Thursday, March 8

Returning to My First Love

I’ve been told that pulling a Bible verse out of context for interpretation is a no-no, and I wholeheartedly agree. But for application? I say “yes-yes”… especially when the Holy Spirit whispers it in my ear.

Today, I was meditating (daydreaming) about the weekly writing challenge at and my desire to start entering regularly again.

The Home for Christian writers!!FaithWriters is the sole reason “Catrina Bradley, Writer” exists today. When I joined the FW community in September 2006, I hadn’t written anything creative since high school. Today, I am a published author. I owe my comeback, or more accurately my rebirth, to FaithWriters and the FW family.

But somewhere along the road from 2006 to 2012, I drifted away from my FW family and into the Facebook vortex.

“Return to your first love,” whispered my subconscious.

I miss FW, and I miss the communal excitement encompassing writing for the challenge

It occurred to me that when my participation at FaithWriters started faltering, my writing as a whole stopped growing. At times, it has threatened to retreat altogether. Crafting, editing, and completing a story has become a chore.

Return to your first love.

Yes, return to the source of my passion for writing: the fountain of encouragement and love that springs from FaithWriters.

Return to your first love.

When I joined the site, the weekly writing challenge was on break, and spent that time delving into the website, reading past contest entries and winners, studying the FAQ’s, and getting to know the other members. I entered my first FaithWriters challenge the day the new topic was announced.

Over the next few years, hardly a week went by that I didn’t enter the challenge, and not a day passed that I didn’t spend a few hours (at least) chatting with my new family on the message boards. I learned the ins and outs and do's and don't's of writing. My skill was honed in the iron-on-iron give and take of God’s family.

Early successes in the writing challenge, followed by long spells of failure, interrupted occasionally by a brief spike or two, cultivated discouragement. Discouragement bred anger, and apathy followed on closely its heels.

Return to your first love.

Yes--I want to go back there! When writing was fun and not a burden. When I rose up to meet the challenge instead of shrinking in fear of failure and rejection. When I didn’t need to schedule time for writing--I scheduled everything else around it. Return to the FaithWriters message boards where love runs deep and relationships follow suit, instead of the shallow, two minute life updates that Facebook conveniently offers.

I want to get excited again.

I couldn’t keep following this train of thought without finding and reading the Word that kept whispering to me. Return to your first love.

In His Revelation to the Church, Jesus, through the apostle John, counseled the Church at Ephesus: “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.” Revelation 2:4-5a

For sure, the Ephesians were faithful followers of Christ. Their boundless labor and perseverance for the Lord showed their belief. But Jesus said they had ‘forsaken their first love’ – the passion that kindled, sparked and was blown into flame with their first anointing of the Holy Spirit. The love and desire and pure faith that had driven their works.

I don’t mean to literally equate my relationship with Jesus to that with FaithWriters, but I can use the same application for both. And as I studied the letter to the Ephesians in Revelation, the spiritual side of that parallel became as evident in my life as the writing side.

Return to your first love.

It was clear that, in addition to my writing, I’ve also forsaken the passion of my fresh love for Jesus. Both relationships have lost their luster.

Talk about a double-edged sword!

With this fresh anointing, I’m going to take a long-overdue drink from the Well to refresh my love for Jesus. Then I’m taking a step on the return trip to my (second) first love.

Peace and love, and prayers for many blessings,

Catrina Bradley
"God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes." Psalm 18:24 (Msg)

Image Credits:
Pencil Pusher: Zsuzsanna Kilian
Empty Page: Iker