February 10, 2017

Ode to a Writer's Joy by Sharon Espeseth

Read God's Word in a Quiet Place
Photo Credit: Unknown/free

"Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest," Jesus tells his disciples. Travelling two by two, the men had travelled through surrounding villages preaching repentance, driving out demons, anointing and healing the sick.

The disciples, anxious to tell Jesus their many experiences, needed undisturbed time with their Master. The people, seeing Jesus, ran to the other side of the lake and were there when the boat arrived.

When Jesus saw this huge crowd, he had compassion on them, "because they were like sheep without a shepherd." Instead of turning them away, Jesus began teaching them.

Please. . . .

As writers, we also seek quiet, but often we can't get away from the phone, online messages, meetings, and the needs of other people. Sometimes, we feel more harried than joyful, and, in all honesty, this is what I am feeling as I begin this blog. Rushed. Jittery. Frustrated.

Dear Lord, I pray that you will fill me with your love, joy and peace. Guide me and give me wisdom in setting priorities. May your love and grace abide in my heart as I turn my planning over to you. Instead of attempting to meet everyone's needs, help me show compassion for them, but remind me to impress on them that only you can meet all their needs.

First I pray. Then, applying "bum glue" to my chair, I sit down in my office. As words appear on my screen, I become, not joyful, but calm. I enjoy this time to write.

First, why do I write? Upon arising this morning, my husband asked me this very question.

Because I enjoy writing. I write because it helps me figure things out. (Like right now.)
Because this is a way I can share my faith and what I am learning about life.
Because I have stories and ideas inside me.
To give glory to God.
Because God has blessed some/all? of my writing to certain individuals. Readers responses encourage my doubting spirit.

What hinders my writing?

Distractions, committing to more than I can handle, procrastinating, over-helping and trying to fix people, not discussing specific situations with the Master Planner.

Should I quit writing? 

Funny you should ask, because I just got some answers to that question. Can you recall one long road trip, someone said, let's say from Edmonton to Vancouver? Did you expect to make it the whole way without hitting any red lights?

If you've thought of quitting lately, you must read "Go Ahead and Quit!" by Janice L. Dick. (See janicedick.wordpress.com)

Furthermore, "The person born with a talent they are meant to use will find their greatest happiness (joy) in using it. (Goethe)

Am I a good enough writer? (Was Paul a good enough disciple?)

To hear Paul's thoughts on discouragement, read 2 Corinthians 12:6-10. To hear his voice, read the passage in The Message. "If I had a mind to brag. . . but I'll spare you. . . , says Paul. "So I wouldn't get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations."

Three times Paul begged God to remove his handicap, but God told him
"My grace is enough; it's all you need.My strength comes into its own in your weakness."
Grasping this message, Paul says, "I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift." God's strength moved in on his weakness. "Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer," Paul says, and he let Christ take over! Paul concludes,  "The weaker I get, the stronger I become."

I have paraphrased Eugene H. Petersons's translation of the story, but I appreciate the entire passage.

How does my writing affect me?

Starting this blog, I admit I was none too joyful. Distractions overwhelmed me, but I prayed. A friend prayed that I wouldn't let Anyone steal my joy. Like Paul, I said, "There (is) no danger of walking around high and mighty!" Speaking to Jesus, I tapped into his strength and understanding. Humbled, I acknowledge my need of guidance from the Holy Spirit.

Dear Jesus, remind me regularly to tap into your strength and understanding in order to overcome my weakness. Thank you for cheering me up, for helping me get this blog written , and for my being able to end this Ode to a Writer's Joy on a higher note. Praise God. Amen. 

Ending on a Higher Note!
Free Musical Clip Art


  1. Sharon, I LOVED your question "Was Paul a good enough disciple?" That brought me up short, and made me think from a new perspective. Thank you for this post today.

    1. I think it was something in how the scripture passage was written/spoken in The Message, Joylene. I'm baking bread right now, so I'll check later, but it is so common to wonder if we are enough and do enough. I have a book to reread and review on that topic of being enough. You are welcome for my post. Thank you for your comment.

      Does your mother know that she gave you the perfect name for this post?

  2. YAY!!!!! I love this post after our little email conversation. I'm glad you are tapping into Jesus' strength to get your joy back.

  3. this is such an inspiring and encouraging post, Sharon! (As always!) somehow you always manage to express just what is going through my own mind...!

    1. I believe God helps us hit the right spots in our reading and writing. I try to remember to pray that my writing reaches the right people. As writers (and teachers in our case), we do hit some of the same pot holes on our rough roads through life. Even when the way is going pretty smooth, we may hit a low spot that makes us bounce in our seats. We may need to shift our positions to get comfortable again. Thanks for your faithful reading and commenting, Tracy.

  4. Sharon, You've showed us how to carry on when the writing life gets tough. I'm drawn to your comment to keep appreciating the gift He has given. Yes, I want to do that too.

    Wishing you a joy-filled day...

    1. Paul had learned to be thankful for the gift of his thorn in the flesh. We all have ups and downs. I think we learn more from the downs, because we want to do what we can to be feeling more joyful. For me, one of those things to do is pray. Another one is to write, so I must not forget these two resources that are gifts.

      Thanks, Brenda, for your comment and your joy-filled wishes. Blessings to you for a joy-filled day also.

  5. Sharon, you have written directly to my heart. Thank you.

  6. Thanks for letting me know that I struck a note, or a chord, with you. May you also have a joyful day. Blessings.

  7. Using some bum glue, a product manufactured by God, brand name "Discipline" or "Obedience" and available as often as we need it. Sharon, I laughed at this picture as it grew in my mind from your writing, but it "stuck" with me and has been a good conviction / encouragement for me. Thanks!

  8. Glad you enjoyed my writing terminology. Years back I made a new label for my rubber cement bottle with the words "Bum Glue" on it. It was a good reminder to me and to my writing group when I brought a bottle to them. Yes, it really is God who helps us become more disciplined and obedient in our writing. Sometimes a visual helps too. Thanks for letting me know it stuck with you.


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