So excited to invite DiAnn Mills to By His Grace this week to share about Spiritual Disciplines for the writer. DiAnn is a popular Christian Fiction author, and a personal friend and mentor. Be sure to listen to the podcast with DiAnn where we discussed Spiritual Warfare for the Christian Author. Please welcome DiAnn Mills to the blog today!
Spiritual Disciplines for Today’s Writer
By DiAnn Mills
Writers share a special gift. We’ve been blessed with the creative ability to release words to the world. I’ve heard writers say, I’m going to invite Jesus into my story. When in truth, God is/has written the story, and He’s inviting us to join Him. Writing is a sacred adventure.
Let’s examine the acrostic adventure and explore ways we can grow spiritually closer to God.
A – Accept the Call
The letter A is to accept the call from God as a personal invitation to follow Him. A writer cannot create for God unless he/she first establishes Him as priority One.
We embrace God’s gift of eternal life through faith in His Son Jesus Christ and His work on the cross, and we believe Jesus is the only way to heaven.
This isn’t a get-out-of-the-other-place-free card. Accepting the call to trust
our Lord and Savior forever is a commitment and a responsibility that carries us into eternity.
Our writing isn’t easy, but we’re not alone. The Creator and Author of the Bible is with us, the same Creator and Author of life who has commissioned us to write His story whether in fiction or nonfiction.
D – Dedicate our Life to Prayer
The letter D of adventure is a reminder to dedicate our lives to prayer. Isn’t it grand to know our God desires to hear from us? He’s not concerned about our words, physical posture, the amount of money we’ve given, the number of publications, or a specific time of day. He already knows what’s on our hearts. The posture that pleases God is humility.
Our prayers are not a grocery list for wants or even needs. Dear God, please take care of all my desires, provide a six figure contract, keep me on the bestseller list, etc. Our prayers are a constant conversation with God, ones in which we have access to our sovereign Lord. We need His guidance and wisdom every moment of the day.
Remember Him first thing in the morning and the last moment of consciousness at night. In between our waking and sleeping hours are plenty of opportunities to thank and praise Him for His provision.
Prayer is better than any wifi connection.
V – Vertical
The letter V is a reminder to write with a vertical heart and mind.
We writers are in the business of learning the craft, using our imaginations, writing, editing, rewriting, and the process repeats. That’s horizontal writing. We’re depending on people and earth’s resources to help us reach our publishing goals. While we are to prayerfully consider wise counsel and seek knowledge, too often we forget we’re called to live vertical lives. Our heads are bent over the keyboard instead of lifted in communication with God.
E – Enter His gates with praise
The letter E stands for enter in the verse, enter His gates with praise. (Psalm 100:4)
When we open our eyes each morning, God wants us to welcome Him into our day. When we enter his presence before our feet touch the floor, He is pleased.
I encourage you to whisper these words:
Psalm 118:24 ESV
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
N – New life
The letter N stands for New Life. We hear the phrase from the pulpit, in devotions, commentaries, and books designed to enrich our spiritual lives. But do we fully understand what it means?
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
Man is born without the knowledge of God being all we need. When God created man, He put within us a need for relationship, security, and significance. God intended for those innate needs to be met in Him. Unfortunately sin eliminates God from the picture.
T – Time
We approach life the same way we embrace time. Our faith, culture, background, ideals, experiences, and personalities form how we view this priceless commodity.
Writers fit into at least one of these views:
- Some accept responsibility for how they spend time. They are filled with purpose.
- Some envision an opportunity to make the world a better place.
- Some fear time hammering away at their lives and struggle to stay young.
- Some grasp time and can’t do enough for others, while others can’t do enough for themselves.
- Some ignore time and believe it’s a state of mind.
- Some perceive time as a math problem, an infinite calculation.
- Some plan their time as if their happiness depends on tomorrow’s circumstances. We’ve met writers who thrive on one achievement after another, and when a contract or award doesn’t happen, they are in a well of depression.
- Some prioritize time by the events of their lives.
- Some risk all they have to run a step ahead of time.
- Some strive to be good stewards of the minutes, days, and hours given to them. They are mindful with what they do and how they do it. Balance is healthy and they work hard at it.
- Some view others who take a break as wasting time while others view it as a necessary part of their day.
No matter how we grasp life, time marches ahead. If we aren’t careful, it will leave us behind.
U – Understand
The letter U stands for understand. This word is filled with the promises of God woven in and around our relationship with Him. Too often we fail to perceive how very important we are to our Heavenly Father.
When life threatens to drown our resolve and we abandon our trust, God is still with us through adversity. Rejections, fighting jealousy, facing those who ridicule us because of our commitment to writing, lack of funds – all of it.
- Understand we are unconditionally loved.
- Understand we belong to God.
- Understand nothing can snatch us away from Him.
- Understand His love will always surpass ours.
- Understand He gave His one and only Son as a sacrifice for our sins.
- Understand He rose again from the dead that we might one day live with Him.
- Understand neither our good deeds nor mistakes will ever make Him love us any more or any less.
- Understand He is always working for our good.
- Understand He forgives us when we don’t deserve it – that’s mercy.
- Understand His grace is for everyone who believes.
- Understand we are a beautiful, big thing in God’s eyes.
- Understand He will never leave us nor forsake us.
- Understand the Holy Spirit is our counselor and our guide through the journey called life.
- Understand His love and acceptance has nothing to do with our publishing credits.
- Understand He is the one true God.
R – Rest
The letter R stands for rest. While technology makes our lives easier, it also provides more ways for us to spend time.
The disturbances and heartaches that rob us of rest and peace are as old as time.
- Families break up and the values we treasure are seemingly destroyed.
- Jobs are eliminated and we face financial ruin.
- Health issues stop us in our tracks.
- Our writing fails to satisfy our inner longings.
- Our children are rebellious.
- Instant news from around the world gives us real-time happenings, and unfortunately the evil and the ugly grab our attention.
- Our world’s woes appear overwhelming.
- Nature deals us incredible devastation.
Jesus says in Mark 6:31 ESV
“And he said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’”
E – Eternal
The last letter E stands for eternal. Everything we do has an eternal impact on us and others.
Jesus died for our sins so that by accepting His sacrifice on the cross, we are seen through the eyes of God as washed clean. Those who choose to live their lives per selfish desires and greed will live forever without the joy of knowing God in a deep loving relationship.
Once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are eager to follow Him in obedience.
As writers, our creativity is about our Lord. He gave us the gift of writing, and we in turn give the gift back to Him. Glory to God!
Philippians 1:6 ESV
“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
How do you live an adventure with God?
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She is a storyteller and creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests.
DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is the director of the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Marketing Retreat, and Mountainside Novelist Retreat with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.
Connect with DiAnn here: www.diannmills.com
Be sure to check out DiAnn’s latest book Fatal Strike that launches September 3, 2019.
There’s a killer on the loose in Galveston, targeting law enforcement officials and using a fatal injection of snake venom to take them down. Authorities have reasons to believe the Veneno gang is behind the hits, and FBI Agents Leah Riesel and Jon Colbert team up to track down those responsible. Their best lead is an eyewitness who identifies a young man dumping the third body on a church doorstep. But their suspect has gone into hiding, and those closest to him are reluctant to reveal anything that might help investigators find him.
As Leah and Jon check connections among the victims and dig deeper into motives, they discover appearances may be deceiving. Someone is desperate to keep their secrets hidden, and Leah and Jon must face their greatest fears in order to stop the next fatal strike.
Thank you so much for visiting By His Grace today. Thank you to DiAnn Mills for giving away one copy of her new book Fatal Strike. To be eligible to win share this post on social media and tag both Misty Phillip and DiAnn Mills in the post for a chance to win a copy of Fatal Strike.