I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Friday, October 8, 2010

Scary prayers and patience

There are some things one just doesn’t want to pray for. And by “one” I mean “me.”

Like humility. Seriously, I worry that the moment I pray for a spirit of humility, I’ll:

a) plop spaghetti all over the one nice white shirt I own (yes, it’s happened); 
b) send an email with a blush-inducing typo (yes, it’s happened);
c) accidentally wear my fuzzy slippers to work (uh, it's almost happened).

Or self-control. Really, the day I pray for self-control will probably be the same day a coworker brings a plate of double-fudge brownies to work. And I, convicted by my own prayer, will have to say no. Oh, the pain.

Or patience.

Ahh, now that’s a biggie. 'Cause what better way for God to teach me patience than to make me wait. Grr. 

Patience is a huge part of a writer’s life—whether we like it or not. And mostly, I’m of the “not” persuasion. Just being frank here: I want it all now. I want an agent and a book contract—hmm, make that a multi-book contract—and the ability to stay at home and write full time. And for that last one to happen I either need to truly hit it big—like John Grisham big—or pull a bank job or marry a guy with a decent income. (Of the three, the last is probably the most plausible—and legal. So, men, step up. I’m nice, I really am.)

But in all seriousness, writing without patience is probably a bit like getting your tooth pulled without laughing gas. Doable, but a whole lot less enjoyable.

Someone—maybe my mom?—once told me that patience isn’t waiting. It’s waiting with a good attitude. And perhaps that’s the trickiest part of all: choosing to wait with peace and joy. The kind that says, “God, I truly trust your timing. And while I wait, I’m going to approach each step of my writing journey with hopeful confidence. I’m going to take joy in the small accomplishments—whether it’s a good critique or a productive writing day or an encouraging email from a fellow writer.”

That’s the kind of patience I want. And that, okay, yes, I’ll pray for. 

How about you? Is patience ever a struggle? What helps you maintain a good attitude while waiting?

Melissa Tagg


  1. Thank you, Melissa, for making the waiting a little easier.
    You've put a smile on my face at 6:35 AM (MT).
    My I-need-patience-NOW struggle happens when real life keeps interrupting my writing life. Hello! Get to the back of the line, laundry and errands and family.
    What am I doing lumping my family in with the dirty socks?
    See, impatience gets my priorities all skewed.
    So, today, I'm looking for that good attitude--and trying to share it with the ones I love.

  2. I love your mother's quote, Melissa! Waiting with a good attitude! I love the song we've sung about waiting at the last two ACFW conferences.

    God gives writers abundant opportunities for exercising patience, but now I know it's not really patience unless my attitude is right.

    Oh, and I do relate to scary prayers. There's something scary about giving ourselves over completely in God's hand...even when we know it's the best place to be.

  3. So true and you made it fun. Well-done. And I can practically hear the mail man's shoe's approaching with your multi-book contract. Get ready--you're in for a major life change!

  4. I am soooo with you, Beth, as far as impatience skewing my priorities. It's those times when I have to remind myself, dude, family is more important than that trip to the grocery store. (Uh, plus when I make time to be with family, there's usually lots of food involved anyway, so filing my empty fridge doesn't seem so imperative!)

  5. Oh yeah, I remember that song, Teri. "While I'm waiting..." Ooh, just thinking about singing that at ACFW makes me want to go back. Like, now. So impatient for next year...err, I mean, patiently waiting with a wonderful attitude for next year...

  6. Thanks, Dee! And the mailman's headed your direction too. Neither rain nor sleet nor snow and all that!

  7. M-Tagg, you always have such a fresh, encouraging perspective. Thanks for sharing.
    (And men, I've been her roomie, and she doesn't even snore. You are good to go.)

    Love ya, Melissa!

  8. I learned patience through a SERIES of painful events. The day I finally said, "God, I trust you" was the day I walked rather than screamed and bawled my way through my day.

    Great reminder, M-Tagg

  9. Yea!! I FINALLY got to read your post, Melissa! :) I love it,and yes, it was worth waiting for. I've prayed the "scary prayers" and done so with great reluctance. Patience IS a hard one. Having kids who demand a lot of time and energy (and saying no to me/writing/etc) is one way God is helping me learn patience right now. :) And, yes, I'm still having to learn to have that good attitude while I wait.

    Thanks for the perspective of the beauty of patience in the writing process. I never want writing to feel like pulling teeth!

    Ginger, it sounds a bit like learning patience (and those other priceless character qualities) often requires surrendering everything in ourselves to the Lord, yes? I so appreciate all that the Ponderers offer of themselves on this blog. Thank you!

  10. Thanks, Amy. And, I'm glad to learn I don't snore. Now that the word's out on that, I expect men in droves...Also, to my knowledge, I don't sleep talk either.

    Actually, speaking of men and marriage, I think it was your anniversary the other day. Happy anniversary, roomie! Love ya, too!

  11. Yay for trusting God, Ginger!

  12. Hooray, Jeane, I'm glad your wait is over. Am I right in thinking you're going to Storycrafters this year? If so, you lucky duck, you. It rocks!

  13. Great post! I think we all need an extra nudge to pray those "scary" prayers.

  14. You're right, Angela...or, in some cases (uh, like me), rather than a nudge, a hefty push...:)

  15. Great post, MTagg! Waiting is so hard in this microwave era. Sometimes it's hard to remember everything is in God's timing. You put it very well.

    And thanks for the link to Scene Therapy.

  16. Oops. The scene therapy reference was in LJ's post. I've been so busy I didn't get to read it until today.

  17. Oh, so late in posting...

    Patience is a necessary evil in my day job. For years I prayed for patience, only to have really bad days, so I stopped. My mom talked with a friend, who told her to stop praying for patience for me, but for serenity. So now that I am being washed in serenity prayers, my days are so much nicer...for the most part. :)

  18. "Microwave era." Exactly, Pat!

    LJ...serenity...the very word sounds peaceful.