What comes after When Despair Meets Delight? — Next Steps.

I’m been on quasi-sabbatical, letting go of some of my busyness to make room for God’s business in my life and ministry. For over a year now, my time has been consumed by my When Despair Meets Delight book and, while there are still things to do to “get it out there,” my mind can now mostly pivot to my next book, my next project, my next dream to pursue. It has been said of writers that there is nothing more terrifying than a blank page. Starting over is daunting for anyone, particularly when it seems we are starting from scratch. We can fool ourselves into believing we have to magically discover the one right thing to do out of an infinite number of wrong choices. This is the Enemy’s convincing lie designed to paralyze us from faithful action. I am devoting this season of transition to discerning prayer. I’m [...]

What comes after When Despair Meets Delight? — Next Steps.2020-10-18T22:04:10-04:00

Perfect Humility: A Quietness of Heart

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)   Humility is perfect quietness of heart. It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing [...]

Perfect Humility: A Quietness of Heart2020-08-30T10:51:17-04:00

Seeking Inspiration, Breathing, and Tearing Up: The Labor Process of When Despair Meets Delight

You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. ― Jack London. There have been periods in my life when I have written thousands of words each day. I've filled up journal after journal, written poems and devotional essays, letters, blog posts, whatever form I could find to express myself. These creative bursts feel so good. I mean SO good. They provide me a natural high where I feel euphoric. As Dad would say, "I don't feel any pain anywhere. Not in my hair. Not in my fingernails. Nowhere." It is quite beautiful and, while not always, I think the writing produced during these periods is likewise delightful. Then there are other times. Times when words are missing. Sentences are partial. For every paragraph that appears on the screen, I backspace over two. Tonight is one of those times. I don't want to write. But I've [...]

Seeking Inspiration, Breathing, and Tearing Up: The Labor Process of When Despair Meets Delight2020-07-27T20:49:55-04:00

Around the World in 80 Key Strokes: Writing as Global Mission

I have been more active on social media than ever before as I promote my book. While I worry of becoming grandiose by focusing on my own story, I am delighted at the friendships I am forming around the world with people who share the same passions about reaching out to those impacted by brain illnesses with the compassion of Christ and the consolation of the Holy Spirit. One friend I've recently made is Rosette. Rosette is from Uganda and is part of a faith community which takes seriously the call of Christ to engage in healing ministry. She shared a story of a woman with severe schizophrenia who had been left to flounder in isolation. Members of the church visited her, prayed with her, advocated for her to get and take the medication she needed. Now, while not cured, she functions fully in the life of the community. She [...]

Around the World in 80 Key Strokes: Writing as Global Mission2020-07-23T03:13:53-04:00

When Despair Meets Delight Goes to Press

The time is at hand. After five years of gestation, and over a year of hard labor (with a week of major complications), I have been assured that When Despair Meets Delight will go to the printers today. From there, it should take two weeks to prepare a review copy. When I am satisfied that all looks good, I will bring boxes of books home. Then comes the delightfully arduous task of mailing out advance orders -- now over 100. On September 3, the print and e-book will be released on Amazon and the audio version on Audible. This has been an incredibly busy week. I contracted with a man from Uganda to design memes for social media. I hired a sound engineer to create a commercial for iHeart radio. I have been reaching out to podcasters, blog authors, pastors, and others to get the message out. I am both [...]

When Despair Meets Delight Goes to Press2020-07-19T07:06:48-04:00

Delight in Disorder: Cultivating My First Book

I am going through a medication change at the moment. It is a slight "tweaking," but it makes me drowsy much of the time. It is difficult to concentrate and muster the muse for sustained creativity. I thought it best to recycle an older post. This once was written March 8, 2017. It was the first post published in this blog. I had 12 subscribers then. Now I have 449. My guess is that some of you haven't read this. For over twenty five years,  I have journeyed with this illness from manic (even psychotic) peaks to dark valleys of despair.  At both extremes, I have flirted with death—coming very close to ending my life and doing great damage to those around me.  For no apparent reason but the mercy of the Lord, God has kept me alive, saving me  from certain destruction. Yet, I have also found genuine delight in [...]

Delight in Disorder: Cultivating My First Book2020-06-21T20:40:10-04:00

A Blessed Rejection

I am still manic, showing no signs of slowing down. It is delightful, but also exceedingly dangerous. Some studies suggest that each severe manic episode you experience in your lifetime robs you of functioning for the future. Chemical highs from the brain may do as much damage as those induce by substances consumed. It is possible that for hour I spend in exercising frenetic energy, I am limiting both the quantity and quality of my life. A good friend who battles bipolar herself reminded me of this today. Our exchange went something like this:   Tony: BJ, if you are interested in receiving a free e-newsletter about When Despair Meets Delight, simply reply with your email address. Thanks! BJ: Tony, I am not interested, and here is why: I am concerned about you. As much as I want you to succeed, I am concerned you are taking on too much. [...]

A Blessed Rejection2020-05-20T14:36:07-04:00

The Loneliness of Mental Illness

One of the tragic things about living with bipolar is that I have often felt very much alone. When I am depressed, I feel unworthy of anyone's love or attention. When I am manic, I can be so grandiose that I feel set apart from the "average" human race. When I am in a mixed state, I become agitated with anyone trying to get close to me. Even as people try to care for me, I can get terribly lonely. My heart goes out to those without the support system I have -- those trapped in delusional minds, those wandering the dangerous streets, those languishing in solitary prison cells. I have been manic for some time now, since I made the commitment to publish my second book. It has been wonderful, but I knew it wouldn't last. It didn't. Last night, in the midst of sharing my exciting news with [...]

The Loneliness of Mental Illness2020-05-18T15:47:17-04:00

The Highway to Hell is Paved with Manic Intentions

I have now completed the final manuscript of second book, When Despair Meets Delight: Stories that cultivate hope for those with serious mental illness. I have received three endorsements. The ISBN#s have been obtained. I have applied to list it in the Library of Congress. I am working with a graphic artist, Jolie Buchanan of Jolie B Studios on the cover design. She is also doubling duties by doing the formatting. I have contracted with my web designer Sean Pritzkau about revamping my website to feature this book and expand my brand to reflect more of what I do at Delight in Disorder Ministries -- A Way with Words Publishing; Revealing Voices Podcast; Faithful Friends Support Group; and Tony Roberts, Faith & Mental Health Consultant. I have sold over 75 advance copies that will defray a good portion of the cost to publish the book, allowing me to approach the [...]

The Highway to Hell is Paved with Manic Intentions2020-05-13T22:44:49-04:00

A Burning Fire; A Wisp of Smoke

Writing, then, was a substitute for myself: if you don't love me, love my writing & love me for my writing. It is also much more: a way of ordering and reordering the chaos of experience. ― Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath I keep a daily journal of happenings in my life. Some of these things emerge in my public writing. Literary quotes. Character sketches. Story outlines. You will also find less assuming material in my journals. Financial profiles. Schedules. Contact information. To call these daily journals is generous at best. Sometimes weeks go by without a single entry. Then I'll go on a binge and nearly fill a book in a week. If my journal could speak in those gaps, it would cry out in anguish, wail in sorrow, moan in despair. But the pages are blank. Like my mind. Unborn words. Aborted sentences. Silent stories. Flannery O'Connor [...]

A Burning Fire; A Wisp of Smoke2020-04-27T19:05:51-04:00
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