Dwell in the Land, and Cultivate Faithfulness

I’m pleased to have my friend Joylene M. Bailey do a guest post today. I trust you will be inspired by her thoughts on apprenticeship.

The problem with me is that I want to learn everything at once. I love learning. But I often don’t take the time to learn something well before I’m off to the next thing. (Which is a strange practice for a perfectionist, now that I think about it.)

I just want to know everything. I can’t begin to explain how disappointed I was at the age of 34 – married with children – to suddenly come to the realization that I would never know everything there was to know in the world.

Devastated doesn’t even come close.

Apprenticeship is very different from learning something quickly and moving on to the next enticing thing. When I picture an apprentice, I picture a student walking with his master. Watching closely, listening carefully, mimicking the movements, learning the tone of voice.

Apprentices of the Middle Ages actually lived with their masters’ families. For several years!

By the end of their apprenticeship they would have understood the meaning in every raised eyebrow, every twitch of the lips, every “harrumph!” that they encountered in their master’s actions. And they would have understood their craft inside out and backwards.

This week I have been pondering Psalm 37, with regards to my writing. Verses familiar to me that I have had highlighted for many years:

Verse 3. Trust in the LORD, and do good …

Verse 4. Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Verse 5. Commit your way to the LORD …

Verse 7. Rest in the LORD …

But what’s this? Artfully tucked between Trust in the LORD and Delight yourself in the LORD are two little lines conveniently skipped over time and again:

Dwell in the land

and cultivate faithfulness.

That, to me, is apprenticeship at its core. Dwelling in the land of writers is an apprenticeship with community. I like to dwell in the land of writers.

I am fresh off a Spring WorDshop, (sponsored by InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship) where it was invigorating to breathe the same air as like-minded people. And I learned so many things I had never thought about in quite that way before.

I love my writers group, where I can bounce ideas off of trusted writer friends, get constructive feedback, and grow in my craft.

That’s dwelling in the land of writers.

Cultivating faithfulness takes work and attention, and is part of the apprenticeship that is often done alone.

The definition of cultivate is:

– – to grow and care for

– – to foster the growth of

– – to improve by labour, care, and study

There is something about this part of apprenticeship that is just so … daily. It’s not something quickly learned, enabling me to blissfully skip off to learn something new. It’s a step by step, day by day growing, improving, and knowing.

It’s being faithful to the word and the Word.

Day in and day out, sitting my bottom in the chair and putting my fingers to the keyboard. This is the hard part for someone who likes to go off to learn the latest thing. Someone like me. But I think that dwelling in the land and cultivating faithfulness with my writing is the best possible apprenticeship I could have.

LORD, I trust in You. I commit my writing to You. Grant me the motivation, determination, and focus to be faithful in my apprenticeship. Above all, may it bring You glory.

M. Bailey writes because. What began as making up childhood stories to put
herself to sleep at night, became creating stories and songs for her three
daughters. This entertainment morphed into writing articles and stories
for children’s publications, writing rhymes for her grandson, and blogging at www.scrapsofjoy.com
Her current work
in progress is a novel about a wandering little girl and her flawed but loving
mother. Joy and her husband live in Alberta, Canada, and are relishing their recent
transition to empty nesting.