Caution: This is a “diary” entry written by the melodramatic heart of a writer in the wee hours of the morning.
I normally like to keep posts short, but I thought I’d give you a peek into the journaling corner of my soul.
Realm Makers is over. I’m on a flight across the continent. In my current location, it’s 12:15 am, and at my destination it’s 2:15 am.
The man beside me is watching Beauty and the Beast, and I can’t help but spew some midnight musings on a page with this purple pen I can barely see in the blue-black lights of the plane.
Funny, how this conference started with my pronouncement in hobbit-gif form that “I’m going on an adventure!” and is ending with that theme as well.
My friend Andi and I have been sitting in the airport today watching a whole flight of disgruntled passengers deal with a 9 1/2 hour flight delay.
But also – an opportunity.
I haven’t felt disgruntled at all today – despite definite exhaustion – and part of that has so much to do with the very lessons God has been teaching me and preparing my heart for leading up to this conference and coming out of it.
So, I’m going to begin there.
This was my third year at Realm Makers. While part of it felt “old hat” and simply exciting for the prospect of seeing “my tribe” of spec writers, there was another part that crept in and intimidated me when I least expected.
Hormonal pain (I assume) would spike around my collar bone and pierce my neck and shoulders, and the enemy would whisper to me with my own voice, Who are you?
Three little words that can mean so much, that can call out one’s best self to soar or one’s inner doubter to cower, to plummet, to drown.
The evil one loves to whisper these words in a sneer – who are you? Who do you think you are? No one has declared you their bosom friend yet – why would this conference prove differently?
Who are you? No one’s snapped up your novel yet – why are you still dreaming hoping bleeding for something no more than a childhood fantasy? A wish? Are you so vain? What do you have to offer?
. . . seriously, I could go endlessly on.
The enemy’s ranks are fortified with an abundance of arrows and battering rams in a bristling arsenal of doubt and hate and fear.
I am not ignorant of this battlefield. So, even as my stomach would clench and my adrenaline spiked and my tears threatened to drown my eyes in insecurity and panic – I would turn to the Word, and He would tell me, Fear not, it is I who hold your hand. In Me will you find your help.
And, going into Realm Makers, I had to tell myself again and again – like in every year – my HOPE is not in this conference, my HOPE is in the LORD.
And when I came into alignment with God’s heart, I knew it didn’t matter if I walked out of Realm Makers with an agent or a new posse of best friends.
God’s call on my heart was to Be Still, Be Myself, and LOVE people. And whenever I came into alignment with this calling, I felt tremendous peace.
Did I prepare for the conference? Sure I did! Did I practice my pitch? Like Shakespeare! But, ultimately, I opened my heart and exposed my palms to God and said:
Your will be done and not my own. You are the giver and the taker and the redeemer of all good things. You open doors, and You close them. You know what you’re doing, and I don’t. My perspective is finite. Also, You used cowardly Gideon and tongue-tied Moses, lying Abram and scheming Jacob, adulterating David and cynical Jonah. Use me. Please, I beg You LORD. I am nothing without You, and I want to be used.
Friends, this conference was a manifestation of God’s heart in me. I came to learn my craft, and what does Ted Dekker talk about in his keynotes? God’s heart. Perspective. What you believe manifests in reality. ***Who are you?*** What are you doing in this world? Come into alignment with Truth. You are a storyteller.
And then I walk into Mary Weber’s heart, and my own heart rests in her kindred spirit and weeps for joy at the truth she imparts: Publishing is a mission field. Publishing is not all about the people I know, but it is all about people – people who want to be seen not just used. It’s about being like Jesus – looking and seeing and having compassion toward those we see.
As Christians, we have something different to offer the industry professionals we work with – we see them, we love them, we counsel them – like Jesus.
Networking is not meeting the twenty people in the room who’ll barely remember your name. It’s meeting the one person whose heart will feel remembered by you.
What are the deeper needs of the community and people within this culture?
Rather than being critical, afraid, or inflexible – what if Christian authors approached publishing as willing to do what it takes in order to win the right to influence?
On and on I could go with these notes – but the point here is the confirmation of the calling.
I came to this conference to align my heart with God’s perspective, to love His people, and to pay attention to the doors as He chose to open or close them.
Friends, I have never felt such peace at a conference. I walked into each appointment at ease – with a detached awareness that I was so calm I would probably mess up because I wasn’t thinking enough about what I needed to say. But I didn’t really care because I had peace – and, besides, Moses wasn’t a pro at talking either, and he did just fine. Because God was with him, calling him.
I walked out of Realm Makers with a few deeper friendships, deeper connections, and two asks for more from agents – epic, epic agents. 🙂
Does this mean I could get my novel published soon? Probably not. Have you seen the stone wheels of this industry? I don’t even have an agent. But I have new and deepening relationships with several and encouragement that I am definitely walking in the proper direction.
It’s 1:17/3:17 am, and I can feel my thoughts slip-sliding every which direction through a maze of exhaustion that you’ve likely already noticed, so I’ll conclude, for now, with this:
All these disgruntled people at the airport – my heart goes so out to them.
Like I told Andi – I have to remind myself I’m not God. I can’t fold my heart around them and give them peace – peace through their fear at being stranded, at missing work, at failing, at straight-up discomfort, peace through their need to blame someone for something – for one thing that’s going wrong in their lives when everything else is so complicated; peace through their overloaded circuits that have their minds fear-mapping their worlds until they squeeze the capacity out of their joy-fueled hearts.
Andi and I wrote the Delta pilot a note of simple gratitude for all he did throughout the day to keep us safe and well-cared for.
We laughed, talked, validated each other and those who let us speak to them. I hope we lessened the burden of some, that they were able to siphon some of our joy and spark their engines back to life.
As Ted was so fond of saying this weekend, life is all about perspective and the story you tell. As Mary came back to again and again, it’s all about people – loving them where they’re at and meeting them in their need.
I’m grateful God gave me Andi on this journey home – we really are made for relationship.
When life gets you down – when it steals the wheel off your plane and leaves you stranded in the desert for ten hours – remember that life is a story, an adventure, and you are part of it – both as protagonist and as narrator.
How are you perceiving your story? Who do you see around you? – chances are they’re stranded too and in need of a friend.
Your story is only as shallow as you allow it to be, and the storm can only wake you from your peaceful sleep as much as you forget who you are – a child of the infinite KING of Kings, a citizen of the kingdom of Light.
Make life better for those around you. Live out of your true, best self. And love people.
Will you go on this adventure with me?