Seven Thoughts to Help You Hang On

Let’s Hang On

We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. — 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NIV)

Seven Thoughts to Help You Hang On

Is life getting you down? Do you feel like you’re at the end of your rope? Here are seven thoughts from the Bible on how to hang on when you feel like you’re at the end of your rope.

Thought One: God Loves You

  • Don’t lose heart! – Therefore, since through God’s mercy, we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. — 2 Corinthians 4:1 (NIV)
  • I am what I am – But by the grace of God, I am what I am … — 1 Corinthians 15:10 (NIV)
  • It’s not who we are. It’s whose we are! – Remember, our performance does not give us our worth.
  • God’s grace gives us the power to start over. – Yet in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. — Romans 8:37

Thought Two: Your Character and Integrity Matter

  • Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. — 2 Corinthians 4:2 (NIV)
  • We must have integrity.
  • We must have character.

Thought Three: It’s Not About You

  • For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. — 2 Corinthians 4:5 (NIV)
  • Your ego will only take you so far.

Thought Four: You Can’t Do It All

  • But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. — 2 Corinthians 4:7 (NIV)
  • We must pace ourselves.
  • Life is a journey, not a sprint.

Thought Five: Love, love, love.

  • All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. — 2 Corinthians 4:15 (NIV)

Thought Six: Refresh, Renew, Rest, and Revive.

  • Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. — 2 Corinthians 4:16 (NIV)
  • By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. – Genesis 2:2-3 (NIV)
  • Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. – Exodus 20:8-10
  • Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” – Mark 6:31 (NIV)

Thought Seven: Keep Your Eye on the Goal.

  • For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. — 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NIV)
  • I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:14 (NIV)

Remember — You cannot create if you don’t face your troubles and hang on until you reach your goal.

Image by Inna Greenberg Vesnovaty from Pixabay

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

Success and Motivation: A Biblical Alternative

Success and Motivation

Success and motivation have been interests of mine since my university days. Like two edges of the same sword, I’ve wondered and studied for decades what motivates people to succeed and how to motivate people to become all that the Creator intended them to become. 

My interests in this are even lead me to spend more than a year of my life researching and writing on the subject. The result of this adventure culminated over thirty-two years ago in my doctoral dissertation, “The Relationship of Two Theories of Motivation to Church Leader Motivation: An Examination of the Motivational Theories of Abraham Maslow and Douglas McGregor Within a Conservative Christian Perspective.”

I thought it would be fun to redress the world’s meaning of success and look at a Biblical definition of success based on the life of the Apostle Paul with application to the Christian writer.

What Success Is and Isn’t

Joshua 1:8 English Standard Version (ESV), “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

False Measures of Success

    • Looks – It’s not how I look.
    • Worth – It’s not how much money I have or how many books I’ve sold.
    • Connections – It’s not who I know but whose I am (here I mean being a Christian, that is a Believer in Jesus Christ).

How Success Is Determined

    • Success is determined by what I am.

Galatians 6:4 ESV, “But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.”

Real Success Defined

    • Real success is knowing God and living your life for Him.

A Biblical Definition of Success (from the life of the Apostle Paul)

S – Sense of Direction

Romans 15:20 (ESV), “and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation,”

Philippians 3:14 (ESV), “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

As a writer do you have a direction? Are you writing in a specific genre or all over the place? Do you start many works and finish none or few? It’s impossible to get to a destination if you don’t know where you’re going. Make sure you have a clear sense of direction.

U – Understanding

Philippians 4:12 (ESV), “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.”

2 Thessalonians 3:5 (ESV), “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.”

Do you seek God’s guidance in your writing? Have you paid the price to learn your craft? Make sure you know the basics of the craft, understand who your target audience is, and follow the rules in your submissions, etc.

C – Commitment

Acts 20:24 (ESV), “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

Do you finish what you start? Are you honoring God in your life and your writing?

C – Compassion

1 Corinthians 13:2 – 3 (ESV), “And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”

Colossians 3:12 (ESV), “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,”

Do you really care about your audience when you write? Is your motivation correct? Do you pray the price in knowing your craft, having quality editing, etc. ?

E – Enthusiastic Faith

Romans 8:31 (ESV), “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

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

Are you excited about and love what you’re writing or are you trying to write to market for a check?

S – Servant to Others

2 Corinthians 8:19 (ESV), “And not only that, but he has been appointed by the churches to travel with us as we carry out this act of grace that is being ministered by us, for the glory of the Lord himself and to show our good will.”

2 Corinthians 12:15 (ESV), “I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less?”

As Christian writers we serve God and we serve our readers. Do you have a servant’s heart?

S -Staying Power

2 Corinthians 4:8 – 9 (ESV), “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;”

Do you finish what you start? Do you sit down on a regular basis and write? Do you submit your work?

Paul’s Secret to Success

Paul’s secret to success is summarized in 2 Corinthians 4:16 – 18 (ESV), “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

Photo Source: Image by Анастасия Гепп from Pixabay