Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sensing God's Presence

By Rachel Hauck @RachelHauck


Last week Allen Arnold asked a pretty tough question in his blog, The Deeper Magic of Writing.

"Are you so hungry for God’s involvement in your writing that you’re willing to call it quits until you sense his presence?"

This is a powerful, loaded, 18 million dollar question!

Allen goes on to remind us that we don’t just need his presence in our writing—we need his presence in our life

My husband preached a sermon earlier this year about how we carry His presence within us—the Holy Spirit.

Afterwards I said, "Dude, then we should never be without His presence."

Right. Therein lies the hitch. 

How do we touch God? Sense His presence? Because we know from scripture He is with us.

Far too often when we sit down to pray, or worship, or deal with the kids, household chores or a difficult co-worker/family member/neighbor, or to write that book, we have no reality of the presence of the Holy One in us, with us and willing to move on our behalf.

It's the battle Jesus referred to as, "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak!(Matthew 26:41)

Just how do we tap into the divine? How do we recognize His presence?


Here's a little bit of my story.

In '98, the Lord began a journey with me that began with a recognized need to go deeper in God while coming to grips with the reality it would take a life time to get there. And then some.

Yet, along the way, I would see and feel changes that would enable me to fellowship with His presence. 

As a writer of stories, I want His fragrance to be in and on my writing. I long for the power of story to impact the reader's life.

As this is my life's work, I am hyper-vigilant about partnering with the Lord.

I told my husband one day, "I do not want to give myself to anything that will not remain. 

I want to write in such a way my work endures to the age to come! 

But what does that look like? I have to partner with Him to figure it out!

A few years ago I was writing my second trade for Thomas Nelson, Diva Nashvegas, now called Nashville Sweetheart

It was hard. Oy! 

I was writing about a country superstar, which I am not! Nor had I met Sara Evans yet, so I had no one to talk about the intricacies of life on a tour bus, life on the concert circuit, life in the studio ... you get my meaning. 

I read biographies, made phone calls to entertainment attorneys, dreamed, imagined, thought, prayed, cried, prayed and cried, and in the end, just had to just grind it out! 

One morning during prayer at church, the Lord whispered to me, "Isaiah 41:13." 

“For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand,
Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’

I was so encouraged. He's helping me! We are getting 'er done!

But it was still hard. A few weeks later, I said to the Lord, "I thought you were going to help me!"

He said, "What makes you think I'm not?"


"Because it's hard!"

Ha! I burst out laughing.

"Just because it's hard doesn't mean I'm not helping you."

A year later Diva Nashvegas became my first award winner. 

The book didn't tear up the sales charts nor catch the eye of an influencer who could help "get the word out," but that award call was such a sweet kiss on my heart from the Lord. "I'm with you." 

Oh, and managing your expectations becomes a big part of the writer's journey. But that's for another blog.

Back to Allen's question. How do you tap into God's presence as you write? Before you write?

I won't offer you a formula or how-to. God wants to talk to you about your life with Him.

But I will suggest this: it's not a one time event. Or a philosophy. It's about being and doing with Him every day, in every aspect of your life.

I've been a full-time writer for ten years. In the last five or six years, I regularly "feel" drops on my head as a write. Light, soft touches. Wings? Drops of oil? A breath from the Divine? Yes, maybe, all of the above?

When I feel those touches, I'm reminded He's with me. I pause and ask, "Lord, what do You need?"

Anyway, here are a few things that really, really changed my heart and walk with the Lord, which impacted my life, which impacted my writing.

1. Prayer. Not only being more purposeful in my own personal prayer time, but attending prayer and worship meetings at my church, in the city. I cannot stress enough how the Lord encountered me in the place of prayer, (added with a bit of fasting,) and changed me. Even my emotional chemistry.

2. The Word. Not just reading the Word, but praying it back to the Lord, dialoging with Him over His own writing and letters to me! I took Him at His Word and He proved Himself over and over.

3. Worship. Placing my cold heart before His flame. Chasing worshippers and worship music that had an anointing on to remove the stones of my heart and bring me into His presence. 

4. Attentiveness. Listening to teachers and preacher who told me I could have more of God and ways to get there. (See above list. ;)

5. Fellowship. Hanging around people who wanted more of Him. Hanging with people who challenged and inspired me.

6. Commitment. Understand it's not a one time event but a chasing-after, going for it, turning your life upside down to dwell with Him way beyond the call of writing but for the upward call of God in Christ. Phil 3:13.

Have faith. You can do it! If you're already doing it, keep doing it! Share your testimony in the comments! I need more inspiration, too.

When you sit down to write, know He is with you! He is for you! Start or keep developing your own "history in God."


***


Rachel lives in sunny central Florida.

A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, she worked in the corporate software world before planting her backside in uncomfortable chair to write full time eight years ago.

She’s the author of EPCA and CBA best sellers, RITA and Christy nominated books. She also co-authored the critically acclaimed Songbird Novels with platinum selling country music artist Sara Evans. Their novel Softly and Tenderly, was one of Booklists 2011 Top Ten Inspirationals.

Rachel serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers. She is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy, a conference speaker and worship leader.

Rachel writes from her two-story tower in an exceedingly more comfy chair. She is a huge Buckeyes football fan.

Her novel, Once Upon A Prince, was a 2014 Christy Award Finalist.

Here latest novel, Princess Ever After and novella A March Bride, released in February 2014. 

Her novella A Brush With Love releases Dec 30th. And the final Royal Wedding book, How To Catch A Prince, releases in Feb 2015.


Visit her web site: www.rachelhauck.com.

7 comments:

Henry McLaughlin said...

Rachel, Thank you for sharing this. I know it will impact my life as I seek to draw even closer to God in all I do, especially my writing.

Julie Lessman said...

Absolutely BEAUTIFUL post, Rachel, not only how it was written (with a formula, which I love!!), but by Whom it was written. It's pretty clear you co-authored with Somebody pretty special! :)

Thanks SO much for the tips, many of which I already do, but needed further embedded in this loosey-goosey brain of mine! :)

Hugs,
Julie

Rachel Hauck said...

Thanks Julie. I know most writers write with Him. I mean, we NEED Him and we know it but it's cool to inspire one another. And there was a missing word: I WON'T offer a formula... LOL. I don't think there is a formula, just tools, just things we see in the Word. We emulate Christ.

Hugs, Rachel

Rachel Hauck said...

Henry, go with God!! :)

Traci Krites said...

Inspiring!!

Allen Arnold said...

Rachel -

What a powerful post. Thanks for diving deep into how ways writers can sense God's presence. Doing so changes not only how we write...but who we become!

Rachel Hauck said...

Amen, Allen. Preach it. You inspired this post! Thank you!