Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Quiet Lives

Have you ever had one of those moments where life just got so overwhelming you froze? Or cried for seemingly no reason? Or shut yourself in your room and built a wall around your soul  so strong that not even reading or writing could penetrate it? Where you couldn't even find the energy to turn the page of a novel because it was just too hard?

Perhaps I'm being a bit melodramatic. Let me start over.

Hey guys. *smiles sheepishly* I've been gone for more than a month. I really missed y'all.

Why have I been gone for a month? Well... several reasons. 

Firstly, Hail Frost and Rooglewood's new contest. My summer has been fairly busy, so all the free writing time has been spent working on either editing Hail Frost or writing a 'Beauty and the Beast' short story. More on this in a bit.

Secondly, social life. This seems like the first summer where I've actually gone and got myself a social life. (whaaaat? I know right.) I've got amazing friends who I've been hangin' with quite a lot, which was good and calmed me down from the other craziness that's been going on.

Lastly, I think I had Senioritis. Yep. In the middle of the summer before my senior year even started. Thinking about the next schoolyear caused an earthquake (brainquake?) to erupt in my mind. Mom would ask me questions about this-or-that college or this-or-that subject. And I would just kinda blink and stare stupidly at her, or more often, say something rude and childish because I just wanted my head to stop hurting. (sorry Mom...)

I feel like I've grown up quite a bit in the last month. Everything just got so overwhelming. I took a break, and I'm glad I did, even though I thought about y'all every day. You know, I always make fun of movies like 'Thor', where the hero drastically changes over the course of a few days. I sit there in the theater, stuffing popcorn in my mouth, and internally chuckle over how that could never happen. It takes years to change a person's character so completely, especially if that character is a thousand year-old "god" with the angst of a teenager. 

And yet... there's some truth to it. Now, I've not changed that much. I don't think I could lift Mjolnir or fight the Destroyer or even look fabulous in a red cape. But I feel a bit more mature. A bit more confident. 

I wrote a blog post awhile back called 'Thinking about College'. In it, I reflected on how I was going to trust God with the entire college-situation, and everything after it. That hasn't changed, but I think I learned something rather odd about myself.

There are people I know who sit back and say with confidence, "God will take care of it", "God will help me through this", "God will never leave me nor forsake me", "God has a plan for all of us" etc. And yet, they literally don't do anything to fix their situations. They just sit there and wait for God. And I'm just here like, "Yeah, sure, He'll be there. Why don't you get off your butt and go to Him? Why should He help you when you aren't even making an effort to follow His plan? Why are you relying on your heart when God gave you a brain as well?" 

I've never found anything wrong with my response to these types of people. I still don't, really. They do need to make an effort instead of waiting for a magic genie to fix all of their problems.

And yet, like always, I've discovered that I have flaws in my way of life as well. I trust God with my life after college, absolutely. I trust Him with my college plans. But I haven't been trusting him with my life. I don't mean my future. I mean my day-to-day, should I have cereal or yogurt?, oh my gosh, I have so much work to do!, my siblings are so obnoxious, I'm such a failure I can't do anything, everyday life. Instead of sitting around and waiting on God, I decided to limit him to the vague, foggy future that even I can't fix, while I attempt to fix everything that comes at me each and every day.

Ladies and gentlemen, that is not a good way to live. In fact, I wouldn't even call it living. More like juggling. On a tight rope. Surrounded by laughing clowns and constant distractions with a stress headache just a miscalculation away. 

Get the log out of my own eye, much?

1 Thessalonians 4: 11-12 says, "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody."

This verse never jumped out at me until this month. I'd always assumed "quiet life" meant "don't try to be famous." Check, got that one. I thought "mind your own business" meant "don't get involved in other people's drama". Done that. I thought "work with your hands" meant "don't be a lazy bum". Well... I mean, I only procrastinate some of the time... And the "don't be dependent on anybody"? Obviously, it meant "don't end up on welfare". Yep! Looks like I was good on this verse! Now onto Proverbs 16:18...

Maybe some of those interpretations are right in some ways, but this verse has come to mean so much more to me. God can use people who are famous. If someone were famous, He would want him or her to use that blessing as a ministry. I think "quiet life" means something else, something a bit more personal that social status. 

I think it means peace. When I became a Christian, Jesus gave me a peace that passes all understanding. And that doesn't just mean peace in the knowledge that death can never hurt me. It means that life can never hurt me either. It means Jesus is there to help me through my day. It means He is there to own my day. I don't need to freak out over deadlines and failures and school and college and my life. He gives me peace so I can have a quiet life, a life focused on Him and His plans, not me and my insecurities. 

"Mind your own business" doesn't necessarily mean "avoid drama" and it certainly doesn't mean "keep to your own life, don't get involved with others'". It means to focus on the things that matter. I don't need to make sure I use super cool writing techniques and stylistic literary devices in 'Hail Frost'. It means I need to be honest. I need to write what God would have me write, even if, perhaps, the story would be more "stylistic" if I did something else. 

"Work with your hands" means that I need to do the job God has for me today. I don't need to worry about what college I can be of most help to God in. I don't need to worry about what missionary trips I should go on during my summer between school years. It means I follow His plan today and let Him worry about tomorrow. I let Him guide me as I struggle with editing or plotting a short story or hanging out with my siblings. I let Him work through me.

And after all this, when my life is quiet and I mind my own business and I work with my hands, I won't be dependent on anyone. I'll be wholly dependent on God, and I'll feel more free than ever.

I'm not there yet, but I know what it feels like and I can only imagine what it will be like when every second of every day is filled with heavenly peace. Maybe I won't feel that until after I die, but I know that I can at least trust God with each day of my life and simply focus on His plan for that day.

So yes. Thor learns that being a jerk is totes not cool and that a little humility never hurt anyone. I learned that I have no control over my daily life and that God needs to own each and every aspect of today. Not bad, if I do say so myself.

Well... now that I have only translated my soul onto a keyboard to blast out into cyberspace... let me share some updates!

I'm currently writing a short story for Rooglewood's new contest (which I encourage you to check out). It's a Beauty and the Beast retelling, and it's been fun to write so far! It's one of the first short stories I've ever written, so I don't think it will win, but it's been good practice and 'Beauty and the Beast' is my favorite fairy tale and Disney movie so I just had to join in the fun!

'Hail Frost' is a little jerk. I'm serious, this book does NOT want to be edited (Or maybe I'm just a perfectionist. Whatever). I love the story so much. It's a rather personal tale. Of all the characters I've ever invented, Hail, Ember, and Flake are probably the three that are the most "me", so this story feels especially vulnerable. Perhaps that is why it is taking so long. I don't know. All I can say is this- when I said in 'Ember Flame' that it would come out in 2014, I obviously had no idea what junior and senior year would entail, nor how much I would grow to love this novel. I'm still hopeful it will be published in 2014, but if it's not, I promise to have lots of freebies to hand out as apologies. :) 

Fanfiction. Seriously yo, if writing "real" stuff gets too stressful, write fanfiction. It's extremely relaxing because you don't have to worry about editing or styles or cliches. You can just write. It's also cool because you can experiment with different writing techniques without fear of ruining an entire novel. AND, you get an excuse to spend time seriously obsessing analyzing your particular fandom. There are no cons to this. For example, I'm writing an HP fanfiction that involves three different timelines and storylines that all interconnect even though the characters never meet. I would have never attempted something like this in an original fiction, but I can in fanfiction. (That sounds way more professional than what actually happened. Actually, I couldn't decide between writing Marauders Era, Next Gen, or AU because of Snape feels... so I sorta went with everything... #lol #yolo #ihatehashtags #turntopage394)

I've got a lot of post ideas that have been coming to me over the month. Totes ma goats excited. (My friend May likes to say that. She designed Ember Flame, and she is always saying stuff like "That is totes ma goats cray-cray". And she can do it without sounding dumb. She's way cooler than me, for seriously). I've got a way overdue review for a fantabulous novel coming up. I've got some thoughts on HP. I've got some thoughts on superheroes. I've got some thoughts on world-building. I've got some thoughts on dude characters (I did a strong female character post awhile back, and I'm for gender equality, so guys get a post too). And I've got a blog post about writing workshops. Basically, be prepared for a lot of blog posts!

*sigh* Long post, I know. I'm so glad to be back! What have y'all been up to? I missed you so much! *hugs everyone*

P.S. Guardians of the Galaxy people. GO SEE IT NOW!!!! IT'S AWESOME AND HILARIOUS AND GLORIOUSLY CHEESY! Need more incentive? Zoe Saldana. Chris Pratt. Animated raccoon. GO SEE IT!


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! Brace yourself for a TON of comments on your blog soon... :D

  2. You were missed, it is nice to have you back though I understand you needing time away to adjust and get things straightened out. I have been going through something like that myself. Moving on in life, new changes is scary. College is scary. But if you are doing what God wants you to it will all work amazingly.

    1. Thank you so much for the encouragement! I know God has a plan for me, I just have trouble trusting Him sometimes. I'm getting better at it though. I'm thankful to have so many friends who understand, especially all my bloggy friends. :)

  3. P.S. you still writing makes me happy

  4. I totally know how you feel, getting ready to go to college is no picnic.
    Love that verse, and your thoughts on it. :) You’ll definitely be amazed on how God works everything out!
    Romans 8:28- “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

    Ruth Newton

    1. Thank you so much! I really needed to read that verse today. It's comforting to know that God has a plan for all things, including the little and mundane things. :)

    2. So true! Romans 8 is my favorite chapter in the Bible!

      Ruth N.