April 20, 2016

Dwell in the Land, and Cultivate Faithfulness - Joylene M. Bailey

The problem with me is that I want to learn everything at once.

I love learning. But I often don’t take the time to learn something well before I’m off to the next thing. (Which is a strange practice for a perfectionist, now that I think about it.)

I just want to know everything. I can’t begin to explain how disappointed I was at the age of 34 - married with children - to suddenly come to the realization that I would never know everything there was to know in the world.

Devastated doesn’t even come close.


Apprenticeship is very different from learning something quickly and moving on to the next enticing thing. 

When I picture an apprentice, I picture a student walking with his master. Watching closely, listening carefully, mimicking the movements, learning the tone of voice.
Apprentices of the Middle Ages actually lived with their masters’ families. For several years!
By the end of their apprenticeship they would have understood the meaning in every raised eyebrow, every twitch of the lips, every “harrumph!” that they encountered in their master’s actions. And they would have understood their craft inside out and backwards.

This week I have been pondering Psalm 37, with regards to my writing. Verses familiar to me that I have had highlighted for many years:
Verse 3.  Trust in the LORD, and do good …
Verse 4.  Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Verse 5.  Commit your way to the LORD …
Verse 7.  Rest in the LORD …
But what’s this? Artfully tucked between Trust in the LORD and Delight yourself in the LORD are two little lines conveniently skipped over time and again:

Dwell in the land
and cultivate faithfulness.

That, to me, is apprenticeship at its core.

Dwelling in the land of writers is an apprenticeship with community. I like to dwell in the land of writers.
I am fresh off a Spring WorDshop, where it was invigorating to breathe the same air as like-minded people. And I learned so many things I had never thought about in quite that way before.
I love my writers group, where I can bounce ideas off of trusted writer friends, get constructive feedback, and grow in my craft.

That’s dwelling in the land of writers.

Cultivating faithfulness takes work and attention, and is part of the apprenticeship that is often done alone.

The definition of cultivate is:
-       - to grow and care for
-       - to foster the growth of
-       - to improve by labour, care, and study

There is something about this part of apprenticeship that is just so … daily.  

It’s not something quickly learned, enabling me to blissfully skip off to learn something new. It’s a step by step, day by day growing, improving, and knowing.

It’s being faithful to the word and the Word.
Day in and day out, sitting my bottom in the chair and putting my fingers to the keyboard.
This is the hard part for someone who likes to go off to learn the latest thing.  Someone like me.

But I think that dwelling in the land and cultivating faithfulness with my writing is the best possible apprenticeship I could have.

LORD, I trust in You. I commit my writing to You. Grant me the motivation, determination, and focus to be faithful in my apprenticeship. Above all, may it bring You glory.


 Joylene writes from Edmonton. You can catch her blog here.


  1. "Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness." I'll be pondering this today! Yes, that really is the activity to place our focus. Thanks for ministering to me today!

    1. Glad to be an encouragement, as you are to me Lynn.

  2. What a wonderfully inspiring post. Thanks you!

  3. Excellent post, Joy. Thank you.

  4. Thanks, Joy!

    Psalm 37 is one of my favourites and I come back to it often. "Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness" has spoken to my heart before, and I needed to hear it again today.

    May God continue to bless and guide you as you dwell and cultivate :)

    1. Cultivate made me think of your Parable of Two Gardeners, Ruth. Thanks for that!

  5. Joylene, you hit the nail on the head for me … I also like to move from thing to thing. But I don't think we need to be too hard on ourselves for some of the things. Not every 'new' thing requires cultivation, some are meant to be short lived fads. I agree that the writing is one of those that requires the cultivation. Thank you so much for your insightful blog post. I have loved that Psalm as well, and have never applied to to my writing before.

    1. You're right, Jocelyn. We don't need to be too hard on ourselves for some of the things. :) Glad I'm not the only one who moves from thing to thing. But I really do need to practice dwelling and cultivating when it comes to my writing.

  6. Psalm 37 is one of my favourites too Joy...but I haven't ever focused on the "dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness" part. Two powerful clauses that you have expounded on so beautifully. Thanks for always having something to share.


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