June 09, 2020

Shining Light in the Darkness by Steph Beth Nickel

Although the word "unprecedented" has been used over and over, these truly are unprecedented days.

COVID-19. Social distancing. Sheltering in place. Job loss. Increased tension in the home.

And then add the current volatile climate of racial tension (even here in Canada) ...

We're heartbroken, angry, overwhelmed.

As writers, we may be tempted to put down our pens, to walk away from our computers. But as social media pro (and fellow believer) Tonya Kubo says, "We can't quit social media."

We must show up for our audience. We must give leadership to those who read our words ... even if what we lead them to do is listen to more informed voices than our own.

Typically, people would use these words to describe me: perky, talkative, upbeat, positive, encouraging. (And yes, I realize they may refer to me by other less complimentary terms as well, but that's okay.)

Right now, however, I don't feel all that upbeat or positive. But I am learning how to keep pushing forward when I want nothing more than to veg in front of the TV or consume novels.

Here are a dozen the things that will help. (Maybe they'll help you as well.)
  1. Dig into God's Word. He is the only one with all the answers.
  2. Pray more.
  3. Listen to praise and worship music and maybe, sing along. (Plus, do more chair dancing.)
  4. Connect with other Christians, if not in person, then via the Internet or phone.
  5. Stay connected with family and friends.
  6. Get more physical activity. (I've been walking more and doing resistance training again.)
  7. Eat better. (A healthy diet goes a long way to make us feel better not only physically but also emotionally and mentally.)
  8. Read or listen to books and podcasts that will educate and/or entertain. I am currently listening to Latasha Morrison's Be the Bridge.
  9. Take the next step, no matter how small, toward a bigger goal. (I enjoy Emily P. Freeman's podcast, "The Next Right Thing," and her book by the same name.)
  10. Get the rest you need. In Saundra Dalton-Smith's Sacred Rest, she discusses the seven types of rest we all need: physical rest, mental rest, emotional rest, spiritual rest, social rest, sensory rest, and creative rest. And speaking of creativity ...
  11. Get involved in other creative endeavours besides writing. I enjoy Bible journaling and taking photo walks. I haven't done either near enough.
  12. Trust that God's got this. I may have more questions than ever, but I can still trust Him. Romans 8:28 is still true.  
What does my writing life look like right now?

Thankfully, I have editing clients. By helping them get their words ready for their audience, I am encouraged to keep writing as well.

I've begun a Facebook group, Nurture and Inspire, where I show up every day (thanks again to Tonya Kubo's encouragement and the positive feedback I receive from group members).

I write a book review for HopeStreamRadio most weeks. (I have to get a second review fired off this week. At least I'm not as far behind as I could be.)

I'm so thankful for my responsibilities with InScribe and my commitment to guest post on Janet Sketchley's blog each month. It keeps me writing.

I intend to indie publish the first book in my Nurture and Inspire series this year. I am currently reviewing it yet again. I've fired off the intro to a couple of individuals who will "give it to me straight." 

It also helps immensely to belong to several writing and writing-related FB communities, not to mention the courses and summits I've signed up for.

Lord willing, I will push through. More importantly, I will shine in the darkness. 

I'd love to hear how you're doing so.


  1. Thanks for those good suggestions. I feel like I'm under house arrest. But, as I wrote on my May 2 blog post, even the Apostle Paul was under house arrest. It gave him time to write a third of The New Testament.

  2. Thanks for all your suggestions, Steph Beth! The sentences that caught my attention were: "Take the next step, no matter how small, toward a bigger goal. (I enjoy Emily P. Freeman's podcast, "The Next Right Thing," and her book by the same name.)" The "next step" is always what God asks us to take. Emily Freedman's podcast and book are resources I'll have to look into!

  3. You are so right, Steph. The world keeps hearing the same things over and over. Thankfully, we know that God does have this. It sounds like you have some writing projects on the go. That's great! Thanks for your 12 steps of encouragement.

  4. These are such wonderful suggestions, Stephanie. We must persevere even in dark times...

  5. Hi Steph. Thank you for youe message. 1. How am I doing? First of all I like this reference to rest, "the seven types of rest we all need: physical rest, mental rest, emotional rest, spiritual rest, social rest, sensory rest, and creative rest" 2. How am I doing? Depends on the day. Today as I wade through the talk about "racism," I find most I read is based on emotion and lacks reason. I become when I read of riots which in practice show no evidence of steps to reason or reconciliation. What I see is black criminals causing immeasurable grief and hardship for other people, including black people. Black communities are better than this and deserve more grace and love. They don't need poor examples shown by many rioters. 3. How am I doing? Tired in my heart, soul, and body. I need interaction with writer friends. I find, however, even many writers seem to have been caught up by an imbalanced narrative of what is going on today. 4. How am I doing? Sad.

  6. Thank you, Stephanie, for your wide-reaching and helpful suggestions for moving forward and staying positive in the midst of the present “unrest.” I had never thought before of the different kinds of rest we need, so that is definitely something to look into. One of my go-tos in regard to
    rest, as I know it, is the 23rd, or Shepherd’s, Psalm.

    Another thing that comes to my mind is The Serenity Prayer. During the current double wave of the Covid Pandemic and racial protests, we are tempted to tell others what they need to say or do or what they should not say or not do. For this, I remind myself of the Serenity Pray. “Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” May the Good Lord help us to be the change He wants us to be.

    I also have found much to ponder in Emily P. Freeman’s book, “The Next Right Thing.” Thanks, again.

  7. Thanks very much for your suggestions, Stephanie. What a great list to put into practice.


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