Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Confidences and Lies by Angela Arndt

Yes, you caught me: I'm longing for the beach. No, even though the weather in the Carolinas has been in the 70's and 80's, there's nothing like hearing the waves hitting the sand. Over and over. Calm and relaxing. Not like the repetition I hear when I'm questioning a decision I've made. No, that sounds more like, "what if I'd, what if I'd."
For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord,
my confidence since my youth.
Psalm 71:

Have you ever doubted decisions you've made? "Should I have done this?" "What would've happened if I'd done that?" "Lord, could I please have a do-over?"

It can even paralyze you again if you ever find yourself in the same situation. Those questions come back and you're stuck in the shifting sand, afraid to make a decision. You watch as the tide pulls out, leaving you behind.

Why does that happen? As a writer, I often use Susan May Warren's character-building device, "the lie he or she believes" to decide how my protagonist will act in certain situations. For example, if a character was abandoned as a child, she wouldn't trust the ex-fiance who broke up with her and has just moved back into town. No, no, no. Her lie adds layers to her actions and makes her reactions more realistic. 

Like our characters, we deal with lies in our lives, too.

"He left me because I'm ugly."

"I didn't get the job because I'm worthless."

"I'm not worthy of <insert your dream here>."

I remember how confident I was when I graduated college. I was ready to take on the world, right all wrongs and make the world a better place to live. (Just a bit of an idealist.) But then life happened.

My ideal life slipped away, overcome by disillusionment, rejection, and betrayal. My dreams got smaller, then smaller still until they were gone. Every day I went to work at a job that I tolerated, then came home to do housework. The closest thing I had to a dream was to hope I'd have enough money to pay bills.

But then God gave me a story about a small town. A little mystery
, full of vibrant characters, that wouldn't leave me alone. So I began to research, then spent every spare moment writing. When I finally finished it, I saw an ad in a magazine for the Writers Guild. There I found a whole new world of people: not only writers who spoke a wonderful new language but authors, too. I ate with actual, published authors, squirming in my seat because I recognized their names. Then I went to more conferences, learned more about the craft of writing, got feedback and made corrections. With the help of new friends and a terrific mentor, I found my confidence again.

Like many first novels, that mystery novel will never see the light of day, but I did see the light of Christ in everyone there. I realized that my "what if' I'd..." was my lie, not His truth. 

No, God doesn't engrave a flaw in our lives as we do to our poor characters. ("No trouble = no story" in the writer's world.) But He already knows the end of our story. Those doubts are not from him. God has a plan and it's never changed. He's always been in charge of our "what if's."

When you're worried and hearing those doubts and lies over and over, cover them with this instead,

He is my confidence and my hope. No lie exists before Him. Click to Tweet

Then pray with me:
You know who is hungry to find worth in their lives, those whose dreams have been shattered, whose lives are torn apart by the lie they believe. I pray that they will find this confidence: you have a plan for them that will never change. Thank you so much for this Truth: you love them with a perfect love that can never die.  
About the Author
Angela Arndt
Angela Arndt writes women’s fiction with a thread of romance. She loves to tell stories of strong, independent women in difficult situations, set in small Southern towns. Her biggest hope is that she will encourage others to overcome their “back roads” and find their own joy in the Lord.

She and her husband, Charles, live on a bee farm in the middle of a big wood with their three furbabies: Beau, Harley, and Buddy the Wonder Dog (because we wonder where he came from).

Read more thoughts from Angie at her blog, Joy on the Back Roads. Connect with Angela at her website, on Twitter, and Facebook.