Moonlight spilled across the page and streetlights twinkled below when I penned my first piece, a poem, at nine years old from the lofty perch of my 14th floor bedroom windowsill. The opening line read: “Tis the time when the north wind doth blow.”
My latest poetic endeavor is a rap song. Yes you read that right. I said I’m writing rap. And no, I’m not sharing it today. And yes, I’m as surprised as you are.
So, wide eyed and trembling, I showed up to present a poetry workshop with friend and award-winning poet and writer Patricia Tiffany Morris at the kind invitation of Writers Chat in honor of #PoetryMonth.
For those who claim they don’t like poetry—this post is for you too! You just may change your mind with this collection featuring several authors.
“Did you mean to extend this invitation to me?” I know—not exactly a professional response to an invitation to be a guest on someone’s show, but an honest question nonetheless. I responded to another invitation likewise the same week. (More on the other soon.) I mean, who am I? Certainly not an industry professional, nor have I published a book yet, though I’m working on a couple. But often it’s the lessons learned on the journey that prepare us for our destination, and my goal is to glorify God and encourage others along the way. Fear tries to imprison, but God invites us beyond ourselves to dependence on His craftsmanship. Sometimes it’s messy. The way is steep and sometimes we stumble, but God’s strength is made perfect in weakness, scripture says. Good thing.
Honored to share about faith, obedience, and my writing journey with Dr. Katherine-Hutchinson Hayes on her podcast. I pray it provokes all who struggle or strive to excel in God’s call, to step out of their comfort zone and walk it out in their skin.
Challenges are more often like marathons than sprints. We’re most spent as we near the finish line, and when I can’t see the end, sometimes I falter and it’s tempting to quit rather than carry on.
“God,” I said, “I’m not entering any more writing contests if I don’t win something this time.” —I almost didn’t enter, but I figured entering my article on failing was appropriate since I’m so adept at it. Besides, the road to success is often paved with failure.
The best will fail the most.
George Washington lost more battles than he won. Thomas Edison scrapped more “great ideas” than he ever saw come to fruition.
I cried when my friend Cherrilynn asked me to go to Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. There was no way I could go! I had wanted to for three years, but the timing was wrong, the money wasn’t there, and how could I leave my husband and two teen boys, one of whom just became our foster son, to fend for themselves? Besides, I was sure my husband would never say yes. So I didn’t ask.
Shouldn’t I have a several thousand page book written first to justify the expense and inconvenience to others? I have a couple children’s picture book manuscripts but… Am I worth it? Am I worth investing in? What if I fail?
Our worth is not defined by ourselves, others, or by our performance, but by Christ’s investment in us, His precious blood spent and His love for us. That makes us priceless. And it is He who bestows gifts on each of us for His glory and to help others.
I don’t doubt God’s calling on my life to write, but sometimes I doubt myself. I fear quitting. Remember in the Grinch when the townspeople are all shouting at him? “You don’t belong there!” echoed in my mind.
It is my pleasure to introduce you to award winning journalist, sports writer, author, and speaker, Del Duduit.
Del, we’re excited to hear about your newly released books featuring the stories of #MLB and #NFL stars. But first, can you please tell us a bit about yourself, your family, and your writing background?
My wife Angie and I have been married for 32 years. We have two sons who are both ministers and have their own families. We have two wonderful daughters-in-law, one step-granddaughter and a grandson due in May.
My first job out of college was a sports writer for the Portsmouth Daily Times. I worked for four other newspapers, one radio station and two television stations.
I have been a pharmaceutical sales representative the past 13 years. I continue to write for some magazines such as Sports Spectrum.
Press Awards, one for a column you wrote about your interview with Boston Celtic’s Larry Bird, and you received the Outstanding Author Award at the Ohio Christian Writers Conference in 2017.
Recently you Tweeted, “When you think it’s over, it’s actually a new beginning.”
That sounds like there is a story there. Will you please share with us what you were referring to?
That was actually a quote I saw online from CS Lewis. It sounded good — LOL.
My take on that quote means it’s never too late to make a difference. When one door closes, another will open. It tells me to have patience, get out of the way and wait for the next opportunity.
When did you become a Christian and can you tell us about your faith journey?
My sophomore year in high school, when I was 16, my brother invited me to church. I went and it was explained to me that I needed a savior. I heard the Gospel that night and made thecommitment to be a follower of Jesus. I’d always tinkered with God, but never made a commitment. I wasn’t a hoodlum, but I was a sinner. A lot is offered out there but none of it satisfied. I saw my need and decided to act on it and gave my heart to Him. It was the best thing I’ve ever done.
I met my wife at church too. She was and still is the church pianist—we dated for four years and got married. She is my rock and one of the reasons I am where I am today. She sings with her family, my sons preach, and now I write as a ministry.
This is a terrible way to introduce an article, Bryan! You’re supposed to grip the reader with a compelling opener, but since you’re the boss of this contest here goes: I am participating in the Writing Contest: You Are Enough, hosted by Positive Writer.
I really like you Bryan, because you’re real, an overcomer, and your is heart to encourage and equip others.
Did you miss the memo that anything worth doing is hard? Writing is hard work. For me it is mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausting. And exhilarating too—but that usually comes after the exhausting. It is time intensive and demanding. But it’s worth it. Your calling costs something too.
Life happens. Sometimes all you can handle is small steps and bite sized pieces, but they will get you where you’re going. Instead of overdrive on the Autobahn you might need to take the slow country road for awhile. Somewhere between doing nothing and doing everything, there is balance.
Pastor Schmoyer, were you raised in a Christian home and why did you become a Pastor?
Pastor Tim Schmoyer: Yes, I am very thankful that both my parents love Jesus and raised me to love Jesus, too. I’ve been a Christian for 33 years.
I was 17 when I took a trip with other teen Christians to Israel. We were in the desert at night when the youth leader asked us to surrender something to the Lord. So I thought, I could spend the rest of my life giving up this or that to the Lord. But I needed to give him everything. I didn’t know what that meant until the following week when my youth minister took me to visit a Bible college and while I was sitting in a class, the Lord reminded me of my promise to give everything to Him. Continue reading “The Preacher and the Writer”
I hate commitment. It’s terrifying! Failure to keep a commitment devastates me, no matter how small. So, I shy away from it. I procrastinated all day about accepting author and writing coach Jeff Goins’s 30 day #My500Words writing challenge because I figured if I waited long enough, it would be too late to commit and then I couldn’t fail. One way to avoid failure is to not commit—just don’t take the risk. Right? Wrong.
The Bible admonishes us to count the cost, to consider if we are able to complete a task before we begin and to let our yea be yea and our nay be nay. We should have reverence for commitment, but there’s a difference between responsibly considering decisions and living in neutral. Neutral often slides into reverse motion
You can choose to live a reactive or proactive life. God calls us to action and faithful stewardship of our talents and abilities. Passivity is an action. We are responsible for the results of our indecision. We either pursue God and His call for our lives or neglect it. Inaction is an action; indecision is a decision. No risk, no gain. Guaranteed.
In an effort to feel more secure and protect myself from failure, I wrote my first 500 words before typing, “I’m in,” and accepting the challenge—at the last minute. So how did I do? I failed. I missed three days and many days I fell short of the 500 words, but on others, I exceeded it. There is a difference between failing at something and being a failure. Failing doesn’t necessarily identify you as a failure. It could just mean you tried and as Thomas Edison said, figured out many ways how not to do something, which is often the route to finally achieving a goal or overcoming an obstacle.
So, what really is the battle here? Am I afraid of commitment, or failure? Or am I just a control freak? The answer is yes. I like the sure thing. It’s not a risk if I know the outcome, can do it in my own strength, or don’t need a miracle. But if I stay in my comfort zone, I don’t need faith and if I don’t reach beyond my own abilities, I miss the chance to see God work with me, through me, and move on my behalf. My mess yielded to Jesus is a chance for God’s miracles. My obstacles are God’s opportunities.
I’m often hard on myself when I feel I’ve let myself, others, and most importantly, God, down. Even though I want and need input to grow, sometimes it’s hard to receive criticism from others because I’ve done such a good job of beating myself up. That’s an issue with Grace. God says in His Word that His mercies are new every morning.
Let your trials and failures refine you and let God define you.
Sometimes it’s the process of the struggle that builds the strength to accomplish the task. The only real failures are those who do nothing or quit at their calling. Sometimes what we think of as failure is God’s strength and endurance training, equipping us to help others. Sometimes that good thing for us is failure, or setback, or discipline, or faith stretched until the midnight hour—and then the victory. Pray; wait on God, and when He says it’s time to move—move.
When I depend on myself and my own abilities I fall short. The only sure thing is the Gospel. The only guarantee of success is to obey God and hitch our hearts, our hope, our destiny and eternity on Jesus. What matters is not my own or the world’s definition of success or failure, but God’s. God defines us by our identity with Him. I am His.
If God is asking you for something you can’t do then it’s God’s turn to do whatever it takes to accomplish His will and destiny for your life. — Pastor Chip Ganiear
And all that really matters is the will of God.
I’m going to fail sometimes. You’re going to fail sometimes. We will lose some battles, but I read the end of the story, and those who walk with Jesus win the war.