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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Labor of My Hands

by Guest Blogger Christine Lindsay http://www.christinelindsay.com

Psalm 127 says, Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.

This psalm goes on to say, It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors: For He gives to his beloved even in his sleep.

This verse always speaks powerfully to me when I read it. Either it encourages me to be confident that the work I'm involved in is His will.

Or it makes me stop—is the work that I produce on my laptop for 8 to 10 hours a day really His will? Or am I 'building a house' He does not want?

Writing is like breathing to me. I'm willing to put in the long, long hours, the months, the years to hone my craft. It's been 8 years of seriously pursuing a ministry/career in Christian fiction, with a great many sacrifices along the way.

In talking to other writers, this is the norm. It's common that once an author is published, the money they make is a pittance. There's certainly no job security. When one is published, the author is only as good as her last book. And the pressure to market herself and her book takes her away from the labor to produce another.

Yet, with all artists, the desire for wealth and fame is meaningless. It's the art that tugs on our hearts—the desire to use that art to glorify God. It's this that urges us to give and give and give to this labor.

I see this in my son---a musician. As his 'artsy' mother I understand his need to pursue a degree in music—not something sensible like a trade or getting a job in a bank. I relate to his overwhelming desire to honor the Lord with his art, and assist others in worshipping God.

In my work the desire is to help others 'see' God within the words and scenes I type on the page. I want them to understand something of what I glean from the Word of God. What He has taught me through my life’s tumultuous journeys to help others trust in Him.

But we live in a world where food must be put on the table, the roof over our heads must be financed. The gas bill must be paid. And I look at this verse in Psalms and I ask myself like I do every day---Lord, am I doing what you want me to do with the labor of my hands?

I’m at a stage in my life where I must make a choice soon. I’ve been given a hiatus from a normal day job, but that will end in a matter of weeks. Instead of taking a course to help me get a better paying job, I’ve felt a tremendous pressure to finish my third fictional novel, to work hard to 'send it out there' with the hope that....this one will sell.

Is this pressure from God? Or my vain imagination? After all, I'm a writer, my imagination works overtime.

Am I being irresponsible or following the leading of the Spirit to take a huge leap?

I don't know for sure. All I know is that we only live this life on earth once. I’d rather give myself this chance, and if I fail, and must take whatever day job I can find to make financial ends meet, then I will know I tried my best to reach my dream. And every day, the Lord keeps nudging me forward. Don't stop, keep going. I'll provide.

Did he give me this dream in the first place? I believe He did.

All the same, we writers crave the confidence in our spirits that we are doing exactly as He wants us to do.

Then I read the verse in Psalms again. For He gives to his beloved even in his sleep....

He gives to me even while I sleep. While I sleep He works on my behalf. Why do I fret?

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 Christine Lindsay writes Historical Romance and lives in the Pacific Northwest—in Canada actually. Her unpublished novel, Unveiled, won the 2009 ACFW Genesis for Historical. Alas, the setting of that novel—India—did not suit. At the moment she is hard at work on her third novel, Sofi’s Bridge, set in Washington State, just across the border from where Christine lives. Sofi’s Bridge won 2nd place in the RWA Faith Hope and Love chapter, TBL contest for 2010. She loves to write about love—the love between us and God, love between family members and friends, and especially the romantic kind of love. She’s married to the most wonderful man in the world, has 3 grown up kids, 3 grandkids so far, a dog named Zeke and the other love of Christine’s life is her cat—Scottie.

Hi Everyone, Dina here. Christine is my amazing critique partner. I can't begin to tell you how much I've learned from her. She should be stopping by today, so please leave your questions and comments. What sort of "houses" are you building in your life? Have you learned to rest in the Lord?

13 comments:

  1. Christine, you seem like one of those people who "can't not write".
    I love your honesty. Thanks for sharing your journey... I think the story about India sounds brilliant by the way...

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  2. Hi Christine!
    I'm glad Dina brought you over to visit. One of the joys of becoming involved in FHL and ACFW a few years ago was finding so many people who felt as I did about my writing. I think we do have to take it day by day, and I can't help but think that this is what I should be doing (Writing is in the forefront of my mind all day long until I get back to it)
    I hope this third book is the one that takes you from writer to author!

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  3. I had one of those panicky moments recently because right about the time of the ACFW conference, things weren't going great with my agent, and I decided to look for a new one. So I was feeling pressured and rushed to find a new agent so that I could submit to the editors I met.

    I finally had to take a deep breath. Intead I am working on a rewrite of my medieval novel for a small publisher who is very interested in it.

    I just need to leave all of this in God's hands. If this is his will, he'll have to work it out.

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  4. Thanks for this amazing post Christine. I am actually in a place of having to learn to rest in Him and allow Him to take full control. I also want to build a house that is pleasing to Him. After,all 2 Cor.5:9 says that our aim should be to please Him.

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  5. Thank you Dina for inviting me to Inkwell today. I'm on the west coast, so you've all been up a few hours before me. It's only breakfast time here. :)

    We writers sure need each other, eh? It's such a solitary business, but we can encourage one another. And thank you to Cheryl, Debra, and Louise for your comments.

    I hope and pray for your writing career / ministries as well. Let's keep on persevering with faith. Afterall, He is a wonderful Heavenly Father--emphasis on the word, Father. :)

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  6. Great post, Christine. We never must lose sight of the bottom line of our work--to glorify God and increase His kingdom.

    And I am a huge fan of Christine's work. After reading some of Unveiled, I wondered why I bother to write. She has an amazing gift.

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  7. Christine, you have an amazing talent, and I'm so glad you've persevered! You inspire me.

    And Dina, believe it or not it was your experiences with conference/our agent that led me to contact a few editors about my stuff--which led to a whole slew of MS requests. Who knows what may come of it?

    Both of you ladies are so special! I feel blessed to have gotten to read both of your manuscripts.

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  8. Oh, and Roseanna is my other amazingly talented critique partner. I don't know what I did to deserve you ladies, but I'm so thankful.

    Cyber group hug!

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  9. Well with such encouragement from Laurie Alice, Roseanna and Dina, I'm a bit out of breath.

    Considering the talent of these ladies, I'm a bit shy about my own work. Thank you so much all 3 of you.

    I just hope I can live up to such praise. Somehow I doubt it. :)

    It's such a blessing to work with such wonderful authors. You inspire me.

    And personally, I think Laurie Alice should be nominated for Mentor of the Year.

    Guess whose name I'll be putting forward next year.

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  10. I'll second that nomination, Christine! (And her praise is very well deserved.)

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  11. I'll third it!

    Wonderful post, Christine. I'm another that writes because I have to. I've been blessed so much by hooking up with Tiff Colter and getting to learn so many things about writing from her.

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  12. Great to have my fellow His Writers visit today along with Christine. It's exciting to see God moving in your work and who knows what another year will bring.

    Exceedingly Abundantly. That's how He wants to bless us!

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  13. Ladies, this is all about Christine and her truly special gift for writing, not to forget her lovely spirit.

    But thank you for the kind words.

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