August 14, 2017

Joy, Prayer, and Gratitude: Finding perspective and balance as a writer - Ruth L. Snyder

Recently I listened to a webinar where writers shared their challenges and needs. When asked what the biggest challenge in writing was, most answered, "TIME!"

We all feel the crunch. Many of us have families. Many work, at least part-time. When we do squeeze in time for our writing, we are also told we need to research markets; find a group of beta readers; rewrite (several times); work with an editor to hone our manuscript; figure out whether we are self-publishing or working with a traditional publisher; maintain a website; be active on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, and others; and market our own work, plus support fellow writers in their marketing efforts.

As Christians, there is a whole extra layer to the demands. We write because we feel called by God to share a message He has laid on our hearts. We write because we see it as a ministry. We write to be a light in a dark world.

It's so easy to feel overwhelmed! 

Sometimes we quit, because it's so difficult.
Sometimes we quit, because we doubt our god-given abilities.
Sometimes we quit, because we listen to others who don't understand our calling.
Sometimes we quit, because we fail to put on our spiritual armour and fight against the devil's schemes (Ephesians 6:10-19). 

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (NIV).

Be joyful is translated, "Rejoice," in the King James Version. These words come from the Greek, "chairo," a verb which means to be full of cheer or calmly happy. Hmm. Calmly happy. It would seem that God wants us to choose to be cheerful. And calm. With four active children, the only time our home is quiet is when everyone is asleep. However, as I go through my day to day activities with my husband and children, and my writing, I can choose to be calm and happy instead of reacting and getting angry.

Prayer is definitely something that helps me maintain a calm and cheerful attitude. I notice when I don't get up early in the morning and have my quiet time before everyone else gets up. (I think others notice too!) Having time to read God's word and pray sets my whole framework for the day. Although I can't spend my whole day on my knees in prayer, I can talk to God throughout the day. Short snippets of conversation:

"Wow! Thanks, Father, for a beautiful sunrise."
"Lord, give me wisdom to know how to motivate my son without giving in to anger."
"Father, you know that I was planning to write today, but my mother-in-law needs a ride to town. Help me to do it cheerfully, for you."
"Lord, I feel sad and angry. I give you my hurt feelings. Help me to respond in love."
"Father, guide my thoughts as I write."

A recent sunset in Alberta
Giving thanks or gratitude is not something that comes naturally to most of us. This too is a choice. Sometimes it's easy to be grateful - for a good harvest, for children who love us, for a welcoming church family, for a contract with a publisher. Other times it is extremely difficult to choose gratitude - when we get a diagnosis of cancer, when our teenagers rebel, when other Christians criticize us for taking a stand against sin, when we get those rejection letters.

For me, finding that equilibrium in my life and writing boils down to two words: relationship and trust. When I have a healthy relationship with my Heavenly Father, the Creator of the universe, then I am able to walk each day with trust in what He allows. I am able to trust that if He has called me to write, He will provide the opportunities and the ability to write. I can trust that He will guide me to the audience He has for me. I am also able to trust that a rejection either means my writing needs more work or it is not a good fit for that publisher or their audience.

Does this mean I am always calmly happy, praying, and giving thanks? Definitely not. I have asked, "Why?" many times. I have pouted. I have blamed others instead of taking responsibility myself. But then God reminds me of His will and the choices I can make.

Each new day, we have choices. God wants us to choose joy, prayer, and gratitude. I'm working on it. How about you?

Ruth L. Snyder
Follower of Jesus. Coach.
President of ICWF.
Creativity is my passion.
My mission is helping other creative people achieve their goals.
How can I help you?
Find more at


  1. Thanks for this 'balanced' yet powerful post, Ruth!

    1. You're welcome, Tracy. I prayed, and God answered :)

  2. Recently I was at my daughter's church and some young quizzers shared their memory verses. The scripture, "Rejoice in the Lord" reached out and has stuck with me for the past month. It has helped me to rejoice in my circumstances, and so I was especially interested to hear the Greek word and meaning for rejoice. Calmly happy. Hmmmm, I like that. That sounds like a good mantra for everyday. God wants me to be happy and calm. He even commands it. I'm going to hang onto this too, Ruth. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Pam, thanks for sharing how God is at work in your life. Small choices, with huge results. Small choices that are so difficult some days, and yet, so worthwhile. I'm glad this post was meaningful for you.

  3. Joy, gratitude, patience and a whole basket filled with fruits from the Spirit--if we but ask, and asking is prayer, Ruth. I'm working on it too, Ruth. We all are works in progress. Thanks for writing about and living this balanced approach.

    1. Praise God for His patience in dealing with us! I'm glad we are fellow sojourners, Sharon :)

  4. Ruth, this post was so encouraging to me! I love the "calmly happy" as I have never been one to be bubbly even when ecstatic. However, I just cannot picture you being angry or pouting. You seem to be so balanced! So thank you for sharing this vulnerable side, as well as sharing how you handle those feelings with prayer and gratitude.

    1. Marnie,
      Thanks for your encouraging words. I'm just as human as the next person - just ask my kids :) God knows our weaknesses and gently works in our lives to polish His image in us.


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