How would your life change if it was an open book? You have stories and secrets you haven’t told anyone…and everything would be different if you were honest with yourself and others.
I’m searching for a new focus for my She Blossoms and Blossom Tips blogs, and I keep getting the sense that it’s time to write my story. I’ve been blogging — and earning a great living as a writer — for a decade, but I don’t really write about myself. I write tips-based articles to help people see they’re not alone, solve problems, and find comfort. Sometimes I share a memory or experience, but my life isn’t an open book. I have stories I haven’t told anyone because I didn’t think my experience mattered.
I’m searching for a new focus because writing practical blog posts and even ebooks (such as Letting Go of Someone You Love – A “She Blossoms” eBook) is no longer fulfilling. I’m no longer happy blogging to make money, or even supporting myself as a writer. It was an interesting, enjoyable way to earn a living…but I want to go deeper somehow. I’m just not sure how! Luckily, I started writing in my diaries when I was still a babe in the woods — and I have many of my old journals. My life might literally become an open book, which is a whole new chapter for me.
I bet you, too, have stories and secrets you haven’t told anyone. What if your life was an open book…how would that change how you live, where you go, and who you spend time with? Thinking of your life as an open book — and telling stories you haven’t told anyone — has the power to change everything.
In my “Your Heart Changes Everything” Book Proposal I describe the next book I thought I wanted to write. Bethany House published Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back in 2019; I thought Your Heart Changes Everything would be my next nonfiction book. It may very well be — who knows — but not in this iteration. I’ve already changed my views on the Holy Spirit and how to be in God’s presence.
Here is the first “heart beat” of my Sample Chapter One. It’s called Spirit Beat — Ruach, and it starts to intertwine my story with King David’s.
Imagine Your Life as an Open Book
I never got caught. I never confessed. And I never forgot. That’s one of the stories I haven’t told anyone. King David in the Bible got caught, he confessed, and we’ll never forget what he did. His life was an open book, and we’re all better because of it. In this chapter of Your Heart Changes Everything we discover how the seeds of good and evil are planted in every human heart—some deeply, others close to the surface. All they need are the right conditions for growth.
Imagine reading the highlights of your life in the bestselling book of all time. Your successes and achievements, proudest moments and happiest memories, on display for all to read. The battles you fought and won. The races you ran and finished. The medals and awards, highest honors and distinctions. The times your heart swelled with joy and pride.
You accomplished good things in your life—and they are worth celebrating! Maybe you worked your way through school, a difficult job, a painful loss or life-threatening disease. You waited for the right partner, a family, a nice home and car and maybe even a boat. You went to work, you tried to be a good employee or fair boss. You served at church. You loved your neighbor. Maybe you even volunteered with the homeless or went on missions trips to Haiti or Mexico.
But you also made a few mistakes, bad decisions, unhealthy choices. You took a wrong turn here and there, walked a dark path. Maybe you committed a crime, like I did. Maybe you took a few people down with you. You haven’t been entirely honest about your life. You have stories you haven’t told anyone because you’re ashamed or embarrassed. Or maybe you’re like me, and you think your stories aren’t worth telling.
If your life was written in the bestselling book of all time—the Bible—we’d know your secrets. Your flaws and failures, weaknesses and warts. Your bad choices and missteps. The things you’re too embarrassed to admit. The mistakes that make your heart sink or cringe with shame. The things you don’t want to think about, much less confess.
Luckily your life isn’t on display for all to see. Not like King David’s, which is an open book.
David’s Life as an Open Book
David wasn’t where he was supposed to be. It was spring, a time when kings went to war (2 Samuel 11). David’s nephew and army commander Joab, all his men, and the whole Israelite army were off fighting in battle. David’s warriors were prevailing but not completely victorious. The decisive victory came later, when David himself was leading the charge.
Instead of going to battle, David stayed in Jerusalem. He took naps and strolls. One day, towards the end of the afternoon, he rose and wandered the roof of his palace.
That’s when he saw her. Bathsheba was beautiful; David’s heart was captivated. Perhaps she moved gracefully or sang softly as she bathed and purified her body. Perhaps David was bored, restless, unchallenged in his safe palace.
He sent a messenger to learn who she was. He discovered Bathsheba’s grandfather was Ahithophe, David’s closest counselor and advisor. Her father Eliam was one of David’s Mighty Men. When David was a fugitive in the wilderness, hunted down by Saul, a group of friends voluntarily protected him. Those were his Mighty Men.
Bathsheba was the wife of Uriah—who was also one of David’s Mighty Men. Uriah was one of David’s toughest military warriors, a man who was at that moment fighting for Israel (1 Chronicles 11:41). Uriah was on the battlefield when David sent for Bathsheba. Together they conceived a son.
Why wasn’t David fighting the enemy with his men? Maybe he was sick with a cold or a painful toothache, feeling physically weak and tired. Maybe he needed a break from the bloodiness of battle. Or maybe he ignored the Holy Spirit’s still small voice.
This still small voice, whom I call Ruach, leads us to our first Heart Beat.
Spirit Beat — Ruach
The closer I get to God, the more real He becomes. Our Father is not “the universe” or “a higher power.” He is an individual with a mind, emotions, and will. He is alive and real, an actual being who thinks, feels, and breathes. And He gives us the Holy Spirit to comfort, counsel, and guide us…even through the stories and secrets we’re embarrassed or ashamed to talk about.
Ruach is a Hebrew word that means wind, breath, or spirit. Ruach first appears in Genesis 1:2: “The Spirit of God [Ruach Elohim] was hovering over the waters.” Ruach is translated as “breath of life” in Genesis 6:17. The word Ruach is found almost 400 times in the Old Testament.
I started calling the Holy Spirit by name because I want to know Him on a more personal level. Mostly I refer to Him as Ruach when I write or pray. “Good morning, Ruach! Come, sit, be with me. How was your night?”
Changing Your Relationship With Ruach
Say hello to Ruach—the Holy Spirit! A living, breathing, feeling, loving Person who is eager to guide and direct you. Learn who He is. Get to know Him as an Individual who feels grief and joy, anger and love, pain and compassion. Imagine your life as an open book that Ruach is helping you write. Welcome Him as a friend, counselor, companion, comforter. Communicate with Ruach like you’re praying to God or talking to Jesus.
When you feel playful, you could call Him Rudy. Talk to Him when you’re sitting in traffic or waiting in line. Wink, nudge, laugh with Rudy! When you feel sad, you could call Him Roo-Roo. Ask for the love and comfort you need. Lean on Roo-Roo when you feel scared and alone.
Humble yourself before Ruach. He is here, holy and powerful. Ruach is God’s gift, the reason Jesus died for you. Jesus left so you and Ruach could have a relationship. Find your own way to communicate with Him. Learn how to strengthen your relationship with Him. Make Ruach yours, make Him real. Let Him soften and move into your heart.
That’s Spirit Beat — Ruach, which is the first “heart beat” of Chapter One in Your Heart Changes Everything. I wrote it almost a year ago; now, I don’t see the Holy Spirit or Ruach as a separate entity. Now I see Him as the spark of God, of life, of love and light within me.
I used to wake up and talk to God as if He were outside of me. Now, I realize that He part of my heart, spirit and soul. He is not an external entity that I pray and talk to. He is me, and I am Him. Our interconnection goes deeper than an external “I-Thou” relationship…and I have never felt more peace, joy, or love. Now I follow Jesus Christ in a whole new way.
For more (and better!) tips on connecting with Ruach, read 3 Simple Ways to Talk to the Holy Spirit.
To learn more about each chapter of Your Heart Changes Everything, read 10 Sample Chapter Summaries of a Nonfiction Book Proposal.
In peace and passion,