by Kristi Holl
Remember the scene from Sister Act when Whoopi Goldberg is training her nuns to sing on key? The oldest (nearly deaf) nun is joyfully pounding away on the piano, oblivious to how far she is out of sync. Whoopi stops the rehearsal, stomps her foot to gain the nun’s attention, and yells, “Alma! Check your battery!” Clearly the piano-playing nun’s hearing aid batteries had run out of juice.
I often identify with that elderly nun. I zip along and wear myself out without accomplishing the important things on my “to do” list for that day. I picture the Lord waving His arms at me and hollering, “Kristi, check your battery!”
We want our fiction to shine a bright light in the darkness. Matthew 5:15-16 says, “Don’t hide your light! Let it shine for all; let your good deeds glow for all to see, so that they will praise your heavenly Father.” But to shed a bright light, we need to first contain a bright light. And all too often, for a variety of reasons, our lights can fade.
Like many of us, I’ve had a regular devotional time for decades now. But occasionally, I will notice my morning time has gone a little dry, and my light (instead of shining) has grown dim. I noticed it a couple of months ago when sitting at my office desk before sun-up.
For many years, I had lit a candle first thing, preferably a pumpkin spice one which I bought in bulk every autumn. But when diagnosed with an autoimmune disease a few years ago, I discovered that I reacted to scents in the air, like the candle. So, I donated my candle collection and bought fake ones instead. The batteries last a good long while, and you can set them to “flicker” in a reasonably good facsimile of a candle.
Making the Connection
But even fake candles slowly run out of “juice” and appear to burn down after time and grow faint. The dim candles need new AA batteries. I was shocked at how much brighter new batteries made them. I did put a battery in upside down in one of them, and it wouldn’t turn on at all. There was no connection to the “juice” needed.
I pondered how the dim candles reflected my own spirit. I, too, felt like I was flickering, but not shedding much light. Like the candles in my office couldn’t glow without a proper connection, in the same way I couldn’t be the light in my writing world without a better connection.
Re-Lighting Your Candle
One morning, my devotional routine felt especially dry. After my daily Bible reading, I had used the same favorite devotionals for years. I’d marked them up so much that one glance at the new day’s page gave me instant recall of the day’s devotion. I felt bored and needed something new. I wondered if there were any devotionals that suited my interests of late (England, having been there twice on research trips).
As it turned out, brightening my devotional time took very little trouble. I ended up trying (and loving) A Jane Austen Devotional and Meeting God in Quiet Places, parables by a hiker in the Cotswolds. These devotionals are longer pieces, giving me a chance to slow down a bit instead of rushing through a short devotional page to get onto the next thing. With this small change, soon my own light was burning brighter, and I began my writing morning with a reawakened interest and expectation.
How is your inner candle doing now that the holidays have passed? Are you burning brightly in the new year? Or do you need a new battery? I plan to schedule monthly battery check-ups for 2020 to spot early signs of dimming and then course correct. Like my granddaughter, I want to be able to sing, “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine…”Is your candle burning brightly in the new year? If not, here’s one solution. @KristiHoll #ACFWBlogs #writingencouragement Click To Tweet
Kristi Holl had forty-eight juvenile books published with both Christian and mainstream publishers before deciding to write for adults. When writing her eight published novels for adults, she re-discovered her love for historical mysteries. One of those novels, A Dangerous Tide, features Jane Austen and is housed in Jane Austen’s House Museum in Chawton, England.