The Fire and Desire
by Jessica Olivito
I have had a burning desire to write a book for a long, long time.
For many years, the enemy convinced me that trying to publish my work would only lead to severe rejection, or if anything did get published, that my motives were wrong for wanting to publish it in the first place.
Just another example of the father of all lies killing my dreams.
For many years, I was throughly convinced that I had no real writing talent and that my personal story lacked relevancy to the world. But believing these lies for a period of time only helped me sharpen my skills as I began writing professionally for other people. I gained a lot of practice writing pieces for others which showed me that my writing could have an impact on the outside world. This insight helped me build the courage to “put myself out there” with some blog posts to see if anyone was really interested in what I had to say. But then the Lord showed me something else… that I was still people pleasing by writing in this fashion! Ugh.
There is something else that I notice when I write…that there’s an imaginary ‘filter’ running in the back of my mind. And just that quickly, the ‘Delete’ key becomes my best friend (and worst enemy) all at the same time. This ‘filter’ has been in place a long time, and causes me to keep editing (and editing) my work to a point of ridiculousness. Sick, isn't it? Herein lies another “people pleasing” problem when I’m trying to journal with my Father and receive revelation from Him! Here’s a news flash Jessica: “Not everything you write is meant for another audience!”
One reason I am gaining more confidence to start compiling a book is because I hear from the Holy Spirit. In recent months, He has given me the purpose, resources, and time to begin seriously writing. Yet I remained unmotivated; so God began using other people to confirm that I should begin writing with the goal of publishing. He used my husband first (an unlikely candidate and the first to admit he has never read a book in his life) and also a few trusted friends. It will be interesting to see what happens when my book is published; I wonder if Geno will even thumb through the pages. We’ll see…miracles do happen!
God even used my previous doubt about writing for good. To be honest, I really wasn’t ready to write a quality book until now. The Holy Spirit had to help me change my perspective first and then had to show me how to continually renew my mind each day. Otherwise, the books I would have written would not have shared the good news of the Gospel or testified about the transformation that God wants to perform in all our lives! (if we will just let Him…) I am also finally confident that I possess the right motive and purpose to begin working towards a published piece that will glorify God.
Because of the Holy Spirit, I know for certain that the book I will publish will benefit others, glorify God, and advance the Kingdom of Heaven. But there is still one more purpose that the Holy Spirit is showing me about why I will write this book: that the Lord wants to reveal new things to me (through my writing) and will continue to heal the wounds remaining in my soul. For both reasons, I am promising to be more obedient about writing and to begin exercising the keyboard of this laptop with my fingers. If God wants this book written, then I am going to let the Holy Spirit completely guide me with the content!
Because I choose to invite the Holy Spirit into all aspects of my day, I am constantly receiving ‘nuggets of truth’ that I really should be documenting somewhere. But often, I find myself too lazy (or at least undisciplined) to jot these thoughts down anywhere. I have a feeling this practice annoys God because it causes Him to have to repeat Himself! The very thought of God having to repeat Himself makes me stop…think…shake my head…and then chuckle. This is because I already know that our loving Father will continue to remind us of these important ‘nuggets’ because He loves us that much! But as I continued to think about how often I do not write things down that He gives me, I felt conviction forming in my heart. There is a definite sadness in realizing that I often choose to disregard His revelations simply because it’s not convenient (at that very moment) to make a proper notation somewhere. Taking a little extra time to write down something profound that I am receiving from the Lord would have definitely helped me make better decisions or at least helped someone else! Sigh. I see now that by blowing off these revelations sometimes… that I am actually being disobedient to God!
Because I already know that my biggest revelations from God come through my journaling, you would think I would be more disciplined in doing it!? But often, this is NOT the case at all…and I will go weeks without writing anything in my journal (letting all these important thoughts from God “roll around” in my head). Sometimes I even justify my behavior by saying stuff like: “If it is really important, I know God will remind me.” Wow! That is pretty arrogant, isn’t it? Asking the Creator of the Universe to remind me “later” because I too busy to write it down now?! And then I wonder why I am not getting promoted in the ways I desire to serve His kingdom! I think I better “get with the program” and start taking the talents and gifts that God gave me much more seriously!
So if I know that my writing is helpful, then why am I not more disciplined to do it? I think another reason I don’t write down some of the revelations I receive is because then THERE IT IS! The truth staring right back at me in black and white. Right there in my face…that ugly truth that is so hard to look at about ourselves. Yet over and over, I find when I do “face the music”.. that these ugly truths (that the Holy Spirit gently exposes to me)… lead to healing! This is been proven to me over and over again by God over the last couple years…and my faith has grown so much stronger as a result of this. Yet, here I remain…often undisciplined and disobedient to my Father by failing to write down important things when spending time with Him throughout my day.
Since receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, I have been much more relaxed in my relationship with God. Overall, this is a positive, but I still must remember that He is my true Father and a MIGHTY FATHER at that! That is why it is so important that I remain obedient to Him. It is a true privilege to write for the King of Kings and I need to remember that! Furthermore, even if no one else benefitted from my writings, I would still know that all the things I journaled about would bring me closer in relationship with Jesus. And isn't THAT the most important thing? Building a deeper relationship with Him is the only way I can show others the transformation and restoration that comes from receiving Christ.
The feedback from those I share my writing with keeps me convinced that other people are suffering too and that if I just keep finding the courage to be transparent about my imperfect walk with the Lord, that others will eventually “follow my lead” and surrender their lives to Jesus Christ. Following Jesus is the only way to really live and therefore I have chosen to dedicate my life to showing others this most important truth.
But I need to remember that not everything I journal about is meant for public consumption. I also need to give myself permission to write down my raw emotions and past memories without guilt or condemnation, or worry about how these entries look, sound, or appear to other people. From there, I can continue to process the rawness of my feelings and memories and then line them up with the promises in God’s Word. Then after receiving further revelations and healing, I can properly pray and discern whether any of the material should be published. I fully trust that the Holy Spirit will continue to guide me in this area and know that I will gain more and more freedom as I go deeper with God to get the desired healing He has been waiting to give me!
So Lord, here is my prayer for Your book:
Help me to be less concerned about how my writing appears to an audience and more concerned about always being truthful to myself and to You. I ask that you bless my writing and all the letters that flow across this screen. I pray that You fully open my heart, so I not only write about my ugly truths, but also all the amazing ways You show Your love and grace to me…and so generously poured out with the intention of taking away my pain. Lord, help me to not obsess over word choices and grammar during my writing sessions and just allow the Holy Spirit FLOW during this time. Lord, I also ask that You help me stay focused during my quiet time and help me to be consistent with my journaling so I may see the fruit. I ask that You help me keep the desire to write to You faithfully throughout the year and that You refer me back to scripture often for deeper teaching. I ask that You continue to bless my family as a testament of my faithfulness and obedience to You. Lord, I thank You for Your continued outpourings of comfort and peace as I process the truth and that I am so blessed that I am able to feel Your presence right beside me when I write.
I also know that when I sit down to write to You, Lord, that I almost always focus on my own problems… my own anxiety… my own unrest.. or all the personal needs that I have. Lord, I know that you want me to depend on You for all these things, but I also know that I need You to show me how to make more opportunities to pray for other people in my writing and to teach me how to have a more thankful heart towards You. As I continue to focus on my deficits (because that is how the world taught me to think), I know that You will help me to transform these negative thoughts into genuine praise and thanksgiving.
Lord, I just thank you for the opportunity to be real and that you allow me to bring You all my problems and concerns. I surrender all of my requests to You for proper handling because I am not equipped to solve any of these problems on my own. Your Holy Spirit gives me all the power and strength I need. Lord, I am so thankful that You choose gently point out the things I need to work on and for giving me both the FIRE AND DESIRE to permanently change my heart! Lord, help me to stay transparent with my thoughts and feelings and be open to Your truths about my current situation, circumstances and with recognizing faulty thought-processes. There is no point in writing to You if I plan to lie to myself because You already know the absolute truth. Help me to not be ashamed by the revealed truths and to trust that You will give me the strength I need to be brave with my writing. Brave enough to not only think the truth, but also to accurately document and publish the portions that You want to use to benefit other people.
Lord, it brings me to tears just thinking about what a privilege it is that You have chosen me in such a powerful way. I am overwhelmed in knowing that you think that much of me and love me that much! I will not let you down, Lord. There is no greater gift than the opportunity to serve You.
I ask all these things in Jesus’ Holy Name. Amen.