I Am With You

One Way to Discipline Yourself for Success In Writing

Success and Personal Discipline

Sometimes becoming successful happens by being lucky. Examples of “lucky” success include winning the lottery, finding a painting or first edition of a book at a garage sale or estate sale that ends up worth millions, or having distant relatives leave you a fortune in their will.

You might even write and publish a book full of typos and grammatical errors that somehow captures the public’s fancy and sells many copies. While I haven’t read it myself, I hear the E. L. James “Fifty Shades of Grey” falls into this category.

Well, you get the picture. These things could happen but the likelihood of them happening to you while not impossible is slim to none.

Success generally requires consistent hard work. This article will look at the necessity of personal disciple to be successful viewing six “musts” for God’s Word. Then I will give six additional points from the Bible that will provide a plan for self-control.

The Necessity of Personal Disciple: To be Successful…

1. I must master my moods.

Proverbs 25:28 English Standard Version (ESV),  “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.”

A writer needs to put their bottom in the chair and write on a regular basis. You need to go to work even when you don’t feel like it.

2. I must watch my words.

Proverbs 13:3 (ESV), “Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.”

Are you a nitpicker or a good finder? As a writer, you receive a book review that you disagree with. Don’t get into a disagreement with the review (in person or online).

3. I must restrain my actions.

Proverbs 19:11 (ESV), “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”

2 Timothy 4:5 (ESV), “As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

Do you react with passion or respond with grace? The former can hurt or even destroy your writing ministry. The later both honors God and allows your witness to be untarnished.

4. I must stick to my schedule.

Ephesians 5:15-16 (ESV), “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time because the days are evil.”

If you don’t schedule your time someone else will. I am not suggesting  a detailed minute by minute schedule but a general one. For example, I do my quiet time early in the morning, followed by three to four hours of writing, and then end my morning with a walk. My afternoon is for reading, the business of writing activities (as opposed to writing the first draft), and answering emails.

5. I must manage my money.

Proverbs 21:20 The Living Bible (TLB), “The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets.”

The obvious takeaway is to avoid impulse spending/buying. You should also save part of your income from your writing. Your book may not earn out its advance or your next advance may not be as much as your last one (if you get any advance).

We’ve looked at five reasons why self-discipline is needed to be successful. Now let’s look at six-steps that will help you develop the necessary self-control.

Six Steps for Developing Self-control.

1. Admit your lack of discipline.

Romans 7:15-18 (ESV), “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. Sometime you fail to execute your plans. Ask God to help you follow through.”

2. Believe that God will help you.

Philippians 2:23 (ESV), “I hope therefore to send him just as soon as I see how it will go with me,”

Faith is important in self-control.

3. Claim a promise.

Isaiah 41:10 (ESV), “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Philippians 4:13 (ESV), “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV), “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

When I was in seminary, I recall a wise older professor saying, “Since God called you to ministry, He’ll provide you with a place of ministry.” 

The same is true with a writing ministry. God will provide the right market place.

4. Decide in advance.

Proverbs 13:16 (ESV), “Every prudent man acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly.

Ephesians 6:13 (ESV), “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”

Pay the price in training, regular writing, and submitting your work. When the rejection slips or emails come, don’t let them defeat you.

5. Enlist some support.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12 (ESV), “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! … And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

Make yourself accountable. An accountability partner, agent, or writer’s group can help.

6. Focus on the reward.

Philippians 3:14 (ESV), “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Your rewards are financial, physical, and spiritual.”

Don’t argue with your feelings, they will win every time.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Fear

Fear is a Normal Feeling

Part of learning to care for a person with a chronic illness is understanding that fear of the disease and the unknown are normal feelings. The illness’s unknown and uncertainty are scary. The very nature of chronic disease often has death or at least its possibility confronting us. If it is rheumatoid arthritis, you pictured pain and decreased mobility or use of joints. If its dementia you can see your loved one no longer knowing who you are or where they are. You envision nothing but bleak tomorrows.

Today’s Scripture reminds us that God is with us. We do not face today or tomorrow alone. God is here to strengthen and help us.

My Story

Ten years before my wife’s diagnosis with cancer, her then recently widowed mother moved into our home. I had suggested the move as I liked my mother-in-law. I loved her, my late father-in-law, and all my wife’s siblings. I had won the in-law lottery. Wonderful in-laws were a blessing.

I can still remember that particular night. I woke to an endless pounding on my front door. It took me several minutes to figure out what was going on. In the meantime, the pounding on the door continued.

As my wife and I got out of bed, we looked at the clock. 3:15 AM. I hurried to the door. As I opened the door, there stood a policeman and my mother-in-law. My wife’s mom was clad in house shoes, her nightgown, and a thin cotton, short sleeved bathrobe.

“Are you Jimmie Kepler?” asked the police officer.

“Yes sir, I am Jimmie Kepler. She is my wife, Miss Benita,” I said pointing to the woman standing beside me.

“We found her about five blocks from here,” he said motioning to my mother-in-law. He then added, “She said she needed to get to the senior adult center in DeSoto, Texas. I ran a check on her name, and it says she lives in DeSoto. She said Jimmie Kepler was her son-in-law. I ran a check on your name. It came up with this address. That is why we’re here.”

“I need to get to the senior adult center,” said my mother-in-law shivering.

It was a cold 45-degree night. The senior adult center in DeSoto was nearly fifty miles south of my house, with the city of Dallas in between.

“Mama, what were you doing?” asked Miss Benita as she looked at her mother.

“I was trying to get home to get your daddy’s and my coffee cup before going to the senior adult center. They’ll have a fresh pot of hot coffee. Your daddy and I can play 42. We can also visit with our friends.” She was referencing to the domino game 42.

“Mama, daddy died over a decade ago. You married Fred Robinson three years after he died. Fred died last year. You live with us now. You’ve lived with us for over six months,” said a teary-eyed Miss Benita.

Confusion graced my mother-in-law’s countenance.

“But Clarence is at the senior center,” she pleaded.

“Does your mother has memory issues? You can’t let her roam the streets in the middle of the night,” he said.

“We didn’t know she had left the house.” Concern was all over my face. I was horrified as I realized something was wrong with her. Did she have dementia? Alzheimer’s Disease? I wasn’t sure what was going on. I was horrified.

I took custody of my mother-in-law from the policeman. That very day I had alarms installed on the doors of my house. A terrifying series of recurring events began that night. Like the movie Groundhog Day, ever night the alarm would go off between midnight to 4 AM as my mother-in-law tried her escape from my home to go back to her old house. I would catch her before she made it to the street. Each day repeated the previous day. It seemed the nightmare would never end.

Her trying to get out of the house at night went on for months. The doctor would never use the words dementia or Alzheimer’s. The physician preferred the word “confused.” It finally stopped when she had a stroke.

While I thought the nightly attempted jailbreaks were terrible, the stroke took things to a new level.

During this time God was with me. I cried out to him. I grabbed hold of him and wouldn’t let go. I knew not what else to do.

This new normal wasn’t easy. My wife and I adjusted our new routine. We added more alarms and locks. We didn’t go crazy. We cared for my mother-in-law. And we prayed and prayed

Bible Verse

Isaiah 41:10 (KJV), “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

What the Verse Means

The verse’s meaning is best seen when examined in context with two preceding verses. Isaiah 41:8-10 (KJV), “But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away. Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

The whole passage is one of great tenderness. I am with thee (that is, God is with you). I (God) will strengthen thee (now and in the future). I have strengthened thee (in times past). There is a reminder that God has chosen you. We see a declaration of past favors as well as prophetic words for future favors since God is unchanging.

Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father I fear not because you are here with me as I care for my loved one.
  • I am not heartbroken or dismayed because I know you are my God and are with me.
  • I rejoice and claim your promises that you will strengthen me.
  • I rejoice and claim your promises that you will help me.
  • I rejoice and claim your promises that you will uphold me with the right hand of your righteousness.
  • I continue to pray for a hedge of protection for my loved one or even myself, both in the workplace as coworkers don’t always understand what I’m experiencing in caring for my loved one.

Responding to God’s Hope

  1. What is your biggest fear in caring for your loved one? Turn it over to God in prayer.
  2. What areas do you need strengthening and encouragement? Tell God and trust him to meet your needs.
  3. Have you let your family know of areas where you might be struggling while being a caregiver? If no, tell at least one person.

TWEETABLE

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Photo Source: Pixabay

This blog post is adapted from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: A Biblical Alternative” by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.

Fear

Part of learning to live with a chronic illness is accepting that fear of the disease and the unknown is a normal feeling. The illness’s unknown and uncertainty are scary. The very nature of a chronic disease often has death or at least its possibility confronting us. If it is rheumatoid arthritis, you pictured pain and decreased mobility or use of joints. You envision nothing but bleak tomorrows.

Today’s Scripture reminds us that God is with us. We do not face today or tomorrow alone. God is here to strengthen and help us.

Today’s Bible Verse:

Isaiah 41:10 (KJV), “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

What the Verse Means:

The verse’s meaning is best seen when examined in context with two preceding verses. Isaiah 41:8-10 (KJV), “But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away. Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

The whole passage is one of great tenderness. I am with thee (that is, God is with you). I (God) will strengthen thee (now and in the future). I have strengthened thee (in times past). There is a reminder that God has chosen you. We see a declaration of past favors as well as prophetic words for future favors since God is unchanging.

Personalized Prayer Using Today’s Scripture:

  • Heavenly Father, I fear not because you are here with me as I fight my affliction.
  • I am not heartbroken or dismayed because I know you are my God and are with me.
  • I rejoice and claim your promises that you will strengthen me.
  • I rejoice and claim your promises that you will help me.
  • I rejoice and claim your promises that you will uphold me with the right hand of your righteousness.
  • I continue to pray for a hedge of protection for my loved one or even myself, both in the workplace as coworkers don’t always understand and during my treatments.

Photo Source: Pixabay

Thy Will Be Done

Today’s blog post is from the book “Thy Will Be Done: 60 Prayers for the Chronically Ill” by Jimmie Aaron Kepler. It is available in print and on Kindle for Amazon at Amazon Print or Amazon Kindle.

If you are an Amazon Kindle Unlimited member, the book is available to read for free in Kindle format. Over the next two months, I will publish each chapter as a blog post

Fear

A normal feeling for one facing a chronic illness is fear. The unknown and uncertainty are scary. The very word cancer often has death or at least its possibility confronting us.  If it is rheumatoid arthritis you picture pain and decreased mobility or use of joints.

Today’s Scripture reminds us that God is with us. We do not face today or tomorrow alone.

Today’s Bible Verse:

Isaiah 41:10 (KJV), “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

What the verse means:

The verse’s meaning is best seen when examined in context with two preceding verses. Isaiah 41:8-10 (KJV), “But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away. Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

The whole passage is one of great tenderness. I am with thee (that is, God is with you). I (God) will strengthen you (now and in the future). I have strengthened you (in times past). There is a reminder that God has chosen you). We see a declaration of past favors as well as prophetic words for future favors since God is unchanging.

Praying using the verses:

  1. Heavenly Father, we fear not because You are here with us as we fight our affliction.
  2. We are not heartbroken or dismayed because we know You are our God.
  3. We rejoice and claim Your promises that You will strengthen us.
  4. We rejoice and claim Your promises that You will help us.
  5. We rejoice and claim Your promises that You will uphold us with the right hand of Your righteousness.
  6. We continue to pray for a hedge of protection for our loved one or even ourself, both in the workplace and during treatments.

Photo Source: Pixaby