Spiritual Seizures, Surrender, Starvation, and Possibility

It’s an Indian taco spread, and I’ve heaped my plate. I’m munching homemade tortilla chips while I watch the birthday girl in the air-filled jump house. And one of my daughter’s friends, he says those words. “You’re a good writer, right?”

I stare a minute, and mutter quiet. “Um, I write.”

Mentally I smack myself upside the head. I’ve finally gotten used to saying, “I’m a writer. Yes, I’m a writer.” Claiming that. Declaring that.

But a “good” writer? I’m still working on it.


“Warning: Do not skip the tool of reading deprivation!” I can just see Julia wagging her finger at me, looking me stern in the eye.

No reading? That’s right: no reading. For most artists, words are like tiny tranquilizers . . . Like greasy food, it clogs our system. Too much of it and we feel, yes, fried . . . Reading deprivation casts us into our inner silence, a space some of us begin to immediately fill with new words–long, gossipy conversations, television bingeing, the radio as a constant, chatty companion. We often cannot hear our own inner voice of our artist’s inspiration, above the static . . . For most blocked creatives, reading is an addiction. We gobble the words of others rather than digest our own thoughts and feelings, rather than cook up something of our own. ~p. 87

Yeah, I don’t know if I can do that. Just thinking about it has blocked me this week. I went on a reading fast for an extended period once. Nothing but scripture. That was a good thing. Julia suggests only a week. But to not read your blogs for a whole week? I’d miss so much. I might starve without my word bread. Without your words.

Or would I? (No offense.)

Julia talks about spiritual seizures and surrender. And about how finding when we work with the morning pages, we can become aware of a sense of movement, a “current of change,” a “flow of grace.”

“We startle ourselves by saying yes instead of no to opportunities.”

Oh my goodness. Isn’t this what our pastor talked about on Sunday? The importance of flexibility. Of stepping into the unknown like Abraham. No map. Just going with the flow. Depending on His current. Bending and trusting.

He talked about how we’re all living in God’s Plan B after Adam and Eve got kicked out of the garden. But how He still has Plan A’s for us in the midst of Plan B. But if we don’t float with His Plan A, He’ll go to a Plan B. Like the Israelites. The plan was to “leave Egypt, get the Ten Commandments, move into the Promised Land. Two months tops.”  But they wouldn’t move and ended up spending 40 years in the wilderness.

I don’t have 40 years to spend in the wilderness.


I startled myself this week. I responded to a synchronous turn in the river. I agreed to wade into an adventure that was not on my current map. The one that pointed across the ocean to another continent.

My husband put the financial nix on going to Kenya (my dream) over my birthday in January. A Compassion sponsor tour to meet our girl. I pouted awhile but yielded. And the next day the compass spun south, pointed to an island closer to home. I got an invitation from a friend to join her team heading to a Haitian orphanage in December.

“Your writing will never be the same,” she wrote.

I said yes.

With my husband’s blessing.

Who knows what possibility lies ahead?

And chances are I won’t be reading your blogs that week.

We’re working on weeks 4 and 5, “Recovering a Sense of Integrity” and “Recovering a Sense of Possibility.” Come on over to Tweetspeak Poetry as we continue to discuss The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron.

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  1. says

    I admire people like you who can write and play with words. Makes written words more exciting. English in not my mother language, so I struggle explaining what I want to share. But, I too love reading and writing and hearing from GOd.

  2. says

    (sigh) I wish I had time to be joining you in the Artist’s Way. I am training for my new job and trying to find a rhythm in life at the moment. When I get there, maybe I’ll catch up. (sigh)So excited about how God moved in your life through your husband to get you to His plan A for your life. Praying for you, dear one.
    journeytoepiphany recently posted..My Holy Land – TOYS Community Linkup

  3. says

    Liking the concept of your “spiritual seizures.” That’s exactly what they feel like–a tight clamp from which we have to wrestle release.

  4. says

    You, dearest Sandy, are a GOOD WRITER! Yes you are.
    I understand about the fast from reading. It would be so difficult for me, and yet I realize that when I begin my time by reading blogs I suddenly feel as though I have nothing worthwhile to write myself. I am somehow emptied by being filled.
    I am so excited for you Sandy. What an answer to your fervent prayers. Perhaps not in the way you planned, but I’ve discovered (the hard way!) His plans always end up being so much better than mine.
    Linda recently posted..My Dad and D-Day

  5. says

    This is so exciting, Sandy. Tell me more about your trip. Where in Haiti? What group? If you have time, let me know. I’d like to pray for you that week.

    I took my computer to Haiti, because we were told that we would have Internet access there. We did. And for the first time in my blogging life, I wrote every single day. It was exhausting. And exhilarating. I really felt like part of my purpose in going to Haiti was to share the stories.

    That being said … I can see the benefit of not writing a single word while in Haiti — though you’ll definitely be reading living letters. What an amazing country, with such faith-filled people!

    And P.S. — You’re not only a good writer, you’re a GREAT one. You need to know that.
    Jennifer@GDWJ recently posted..{through the lens} I Believe in God

  6. says

    God’s incredible plans in His own perfect timing! LOVE that you’re heading to Haiti. Early Tuesday morning two of mine are leaving for Potter’s House in Guatemala – my son’s fifth trip, my daughter’s second. And every time they are forever changed.

    Bless you BEAUTIFUL WRITER! And soooo looking forward to the words God weaves into your soul to flow right on through to us. :)
    Cindee Snider Re recently posted..Money Makes Me Claustrophobic