09 December 2009

You See, I Read This Book... (Part 2)

Hey, Friends!

Today's post is building up to a book feature on Friday. I just wanted to show it differently because this novel had such a profound impact on me.

You see, I read this book and it was personal.

A few weeks ago, we talked about authenticity, comparing it to my quest to find great Indian food in Atlanta. An authentic story is definitely personal. But there's something else to it, ya know? Maybe it's the perfect storm of the setting, the plot, and the actual writing style. This book definitely has that. But still I believe there's more.

I loved your comments on Monday about the names God has given you or the reasons why y'all write. When you said certain things, I thought, Oh yes, me too! I know that feeling. It's part of my reason. Your responses really made me think and evaluate my own life--so much that I rewrote the post for today.

You see, I went back to that room and looked in the mirror again (and the almost three years that have passed between that moment and now). I realized that sometimes I forget to live this identity. My characters do that too. Sometimes they forget. Sometimes they even choose to return to the safety and the horror of what they knew before.

Some days it's not so bad. I almost believe it. But then there are the days or areas of my life where I look back into the mirror, see the old name, and believe it instead. There's been a lot of talk in blogdom lately about insecurity. I know that struggle well, especially in writing. Sometimes it's easier to believe the lie, because then it doesn't hurt as much when you try so hard and it doesn't work out. This way you just prepare for the weight of disappointment beforehand and soften the blow.

My pastor has talked a lot about faith lately. The other day, he said something I can't forget: "It doesn't make sense for you to believe God for something He already did, like: I believe God's gonna make the sun rise this morning when it's already noon. That isn't faith. But how many of you have given up believing God can do something? Why do you think He's going to fulfill something now that you don't even believe He can do?"


There are things I have been tempted to give up believing in the past, like dreams of publication. Sometimes even the thought of success is overwhelming, because while failure stinks at least we know it. It's safe. Living the new name isn't safe. That's when we return to the old one.

The thing about the new name is that you can't just see it and walk away. You have to live it. You're accountable to it. That's what makes it personal.

In this book, characters are forced to reckon with things that completely change them and their perspectives on life until the day they die. Their internal struggles are so great as they battle what they knew to be true, what they saw, and where they are now. Isn't that a battle we all face at some time or another?

Have you or your characters turned back to the old name? Why?

How do you fight to live your calling?

See y'all Friday! I promise you'll find out the name of the book then!


  1. Great stuff. I actually got off the net and prayed after reading your last post. I need a new name. One that calls me into something bigger than myself. I am waiting :)

  2. Faith... something everyone could use a little more of. As an imperfect human being, I tend to want to control my own life, it's hard to let go and let God... but He knows better than I do, what is good for me. I need to begin listening more closely.

    Hope your holidays are going well Kristen... have a beautiful day :)

  3. How do I fight to live my calling? I love that!

    It begins every morning, reminding myself that God has a plan for my life and I cannot afford to let it slip away. I'm responsible for seeing it to fruitation. He gives the gifts not for me to waste but to bless others.

  4. Another great post!

    My characters don't have quite the struggle that I do...but I have to fight time to get my writing done.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  5. My life seems cyclical. I always return to the doubt and defeating names, but I am thankful for the pauses where I do feel good about myself and encouraged to attempt what is difficult.'

    Can't wait to hear which book this is!

  6. So it's fiction? Up until now I hadn't had a guess. I'm so eager!

    Something that helps me remember to have faith? Thinking about a time I did and God showed me something great, He did something great that I couldn't not take note of. He's incredible.

  7. I try to use my struggles to make the struggles my characters face more real to life. And as for the fight, Scripture is one of the best ways to have at it.
    ~ Wendy

  8. It's a constant battle to fight the world's labels, which are tied to money, power, prestige (if it's self-inflicted, so what?!XX)

    Thanks for a lovely post, Kristen, the anticipation of an unexpected surprise--both in the snail mail and the internet!!

    You old Santa, you!!!


  9. Yes! Actually, the heroine in my current WIP is struggling with this very thing. Holding on to the familiar in fear of the new. She likes the familiar. Is happy with it. But God wants her to embrace the new even though it's scary.

    Can't wiat to find out what this book is called!

  10. Can't wait to find out the name of the book! Your blog always makes me think, or smile, or both:) Blessings to you and your readers!

  11. Everything's a constant battle, it's how you handle it that shows what kind of person you are. Sometimes I face it standing tall, while other times I curl into a ball and go to sleep.

    Can't wait to hear what the name of the book is that has had such an impact on your life.

  12. Oh, yes, I've returned to my old name, many times. I love your Pastor's thoughts on faith. That is so true. Can't wait until Friday. How dare you keep us in suspense! :)

  13. Sometimes I just have to affirm things out loud. I repeat God's truths and lean hard on him though i don't understand why things are happening or not happening. *sigh* I so long for eternity. Won't things be easy then?

  14. Faith is such a big word that means so many different things to each of us. I remember my pastor telling me once to "pray like you expect the prayer to be answered. If you don't believe it will be answered, then why pray?" What he meant by that was there is no request to big for God. That doesn't mean that the answer won't be "no" or "not yet," but God does answer each and every prayer. I'm trying to learn to pray "big" and expect an answer every single time. That's a small part of what it means to have a personal relationship with God.

    I can't wait to hear what the book is!

  15. Hey, Tabitha! I'm so glad that I know how to pray for you now! Thanks for sharing that with me!

    I do too, Roxy. I try to listen more everyday but often life and my own voices get in the way.

    That's beautiful, Tamika!

    Thanks, Elizabeth! I know that struggle too. Discipline is a hard thing, isn't it?

  16. Me too, Eileen! I think sometimes it's easier to believe it then others. I'm thankful for the easy times!

    Janna--yes, it's fiction! I guess I should have said that. :0) I really only read fiction, unless it's a writing book.

    That really helps me too! Reading journals is one way because in there I find all the little stuff I've forgotten.

    Yes it is, Wendy! You are soooo right!

    You're welcome, Patti! Thanks so much for making me laugh!

  17. Yeah, it's such a big struggle, Katie! I can't wait to read your book and see how your character deals with it.

    Thank you so much, Karen! I really enjoy your blog too!

    Thanks, Pattie Neilson! It's coming soon, I promise!

    Haha, Susan! I'm excited for Friday too! I'll be nicer next week, I promise. But no promises for the future... :0)

    Me too, T.Anne! I can't wait to see Him. That's a great tool--saying things out loud! It really works!

    That's so true, Heather! He does! I used to feel like praying that way was wrong, like I was demanding something from God. But now I see the difference. My pastor talks about praying the Scripture back to Him and reminding Him of His promises. It really works!

  18. Insecurity is like an unwanted guest that comes to visit now and then, I try not to feed it, and pray that it goes away.

  19. ouch. I can't wait to know the name of the book. Waiting is agony!..
    My real name means overcomer. Pretty weird when I think of where I've been...Sometimes I do fall back into the old name...the names my parents called me, stupid, garbage...those names make me want to give up but then He whispers, 'overcomer' and that makes me want to get back up and run again.

  20. Powerful post again. I always think of Mary, mother of Jesus when I think of my name. For a long time I didn't like my name - it gave me the feeling that I had a lot to live up to and it was intimidating. I still think I fall short of her example, but I am striving to be a little more like her. Sometimes I fail dismally, but maybe she wasn't always as sweet and amazing as she is portrayed - so all I can do is pray for help and start again. I want Mary to continue to be a name so many people look up to.

    I have an award for you at my writer's butt blog.

  21. Thank you so much, Mary! And I'll go check it out! I understand--my real name means "one like Christ" and my middle name means "source of joy". When I found that out, I was bitter for a few weeks. That is a lot to live up to, especially since I have a "melancholy" temperament.

    You are an overcomer, Sarah! You've been through so much and you're ALIVE--and helping others. That is overcoming if I've ever seen it!

    Me too, Elizabeth!

  22. I'm pretty certain we all struggle with this one, Kristen! Something about the new nature and our rotten, old one. Reminds me of the Apostle Paul's words: "For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do." Rom. 7:19

    I'm so grateful that submitting to His Spirit enables me to 'embody' that new name. Awesome to know that, "he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ!" (Phil. 1:6)

    God's best to you!

  23. Oh, Kristen, some days I fight to keep my calling, and some days I give in to despair, and plunk down and read someone else's stellar words that leap out to grab my heart. By this I hope I can rebuild the fire in my soul. I can't not write, but I wrestle with demons of doubt more than I care to admit. Even when you have an agent, you still wonder why, when, how?

    I love this post. You are so wise. Thank you.

  24. It's tough to always have faith in myself. Sometimes I just sit and think about the future and realize I'm driving myself crazy for nothing!

  25. Yes, He will, Maria! Thank you!

    That kind of scares me, Jeanette. I'd like to think I wouldn't struggle as much with an agent. But I can see how the battle is still there, even with a professional behind you (which is cool validation--congrats to you!). Thank you for your honesty and your kind words. You really encouraged me.

    Me too, Jill! Me too! God's been teaching me a lot about one step at a time.

  26. So true, sometimes it is easier to believe the lie. Then the more we dwell on it, the more real it becomes. And after a while we lose sight of the truth. But God is merciful and he'll lead us to the truth once more. Beautiful post Kristen. Don't you dare believe the lie. You're a wonderful writer! xo

  27. Thank you, Ellie! I needed that today! It's been a rough day writing-wise.