In this training, I talk about how to dare to dream again when you feel like you failed or missed your chance.
Resources mentioned in the video:
- Writing Week: A Free 7-Day Writing Challenge (doors close 3/25/18 at midnight). Sign up at www.writingweek.com
- Write Now: Removing the Obstacles to Your Writing Life. Watch this webinar here: https://www.facebook.com/authoraudience/videos/2066247406965697/
- The Compound Effect book: https://www.amazon.com/Compound-Effect-Darren-Hardy/dp/159315724X/
- Author Audience Academy: http://www.authoraudienceacademy.com/
In today’s training, I’m going to talk about daring to dream again when you feel like you’ve failed or missed your chance. Hi, my name is Shelley Hitz, I’m the owner of Author Audience Academy and TrainingAuthors.com. We’re going to talk about daring to dream again.
As I’ve been thinking about all of the author’s joining my WritingWeek.com group I’ve been thinking about all of these creative injuries, and I talked about his recently on my webinar. How many of you watched the replay? It’s called Right Now, Removing the Obstacles to Your Writing Life. Go and watch that if you haven’t, I talked about creative injuries. So, people have been talking about that in the private group for Writing Week. One of the things that I’ve been thinking about is how, sometimes, we allow our dreams to die. Maybe it’s a perceived failure when you think that you’ve failed, or when you just feel like you’ve missed your chance. I told you to do this before, to write the book, or whatever, or you had this idea for so many years, you’ve had this manuscript on your hard drive for so many years and you just feel like you’ve missed your chance. So, I don’t know if that describes you, but either way I really have some encouragement that I want to share with you today in this video.
Today my husband and I went to Every Home for Christ, it’s an international ministry that reaches so many people with the gospel all the time, and their based in Colorado Springs. We went there for their School of Prayer. During the School of Prayer, I just felt like God kept giving me different things to share with you on this live video. I literally was taking notes, every time I felt like God gave me something I would take a note and take a note. Then I just flagged all the scriptures that He had given me to share with you today. So, I really want this to be an encouragement to you, I want this to be God’s words and not my words, so let me just pray.
God I just thank you so much for each writer, for each author, for each dream that they had, whether it’s related to writing or not. I just pray that this particular video, this particular training would be an encouragement to each person that listens. I pray that my words would be Your words. I pray that You would just speak through me, that I would just simply be Your mouthpiece, Your voice, today. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
So, I have been rereading the book The Compound Effect. It’s a great book, I had already read it, but I was like, “you know what? I just really need to reread it. We’re going into Writing Week where we’re talking about establishing a reading habit,” and I wanted to reread that book. It’s really great, and chapter 3 is all about habits. He shares this story that I thought would be great to start with today. So, he says:
A wise teacher was taking a stroll through the forest with a young pupil and stopped before a tiny, tiny tree. He says, “pull up that sapling.” The teacher instructed his pupil, pointing to a sprout just coming up from the earth. The youngster pulled it up easily with his fingers. “Now, pull up that one,” said the teacher, indicating a more established sapling that had grown to about knee high to the boy. With little effort, the lad yanked, and the tree came up, roots and all. “And now, this one,” said the teacher, nodding to a more well-developed evergreen, that was as tall as the young pupil. With great effort, throwing all his weight and strength into the task, using sticks and stones he found to pry up the stubborn roots, the boy finally got the tree loose. “Now,” the wise one said, “I’d like you to pull up this one.” The young boy followed the teacher’s gaze, which fell upon a mighty oak, so tall the boy could scarcely see the top. Knowing the great struggle, he just had to pull up a much smaller tree he simply told the teacher, “I’m sorry, but I can’t.”
This is the powerful part of the story.
He says, “my son, you have just demonstrated the power that habits will have over your life. The older they are, the bigger they get, the deeper the roots grow, the harder they are to uproot. Some get so big with roots so deep you might hesitate to even try.”
This gets me excited when I think of positive habits when I think of developing a regular writing habit. Can you tell I get excited? Can you see what can happen if you start now, and you develop this habit of writing daily? Even just 15 minutes a day. Think about the roots that are growing down deep, think about the habits that you’re forming, positively, that nothing can pull up. Nothing can bring you down, because that habit is so well established. Some of you today may have some bad habits that feel like that big tree, like, “I can’t, I’m not even gonna try to take down that bad habit, it’s so deeply rooted.” You know what? I want to tell you that there is power in God to demolish strongholds, whether it’s an addiction to social media, whether it’s just boundaries, having co-dependencies and helping everyone else with everyone else’s dreams but never working on your own dreams. Whether it’s a habit of some sort of addictive substance, eating too much, whatever it is that might be sabotaging your writing. There is power to demolish those strongholds.
Darren Hardy goes on to say, in that same chapter, that instead of having willpower we need to have why power. Now, I talked about my webinar Wednesday about how knowing your why is so important to really push through the resistance you’re going to feel. Angela Meyer commented on the webinar. She says, “knowing your why silences the enemy.” Wow, that was powerful. Yes, so true. But, what God said to me today is, “Shelley, it’s not about willpower, it’s not about why power, it’s about Holy Spirit Power.” It’s in Zachariah 4:6, “…‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord All Mighty.”
Darren talks about, when you know your why it can truly change how your actions will be. For instances, he gives the example of if you have a 2X4 that’s 20 feet long, on the ground, and I offer you $20 to cross it you’ll probably cross it like, “yeah, sure,” and get the $20. Now, you put that 20-foot 2X4 and put it on the top of two skyscrapers, and then I ask you if you will walk across that 2X4 for $20, probably what is going to be your answer? You’re probably going to say, “no, no thanks.” But, he says, if the other building is on fire and your child is over there, will you walk across that 2X4 to go and get your child and save their life from that fire? Absolutely yes! It’s because of your why, it’s because of your motivation.
So, your why is so important, knowing why you are writing, why you want to finish this book, what it is that God’s called you to do. Why is it that this is for this season and it’s so important? But it’s not about willpower to form these habits, it’s not even really about why power, it’s about Holy Spirit power.
I want you, today, to dare to dream again that you can form these consistent writing habits, that you can finish your book, you can finish the work. Like I talked about in my live video earlier this week, about Moses and Exodus. He said, “I finished the work,” finished the tabernacle, crossed that finish line. You can, with the Holy Spirit Power, you can do the work, you can finish what you maybe feel like you failed at before. You’re not too late, you’re not behind, your chance is not over. I said you feel like you failed or missed your chance, but you didn’t miss your chance.
If you’re living, breathing, and alive right now, you still have a chance. Amen? You have a chance to do what God has called you to do. It is not too late, you are right where you need to be. I believe God is getting ready to do a might work in our lives, a mighty move in His spirit, and that He is going to do the work in us. It’s not by might, not by power, but by My spirit, says the Lord.
So, lately, as I’ve been praying, I’ve been asking God for pictures. I’m very visually oriented, I’ve always, always had pictures, analogies, that’s always been the way God has spoken to me. Lately it’s been even more vivid, and lately, He’s given me pictures of people for prayer. Before that webinar on Wednesday I was asking God for a picture, and I just got a picture of a fire. Initially, the sense I had was the fire was burning up all of the obstacles because we talked about a lot of obstacles on that webinar. That fire was burning up the obstacles, burning up the excuses, they’re gone in Jesus’ name. Then, today, he was like, “Shelley, the fire is also my Holy Spirit.”
Acts 2 is where the Holy Spirit first comes to the disciples after Jesus leaves. When we were at Every Home for Christ this morning Doug Eastman was speaking and he said he was always taught that Jesus’ last words were the great commission, “go into all the world and share the gospel.” He says, “but actually, Jesus’ last words are about wait for the Holy Spirit, and then you’re going to go.” So, let me read:
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit…
If you are a follower of Christ it says that we are sealed with the Holy Spirit we receive. There are different thoughts on the Holy Spirit and I get that. We are here to be here in unity, but I want to tell you that for a lot of my life I was not taught, really, about having the Holy Spirit empower me. It wasn’t until I went through some of my darkest times, when I was struggling with an addiction to pornography, struggling to forgive my grandma’s murderer which happened when I was 8 years old, but this is my late 20s that God really began to show me the Holy Spirit wanted to have a personal relationship. The Holy Spirit is here to help me and empower me, and really to fill me. I had an encounter, I remember it was back in 2009, with the Holy Spirit, and things have just never been the same.
I want us to not just get some writing done to get some writing done. I don’t want this to just be about productivity and cranking it out, grinding it out, I want this to be about something much bigger than us. Guess what? If we push forward in our own strength, whatever we do in our own strength we have to maintain in our own strength. I’ve been there, I’m a redeemed workaholic, I know what that feels like. It is suffocating, it is tiring. But, when we are led by the Holy Spirit, and we allow Him to come anew in us and through us, and we allow Him to lead us, what is it that He wants you to write this week? What is it that He wants you to do this week? What book does He have for you to write? It’s going to be so much different, and it’s going to flow. It’s going to flow, the creative flow, when we’re operating in the Holy Spirit.
So, as I was really thinking about this today, and I was just writing notes, and I’ve gotten this picture a few times lately specifically for some authors, I’ve gotten this picture of a dam. A dam is built so that it holds back the water and it provides energy and electricity, but also, I believe that some of you have this dam that’s holding back your creative flow. It’s holding back your books, it’s holding back your writing, it’s holding back what God has for you as a creative, as a writer, as a follower of Christ, as a daughter and son of Father God. It’s holding back, it’s those obstacles, it’s those things that are saying, “you’re not good enough, don’t even try! You missed your chance. You messed it up. You failed.” Have you ever heard those words before? I think we all have in some way, that voice of shame that says, “you’re not good enough.”
I saw this dam holding back all the things that God has for you, your giftings, how He wants to flow through you, how He wants to bless others as you receive the blessing from God. As you receive the Holy Spirit then it just flows through you to others. I saw this dam and I saw it just opening up, opening up and all the sudden the Spirit of God just rushing through each and every one of you, writing those books, doing what He’s called you to do, and just seeing that flow come back to life. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this week is Easter week. When I planned this God just gave me the whole, “OK Shelley, do this webinar this day then do the Writing Week.” This was not my plan, none of this was my plan, all of that was something that I really believe God gave to me in prayer when I was listening in prayer.
We were in church last week and they said, “April 1st is Easter,” and I’m like, “oh no! I scheduled Writing Week between Palm Sunday and Easter!” I’m like, “oh no! My audience is primarily Christians!” This is our biggest celebration of the year, and all the sudden the Lord is like, “no Shelley, this was meant to be.” Because, what does Easter represent to us as Christ followers? Easter represents new life. Easter represents something that was dead being brought back to life. Easter represents overcoming all evil, all sin, it’s gone! What Jesus did on the cross for us, all the obstacles, the shame, the fear, the overwhelm, everything the enemy throws at us, it’s been covered, it was nailed to the cross. We have victory in Jesus because of what he did for us on that cross. That’s what we celebrate in Easter. I felt like the Lord said, “no Shelley, this is a perfect time, because of what it represents. It represents victory, it represents new life, it represents something that was dead being resurrected to new life!”
Maybe your dream has died. Maybe you feel like you missed your chance. Maybe that manuscript that you started years ago is gone, or you just don’t have any passion to finish writing it. I don’t know, I don’t know what your story is. I’d love to hear it. Maybe there’s something in you that’s died. Maybe someone said something to you like, “you’re not good enough, how are you gonna write a book? You can’t make any money on that. You need to go back and do something else. Why are you even doing this? This is wasting your time.” It goes on and on, there are things that people can say that pierce us and something inside of us dies. Something inside of us says, “yeah, I’m not gonna dream again. I’m not going to try to resurrect that manuscript, or that book idea, or that dream that God had given to me for a ministry.” I want to tell you that I believe that God is on the move right now, and he is wanting to resurrect something in you right now.
Erin Brown has a song, and there’s a lyric in it that says, “no more dead, dry places.” God just really ministered to me through it. My husband, as he was praying for us, and he prays for us before I go live, he reminded me of Ezekiel 37:4-5
Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.
I really believe in a similar way He’s wanting to say this to so many of you right now. “This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” You will come to life, your book will come to life, your manuscript will come to life, your dream, whatever it is, will come to life.
Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’
When your hope is gone, everything is gone. Some of you, today, may be feeling like, “yeah, I want to do this,” but your hope may be a little bit gone or completely gone, I don’t know.
Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel.
The resurrection remember? God was just giving me all these pieces of the puzzle and they all just kept fitting together. Verse 14 says, “I will put my Spirit in you and you will live…” He wants to bring whatever has died in you, I don’t know. There’s something, I really believe, God’s just putting it strongly on my heart. I have a strong sense, from the Lord, that many, many of us, especially creatives, where creativity is not really celebrated much in our culture right now, that something in us has died. The dream that God has given us has died, or so many different ways that can be, but something has died and he wants to bring it back to life.
Even if you’re watching this video later, this message is still for you. God still wants to bring those dead things in you back to life. He is a God of the resurrection, He is a God of second chances, He is a God of grace. We’ve never missed our chance. There’s always another chance if you’re living and breathing you have the opportunity, right now, to say, “Satan, in the name of Jesus, no more!” Ask God to release that dam to creative flow so that it’s flowing for what in and through your life.
Liz says, “my creative pilot light is very, very small.” Whether it’s small, whether you feel like it’s completely out, God is able to reignite. He is able to bring that back to life. He is able to do what we cannot do through willpower, or even why power. Self-help, as much as I love The Compound Effect, as much as I know it’s true, and there’s a lot of Biblical things in it, there are sometimes that willpower alone, and why power alone, are not enough. That’s when we need the Holy Spirit power. He’s able to do exceedingly, abundantly above what we can even think or imagine.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
So, along with this same message, recently, after I gave a keynote at the Writers on the Rock conference I felt a very strong urge that I needed to put a post on Facebook and say, “I just want to pray for any writers or authors that need prayer, just post in the comments below.” I started getting some and CJ and I began to pray together and pray for these authors. Again, like I said, God speaks to me in pictures. I have a very visual mind, that’s how I work, and so I was praying for one particular writer, and I was praying for God to birth this book in her life. That’s very common for me to talk about, those of you that know, right? You know I talk about that. I talk about birthing the book, your book baby, I talk about that a lot. That particular moment all of the sudden I got this overwhelming feeling that the enemy was trying to come in and cause a miscarriage.
Now, I have had a miscarriage, and I had no idea how difficult it was going to be, emotionally and spiritually, to walk through that, until it happened. You think, “OK, it wasn’t like a baby in your arms,” but it was still, to me, the same. It was very, very difficult. It was almost one year, it was December 2013 and all of 2014 was a blur just trying to walk through and get through. I was grieving, it was hard, it was a tough time. So, when I got that sense and that picture of the enemy trying to come in and cause a miscarriage I immediately had all these emotions because that’s very near and dear to my heart. Then, I was praying for that person and just telling them what I had sense, that this was a spiritual battle, to fight in God’s strength, but afterward, it kind of bothered me.
Then, I was like, “Well, Lord, what might happen if there is a miscarriage and someone doesn’t birth their book, they feel like a failure, they feel like they’ve missed their chance, they feel like whatever you’ve given them is gone? What then for them?” I just had this weird feeling of, “what then?” I felt like the Lord showed me this morning, when I was at Every Home for Christ, with the Easter theme coming up, Jesus died but God rose Him from the grave 3 days later. He overcame all sin, it’s why we can now be in heaven someday when we ask Christ to forgive us of all sins. If you feel like you may have had a miscarriage, a failure, that you missed your chance, a dream from the past, I want to tell you today that God wants to bring new life, he wants to raise that part of you that has died, that part of you that’s dead, back to life.
In my story we have not had a child, God has not given us the gift of a child. It was the last services of 2014 that I was sitting in church and I sensed God saying, “Shelley, it’s time to move on.” I had done the grieving, I had done all the steps, I had walked through the process, I had done all the work, and I was ready. Sometimes you’re not ready, sometimes you need to grieve more, or you haven’t grieved, but I had done the work. He said, “it’s time for the next season.” It was just very shortly after that that I began my personal brand and getting ready to launch Author Audience Academy. I very clearly sensed God saying, not an audible voice, but saying to me, “Shelley, you’re going to help give birth to many, many things.” The two things that I sensed he was going to help me give birth to was birth to dreams and birth to books.
I’m kinda like a midwife, you know? That just hit me right now, birth to dreams, and we’re talking about right now daring to dreams. Those dreams that have died or been gone for years and years and years, I really sensed, “Shelley, you haven’t had physical birthing of children, but I’m going to use you to give birth to many, many dreams, many, many books that will impact many for Christ because of the Gospel message getting out.” Your books will impact people that my books never will. People in your sphere of influence will read your books because it is amazing! You wrote a book! They will read your books. There are so many ways that God wants to use your books.
So, if you’ve felt like you had a miscarriage and that it was over, and there was nothing that could be done, I want to tell you that God wants to breathe new life into that dream, new life into that manuscript, new life into that book. He wants to see you give birth, for that thing to come to life.
So, today Dick Eastman also shared a story, and he shared a scripture that God had given him from Job. I thought it went really well with what we’ve been talking about of new life from something that’s dead.
“At least there is hope for a tree:
If it is cut down, it will sprout again,
and its new shoots will not fail.
Its roots may grow old in the ground
and its stump die in the soil,
yet at the scent of water, it will bud
and put forth shoots like a plant.
God had literally given him a picture, when he was out in the forest one time, of this dead, dead area of the forest. He was sitting on this stump and it was dead all around, but God had him keep looking closer, closer, closer, and as he got really close he saw little, tiny shoots of green life coming back from the dead. All the dead area, all around, and God showed him that was a picture of what He wanted to do in many people’s lives through the ministry of Dick. God has continued to do amazing things through him.
I also believe it’s a picture for some of you today. You may feel like there’s a lot of deadness, a lot of stuff. It’s like, yeah when you’re a kid you can dream about writing a book, being an artist, you can dream about these things, but when you’re older you need to be responsible, right? That’s what the enemy will tell us, and yes we do need to pay the bills, I’m not saying to quit your job today, but are you willing to open your heart, to dream again with God? I just feel like this keeps coming up again for me personally, like, “Shelley, dream again with me. Dream with me. Not just what you can accomplish on your own strength but dream with me. Listen.” Pressing in and listening to God, what does He have for this season? What does He have? It’s typically more than we can even think or imagine because that’s the way God works.
If you’re doing things simply in your own strength, that’s probably what you’re going to get. But, when we are open, and sometimes that requires healing from those creative injuries, those things of the past, and forgiving ourselves for not finishing the work earlier, forgiving ourselves for quitting. I talked about my story of quitting music and many different instruments on the webinar. I had to forgive myself. Sometimes there is a healing process that takes place. Yet, are you willing to dream with God?
Something else that God had just brought up to me today, and all of this just kind of came, was the story of Esther. I love the story of Esther. I’m not going to go into it fully because I think most of you know the story, but in Esther 4 starting in verse 14, this is Mordecai talking to Esther. Esther was queen at the time and had a position of influence.
For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
We are all in different positions, we’ve all been prepared and positioned differently for different assignments. I believe that God has given us all different assignments and for different seasons. What is the assignment that God has for you right now? That’s where I want you to be, that’s where I want you to be flowing, that’s what I want you to be working on right now. What is the assignment God has for you? Where has He prepared and positioned you for “such a time as this?” Your assignment is going to look different than mine.
Right now, I just really sense God saying, “Shelley, this is a time of harvest.” I have been doing online marketing since 2004, 14 years. I published my first book in 2008, 10 years ago. This is not my first rodeo God’s like, “OK, Shelley, it’s time, it’s time to start going even more.” I don’t know what that means. I’m just along for the ride. We’re all in different seasons, for you, it might just be a planting the seeds season, it might just be getting up the old, dry soil and preparing it. We all have different assignments and in different seasons. It goes on and Esther asks Mordecai and the Jews to fast and then says this.
“When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”
She was willing to risk her life knowing that the entire Jewish population was depending on her. “If I perish, I perish.” She was put in that position for such a time as this, and spoiler alert, the king listens to her and the Jews are saved because of her obedience. What is God asking you to do? It may be really hard, it may require a lot of sacrifices, it may require you to stop watching Netflix for three hours at night, it may require you to get really firm on your boundaries with family and friends, it may require you a financial sacrifice to sign up for the coaching you need. Maybe you decide not to eat out at lunch so many times a month so that you can invest in Author Audience Academy or something that can help you. Maybe it will require sacrifice in other ways. Are you willing?
Are you willing, first of all, to listen and ask God what He has for you? Because I can’t tell you. I can coach you through the process and say, “this sounds good or that.” But, honestly, you have to get alone with the Lord, you have to learn to hear His voice and ask Him what it is He has for you in this season. Ask Him for, not willpower and not even just ht why power, but for the Holy Spirit power to do what He has called you to do. He has prepared you and positioned you for such a time as this, whatever that means for you, whatever your assignment is from the Lord right now.
Even if it’s hard, even if it’s a sacrifice, even if it’s difficult, it is so worth it. He will be with us and it doesn’t have to be a dread, it doesn’t have to be a drudgery, we can actually enjoy it. Like I said on my webinar, I had this ah-ha moment when CJ was praying for me and he was praying, “Lord, I pray that she would not see it as a pressure, but as a privilege.” All the sudden a light switch went off and it was like, “oh, yeah.” I can’t take all the pressure anyway, this is God’s thing. It is just simply a privilege to be a steward of the gifts that He has given me, you know the parable of the talents. So, if you’re feeling that pressure, from what God’s called you to do, I pray you would just say, “pressure be gone in Jesus’ name. Satan be gone in Jesus’ name. And, Lord, thank You for this privilege. Thank You for the privilege of being able to do what I do. Thank You for the privilege of being able to use my voice for your kingdom in this time, for such a time as this, in my sphere of influence, for whoever You want to reach. Thank You for this privilege of being able to share my voice, of being able to write what You have given me to write, to share my testimony, to share what You’ve done, to share what I’ve learned, to help other people.”
“If I perish, I perish.” You know what? We have something much better coming, the best is yet to come. Amen? If you are a Christ follower, if you’ve accepted Him as your Lord and Savior, if you’ve asked Him to forgive your sins, and if you’ve asked Him they’re forgiven, we are walking with Him and living with Him, and we have heaven to look forward to. This life is but a breath, it’s but a blip, and it is a privilege to be His voice, it is a privilege to write what He has called us to write, what He has given us to write. It is a privilege! Amen.
I got a call from my friend today, and she is in the final stages of finishing a book. She said she woke up today sick, vomiting sick, and she’s like, “Shelley, I feel like it’s the enemy trying to stop me. I have momentum and my husband said, ‘I feel like you just need to turn up Jesus instead of giving a lot of power by focusing on the enemy.’ I just got in my bed, I was resting. I took a nap and when I woke up I felt so close to the Lord. All the sudden the Lord was like, ‘I am the author and the finisher of your faith. You’re not behind, you are right where you need to be.'” This reminded me of that verse in Hebrews 12. I love it.
[let us] fix our eyes on Jesus, the author, and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning it’s shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
He’s the author guys, we’re just the pen, we’re just the vessel. It takes the pressure off, it’s not about us, it’s not about us figuring out with our willpower, developing these consistent writing habits, it’s all about Him. That takes the pressure off. Amen?
This, my friends, is a picture of victory, and He has victory for you. Yes, it is a spiritual battle, and yes there may be days where you feel like, “the enemy is trying to stop me.” That’s why I believe we need to write in community. That’s why I believe every Christian writer, every Christian author needs a prayer team. All of those things are important. That’s why I have the Facebook group for Author Audience Academy. If you’re an Author Audience Academy member and you have gotten something out of the community we have, if you’ve gotten encouragement, just share it.
A community is powerful because you remember, “I’m not alone,” you have people that can help you. It’s like the story of Moses when his arms were getting tired and Aaron came along and held up his arms, because every time his arms started coming down they started losing the battle, every time his arms were up he was winning. So, he had people come beside him and hold his arms up. We can do that for each other, we can help each other on those days where we just get slammed and we just want to give up. It’s like, “no! Don’t give up! God is with you! You can do this in Jesus’ name!” So, that’s why a community is so important.
I want to see you get unstuck, I want to see that dam breakthrough and that creative flow start going. I want to see the books come out of you, published, that God has called you to publish. I want to see you cross that finish line. I want to see you do what God has called you to do for such a time as this. But, I can’t do it for you. I can encourage you, I can pray for you, but there is some work that you have to do with the Lord. There is some work that, as much as I would love to be able to reach across the computer and do some of this work for you, I can’t forgive the people for you that have hurt you in the past creatively, have told you no good, or, “who are you to write a book? I found mistakes in your book.” You have to come to the Lord and ask the Holy Spirit for the power to forgive them.
I can’t forgive you for maybe quitting or letting go of that dream before, that’s something that you’re going to have to bring to the Lord and ask Him to help you forgive yourself for that time in the past. I can’t maintain your relationship with the Lord, that’s something that you have to do. What I can do is, I can encourage you, I can inspire you. I can encourage you, I can inspire you, I can teach you, I have a gift of teaching. I can pray for you, I can give you the tools that will help you take the next step. But, there are some things that you have to choose to do.
When we were at Every Home for Christ it is all about prayer there. They said when they put an emphasis on prayer their entire ministry changed and that’s when it just exploded, salvation, all this ministry just started flowing in and flowing in when they chose to put the emphasis on prayer. I felt like the Lord was saying to me today, “Shelley, I want you tomorrow,” so on Sunday, “to spend time in prayer for this week.” So, I’m going to commit to that. What I’m going to try to do is go into the Facebook group, the members list for Writing Week, and pray for each one of you by name. So, I’m committing to spend time in prayer tomorrow for you, I’m not getting paid to do this. God has clearly shown me my business is also my ministry, and I want to do this for you. I want to serve you in this way.
He also made it very clear to encourage each one of you to spend some time, whether it’s today or tomorrow, if you can, in prayer. Ask God, “what is it I need to do? What is it I need to deal with? Who is it I need to forgive? Do I need to forgive myself? Do I need to allow myself the permission to dream again, the permission to be a beginner? The permission to write every day, the permission to actually do something for me instead of taking care of everyone else?” Maybe just get out a paper and pen, a journal, you’re writers, so this comes naturally. Take out a paper and pen, I call it listening prayer, or two-way journaling, where you’re writing out your prayers to God and listening to what He’s saying back to you. There might be some stuff that you need to deal with, and that’s some stuff that I can’t do for you.
No matter how much I teach you, no matter how much I encourage you, no matter how much I inspire you, if you don’t deal with some of the stuff that you need to deal with you may be the same. I don’t want that to happen! I don’t want that to happen! Will you commit to me that you will be willing to spend some time in prayer? Either today or tomorrow, I don’t know what your schedule is like, but find some time. Just say, “Lord, what is it that You have for me? What is it that I need to work on or work out?” Or just dream again! Dream again with God. I can’t do that for you, I can’t sit there and dream with God for you, that’s something only you can do. Will you commit to spending some time with God? Just even 15 or 30 minutes of journaling out, praying, and asking the Lord what are the dead places, are there dead dreams, miscarriages so to speak? Were there manuscripts, book ideas, ministry? “What is it that You want to bring back to life in me?”
I promise you, if you put yourself in a position to receive from Him, amazing things are going to happen. Now, will it happen tomorrow? I don’t know, it can! Sometimes he takes us through a process, the long way. Have you read the book Hinds Feet on High Places? It’s about the whole journey and a metaphor of the Christian life. Sometimes it’s ups and downs. Lately, I’ve been listening to the song that talks about the hills and valleys. It speaks so much to me because my life has had so many hills and so many valleys. I’m there with you, I understand, it’s not a straight march, straight line, success doesn’t look like a straight line.
If you chose to do the Writing Week challenge and you do it simply in willpower, you will probably get a lot down this week. You will probably, through willpower, chose to write every day this week, but that maybe it. Willpower lasts for a little while, and then it just dies out. If you have the Holy Spirit power and you know your why, and you have that why power, you know the why power is important but not as important as the Holy Spirit power, you’ll continue past this 7-days whether you join Author Audience Academy or not. I want to see you cross the finish line, I want to see you succeed. I want to see you write what God has called you to write. I want to see you share your voice with this generation, with those that need to hear what you have to share.
God never wastes anything. Whether or not you’ve tried and given up, no matter what’s happened in your past, related to your writing, He doesn’t waste anything. He loves you. What you do does not define you. Pride, which is the opposite of shame in many ways, pride says what you do defines you. I lived by that for many years. That’s not true. Who you define you. So, if you are a follower of Christ, if you are a son or daughter of Father God, that’s what defines you. You are created in his image, any failures from your past don’t define you, any successes don’t define you. When you can get to that place, whether failure or success doesn’t define you, that’s when you know that you are living in the identity of a son or daughter of God.
Because it doesn’t matter! You know you’re loved, you know you’re taken care of, you don’t have to earn God’s love. This isn’t about God needing more kids to work on the farm. He doesn’t need us to work harder for Him or to publish these books for him, but He’s inviting us to do it with Him. He’s inviting us to be part of the process. He’s inviting us to create with Him. It’s an invitation, it’s not a have to, it’s a get to! This does not define who we are, what defines us is our identity in Him.
Let’s go ahead and pray:
God, I thank You so much. I thank You for what You’re doing right now in the hearts, in the minds, of the authors that are listening right now. Lord, I am just seeing fireworks going off right now, Lord, fireworks of celebration of the breakthroughs that are happening right now for writers and authors that are choosing to come to You. They are choosing to let go of any past mistakes, failures, or any dreams that have died. They are choosing to allow You, through Your Holy Spirit power to bring them back to life. This week means more to our faith than anything else. Jesus, we just want to say right now, thank You for the sacrifice You made on the cross for us. Thank You, thank You so much. You nailed our sins, You nailed our failures, You nailed our shame, our pride, all of this stuff, You nailed our fear to the cross and it has lost its power. You have the ultimate say, the ultimate victory, so I thank You that You are giving victory right now to these writers and authors. Lord, I thank You that this week will be the most prolific week of writing in their lives, not because of me, not because of what I’m doing or what I’m teaching, but because of what Your Holy Spirit is doing in their lives. I thank You God for what You’re going to birth in each one of them. I thank You for the dreams you are bringing back to life. I thank You for the brand-new dreams you are birthing right now. I thank You for the books that will be birthed into the world that are going to impact people from all over the world. Lord, I thank You for the words that are going to flow, I just see it like a river of words that are going to flow this week as we write together. Lord, we will be careful to give You all the glory and all the praise. This is not about us, it does not define us, success or failure. We are secure in our identity as Your sons and Your daughters. So, I just thank You for all that You’re going to do this week, for how You’re going to activate us. I pray this in Jesus’ name, amen.