Wednesday, August 04, 2010
An avid knitter, coffee junkie, and devoted chocoholic, Allie Pleiter is the enthusiastic but slightly untidy mother of two. She spends her days writing books, buying yarn, and finding new ways to avoid housework. Allie hails from Connecticut, moved to the Midwest to attend Northwestern University, and currently lives outside Chicago, IL. The “dare from a friend” to begin writing has produced twelve novels, and various national speaking engagements on faith, women’s issues, and writing. Visit her website or her knitting blog.
Huh? Yes, you read correctly. These were words recently said to me, and I took them with as much shock as you probably just did reading them. They were wise words, words from my agent, whom I trust implicitly. We’d endured five month of serious family medical trauma. I couldn’t see I had hit the wall, but everyone around me--including my own body--could see it clearly. I’d fought tooth and nail to meet my contractual obligations, turning in a book that I thought was pretty amazing considering the circumstances under which it was written. I’d been the professional of integrity I strove to be.
But stop writing? Lord, I argued, I can’t stop! I have a book coming out! There is promotion to do!
Don’t you think I know that? Came the reply. Meet those obligations, but take on nothing new right now. You need to rest.
I argued with God for three more days before I realized it truly was time to stop striving. This was indeed a wise place to put future projects “on hold,” but I refused to see it. I thought I was “caving” if I stopped, being weak, letting my massive circumstances “win.”
You know, sometimes the massive circumstances have to win. And taking six weeks off neither made me unprofessional nor threatened my career. It was the smart thing to do for personal, professional, and probably even spiritual reasons. God put these wise counselors in my life, and it would be foolish not to heed their advice. The God who launched and nurtured my career would not up and walk away because I stopped to renew myself. On the contrary, the God who formed and loved and nurtured me would be grieved that I didn’t trust him with six weeks of rest in a ten-year career of blessings.
I can trust God with this “sabbath.” Now that I’ve waded into these work-free waters, I realize how thirsty I was, how the well that fed my writing had gone dry. I will be a better writer for not writing.
Did you hear what I just said? “I will be a better writer for not writing.”
I’m not saying give up. I’m saying take a breath. If you find these words feeding some dried and weary part of you, listen. Ask God to send wise counselors to confirm your hunch if you’re the kind of person who needs such confirmation. Long-term trust will never be trumped by a short-term respite. It may be the very best thing you can do. Take the words of a person least likely to heed such advice. God is big enough to handle it.
No one knows who he is or where he’s from. But witnesses throughout San Francisco report a masked man in black is bringing supplies--and badly needed hope--to homeless earthquake survivors. Some believe that the city’s gallant rescuer is a gentleman of wealth. But others whisper that he is a working class man with courage as great as his faith. And rumor has it that one of the city’s most spirited society belles is helping him against her family’s wishes. What can be confirmed is that the masked messenger will need more than a miracle to escape those on his trail--and win the woman risking everything to save him...