Choose Your Words

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who might listen.

Ephesians 4:29, NIV

I recently did something that many people do–I aired an opinion on Facebook.  At the time, I was highly frustrated about something and posted about it on my timeline.  I didn’t mention any names, just posted what I hoped was general enough to get my opinion across without coming out and condemning anyone.  My goal was to get it off my chest and maybe open up a bit of a dialog, maybe not with the one who I was most frustrated with but others who might hold the same opinion.  I honestly wasn’t trying to start an argument or anything.  I just wanted to get something off my chest.

In response to what I wrote, I received an email that said, among other things, that I had not only acted in a selfish manner by posting my opinion publicly like that but I also acted in an unBiblical manner by doing it.  I was hurt and angry by the things this email said.  In fact, angry doesn’t cut it.  The unBiblical comment made me downright furious.  How dare someone question my motives or my relationship with God like that?  I know my relationship with God isn’t perfect and it has yet to develop to what I know God wants it to be.  But I am constantly growing and changing into the person He wants.  Having someone else point out my shortcomings, especially in a way that is more hurtful than helpful, doesn’t help at all.

As the hurt began to subside, I thought about what was in the email.  How could sharing an opinion be unBiblical?  I didn’t know and didn’t believe I had done anything wrong.  Still, I was willing to admit that I might have acted in a selfish manner.  So I prayed that God would show me.  ”If what I did went against what You would want me to do, Lord, please show me.”

This morning, I read a blog post by Kathi Macias, one of my favorite authors where she was talking about what makes a book a Christian book (you can read her post here, if you are interested.)  She used Ephesians 4:29 to illustrate her point.  The verse made me think.  Though I may have a right to my own opinion on any given matter, I don’t have the right to air my opinion in a way that will tear someone else down.  And that is exactly what I did.  My focus was on getting my frustration off my chest, not on presenting my opinion in a way that could help anyone “see the error of their ways,” so to speak.  I didn’t share my thoughts in an effort to build anyone up or to provide any sort of benefit.

In that way, I did do what I was accused of.  I did act in an unBiblical manner.  For that, I am truly sorry.

I am not going to apologize for what I said that day.  The words I posted on Facebook are true.  They are what I feel, and I do not feel the need to apologize for how I feel.  But I will apologize for the way I went about it.  And I will make a promise to God right now…before I share anything potentially hurtful on Facebook–or anywhere else, for that matter–I will go to Him first.  With His help, I trust that I can choose my words correctly, and get my point across without causing any further hurt feelings.

Looking Forward

I can’t “blame” my writing career on Karen Kingsbury.  God is the one who gave me the talent I have and He is the one who put into my heart the burning desire to write books that glorify Him.   But Karen is the one who first made me think that sharing the stories God has given me could be much more than just a dream.

The number of times I was told that Christian books would never sell….  I don’t know that I can count high enough to give you a number.  But it happened often enough that I even believed it for a while.  It wasn’t until an on-line friend suggested I read something “anything, really” by Karen Kingsbury that I changed my mind.  Her books were good; her talent very real.  And she has sold more than a few books.  My goal with my writing isn’t to see title after title at the top of The New York Times Best Seller List (though I wouldn’t be totally upset to see that happen, either.)  But seeing what she has done makes me think that it is possible, with a lot of hard work, for me to actually contribute something, financially, to my family through my writing.

God may have put the desire in my heart, but Karen has set an example for me to follow.

I’ve read pretty much everyone of Karen’s books that my library carries, and I’ve even added quite a few of her titles to my personal books collection.  (My favorites?  One Tuesday Morning and Even Now.)  I follow her on both Facebook and Twitter, and find myself anxiously awaiting whatever story she comes up with next.

I was really anxious to read her Bailey Flanigan Series.  Reading through the books about the Baxter family, I got to see Bailey grow up.  I could hardly wait to see what would unfold for her as she navigated her way through her 20′s.  Over the weekend, I read the final two books in this four book series.  I have to say that I was a little disappointed.  The series did not end the way that I thought it would, and for the first time I found little “quirks” in Karen’s writing style that annoyed me.  When I reached the last page of the final book, I was actually happy to be done with it.  I honestly didn’t think I’d be interested in reading another of her books for quite a while.

And then I found this trailer.   Oh my goodness!!!!  I so cannot WAIT to read this one.  Of course, it’s about the Baxters, and I am so hooked on their lives!  Coming Home looks to be another great story.

Oh, What To Do

I have about a zillion ideas flying around in my head today.  And when I say a zillion, I am only slightly exaggerating.  I seriously have a lot of story ideas floating around in there.  That can be both a good thing and a bad thing.

Today, it is a bad thing.

There are so many thoughts in there that I don’t even know where to begin.

I have a novel that is nearly complete.  Well, the first draft is nearly complete, anyway.  I probably SHOULD get to work on that.

But I can’t seem to concentrate.  The other ideas keep pushing their way to the front of my mind, pretty much demanding that I work on them.  As soon as I have a pen and paper or a blank word document open, the idea slips away.

This is driving me CRAZY.  Should I stop writing for a few days and just let my brain simmer down?  Or maybe I should just grab a pen and my journal and start writing whatever comes to mind, without thought about form and style and spelling….  Just get the stuff out of my head and onto paper in someway.

Learning to FLY

Confession time!

I am completely disorganized.

For years, I have blamed it on my older sister.  That woman is the most organized, the most together person that I know.  I’ve often said that it is her fault that I am not organized–she was born first and she hogged all of the organizational genes for herself, leaving me as the hopeless mess that I am today.

A fun family joke, maybe, but blaming her does nothing to address the real problem.  My disorganization problem doesn’t lie with my sister.  Sure, it would be awesome to have her spend a week (or a month or a year–it’s a huge mess!) organizing every room in my home and every aspect of my life.  The clutter and confusion would be gone and life would run smoothly.

For a week or two, until I allowed the clutter to take control again.

As nice and easy and comfortable as it sounds to let my big sis fix up life, it wouldn’t work.  Why?  Because allowing her to do it for me would not teach me how to do it for myself.  Her organization system is just that–HERS.  It works well in her life but may not work in mine.  What I need to do is clean out all the clutter and mess on my own, and then work out a system that will allow me to stay organized.

That is where The FLYLady comes in.

Have you ever heard of her?  I’ve been hearing about her on and off for years.  Online friends have talked about her tips and tricks for decluttering and staying organized.  Once or twice, I even looked at her website ( and tried to use her system.

And gave up in frustration when it didn’t work for me.

The disorganization in my life has really been getting to me lately.  I can’t seem to find much of anything.  When my Kindle broke, I flipped out.  Not because it was broken–after all, it was still under warranty–but because I didn’t know where my warranty paperwork was.  Oh, I knew where it SHOULD be and had a general idea where it MIGHT be.  But I didn’t know exactly where it was.  Luckily, I found it rather easily and the device has been replaced, but this forced me to realize that I need serious help.  Just “cleaning” isn’t enough.  I need to seriously organize my life and clear out the useless clutter that is just taking up space.  So once again, I turned to FLYLday.

I thought I would start off with her Spring Cleaning To-Do list.  That was when I came across the sentence that made the difference for me: “Remove the tasks that you don’t need to do and add others that your house could use.”  In other words, it was OK to customize the list to fit my needs.

FLYLady wasn’t telling me what to do–she was providing me with a guide to get done what needed to be dome.  On her website, she was sharing what routine works for her and encouraging me to adapt that routine to fit my life.  She was showing me how my unmanageable life could become managed, but not telling me the exact way to get it done.

I’ve been FLYing (and for those who don’t know, FLY means “Finally Loving Yourself”) for about three weeks now.  Parts of my home still look like a tornado ran through it (or perhaps three tornadoes named Dru, Robby, and Seth.)  But other parts–the rooms that company is most likely to see–look fresh and new.  It’s a process that will take some time to complete, but it is working for me.  Seeing what I can accomplish with just a few minutes of work each day is helping me see that I can do just about anything.

FLYLady, organization 1 Comment