Friday, September 6, 2013

ACFW and Barbed Wire Reminders

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Can I make a completely honest, from-the-gut confession?

I haven't been looking forward to the ACFW Conference. 

I know...I say such a thing is tantamount to declaring chocolate a worthless calorie-saturated addiction. 

Even *I* want to slap my mouth when I think such a thought!

That isn't to say I'm not so incredibly grateful for the gift of going again this year or recognize that there are many, many writers who would love to take my place. That's not to say that I'm not incredibly eager to see my friends and make new ones. And this isn't to say that I don't believe God has something waiting for me there. But...this is to say I haven't been as eager as I have been in the last two years. 

I leave in four days and I'm not nervously ticking down the dates. I'm not madly memorizing my pitches or picking out my outfits or planning the novel to read on the plane. Am I calm about the trip? For the most part. Am I excited? I really wish I could say I was looking forward to it more than I am. 

I'm sitting here typing out this post trying to image not going and what my emotional response would be to that as well and...there really isn't much difference. And for me, that's scary. 

Why God, do I have no true enthusiasm like I feel I should? 

It produces a nervous ache in the center of my stomach to know I'm going all this way and spending quite a bit of money...not sure there is a reason for me going, but certain there must be one. I don't believe I would be headed to Indianapolis without one. 

It's a barbed reminded to sit and think about I will be sitting across from at least one agent and telling them about my story and I don't truly believe the product I have to show them is worth displaying. It's a sharp barb to the flesh to think I might be going all that distance for...nothing.

But then I'm playing God and think I know what He have in store for me. I don't want to seem as though I don't want to go, because I do...can one want both sides of the coin at the same time?

Am I even making any sense?

I'm not sure I even understand if I'm making any sense. 

It's like walking with your eyes closed and not sure where the edge of the field is and the barbed wire will meet your bare knees and scrap your exposed arms. So I'm praying. Because it's all I can do right now. 

Praying that God will show me what He has waiting for me there. And if He doesn't show me right now, that I won't feel as though the time is wasted. Praying that I go with a heart to serve and love on people and bring a ray of light and joy into their lives. Because to spend any such time is never wasted. 

Now to remember that... :-)

What have you done when you're ever not very excited about something you think you should be looking forward to?


  1. Honesty is a beautiful thing, Casey.
    And exposing our fears to the light -- and our apathy -- is a good thing too.
    Now I now how to pray for you, sweet friend.
    Yes, I've been there. The whole "why am I doing this" blah-ness when I should feel -- want to feel -- excited.
    God's in this, Casey.
    He is.
    I don't know what he has planned for you at ACFW. But I do know he has plans for you ... to bless you and, knowing you, to allow you to bless others.

    1. And that's the only reason I feel I can truly go this year...because I KNOW He would not be taking me there for another year without having something for me.

  2. Hey, Case,

    What have I done when I'm not very excited about something I think I should be looking forward to?

    Well, been there, done that A LOT, and you nailed it with this statement:

    "Praying that I go with a heart to serve and love on people and bring a ray of light and joy into their lives."

    In all actuality, THAT is the key reason we should do anything -- to reflect Christ and spread His love and compassion to everyone we meet. I feel like God told me just yesterday (before I read your blog today!) that THAT is the main reason for me to go this year, so it made me smile to see your comment above. You are SO good at that ... SO gifted at shining God's love into people lives -- is there a worthier cause??? I know, I know, writers conferences are to work toward publication, but you know what? Publication or working toward it is STILL not God's thrust in all of this because it is not the end all, be all -- HE IS!!

    The other thing I do when I am not as excited as I should be about a given task or event is to imagine that it is the LAST TIME I will ever have to do it. I can remember how much I hated getting up in the middle of the night to nurse my son when he was a baby because he'd fall asleep on me, then wake up an hour and a half later because he was hungry again. I never got much sleep and was pretty cranky about that. UNTIL ... God showed me that there WOULD come a LAST TIME that I would hold him in my arms to nurse him. WOW ... from that point on, I saw every single night feeding as a fleeting gift that would soon be gone, so I focused on it at the moment as if it were the last time, embedding in my memory the sight, smell and feel of my little boy in my arms while I sang Amazing Grace over and over ...

    Talk about "amazing grace"!! He will give it to you when you make your focus on Him in anything you do -- pubbing you according to HIS time frame, which means you can just enjoy the ride ... :)

    Can't wait to see you, my friend!!


    1. Julie, I seriously would be devastated if I didn't get to go and not see you...or even just the other way around! I am seriously looking forward to sitting down with you and pouring my heart out...about so many things! Your comment and wise words (especially that last paragraph) really sank in...and sank in deep, because it's so true! If this were to be my LAST conference, who would I squeeze the longest or spend more time chatting with? You would be one for sure!

  3. Casey, hang in there! Not too long ago, I went through something similar. I felt like I wasn't very excited about my writing... and knew I should be! So I prayed... and prayed... and prayed some more. I talked it out with my mom, and still felt stuck between wanting to write and wanting to move on. I decided NOT to change anything about what I was doing until I heard back from God about whether or not I was passionate enough about my writing or if indeed the road had turned and it wasn't meant for me anymore. If I made any sudden alterations to my routine, I felt like I would be treading dangerous waters... playing with choices that weren't mine to make.

    Several weeks later, I had the opportunity to share with over a dozen people across many states about my blog and the fact that I have a proposal in to an agent. They ALL wished me well and eagerly said they'd check out my blog when they got a chance. The last person I told was actually a good friend of mine. She leaned over and told my mom, "Her eyes just light up when she talks about her book." That was all I needed to hear. God worked on me all through my vacation where I told waitresses and hotel clerks about my writing, then finished off the confirmation with someone I've admired for years. I'm so glad I didn't do anything drastic while I was in limbo because I rediscovered my passion for writing.

    Hopefully you will rediscover your love for ACFW.
    Many blessings for your trip, Casey!


    1. Wow, Andrea, I think you might need to take my place to ACFW! Oh the things and places God would put in a conference such as that! I know your time there is coming and I plan to be there to hug your neck when it happens! KEEP WRITING, girl, it's a gift from God...use it to praise Him!

    2. Aww, Casey... you are soooo sweet. I look forward to that hug! :) Thanks for your encouragement! I'm nearly to THE END on my recent round of edits. So thrilled to nearly be through this phase.

  4. Casey! Honestly, I'm not usually excited about going to the ACFW conference. Especially that first year two years ago. I was absolutely terrified, and I was only going because both God and my husband TOLD me to go. Well, you know how that year went! Crazy! But then the next? I might have been a little more excited that time, you know, since I actually KNEW people there now. :) But absolutely nothing happened last year. Everything that seemed so totally promising from my meetings fell through while having nothing to do with the editors or manuscripts. It was simply what God wanted to happen, so it did. But you know what? I had SO much MORE fun last year because I saw my friends--friends I hadn't had the year before when so many things seemingly fell into place without my stressing over them (because I went in expecting absolutely nothing happening from that first conference--why would it?). And this year, my meetings will likely be with editors who already have my partial, so that's not really stressing me out. Quite truthfully, it's the fact that I'm a finalist in the Genesis Contest this year THAT IS stressing me out. I'd LOVE to win! Haha, but I'd also love NOT to have to go on stage and speak to a 1000 people. So, yeah. Not that excited. I'm just focusing on seeing my friends. So far, THEY are the best thing about this crazy journey. And I know you probably feel the same way. :D

    1. Oh really?? I would have never guessed it when I was on the conference floor with you. I'm honestly so excited that you are a finalist this year. Just the honor is sure to draw the attention of many editors. It's exciting to watch your story blossom. Your post has reminded me more than anything that it's OKAY to spend time with friends...even though it would seem we're there to learn, we can learn so much from the encouragement our friends give us. Thanks so much for coming by this week, Dawn! See you soon!!

  5. Hi Casey,

    I don't think you're alone in this at all. This is the second conference for me and I have so many mixed emotions - I'm not really sure why I'm going - but I am. I'm scared silly because I'm going totally SOLO and afraid I'll be sitting in a corner alone or afraid to come out of my hotel room.

    But I'm trying to see the bigger picture and imagine the connections I will make. I hope I can be a person to help someone else who is terrified and by doing so, will help myself. For me, it's almost not even about the writing or a contract. It's about being part of that world - a writer's world. And even if I'm not published (yet!), I am still a writer.

    I know you're going to end up having a great time. Sometimes when I least expect to have fun, I have a fantastic time!

    See you there!


    1. It surprised me how many agreed with my comment, Sue. It felt SO FOOLISH to write such a post...I almost came in here Thursday night and pulled it. I just couldn't let it out to view, kind of like dirty laundry, but I'm thankful for the response and not the condemnation I thought I might get. :) I agree with you, I to am trying to see the bigger picture and the possible can just be hard when you can't see how the ending is going to happen...but then it would take all the joy out of the journey, wouldn't it? See you soon!! :) (Save a hug for me!)

  6. Casey,

    I'm not a writer, so can't fully identify with what you are experiencing - yet, I have faced those times, just as you, when I didn't feel the excitement that I felt I should be experiencing. I hear the frustration & question in your voice, & it touches my heart.

    Let me just say - from a personal & non-writer viewpoint - that I think the key word in what I just said is, that "I" didn't feel the excitement that "I" felt "I" should be experiencing. Sometimes, we so build up an upcoming event in our minds that subsequent events never have the same allure.

    There are some wonderful & wise comments from your writer/author friends on this page, & although, I haven't been following your blog that long, everything I have read about you tells me that you are a wonderfully kind, & gracious, Christian lady that radiates joy, & whom others love to be around.
    That, in itself, should give you comfort & purpose as you prepare for ACFW this year - perhaps the Lord's plan for you this year is to just BE there for OTHERS, thereby bringing joy to YOURSELF & Him.

    Perhaps, this is your season to just rest your writer's mind, & let your mentors show their love to YOU - while you wait on the Lord's timing to reveal His further plans for your life. I have no doubt that He has some GREAT ones in store for you (because I sense that you have a heart for Him), & I will be praying for you!

    I love your blog, & hope that you will hear the Christian love & encouragement in my words for you - not as a writing mentor/friend, but rather, a sister-in-Christ.


    1. Bonnie, your comment truly meant so much to me this morning when I read it before leaving the house. As a sister in Christ, I couldn't be more grateful for the time and wisdom you shared here with me. Your comment here: "everything I have read about you tells me that you are a wonderfully kind, & gracious, Christian lady that radiates joy, & whom others love to be around." is indeed very true of who *I* am and does bring me a sense of joy and smidge of excitement. It's learning to be willing and open to where God might place me to be His servant. And you're absolutely, it's not about ME at all. Bless you, Bonnie. Bless you. Because you've certainly blessed me. :)

    2. You're SO welcome, Casey! SO glad God gave me words for you!

      Have no fear about being open & willing to where ever God might place you - if He's in it, it will be wonderful!

      I learned the hard way - when I was much younger & foolish, that MY way would never work. Some of the choices I made have had life-long consequences. BUT - He was there waiting to pick me up, when I needed Him, & I learned that true happiness only comes through being WHERE He wants me to be - WHEN He wants me to be there. The waiting may not be easy, but the end results are SO worth it!


  7. I love reading your posts because you are not afraid to be honest! It must take a lot of courage to post things from your inmost heart! I really admire that about you! Don't worry, I just went through something similar to this just this past year. Every emotion you talked about made PERFECT sense to me!! I understand what you are going through! Although I love to write, I am by no means a writer. But I completely understand what you are saying about having both emotions about something. My advice is...don't worry about losing the zeal you may have once had. If you had it once, God may bring it back in His own timing. Or He may lead you somewhere else. I don't know, because I don't even think I am wise enough to be giving you advice! But if your situation is anything like mine, God will work it all out for you in the end. Just trust Him with all your heart! He knows what is best for you!

    Jeremiah 29:11


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