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Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday Freelance: FRIEND Part III

"All's well that ends well.
And if it isn't ending well, it isn't the end."
~Max Lucado, from his book Fearless

Friday Freelance: FRIEND Part III

Those of you who caught Parts I & II know of the recent visit by my friend Gwen Stewart and I to Colorado for the ACFW Writers Conference, and our side trip to the Rocky Mountains—complete with Gwen's abject fear of heights and our drive along terrifying cliffs.

I'd planned to blog only of that escapade and its spiritual lesson, but moments before I posted Part II, I was compelled to add these closing words:

FOOTNOTE: Lest it appear that I paint myself a hero and Gwen a weakling, I shall this Friday tell you of the chasm from which Gwen deftly rescued me.

Here goes.

Gwen calls me intrepid. I had to look up "intrepid," which literally means "not alarmed," and is defined as "characterized by resolute fearlessness, fortitude, and endurance."

I like the word "fearless." Speed and heights thrill me. I fondly recall days spent skydiving, rappeling, and doing technical climbs on sheer faces of granite. Emergencies mean someone needs to take action, and if not me then who? I've dashed into a home engulfed in flames protected by only a wet handkerchief over my nose. The one emergency I faced where I honestly thought I was going to die was one I nonetheless ran toward.

I'm just telling you all this so you'll understand that I don't lightly toss around the word fearless.

Two Thursdays ago, Gwen and I spent the morning in Rocky Mountain National Park. We safely negotiated a switchback which presented potential danger and gave me no pause. A bit later I stood at 12,000 above sea level cliff overlooking a 4,000' high chasm which sent Gwen retreating to our vehicle.

Then Thursday night we were safely back down to only one mile above sea level in Denver. We sat in a banquet room filled with some 600 publishing professionals and aspiring authors. Gwen and I were separated by seating arrangements as we listened to the speakers.

I felt out of place. I'm at ease with people from all walks of life, including those dedicated to writing. Yet I found myself overwhelmingly intimidated by a situation thoroughly beyond my ability. I cannot face the portals of publication and simply fight fearlessly or work hard or stand them down. Those gateways are opened or closed by the hand of God. And He's had me standing upon the same threshold for seventeen months.

Which is entirely His right. He bought me and owns me. I'll go wherever or do whatever He wants. No problem.

I guess. Sort of.

But if I'm honest, I'm horribly afraid of at least one thing.

I'm terrified by the idea of being unfruitful.

While I was avoiding eye-contact with my fear, I listened to ACFW President Cynthia Ruchti speak. Then she said something along the lines of, "This was billed as a fragrance-free conference. But throughout this room is the fragrance of all of you pouring out yourselves in offering for our Lord."

Whatever else causes trepidation in others yet brings intrepid out of me, I was immediately terrified by the vast chasm of wasted effort. Overcome by the need to step away from it's edge, I quietly exited the banquet hall and found an isolated corner in which to recover.

I know well that some areas of my life are quite fruitful. I just hate that any hours should be squandered when life is so short and time is incredibly precious. I fear any of my labor being for naught. I can allow how long the journey takes, as long as I see fruitful progress. Lacking that, I feel utterly impotent and diminished.

I returned to my table, still bewildered that I should be there. At the end of the session, I found precious Gwen at my side, her eyes asking what was wrong. She listened to me rant. She held me in her love with her gaze. The chasm became tolerable with a friend at my side to negotiate it with me.

Throughout the conference, I enjoyed the love and fellowship of many friends with no knowledge of my fear. But another dear friend also understood my trepidation without me speaking of it—my agent Rachelle Gardner. She also came alongside me, sensitive to the needs of her client and genuinely caring about the heart of a friend. The fact that she understood so much that went unsaid is testimony to her own tender and gracious spirit.

Gwen emerged from the mountains with new courage to face the journey before her because a friend eased her through terror. She returned the favor to me at the edge of my own fearful precipice. The Lord sent a second angel of His love to confirm His will that I stay the path.

With such friends, I stand ready for the journey the Lord has ordained. I remember that a true sacrifice means one lavishly pours out all for the Lord without thought of waste.

I resolve to prove intrepid.

A postscript (added 10 hours after original post): My intent was to end this piece with the message of how much every single one of us needs every other one of us. It got lost in all else being said. Those words must not remain unspoken: Every one of you is needed.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.


  1. I pray for you my friend, and gently lift you up, as you continue on this journey. I love you, be blessed.

  2. Dearest friend,

    It's joy to come alongside you and privilege to share your journey.

    The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Workers like you, dear Anne, are even fewer. So sometimes you will feel poured out like a drink offering. You will feel that the last drops will fall to bedrock and roll uselessly off the barren land.

    It will feel that way, but it is not so. For who should be deceived but those most fruitful? Who should be deceived but those most likely, most willing and most longing to share God's love and Truth?

    I believe this: the bigger the harvest, the heavier the hoe. You bear a heavy hoe. I cannot. I am not intrepid. It is my nature--perhaps my calling--to be the least of these (God even made me physically the least, did he not?). Never fear; I know you consider yourself the least of these, too. But your passion and fearlessness makes you a first responder, even if your spirit and your obedience make you willing to be least.

    It's my pleasure to bask in your intrepid nature, and to learn from your fearlessness, and to sit with you on the edge of the chasm. It's joy to lift the handle of your hoe for a few rows, to ease your burden if even in a small way.

    God bless you on this Friday.

  3. In my mind, the only true fear for a warrior spirit, is the fear of not being called to join the fight. All other fears are opportunities to draw closer to God and exercise faith. Our Father has called you to something. He is already glorified by your writing, your journey. Blessings...

  4. Anne,

    I should have said that since you are a fruitful worker longing to increase the harvest, you are a threat to the one who WANTS to deceive...not that you ARE deceived, my friend.

    MEA CULPA for trying to type coherently at 5:30 AM on a Friday morning, after a full week of teaching 800 students, and most of them first graders. Oh my--perhaps I'm more intrepid than I think. Heehee...just kidding.

  5. Why is it that your blog posts always make me want to strike up a conversation with you? :D
    Did you have a handy pocket dictionary nearby to look up intrepid? :D

    You, Anne are the definition of cool. A strong woman of God!

    I'm uplifted to read about your friendships and your great desire to bear fruit. If you're like me, sometimes I look around a room like you described and get a strong spiritual message also like one you described. How wonderful you had friends to surround you.
    ~ Wendy

  6. Anne, it is such a blessing to be counted among your friends! Thank you for the honor.

  7. I love this post. You are so much more fruitful than you can possibly imagine.

  8. Hey Anne, what a courageous post that is encouraging me already.

    None of your words, passion and heart have been wasted, you've poured them out and God's filled you with even more, flowing out to us all.

    I praise God for who you are and how much you mean to us all. I have a very strong confidence that we will all be very surprised what God has to reward us for all the unseen, hidden sweat we've poured. :) Hugs.

  9. Denise, your prayers are a true fragrance before our Lord, and a blessing to me.

    Russell, the warrior is a child, no? And I agree, in EVERY fear is opportunity to glorify God. I'll remember it.

    Wendy, no, I had a handy computer dictionary. "The definition of cool?" LOL! Tell that to my kids. And yes, I'd love the conversation. *sigh* In eternity, think of what we'll all share with one another.

    Rachelle, I am the one honored. And blessed. And grateful for every opportunity to bless you.

    T. Anne, I suspect we're not allowed to see all the fruit lest our pride swell. I'm grateful to know that I'm fruitful, from Him and you both.

    Bonnie, you're such an encourager, to so many people, that I'm blessed, truly, to know I've encouraged you. I'm reminded of the verse I often recall when wondering about all this (Hebrews 6:10) ~ "For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister."

  10. Dearest Gwen, thank you for being transparent in what you shared on your blog, and by all you've allowed me to share. And of course I knew what you meant about deception. You didn't need to explain to me, and you certainly don't need to offer a mea culpa.

    Do you know how you bless me? How happy I am to have you so much a part of my life. How wonderfully your words sing in my life--whether in person, internet, or on your lyrical blog.

    I love you!

  11. Wild horses, white waters, mountain cliffs and harrowing weather doesn't scare me. But you touched both of my fears in this one post.

    "I'm terrified by the idea of being unfruitful." Oh how I pray that my wasted years can be turned into some sort of good and fear that I could be so much more if I hadn't wandered off.

    Your words sparked another fear as well, "We sat in a banquet room filled with some 600 publishing professionals and aspiring authors." I have a gift, I think, for seeing the good in others. It's a blessing when used for it's God given purpose and a curse when not. In seeing the quality shine in others, sometimes I feel dull compared to all the shining beautiful people that surround me. At ease on the mountain, comfortable alone, but in a crowded room, nervous, feelings of inadequacies, weakness, loneliness.

    Maybe that's why I love to write. I can encourage without feeling small in their presence.

    This is one of my favorite posts. Such Truth. Thank you my friend.

  12. Doug, I deeply appreciate what you say about wasted years. I literally want to vomit if I think about it for too long. Best that I press ahead, forgetting what is behind--of me, for I cannot forget all HE's done. I'm privileged to be called friend, and thank YOU for being one.

  13. Though I know it already, I received in church today the necessary reminder that God's pleasure in His children is for who we are, not what we accomplish. I do not want to waste any of what He entrusts to me. Nonetheless, my life in Christ is about being, not doing.


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