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How to Make a Difference Right Where You Are –– Part I

Is he discouraged?

For many years of my life, I felt I never made a difference in this world. I’ve actually fallen off the world a few times, just to see if anyone noticed. They didn’t. Or if they did, they didn’t contact me. I’m learning to make a difference in my own small way, right where I’m at.

How am I doing this? Relationship. It’s all about the relationships you have, and the ones God brings you. In the past, I’ve tried different ways to go about having friends and how I dealt with family. I was very shy most of my life and my interaction with others was quite limited. That may have been why I felt I didn’t make a difference.

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Selfish v. Selfless

I’ve heard that the definition of humility is thinking of yourself less. That would mean that selfish is the opposite––thinking of yourself more. Which one are you?

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Best of Times, Worst of Times

I feel like I’m in the middle of my own personal Tale of Two Cities. Only it’s not two cities, it’s the incredibly good and the very difficult. I can’t remember a year I’ve had like this one. On one hand, some amazingly good things have happened. I’ve shared a lot of that with you on this blog. I’ve also shared some of the difficulty. #amwriting #bestworstoftimes

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Family is All Relative––Part III

Last week, I talked about my friend Darla. How I’ve known her for about 24 years, and we’ve been through a lot together and apart for a while. This week, I want to share Melanie with you. She’s another close friend, and it’s possible she and I have been through more in a shorter period of time, than Darla and I have. #familyisrelative #friendsascloseasfamily

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Keeping the Middle Moving––Part V

Fear is a great tool to provide inner conflict for characters. Keeping the middle of your story moving requires all kinds of different ways to spur conflict. But not all conflict is external. The characters should go through inner turmoil. Though we should not live in fear, our characters should. Click to Tweet #keepmiddlemoving #amwriting

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Keeping the Middle Moving––Part III

A successful objective met in a scene for the character should still lead to more trouble. Let the character stew about a negative outcome from the last scene. What are the emotions? Click to Tweet #keepmiddlemoving #amwriting

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Revelations & Friendships––Part II

After posting two weeks ago the first in this “series” (because who knows how long it will be), a friend called me to encourage me to show some “fight.” Bless her heart. Good friends are like good medicine––they help heal. Click to tweet #friendships #revelations

The flip side to that is that friends can wound with their words. That’s better than kisses from an enemy. Proverbs 27:6 “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” Why is this true? Because friends are for us and should have our best interests at heart.

I was speaking with my editor who will help me publish my novel this year. She’s now beginning to work on it. I told her of another friend who rushed to publication without prior editing, and how the poor quality of the self-published book kept me from reviewing it. Because I didn’t want to give a bad review. I’d rather give no review at all than a bad one––especially to a first-time author who doesn’t have a large writing support system.

What I want to focus on this week is “how” to give encouragement and/or exhortation.

First, check your own heart. What’s your motivation? Job 4:3–5 says, “Surely you have instructed many. And you have strengthened weak hands. Your words have upheld him was stumbling. And you have strengthened the feeble knees. But now it comes upon you, and you are weary. It touches you, and you are troubled.” The speaker, Eliphaz, was one of Job’s three friends who came and sat with him for days in silence when they saw his condition. This is a lesson in how not to give encouragement.

If you read the whole book of Job, you’ll discover Eliphaz is one of the three friends whom God corrected. The only person God did not correct was the younger man, Elihu. Elihu kind of rebuked the three older, wiser friends.

What does it mean to “strengthen weak hands and feeble knees?” I believe in our modern context, that words of encouragement that meet the person where they are emotionally and lifts them up––those strengthen the person.

In the case of my friend who published herself without having anyone look at her manuscript, I sent her a long email, explaining to her how I used to be that way. I didn’t want anyone to see my novel before it was published. But, that’s so unwise. In the case of a book, the more eyeballs on it, the better it will become, because your friends and people who care about you will have your best interests at heart. It’s possible I wounded her with my email, but I wanted to make sure she understood how much I was trying to help her. I was constructive and instructive with my criticism, at least I tried to be. I even offered to edit future works of hers for the only fee of a breakfast out.

One more thing: I was being “real” in my post two weeks ago. Some of my frustrations came out. I’m a human being on this journey of life. When encouraging someone, remember verse 3: “…your words have upheld him who was stumbling.”

When someone is hurting, you don’t judge their wound. You try to heal it. They need uplifting, positive words that lift their spirits. Click to tweet #friendships #revelations