“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37 (NIV)
For many years, I misinterpreted this wonderful verse of the
Psalms. I took it to mean that if only I could figure out how to
receive my greatest joy through my relationship with Jesus Christ,
that would be the ticket to me getting everything my heart desired.
I thought all I had to do was get happy about Jesus and it would
be like having a magic genie to grant all my wishes.
As I’ve grown in the Lord, and as I’ve studied his Word,
I’ve come to realize that the true blessing of delighting ourselves in
the Lord comes when we willingly allow Him to place within our
hearts the longings and desires that He chooses for us. When that
happens, instead of wishing for things that bring only temporary
pleasure, we suddenly begin to desire things that have eternal value.
When we open our hearts to God, he begins to work within us,
allowing us to hope for and pray for the very things that are His
will for us.
Where my writing is concerned, my desires have not always
been in line with God’s will. There was a time when I wished for
my writing to make me rich and famous, for it to make my life
easier and more exciting. That hasn’t happened. But as I’ve
matured and learned to be less self-centered and more Christ centered,
God has given me far better things…things I never
imagined this writing journey might lead to. And certainly not things
I ever thought I would actually wish for!
Instead of wealth, I’ve been given a richer understanding of
God’s word. Even as I study the Bible to find answers for my
fictional characters, I find wisdom for my own life. Instead of
fame, God has blessed me through my publishing houses and
writers groups with some of the dearest friends I’ve ever known.
Instead of the easy life, I’ve gained a new appreciation for the
difficulties and struggles of life. I’ve learned that God never wastes
any experience in a writer’s life! And instead of excitement, I have
an incredible sense of peace as I’ve learned to rely on the Lord in
every single aspect of my life.
I’ve learned that it never pays to compare myself to others
who are selling more books, winning more awards or getting more
attention from the media. They are each where God has placed
them, for reasons that have nothing to do with me. I can’t see the
larger picture or understand why God works the way he does,
but I am learning to trust His guiding hand one day at a time, as Iembrace the things that are His desires for my life.
Silver Bells, my new Christmas novel, part of Summerside Press/Guideposts "Songs of the Season" series started shipping this week! It was a fun and nostalgic story to write, and it's always special to have a Christmas book out. The holidays will be here before you know it and Silver Bells would make a fun early Christmas gift for the reader on your list.
DEBORAH RANEY's first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title and launched her writing career after 20 happy years as a stay-at-home mom. Since then, her books have won numerous awards including the RITA, National Readers Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, the Carol Award, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. Deb's 23rd novel, The Face of the Earth, released from Howard/Simon & Schuster in May and her new Christmas novel, Silver Bells, just came out from Guideposts. She is currently working on a five-book series for Abingdon Press Fiction. Deb enjoys teaching at writers' conferences across the country. She and her husband, Ken Raney, recently traded small-town life in Kansas ––the setting of many of Deb's novels––for life in the (relatively) big city of Wichita where they enjoy gardening, antiquing, movies and traveling to visit four children and a growing brood of grandchildren who all live much too far away. Visit Deb on the Web at www.deborahraney.com.