Thursday, September 18, 2014

Golden Calves and Summer Stories by Heidi Chiavaroli

Heidi Chiavaroli
As I finish up my fourth manuscript, prepare to attend the ACFW Awards Gala in St. Louis, and evaluate my summer with both my family and my writing, I feel a nagging prod to look at myself closely.

It’s not a pleasant prod. More like a pointy icepick sort of prod. You know the feeling that something within your spirit needs to be addressed, but you’d rather ignore it? Rather stuff it deep inside, bury it far behind other secrets and shames you’d like to ignore—behind that half-gallon container of ice cream you ate while alone in the house, behind that argument where you lost your temper with your husband or children?

Yeah, way back there.

As I prepared to write this post, I couldn’t ignore the niggling feeling any longer. I looked for other topics, blamed my lack of creativity on the recent edits I accomplished. But the feeling couldn’t be ignored.

And I wonder if maybe I’m not alone.

This summer I gave myself a writing deadline. I wanted to submit my work to my dream agent by the beginning of September. And I did finish. Only the satisfaction wasn’t as complete as it should have been. And I realized why this week.

You see, idols are more than golden calves.

They come in a variety of forms, but to me, this summer, I made my writing into an idol. I placed it before other responsibilities, before my family, even before my God.

My summer was not incredibly peaceful and I’m ashamed to say that maybe I even knew why. This is not my first rodeo with the Writing Idol. But I kept shoving the knowing aside, burying it deeper, putting my plans and goals ahead of what—and Who—I knew to be more important than all else.

This summer is done. I can’t get it back. I can only ask for forgiveness, learn from it, and look forward. I can only fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith.

I am so thankful I don’t have to keep looking into a mirror and evaluating all my failures. Instead, I can look through the window of faith at Jesus and all He has already done for me.

It is my prayer that we would be diligent in reminding one another of this truth. As writers—and especially as Christian writers—it is easy to get caught up in our stories, in what we believe and hope they will accomplish in the name of our Savior.

I know I, too often, look to my own small efforts and feeble attempts. I forget to look through that window to where Christ has proclaimed, “It is finished!”

Thank God for His saving grace. Thank God for His ability to unearth the ugliness of my spirit and love me into true obedience.

Have you ever discovered your writing to be a golden calf? What helps you from falling into this way of thinking and believing?

Heidi Chiavaroli writes History Woven in Grace. She is a wife, mother, disciple, and grace-clinger. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and has finaled in the Genesis contest and My Book Therapy’s Frasier contest.


  1. Ouch! It's so easy to put that writing--that story--ahead of everything else when we're in the midst of trying to finish a project. You've stepped on my toes with this one, Heidi.

  2. It is so easy, Sandy. Hoping to stop myself from going the easy route next time. :)

  3. Oh, my ... I needed this today. I've been struggling with not reaching writing goals because of trying to meet other people's needs and having to put writing down the list of priorities. I start comparing my feeble word counts with what others are producing daily and it makes me feel almost lazy. Thanks for reminding me to not make my writing a golden calf.

    1. My pleasure, Dawn. Wishing you the best in those word count goals and in finding peace in what is doable for you!

  4. Yowza. This is a toughie for every writer, I think, because our stories are always floating around in our heads. And because we work from home, it's easy to say "thirty more minutes" or "let me just get this thought down on paper and I'll be done." But then your child/grandjoy wraps sticky hands around your neck and plants a sloppy smooch on your cheek and you forget all about the writing, right? Heading out the door to pick up my grandjoys in a few minutes. The story will still be here when I get back. :)

  5. Um Heidi, you know when people tell the preacher he's meddling? You're meddling, girl. Slammed me right between the eyes. I needed it.

    I'll be in St. Louis and hope to see you.

    1. Glad I am NOT alone, Terri. Hope to see you too!


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