Tuesday, May 29, 2018

What I Learned about Rest at a Writer's Conference

An odd theme developed for me while I was at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference last week.

At this conference, I usually take classes on the craft of writing, but with two books under contract, this time my focus was differentclasses about Instagram, email and other kinds of marketing filled my schedule. I love to write, but the whole marketing side of things not so much. I just want to do what I do, and let someone else take over the publicity aspect. But that’s not the way it works these days. Publishers expect and require authors to do their own marketing.

All of that makes me a little and sometimes a lot, anxious. My learning curve right now is nearing a one hundred and eighty degree angle as I try to acquire the knowledge to do what I need to do.

The second day there, my brain went into overload with words like target audience, engagement, growth rate, hashtag, and a word I had never heard before, shadowban (I’ll need to learn more even to define it for you).   Brian Bird, executive producer of Hallmark’s “When Calls the Heart” captured it best one morning when he asked, “How are you doing drinking from the hydrant of this fountain called a writer’s conference?” The information comes at you so fast; it doesn’t seem there’s a moment to process.

That afternoon, I walked into a class on creativity and spiritual formation taught by author and speaker, Karynthia Phillips. I later learned she is also a Physician’s Assistant. I chose this class because I thought it might help me in classes I teach on creativity, but it did much more than that.

A song by Julie True played in the room when I entered, and within seconds, I began to relax as I listened to her song, “Oh, My Soul.” Karynthia’s class was one of the highlights of the conference for me. It was like during my fashion buyer days when I used to walk up Seventh Avenue in New York City to Central Park, emerging from a cacophony of sensory overload into a space of peace.

“Creativity requires space for spiritual formation,” she said. Oh, yes. She went on, “Allow God to restore, replenish, and refocus your heart and mind.” Then she gave us time for God to do that in prayer and reflection. As I sat in a rocking chair and inhaled deeply the Blue Ridge Mountain Air, that word “Rest,” kept coming back to me.  I stretched out my legs and rocked slightly allowing God to minister to me by His Spirt.

 The next morning, my reading for the day happened to be from Psalm 62:5,” Yes, my soul, find rest in God: my hope comes from Him.” Julie True’s song came from this verse.

Later, author, Linda Evans Shepherd shared her moving testimony and explained that when a sheep falls down and rolls over, the weight of its wool will often keep it from rising. This is called being cast down. If the shepherd doesn’t find the sheep, it will die and the loss of a single sheep to a shepherd is a great loss. The weight of the world can be like the weight of the wool to us, and we can become cast down. But Jesus is the good shepherd and we are incredibly valuable to Him. He finds us and as the Psalmist writes, “Thought he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down . . . “ (Psalm 37:24). Though we fall, we shall not be utterly cast down.

Linda said it best, “Rest a lamb in the shepherd’s arms.”

I realized the weight of the responsibility to promote my books has almost made me cast down, but I need to rest as a lamb in the shepherd’s arms, knowing he’s got this. I need to do what I can do with the knowledge that He will do what He can do.

That will always be enough.

Listen, and if there’s something making you cast down, allow the Good Shepherd to minister to you and remove the burden.

Rest in Him.

"Creativity requires space for spiritual formation." Karynthia Phillips. (click to tweet)

"Rest a lamb in the shepherd's arms." Linda Evans Shepherd. (click to tweet)

“Allow God to restore, replenish, and refocus your heart and mind.” Karynthia Phillips (click to tweet)

Remember Faith in the Fashion District is now available for presale at many online retailers and at Amazon.
“As a Ford model during the 1980’s, the New York fashion world was my world. Beverly’s encouraging stories of how God moved in that sphere help us realize that no matter where we are— even on Seventh Avenue—God wants to use us for His glory.”
Nancy Stafford
Actress (“Matlock”), Speaker, and Author  

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