August 10, 2015

Slump Is Not My Middle Name! by Sharon Espeseth

Moving--In or Out?
With my first look at the August prompt, I thought, Slump? That's my middle name. Life--including down-sizing, moving, unpacking all times two; health issues for my husband, myself and other family members--all in the last year or so has interfered with my writing. When I'm ready to say, Woe is me! the Good Lord steps in with words, thoughts, insights, friends, readings, or sermons that encourage me out of my pity party.

After reading August blogs by other InScribers, I was swept toward a more positive attitude about my writing. Words like "lackofopportunityitis" (See Glynis Belec, August 6.) and "procrastinationitis" by Bobbi Junior made me think I was hypochondriac. Reading about an infection made me victim to the illness. Reading further, I decided I was normal. We all lead busy lives. None of us is immune to hardships or the needs of those around us. With God's love in our hearts, caring for others and being part of community is what God expects of us.

Our fellow InScribers are good teachers and good examples. Glynis, for example, doesn't have writer's block, because, for her " . . . ideas bubble forth like an overflowing glass of hastily poured club soda," and she has the writing credits to prove it. Into every life, other obligations and duties fall. For these, Ms. Belec's faith-based perspective becomes an antidote to the lack-of-opportunity-to-write. Glynis says she feels honoured to look after the loved ones in her care, and she understands that she is doing what God would have her do at this time.

Sandi Somers introduced this month's topic, "Overcoming Slumps," with a sunny outlook. (See Sandi, August 1.) The times when we are unable to write, Sandi calls the "In-between Places." I can so identify with that term and it is easier to deal with than "slump" or "writer's block'.

These past sixteen months have been a transition period for both my husband and me. Challenges, changes, stress, disappointments, and discouragement have been part of the mix. Did I mention depression? God has been with us through it all. Good doctors. Timely treatment. Faith, Family, Friends, Healing and Blessings. God's grace has brought us through this period and it seems we are turning a corner. I will pray for and lean into "the creative grace for the in-between places" that Sandi so beautifully describes.

Steph Beth Nickel on August 3 lists this advice: "If you don't achieve your goal, don't beat yourself up," and she adds, ". . . guilt is more likely to immobilize than motivate." St. Francis of Sales says, "Have patience with all things but most of all with yourself."

Although I am itching to increase my writing time and productivity, I must slacken my tight rope and become more realistic in my expectations of myself. When people, out of interest, ask about my writing, I am embarrassed when I haven't got new things published. Sometimes I feel I have failed, but that would be judging my work on man's scale.

God has allowed these ups and downs in our lives as pruning to promote further growth and more fruitfulness.

Jesus said, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." 

If we remain in Jesus through all this pruning, he will remain in us. We cannot bear fruit by ourselves. We need to remain in the vine to do that. Jesus reminds us, "If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." To read "the rest of the story", see  John 15: 1-17.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for giving us many ideas, life lessons, and stories to write about. May we bear fruit in your name. Amen.


  1. Your closing comments are so relevant. It's about letting God make the agenda, isn't it?

  2. Yes, it definitely is about being part of the vine. We can be trimmed by the gardener, but if we are cut off from the vine, we are no longer part of Christ. We do well to let God make the plans.

  3. Fruit doesn't grow 12 months of the year. It has a season, and the seasons come and go. You're reminder that our writing is like that is timely for me too, Sharon. Thank you for this.

  4. Thank you for reminding us there are good times and times not so good, but our Lord sustains us through it all. Enjoyed this piece very much!

  5. Thank you, ladies for your supportive comments. May we all bear fruit for the One who sustains us in all seasons.

  6. Sharon, you are so right that we are blessed to be part of this Inscribe branch of God's vine - we are educated and encouraged with each post. Thank you for sharing how God is sufficient in your life.

  7. Yes, it truly is a blessing to be part of the InScribe branch of God's vine. I too learn so much from reading all the blogs--and I am encouraged. I am encouraged by your blogs too Sharon because your voice is real and honest and I feel like I'm not the only one struggling with writing and with life. Thanks Sharon.

  8. Again, my friends, thanks for reading my blog and taking the time to respond. Thanks, Connie and Marnie, for spelling out what I implied. InScribe is a branch of Jesus, the true vine. We can individually and collectively, I believe, become a branch.

    In Romans 12, Paul talks about how we as Christians are one body in Christ. In verses 5-9, he discusses the gifts and says that whatever our gift is we should use it. Whether it's prophesy, serving, teaching, giving. . .we are to be generous with this gift. I believe InScribe members have a good variety of these gifts and each member uses his or her gift to glorify God and to help one another. Paul says, "If it (your gift) is to encourage, then give encouragement."

    Sometimes we are the encourager; sometimes we are the one encouraged. Either way, we learn when we stay close to Jesus, who is the true vine, and we walk in God's vineyard. Blessings to all of you.


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