resources than ever before now on that topic.

Michael Hyatt is one of the best resources I’ve found on platform building. I started following Hyatt’s blog on the advice of other writers several years ago. A few years later, when he published his book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, I ordered my copy hoping to improve my own platform. I still recommend this book to other writers who ask me for help in that area. I’ve even led my own writing workshop on platform building based on what I’ve learned.

New Year’s plans. As I launched my first book publication, Words That Change Everything, this past June, I struggled with all the details of platform building—blogging, social networking, speaking, and writing. With all the advances in technology and social media, I’m always seeking new resources and ways to stay up-to-date with publishing info.

What are your plans for the New Year? What have been your strategies? What’s your secret? Did you quit your day job? Do you have any platform building tips that you would be willing to share with other writers?

I’m hoping this blog post will initiate a conversation about platform building. So, I hope to hear from you. Be sure to share your thoughts on this topic in the comment section below.

What resources have helped you build your platform?

4 Powerful Strategies for Claiming Your Promised Land

I hope my post from the WordServe Water Cooler encourages the readers of the StoryWriting Studio to step out and claim their own promised land. Blessings!

WordServe Water Cooler

” … Now you and all the people prepare to cross over the Jordan to the land I am giving …” (Joshua 1:1)

Photo/AnitaBrooks Photo/AnitaBrooks

Standing on the banks of the Jordan, I look across to the other side, gazing at my “promised land.”

Perhaps you’ve been here, too. You’ve been given a vision. And you’re waiting to see your dream become a reality.

I remember the years that I spent wandering through the wilderness on the road to publication, wrestling with my doubt, fear, and unbelief. I recall the first time that I considered writing a book. It seemed impossible, doubting that I would ever see my dream fulfilled. Now, I find myself on the shore, looking across to my promised land.

But wait! How can I navigate the rough waters in front of me? The manuscript deadline? The marketing? The on-going platform challenges? What other obstacles will I face as I try to ford…

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Reflections from Sunrise

Photo/KarenJordan

Sunrise over Lake Cortez

 Fear exhausted me, as I expanded my “to do” list.

How can I work on my book project with so many distractions?

When I asked this question in prayer, a familiar scripture came to mind, “Seek first the kingdom of God …” (Matt. 6:33 NKJV).

But how can I focus on God, when I have all this work to do?

REAL LIFE. I can’t concentrate on my writing projects at times with dishes in the sink or dirty laundry. And when the phone rings, I lose my ability to focus completely. Then, when I expand my worrying about all the details of my life, writer’s block paralyzes me.

A twinge of doubt hovered, as I wrestled with the impossibility of getting caught up with all of my daily tasks.

In my search for answers, I looked up Matthew 6:33 in several Bible translations. What does it really mean to “seek first the kingdom of God”?

I discovered a helpful translation of that promise in The Message: “Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions … You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met” (Mt. 6:33).

Does God’s Word really promise to give me the power I need to overcome my worries as I focus on Him—His presence, His purpose, and His provision? 

Still, I questioned my own ability to accomplish all that I needed to do. 

Lord, can I focus on You and still get all of these tasks completed?

RUNNING. I continued to think and pray about seeking God first about my worries. But I also decided to go for a walk down to the lake before I faced the rest of my projects. So, I tossed my cares aside, slipped into my walking shoes, and locked the door behind me. 

Before I even turned the corner toward, the sunrise took my breath away. I took a quick photo of my  view from the street, hoping to capture the moment. Then, I just stood there, in the middle of the road, mesmerized at the magnificent view in front of me. 

As the sun climbed higher in the sky, I felt energized and inspired. So, I decided to head for the walking trail before I headed back home.

When I put on my earphones to listen to some music, I couldn’t believe the timing of the the first song I heard. “Light Up the Sky” by The Afters lifted my spirits, especially after seeing such a inspiring sunrise, touching my heart and my mind with its truth.

REFLECTION. Later, I reflected on my earlier question, How can I focus on God, when I have all this work to do? And I realized that God had provided an answer to all of my questions even before I had asked.

He drew my attention to the majesty of His creation, as I observed the heavenly canopy of the sunrise reflected in the Lake Cortez, glowing through the trees near my home.

Did God light up the sky to show me that He was with me?

Yes, I could not deny that He was right there with me. He opened my eyes, and I could see evidence of His Presence all around me.

YouTube/theaftersvideos (“Light Up the Sky” by The Afters)

How has God revealed Himself to you lately?

5 Promises for Facing Pressure, Expectations, and Deadlines

Photo/KarenJordan“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32 NLT).

Sometimes I feel like I can’t breathe because of self-induced pressure or someone else’s expectations of me.

And at times, I get tired even thinking about trying to follow through on all of the commitments that I’ve made as a freelance writer.

How do you deal with the judgment that you feel, accusing your of not measuring up to expectations, whether they’re real or imagined?

1. Truth for our accuser. I go to God’s Word for my answers. And I found my first encouraging promise in John 3:17: “God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again” (MSG).

So, when I finally sit down and bring my feelings to the Lord, I recalled more of God’s promises of freedom, strength, provision, and peace.

2. Freedom from judgment. Romans 8:1-2 reveals the promise that there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.

With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death (MSG).

3. Strength for our weakness. God also promises to give me His strength in my weaknesses.

My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become (2 Cor. 12:9-10 MSG).

4. Provision for our needs. Did you know that God also promises to provide all that you need in Christ Jesus? “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19 NLT).

5. Peace through prayer. So, if you’re struggling with self-induced pressure or fighting a battle with judgment or condemnation, I encourage you to stop what you’re doing for just a moment and voice your fears and needs to God. He promises to provide His peace through prayer.

Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. (Phil 4:6-7 MSG)

How do you deal with deadlines and other pressures as a writer?

Anita Brooks: New Book!

BookCover/GettingThrough

Looking for a resource to encourage someone who may be suffering from some heartbreaking life event?

Or have you lost hope of ever getting over a traumatic experience?

Many people experience abuse, financial disaster, serious illness, death of loved ones, and other common traumas, but they never seem to move past the pain.

In Anita Brooks newest book, Getting Through What You Can’t Get Over, she offers emotional, practical, and spiritual insights from experts and people who have survived intense trauma, overcoming seemingly impossible situations.

Often it helps to know that someone else has survived a similar event when we’re hurting. These true stories penned by Anita Brooks offer inspiration and hope for hurting people and for those who want to help others get through what they can’t get over.

Anita Brooks captures the emotional heartbreak that comes with traumatic events in her new book, helping us all see that we really can get through what we can’t seem to get over.

Photo/AnitaBrooksTo me, this proves hope is not a thing of the past. There are still hurting people who need encouragement, practical ideas, emotional healing, compassion, inspiration, and spiritual comfort to get through things they’ll never get over. I wrote this book for people like them, people much like I used to be. (Anita Brooks)

Do you need a resource to give you hope or to encourage someone else? I encourage you to check out Getting Through What You Can’t Get Over by Anita Books.

What resources have helped you through a crisis in your life? 

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