Please welcome this week’s guest Julie Lessman for The Journey. She answers the question: How have you seen God work in your writing journey?
He must increase, but I must decrease.”
How have I seen God work in my writing journey?
Well, let me put it this way—despite the fact that I’ve put on five extra pounds over the summer, the Scripture above is not talking about shedding body weight, although heaven knows I need to. Nope, today I’m talking about the latest lesson God has taught me on my writing journey, which is about “dieting” of another kind. A spiritual diet where the ME in the equation has to shrink to let HIM become more—in my life and in my writing. To take a backseat on the bus and let God take the wheel, because heaven knows HE is far more qualified to steer us to the peace, joy, and contentment we all long to have.
I won’t lie to you—I’m a very aggressive driver, which is why it’s probably a good thing that these days, I mostly let my husband cart me around. You know, “Driving Miss Julie”? You see, by nature I have a lead foot (tempered by speed limits, I assure you) and can switch lanes faster than Mario Andretti, sometimes on two wheels. So I’m pretty sure my blood pressure (and that of anyone driving with me or around me) is higher than normal when I am behind the wheel. Heck, the last time my husband even let me drive was when he had a colonoscopy and had no choice, a procedure he swears was far superior than my driving.
Regrettably, I’m inclined to agree. By the time I get home from driving somewhere, I’m usually stressed and hyper and going a mile a minute, which for a CDQ (caffeinated drama queen) is NOT pretty. But … it’s the strangest thing. When my husband is behind the wheel, I am suddenly relaxed and content and able to read or chat as if I’ve been tranquilized (I know, hard to imagine, isn’t it?). And that’s when God finally got my attention with that still small voice:
“Julie, step away from the wheel.”
“Lay it down,” the gentle thought came, brimming with love.
I swallow hard. “Uh … lay what down, Lord?”
A quiet pause, as if God were waiting for me to finally listen. “Your hopes and dreams. Your need for control. Your need for approval. Put it on the altar, Julie, and step away from the wheel.”
Gulp. “But you don’t understand, Lord—I have books to promote, emails to answer, comments to write.”
“Give me the keys, Julie—now.”
I blink, visions of my daughter wrestling the car keys from my hands when I turn 65, like she always threatens to do. My palms begin to sweat as I stall. “I don’t understand, Lord—what keys?”
“The keys to your career. Lay them on the altar like Abraham did and walk away.”
A shiver travels my spine as “The Abraham Factor” looms large in my mind, something my main hero Bram Hughes introduces to my subordinate hero Logan McClare in book 3 of The Heart of San Francisco series, Surprised by Love. And something I knew God was calling me to do the minute I penned that scene as follows:
Bram propped elbows on the arm of the chair and steepled his hands, staring out the window over Logan’s shoulder, the gloom of night the perfect backdrop for the subject he broached. “You see, I’ve learned the hard way that when it comes to the most precious things in my life, the safest place to keep them is in God’s hands. To trust Him to do for them and me the very best thing.” His eyes met Logan’s. “No matter what that is.” He expelled a wavering sigh. “Because if I love someone—really and truly love them—I’ll always want to give them God’s best, not mine.”
Rising from his chair, he nudged Logan’s cup of coffee toward him before he picked up his own. “Abraham loved his son fiercely, waited decades for God to honor His promise to give him a son in the first place. And then one day, God—Abraham’s ‘friend’, mind you—asks him to lay that precious son on the altar and give him up. Sacrifice him—just like that. And you know what?” Against his will, tears glazed Bram’s eyes as his gaze locked with Logan’s. “That man didn’t balk or miss a beat. Nope. Because Abraham’s trust in God was so strong, he actually told his traveling companions to ‘abide ye here and I and the lad will go yonder; and we will worship, and come again to you.’” Bram shook his head, overwhelmed as always at the strength of Abraham’s faith, the certainty that somehow, someway, God’s best would prevail. “And you and I both know what happened, Logan. God stayed the knife in Abraham’s hand, giving him his son back because of his remarkable trust.”
“Trust,” Logan whispered in a low drone, “the very reason I’ve lost Cait.”
Bram nodded, his tone quiet but sure. “And the very thing that will help you find God in a way you’ve never experienced Him before. He wants you to trust Him, Logan, to put your love for Mrs. McClare on the altar where God can do with it what He wills for your good and hers. And whether He stays your hand or not, your sacrifice of obedience will be rewarded with more peace and joy and hope than you ever believed possible.”
Logan’s brows dipped, the deep wedges indicating his skepticism. “And you really believe that?”
Bram smiled, remembering his own lack of faith before God had proven it true. “I do.”
And you know what? So do I. Deeply. Which is why I finally took my hands off the wheel this year and gave the keys to God. A God Who not only knows the direction to my ultimate peace and joy, but can guide me there while I sit relaxed in the back seat, enjoying the ride.
Driving Miss Julie, if you will. And you, too, if you’ll let Him.
So … what do you need to put “on the altar”? Because there’s plenty of room in the back seat …
Award-winning author of “The Daughters of Boston” and “Winds of Change” series, Julie Lessman was American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Author of the Year and voted #1 Romance Author of the year in Family Fiction magazine’s 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards. She has also garnered 17 RWA and other awards and made Booklist’s 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction. Her book A Light in the Window is an International Digital Awards winner, a 2013 Readers’ Crown Award winner, and a 2013 Book Buyers Best Award winner. Contact Julie and read excerpts from her books at www.julielessman.com, or through Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or Pinterest or by signing up for her newsletter.
Only $2.99 each for two brand new Christmas novella collections from the Seekers called Hope for the Holidays. The historical collection features novellas from Julie Lessman, Mary Connealy, Myra Johnson, and Ruth Logan Herne, while the contemporary collection features novellas from Marcy Connealy, Mary Connealy, Audra Harders, Sandra Leesmith, Ruth Logan Herne, Tina Radcliffe, and Missy Tippens.