Monday, January 12, 2015

When God Edits Your Life

I wrote a novel last year. I poured months of work into my rough draft. I spent hours researching it, trying to get every detail just right. The day I typed "the end" I was walking on air.

Then came the edits.

I had no idea what I was in for. It's unimaginably hard. Writing was easy compared to this. Editing is brutal. Painful at times. I sent chapters through my critique group, thinking the words were polished and ready, and they came back with dozens of suggestions to make it better. Sometimes there was so much red it looked like the victim in my murder mystery died on top of the manuscript.

Then I entered my first contest. I'd spent so much time on edits. My critique group thought it sparkled. I just knew I would do well. I was wrong. My scores were terrible. The judges shredded my work. I cried. I wanted to quit. Instead, I set the comments aside for a few days, then I picked them back up and really looked at the judge's remarks. I scrapped the first three pages of my story and completely changed the opening. My group critiqued it again. I entered another contest. This time, the day the announcements were made, I got a phone call. I was a finalist.

Editing is harsh, but I see the difference. It's making my story so much better. Each round of cuts, new scenes, and rewording makes my story stronger. And that makes it worth the hard work. I don't want to just leave my story as it is. I want to refine it because the end result - a better story - makes the difficulty worth it.

It's a lot like our lives. When God edits our lives, when He refines us, it's rarely easy. It can range from uncomfortable to painful. But it makes our faith so much more beautiful.

Just before Easter, I worked through Kris Camealy's book Holey, Wholly, Holy. I spent a good part of Lent wrecked. Crying. Aching. At one point I wrote in my journal: "I want to cry out, scream out to God, 'Is this enough? Is this what you want?' - because I can't face it. It's ugly. It's hideous." Cleansing, purifying, refinement - it hurts. Because it means seeing myself as I really am, and it's ugly.

The most beautiful part of editing and refining? The beauty that comes after. By the end of Lent, I could see it - my ugliness, my sinfulness, my brokenness, covered in grace, piecing me together. I wrestled with God during Lent. Refinement isn't a warm and fuzzy kind of goal. It's hard. But He wouldn't let it go. So I gave in, still scared, but knowing this is where He was taking me. I need to be refined.

There are so many things I want to refine in 2015. My body. My home. My soul. My writing. I want to be changed, better, stronger, healthier. The process is scary, though. It requires hard work, frustrating days, and sometimes tears.

Even now, as I write this, God is editing my life in unexpected ways. My work situation is changing, and I'll be honest - I'm scared. I don't have the answers. I don't know where He's taking me, and I don't like it. I wish things had stayed the same, but they didn't, and He has a reason for it.

I don't like change, but I don't want to be stagnant. I want to be better. In a world that slips further from God every day, I want to reflect Him more. 

God is refining me. All I can do is hang on tight. Cling to His hand. Maybe that's the point. Maybe the biggest lesson in this season of refinement is just to hang on to truth, to draw closer to God. My first instinct is to pull away from everyone, even Him, but I have to draw closer. The only way to find strength for the trials is to really dwell with Him. 

Next week, I'm starting a new series on spending mornings with God. This isn't something that came easily or quickly for me. I've spent years learning, and I still haven't perfected my habit. But even though it's imperfect, my morning time with God is precious to me. It gets me through the hard days, like the ones I'm in right now. Each week, I'll cover a new topic - from why it matters to how to find the right Bible study. I'm so excited. I hope you'll join me as we let God edit our lives.


  1. I'm looking forward to your new series. Thank you for your transparency.

  2. You are so dead on about the process of editing - it is NOT pretty and it is often painful, but our writing can't be perfected without it. And unless we allow God to "edit" our lives, we cannot grow and be perfected in Him. Wonderful analogy!
    Looking forward to your new series, too! Blessings, Amanda!


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