Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Courage File

Hi, it's Marilyn! I've been writing for a long time, and though I love doing it, writing isn't always easy! Finding the time to write, finding the right words to put on paper (or the computer screen), making a story or a poem or an article say exactly what I want it to say, hearing other people's reactions to it, finding a magazine or a publisher who wants to print and sell it--these all make even what I love to do hard at times. They could be difficult enough or discouraging enough to make me stop writing, but I never have stopped. Because despite its many challenges, I'd be very unhappy if I couldn't write.

A few years ago I started doing something to keep me encouraged when I felt discouraged. It's what I call a "courage file." This is an actual file folder that's in a file drawer in my office. Whenever anyone says anything positive about what I've written, I put it in my courage file. I've printed off emails, copied pages of stories that people have written positive comments on, and jotted notes that people have said about something I'd written...and put them in my courage file.

Does it sound like I'm bragging about my writing? If you knew all the negative things I've received, read, and heard about what I've written, you wouldn't think so, because they are twenty times the amount of the positive things! Every once in a while, when I'm feeling discouraged, when I'm sad, or feel like giving up writing, I pull out my courage file and read a few things from it. That's usually enough to give me the strength and determination to keep going.

Do you know you already have a courage file, one that God created for you? It's the Bible! In that courage file are words of encouragement and love to help you keep going when you feel sad or feel like giving up.

Here are some of my favorite things from my courage file from God:

- For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
- For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:11-12)
-  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
- "My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?" (John 14:2)
- "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
- The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

Whenever I read these, I feel very loved and valued by God. And they help me love him and worship him even more.

What would be in your courage file? Start one, and then let me know! And God bless you!

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