Last weekend we climbed the mountain from Texas to the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina as I attended this year’s Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. The conference is full of education and encouragement and awesome worship. It is an experience of spending time with God on the mountain both physically and spiritually.
Mile after mile of our drive from Texas the anticipation grew, and the thrill became more intense. I met with publishers and agents pitching my current project. They expressed genuine interest and gave me advice on next steps. Friends were made and contacts were shared. Knowledge was imparted by the faculty, and God was speaking.
I sat in classes where we did writing exercises. Volunteers would read what they had written in the moment. I was amazed at some of the on-the-spot writing. I learned about blogging and consistency in theme. And then it started--those thoughts of self-doubt and worth. So many wrote with such eloquence and consistency that I considered going home to delete all my blogs and start over.
The voice of encouragement was that I have some good ideas. The voice of discouragement was can I write? There it was: the voice of comparison of which I had been warned.
In worship our last morning, I told God “I don’t think I can do this.” Instantly God said, “You’re right. You can’t. That’s why you have to rely on me. I will give you the words. I will help you learn. I will be the strength in your weakness. I will tell you what to say, but don’t forget to ask me. Use everything you are learning and continue to learn, but don’t leave me out of the equation.”
In the past, some words have been mine and some have been God’s words to me. I once again made my commitment to continue to pursue God’s word and specifically His words to me and those He would have me write.
The final keynote speaker was Alton Gansky, director of the conference. He said there would be times we want to quit. He said go ahead and quit for a few hours or a day, but then start again. He told us we weren’t born writers but could develop into writers. God spoke through him to reinforce what He had spoken to me in that morning’s worship.
So I spent this past week on the mountain in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. Thursday we left, and I began my descent from the mountain both literally and figuratively. I have returned to Texas which is physically not on a mountain, and I will now enter back into the valley from inspiration and encouragement to the hard work of writing. But in this journey I am blessed. I am blessed to seek God and His direction as I climb another mountain sitting here in Texas.
There is a thrill to climbing the mountain. But if we never come down, we never get to experience the thrill of the climb once again. Reflection on the mountain provides perspective on being there again. I look forward to the thrill of the climb many times this next year here in Texas and then once again to the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina next year.
Have you experienced the descent from a mountaintop in your life? If you are discouraged, remember the thrill of the climb and start again.
“When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God” (Exodus 34:29 ESV).