About a month ago, I sent out a “word of encouragement” email to my critique group with an offer for prayer. Since then, my prayer list has ballooned. I’ve come to realize what writers need most is encouragement. And yet, the best encouragement comes from within ourselves. In Free At Last, Tony Evans says, “We will always act in accordance with who we think we are.” What that means is, if you think you are a gifted writer, you will act like one. If you believe you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you, you will view obstacles as training, not hindrances.
The mind is powerful. Our thoughts affect our feelings and our feelings in turn affect our actions. Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
Last summer, I competed in various triathlons. Before each race, I evaluated everything in terms of efficiency. Shoelaces slowed me down, so I opted for elastic ones instead. I chose the lightest bike, lightest clothing and most energy-efficient fuel.
We need to approach our writing with the same diligence. According to the Bible, God has a race mapped out for us. He doesn’t ask us to win, but He does expect us to finish, and finish well. We are to run with perseverance, throwing of everything that slows us down. Negative thinking slows us down. Discouragement is one of the greatest time-sappers there is. It will rob you of your creativity and weaken your resolve. And quite frankly, it has no place in your life.
When I first started writing, I struggled with discouragement. I played the “maybe I’ll quit” card, and “God show me Your will”. As if lack of results meant lack of direction. After I’d thrown my pity party, God always lovingly drew me back, but only after I’d wasted days, weeks, maybe even months, moping around. I finally decided either I believed God was in control or I didn’t. Either I believed I was His workmanship and that He had a plan, or I didn’t. And if God is in control, then what is there to be discouraged about?
That isn’t to say I don’t struggle with negative self-talk occasionally, but now I throw it out and focus on truth instead.
What about you? Have you allowed negative self-talk to sap your joy and steal your productivity? You have control of your thoughts. The Bible tells us to take every though captive and make them obedient to Christ. The question is not can you, but will you?
Jennifer Slattery is the marketing representative for Clash of the Titles, writes for Christ to the World and Reflections in Hindsight. Find out more about her and her writing at her website. And stop by Clash of the Titles to join the fun!