significance

Why Writer’s Block Is Good

The blank page is mocking me.

The blank page is mocking me.

I haven’t written any of my novel since December. This is my third version of this blog post. It was a strain just to write my grocery list this week.

This is the most stuck I’ve been with my creative writing in ages. And I think it’s a good thing.

I got a little worn out by the end of last year. Part of it was because I hadn’t had a holiday in a while. The other part was because I put waaaaaay too much pressure on myself to write a perfect novel. So I took a break, and now I can’t get started again.

But surprisingly, as another week ends with me accomplishing nothing besides going to work and burning through half a season of Castle, God does not seem upset with me. No, He keeps telling me He loves me.

And the longer this goes on, the more I realize the only person upset with me was myself.

Though I’ve written plenty of blog posts about significance and identity in the past 15 months of running this blog, I still got sucked into the trap of associating my creative writing accomplishments with my own sense of purpose. I felt that my writing was the only thing that set me apart. And since I don’t do as much youth work volunteering as I used to, my writing was also my form of ‘volunteering’ for God. I was using my gift for His glory, right?

Well, yeah, you can write for God’s glory. But if you actually write to make yourself feel special, that’s not cool.

This bout of writer’s block has made me face that truth.

But, like I said, God doesn’t seem mad. He just keeps telling me, in a bunch of different ways, that He loves me just as I am. I don’t have to do lots of hard work to make Him happy. I can relax, be still, and be confident in my identity in Him.

So, where to with my writing?

At this point, I don’t plan to give it up. I’m slowly gathering ideas and trying to scoop up enough inspiration to get me back at the keyboard again. But, when I finally get to that point, I’ll be more aware than ever that success as a novelist or as a blogger has nothing to do with my success as a person.

This Will Make You Smile

I am one of 7,000,000,000 people on the earth. I am one of tens of billions to exist in history.

Original map sourced from Creationswap.com, by Kaitlin McMichael.

Original map sourced from Creationswap.com, by Kaitlin McMichael.

I just pulled a hair from my head, slipped on my Supernatural Glasses of the Unseen (i.e. my imagination) and looked at the tiny, tiny number stamped at the base of the follicle.

#7,651

That’s right, God not only pays attention this little 1/7,000,000,000th of the world’s population, He knows exactly how many hairs are on my head.

Don’t believe me?

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Luke 12:6-8 NIV

That’s straight from the Big Man himself.

He giggled at the funny cartoon I drew at work today. He pondered my next novel idea with me. He heard my silent thoughts, wondering if anything I did today had eternal value. (And the follow-up thought, wondering if I think too much.)

I’ve been studying Experiencing God this week, and I’m up to a section that particularly deals with the church and our roles in it. It struck me anew that EVERY part of God’s ‘body’, the church, is vital.

 A body isn’t just a single part blown up into something huge. It’s all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together. If Foot said, “I’m not elegant like Hand, embellished with rings; I guess I don’t belong to this body,” would that make it so? If Ear said, “I’m not beautiful like Eye, limpid and expressive; I don’t deserve a place on the head,” would you want to remove it from the body? If the body was all eye, how could it hear? If all ear, how could it smell? As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it.

1 Corinthians 12:14-18 MSG

Do I treat myself like I am an essential part of my Christian community? (With the community being not just my church, but also my Christian friends, family, and organisations I’m involved in.)

Uh, no.

My default thought has always been that I’m a small toe. Handy, but not that effective or vital.

But there’s another part to this, too. Do I treat everyone else like they’re also the heart and muscle of this body called the church?

No again.

What would be different if I did? I’m not sure. But it’s something for me to ponder this week.

What I do know is, these verses make it clear that God has a very personal interest in my life, and my community. He wants to have relationship with us, work with us, and do life with us.

It’s a thought that makes me smile.

How To Look Intensely Attractive

Courage. It’s one of those awesome qualities that instantly transforms you into a babe.

 

Captain America is courageous, and a babe.

Captain America. Courage has never looked so good.

 

Tim and Olive Chan are exploring the whole idea of courage in their blog series, ‘Courage Is…’, and they’ve kindly let me contribute. Click this link to read my article, Courage Is: Being OK with Insignificance.

I wrote it a while ago, just after Easter, so lots has happened since then but the message is still the same.

The series also covers singleness, body image and more, so check out what the other authors have contributed too!

 

 

 

Does Anybody See Me?

Does God take any notice of me?

It’s a very good question.

With seven billion people scurrying around on this planet, it’s easy to feel like we’re flying under God’s radar. With so many people to deal with, how much time could He really have left for me? Is He even interested?

Image

I think that Jesus’ words, as recorded in the Book of Matthew, answer that question with a big fat YES!

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.

“Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.

Are you not much more valuable than they?

“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

“If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?

“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Matt 6:25-34 NIV (emphasis mine)

Jesus used a lot of words to hammer home this one basic point: do not worry.

God promised that if we put him first, He will supply what we need.

So what does that imply?

Number one: God knows if you’re seeking him first. So He must be paying attention to you.

Did you hear me?

HE IS PAYING ATTENTION TO YOU.

Not just Australia as a whole (though He is watching that too). Not even just your church as a whole. YOU. He is profoundly interested in the state of your heart.

And that leads us to point number two.

God wants you to seek Him first.

Him, and Him alone. Similar to how a husband wants to be the only man for his wife, multiplied by about a hundred million billion squillion.

God loves you enough to get jealous over you.

And that’s a pretty personal, intimate kind of love.