I told you I wasn’t done. Welcome to Part 2 of me trying to cheat God. I seem to do it a lot.
If you somehow missed the previous part, here it be: That Time I Didn’t Think God Could Write a Book
Here’s a quick behind-the-scenes story about that post. I wrote it, sent it to Anna so she could weed out typos and grammar issues, and waited. Apparently, there were a lot of them. But due to a miscommunication, which I SWEAR was her fault, I thought she told me, “Post it!”
Being the obedient child that I am, I did.
This resulted in Anna and I frantically reading through the post, correcting the typos and grammar issues and updating as we did so, trying to beat those people who always seem to arrive within five minutes of publication. Why didn’t I just un-publish it, fix the problems, and re-publish? Well I would have, but there isn’t a button for that. Stupid WordPress.
Random digression over. Onward.
For three glorious days, I thought writers’ block was gone. For three glorious days, my plot holes were fixed. For three glorious days, everything was purple and glitter and capes.
Then I realized that I was actually still in writers’ block. That fixing those plot holes had created a whole new set. That there was no purple, there was no glitter, there were no capes, there was no Santa Claus.
See, as soon as God had fixed everything for me, I thought I didn’t need Him anymore, and promptly took my story back. I didn’t realize I’d done that, of course. It wasn’t this calculated, evil cackling, rubbing my hands together, “I’m going to steal my story back,” sort of thing. It just…happened. But I had cheated God.
He wasn’t going to stand for that.
I learned something important that day: Surrender isn’t a one shot thing. You don’t do it, and it’s done forevermore. It takes work. It takes sweat. Yes, it even takes glitter. For about a month, there was an ongoing struggle between God and I as I would give Him my book, take it back by accident, give Him my book, take it back by accident, on and on.
Now comes the fun part. The part that just happened last week.
I have been taking this course through Kingdom Pen (an online magazine for Christian teens interested in writing) about developing well-written and powerful themes. Did I mention that my story doesn’t have a theme? Well, it doesn’t. Obviously, the point of the course is to help me create one, but that entails a lot of re-writing, re-plotting, and re-characterizing, which is extremely difficult when one is in writers’ block, not to mention feeling brain-dead in general.
For what seemed like the fifty-seventh time, I rededicated my story to the Lord. I waited, and waited, and waited some more, but He was no longer helping me. I wasn’t sure if He understood, but this course has a deadline. I really couldn’t wait for Him to play around with my mind.
I went to my mom, and began to talk out some thematic development with her. This usually has immediate results, and I leave saying, “Thank you so much for fixing my plot!” And she nods her head and smiles and has literally no idea what she said. But for the first time in forever (please don’t burst into song), talking to her didn’t help. I went to bed just as stumped as ever. My prayers that night may have been along the lines of, “Lord, what are You doing up there?”
The next day, I decided my situation called for more serious measures: I needed Anna’s help. Mind you, Anna is a very opinionated person, so asking for her assistance with anything is always a risky enterprise. But I was desperate.
That night, I told her not to go to sleep, because I needed her to fix all my problems. I went off to brush my teeth, feeling happy and hopeful as I locked myself in the bathroom.
Then something struck me: This was God’s story. I said I trusted Him with it, even if He wasn’t going to fix it, yet here I was, getting help from other people the moment He decided to wait. Wasn’t this just another form of cheating Him?
Now, you probably think I was just being paranoid. But the feeling was so strong, so convicting. I wondered if this was another test. I had passed the first one, and now things were getting harder. Now God was putting the pressure on, wanting to see if I actually meant what I told Him.
I had to go tell Anna that I didn’t need her help, even though I really did.
Guys, this looks easy, but believe me, it wasn’t. For one thing, there was this little niggling fear that I actually was being paranoid. God hadn’t been helping me before, so for all I knew, I was turning down a perfectly good offer of help with no backup plan in sight.
It was hard. For a while, I tried to talk myself out of it, but if you’ve ever been convicted, you’ll know that this doesn’t work. So I went back to bed, skirted the issue when Anna brought it up, and we both went to sleep, I knowing I was doomed for the rest of my life, and her thinking that I had officially gone off my rocker.
“Okay, Lord,” I silently prayed. “If You want to do something, have at it.”
Five minutes, people! Five minutes is all it takes for God to fix your problems. I needed a midpoint for my theme (That’s a writer term that the average populace may not understand, so if you’re not a writer, bear with me. Midpoints are important.).
God gave me a midpoint.
This pretty much sums up the whole thing:
Only I wasn’t grinning when I jumped.
For a moment, I lay there, not comprehending what just happened. Did He–He didn’t–It’s–It’s–Yeah.
Can you imagine the ecstasies? I’m telling you people, ECSTASIES. Right then and there, I started wiggling, because I didn’t know how else to express the sheer amazement. Then I might have started bouncing in bed. And whispering loudly, “Whoo-Hoo!!!”
Needless to say, I might have convinced Anna that I was more crazy than she thought.
I proceeded to wake my parents up and tell them everything, because I NEEDED TO TELL SOMEONE. But five minutes, people! FIVE MINUTES. How incredible is that!!! Mom said, “That’s nice, dear,” rolled over, and promptly went back to sleep. But I was okay with that, because that meant I would get to tell her again the next day.
Wow, Sarah! That’s really neat!
I’m not done yet.
See, He hadn’t exactly fixed ALL my problems. He gave me a midpoint, my most troublesome problem, but I still had a whole boatload of theme troubles and flat-character troubles and so forth. At the moment, I was too thrilled to care, but I did send one teensy weensy little prayer Heavenward before I went back to bed. That prayer was this:
Totally pleased with myself, I went to sleep.
The next day, after a great amount of gushing over the night’s events, I went to check my email. Anna and I have been in this battle where we’ll send each other pictures of villains—for example, this:
I wanted to see what new horror she had in store for me. But there was no email from Anna. Instead, I found one from a writing pal of mine who knows about my mess of a story. Out of the blue, she offered to help me with it. If, of course, I wanted to.
Oh, Darlin. You had no idea.
In the words of my alter-ego Galadriel, “I passed the test.” I proved that I had put my story in God’s hands, not mine or other people’s. Now this was how He was going to help me. This was His answer to my two-word prayer.
The wonderful Jedi Writing Master even told me that the thought to help me probably wouldn’t have even occurred on her own. It just randomly popped into her head, but the feeling was so strong, so obvious, that she immediately sat down and sent me the email before she even had time to think about it.
The mental relief of knowing that someone experienced is going to read through my story has done more wonders for me than I don’t know what.
Let us take this moment to be freaked out by the awesomeness of God.
Moral of the story: Give your stuff to the Lord. Because honestly? It’s not worth keeping.
Second Moral of the story: Don’t cheat God. It doesn’t work.
Have a lovely day, and may the purple and the glitter and the capes never leave you, and may Santa always reign supreme in the North Pole!
One more side note: I am officially out of writers’ block. 😀