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By Henry McLaughlin

I’ve been doing a lot of contemplating and pondering lately. About my writing. About life. About God. About making changes. Not really at a crossroads, but definitely a time of reassessment.

Why? What’s the point?

For me, it’s about getting priorities straight and getting myself right with God. I’m learning that too often I get private and disconnect from what’s important in life.

My relationship with God is first. But I frequently treat him as a checkbox on my to do list. Quiet time with the Lord? Done.

Ask me ten minutes later what I gained from it, what did he and I talk about, what did I learn about him, about myself, about his plan and purpose for me. You’d see the deer in the headlights look. I couldn’t tell you. But I did have quiet time, like a good Christian.

Relationship with my wife? Yep, worked on that. Really? Did I really connect with her? Did I share my heart and feelings? Or only what I wanted her to know? Did I take the first opportunity to go private? Not a good thing. And if I don’t pay attention to her, to us; if I don’t share the depths of me and my love for her, we will drift apart. And reconnecting can be a painful process, especially when I let it happen repeatedly.

When I don’t get these two relationships in order, my writing and everything else in my life suffer. These relationships are the source of my strength for every other area of life. If I don’t have these right, nothing else will be right either.

How do we get these right? A key is to make the time to be with God and with my spouse. Don’t squeeze him in to my agenda. Just like when we don’t think we have the time to write, we learn to make time to write. We need to make the time for these most important relationships.

Give God our hearts. Submit and surrender to him. This is something we all must do, and we must do it in our own unique way. We can’t copy someone else’s way and expect the same result. Time in the Word and in prayer are important. Time in silence is also important. Sit, ask God to speak to us, and listen. He wants to talk with us, but he can’t if we’re yammering at him all the time. Ask him to speak. Ask the Holy Spirit what he wants to say to us.

Get God’s truth from our heads into our hearts. In our heads, it’s intellectual candy. In our hearts, it’s the guide to a life full of him and all he wants for us, a life of relationship, fellowship, and service to his kingdom. When God’s truth is in our hearts, we can become more conscious of Jesus in us—who he is and all he’s done, not only done for us but also what he’s done in us. This Christ-consciousness becomes our anchor, our go to source throughout our day for wisdom and guidance.

And we must give our hearts to our spouse as well. This is the sacrifice of submitting to each other that Paul writes about in Ephesians 5. I’m still working on this one, but I’m committed to making it happen with God’s help. It takes time. Above all else, it takes a willingness to change, to shift what we do to love our spouse, to change how we do it if we have to—and trust me, we have to periodically—that’s why we reassess.

When we get these two relationships in order and we commit to keeping them that way and we work to keep that commitment, the rest of life is in a position to fall into its proper place.


Tagged as “one to watch” by Publishers Weekly, award-winning author Henry McLaughlin takes his readers on adventures into the hearts and souls of his characters as they battle inner conflicts while seeking to bring restoration and justice in a dark world. His writing explores these themes of restoration, reconciliation, and redemption.

Besides his writing, Henry treasures working with other writers and helping them on their own writing journeys. He is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. He regularly teaches at conferences and workshops, leads writing groups, edits, and mentors and coaches.




Comments 1

  1. We say we walk and talk with God,
    for that’s the Christian way,
    but it does seem kinda odd
    that we heed not what He’ll say,
    instead make nice and compromise
    and turn our eyes from sin.
    It may feel like we’re being wise,
    but thus did they begin,
    the evil of what’s not long past,
    the gulags and the killing fields,
    Rwanda and the Holocaust,
    all because the faithful yield
    to what delivered self-deception
    instead of honest introspection.

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