Bad advice. At least once, we’ve all listened to it, then wished we’d spit it in a bucket somewhere on the back forty.
As serious writers, spouses, parents, or cooks, we are forever looking for ways to improve our skills and reach more hearts. We read books, attend conferences, and go on as many blogs as we can, to gobble up the best advice possible.
But sometimes we come across a bit of bad advice. If we know it’s bad, good. We can spit it out like a cow spits out the stubble, only swallowing the grain. If we’re unaware that it’s bad, then not good. We can go down a wrong path in our career or our life, or at the very least, waste precious time.
A frustrated writer once told me not to read craft books, stating that my writing was good enough, and those books would only confuse me. Had I listened to this bad advice, I would be a much poorer writer than I am today. With the help of all the craft books I’ve read in spite of that poor advice, I believe my writing is improving every time I sit down to type, or get out my journal to muse.
Have you ever read or heard some bad advice concerning your writing, or another skill you take seriously? Did you know it was bad, or did you listen to it, later realizing it wasn’t sound? How do you sift advice to weed out the stubble from the precious grain that nourishes?
When I wrote The Teenage Prisoner many months ago, I had no inkling that a teenage boy in our little community would be arrested for stabbing and killing a female relative last week. My heart breaks for him as it did for the other young man in this story, which posts on Chrisitian Devotions today. I'd be honored if you visited.
Do not read this post if you don't like controversy.
As I browsed a Bible bookstore today, I was shocked, confused, and appalled. What is going on with so-called Christian publishing? The first book I picked up was the story of a teenager who overcame Everest-high odds to make her dream come true; the next was a biography of a famous coach who’d mentored many young men; the third was a tribute to a great athlete.
In only one of the three was the Bible even mentioned, and that was from a list given to the coach from his father. The acknowledgments pages in another went on forever, but nowhere did the author give any thanks to God.
This is scary, people.
I’m not naming names, but major Christian houses published these books, and they are nothing more than inspiring stories of good people. They do not promote the Kingdom of God or try to reach sinners with the Gospel, or call Christians to a higher walk with the Lord.
People die and go to hell every second. We have the answers to keep them out of there and give them abundant, eternal life, and we'd rather spend our money publishing stories of girls sailing boats and golfers who were polite?
There are millions of excellent writers trying to break into Christian publishing. They have written noteworthy accounts of God’s grace and miracle-working power to save, heal, and deliver, and the top Christian houses are offering us fine little stories with a Christian label slapped on them. What is wrong with this picture?
Are we afraid of the controversial Gospel of Jesus Christ? Are we worried that literature that gives God glory and calls us to deep commitment will offend someone, or worse yet, won’t sell a million copies? Yes, I know they are businesses and have to pay their bills. So did Jesus. But I don’t see Him watering down His message so the offerings would be bigger.
Have you noticed this in your Bible bookstore? What are your thoughts?
May I pick your brains a bit today? I’ve been invited to speak at the Inland Northwest Christian Writers Conference in Spokane, WA, directed by Jan Cline, in March, 2012. My topic is Time Management Strategies for the Part-time Writer. I have my outline prepared and a long list of my own ideas, but I’d like your input on ways you manage your time. What works for you? What doesn’t work? What tricks do you employ that best fit with your personality style? I’d love to incorporate some of your tips into my presentation, if you don’t mind. I think my message will zing if I have more than one brain at work!
I had planned a post on pet peeves, but that will have to wait. This is a chapter from a book I'm working on. I trust this is what you need today.
When You Need Emotional Healing
My friend is tired to her gut, Lord. She’s tired of pretending she’s okay when she wants to scream and weep and sink into the earth and never hurt again. You know how she feels, for you felt that same screaming ball of nothingness in your belly as they draped You onto two wooden beams, then nailed you fast, so You wouldn’t escape the pain. A pain not only physical; but the vilest soul pain that You were separate from Your Father’s heart and His gaze that kept You close, and His voice that wrapped You.
He turned His back on You, and You bore it so we wouldn’t need to. Yet, she bears it anyway; broken and not knowing she can be whole. Or empty of hope for even a scrap of a put-together life.
Jesus, Shepherd who never leaves a sheep alone, hold her until the hurt leaves. Tell her she’s not a disappointment to You. Sing her songs You composed only for her and no other, so she’ll feel Your custom-made love and know You had a reason for her. Show her that reason in a thousand ways, dear Mender of Broken Lives.
She knows she’s broken, but she doesn’t know why, or she doesn’t want to know for fear the pain is all her fault. Set her free with the truth that the thief has stolen her joy and ripped her value away. Shine the light of Your admiration for her into the deep places she’s not aware of, so she’ll believe and not argue when You say, “I love you, daughter.”
Grace her to release offenses she’s held tightly in her fists and locked in the oldest diaries of her memory. Cause her to walk upright, gazing into Your broad smile of forgiveness and strength. Guide her steps to sweetest life. Make her believe that she can be whole, as she rests in the crook of Your arm and listens to Your lullabies.
In Jesus’ Name, so be it.
References to Scripture: Matthew 27:46; John 10:11-17; Psalm 139; John 10:10; I John 4:18