My family and I have been in Taekwondo for the last four years and we will soon test for our second-degree black belts. Training is hard and messy, often leaving bruises. Or, as happened this spring, leaving us with injuries. But we all know that the hard work will pay off—we’ll be stronger and in better shape.
The same is true of writers. Our training program—learning the craft of writing—can be a grueling process. There is a lot to learn and sometimes, it’s very obvious we’re new at this thing. Other times, it feels old hat the same way a round kick feels when we’ve practiced it hundreds of times.
At times, it may even be punishing, leaving us exhausted and maybe depleted (physically as well as emotionally). But we press on because we have our goal in sight.
An unexpected blessing that has come out of our TKD class has been the relationships formed. We all get on the mat each night, leaving our insecurities, the weight of a long day, and sometimes the all-too-real life that plagued our days. We’re geared up and ready to spar, train, and do our forms. These students and our instructors have become our family. We cheer each other on and challenge each other.
And again, the same is true of the writing community. We are surrounded by like-minded individuals, writing and working toward similar goals—publication, representation—that all have one ultimate purpose: advancing His Kingdom.
Over the last 10 years, as I’ve honed my craft and fought to develop my career, I have battled discouragement. It’s ready—always there, bouncing on its toes as I edge closer to the “ring” of life. Daring me. Taunting me. Ridiculing me. Discouraging me. It’s a ready foe, anxious to leap onto our backs and take us down. Let’s face it, writing is just plain hard. It demands a lot of us as artists. St. Francis of Assisi said, “He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands, his head, and his heart is an artist.”
Being an artist requires us to create, to draw from a deep well of emotional content, and pour onto the page. Sometimes, when we do, it depletes our emotional and mental reserves. We have to refuel. But how?
We should be champions for each other. In 1 Thessalonians 5:11, it says, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
We must get on the mat, be willing to train with each other, and cheer one another on. See someone flagging in their courage? Be encouragement to them. See a friend struggling through life? Find a way to champion their cause. Is someone working hard yet battling discouragement? Be their cheerleader.
We need each other. God created us to not journey alone, but to be His hands to others. To bring the tangibility of His love to this hurting world.
Ronie Kendig is the best-selling and Christy-Award (Wolfsbane), HOLT Medallion (Trinity: Military War Dog), and Reader’s Choice Award (Firethorn) winning author of 15 romantic suspense and fast-paced thrillers. Ronie is a self-proclaimed “army brat” with a heart for helping hurting people. A degree in psychology provides her with added insight into her characters who find themselves in extreme situations. Ronie’s latest release is Accelerant (October, 2016). Ronie will be the keynoter and teach at the 2016 Oregon Christian Writers Fall Conference, “Lifelines: Writers as Champions for a Hurting World,” (REGISTER HERE) October 15, at Warner Pacific College in Portland. Find out more about Ronie and her books at http://roniekendig.com