Often times as a Christian I feel myself struggling, feeling ‘less than’ because I’m not a pastor or missionary- something “big” in the faith. I find myself belittling the very gifts that God has given me. I tell myself that I’m failing because I just haven’t quite figured out “my calling”. While Jesus clearly states in the Bible that there are only two ‘callings’ 1) Love the Lord God with all your heart, mind, and soul and 2) Love your neighbor.
So, when I’m painting with my sons? Yes, I’m fulfilling my calling. When I’m doing laundry? Yes, I’m fulfilling my calling. When I’m arguing plots and grammar and story at writing club? Yes, I’m fulfilling my calling. When I’m patiently helping customers instead of losing my cool? Yes, I’m fulfilling my calling.
My “calling” is to embrace who God made- me. To accept that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. My quirks are not mistakes, they are the unique threads that sew together the fabric of who I am.
I read a devotional on YouVersion tonight “Called to Create” (yes, all the days cause I needed it) that broke down something inside me. I’m not sure what tomorrow looks like after this moment but I know that I cannot be the only one feeling this way.
And I want you to know, you that’s constantly feeling like there’s something more, something you must be missing- God is the only thing that we are missing. To embrace him fully is our calling. To embrace the passions and desires that he has engrained inside of us will bless his heart and minister to the hearts of those around us.
Do what you love for the glory of God and see what he does with your offering.
Wow, November was the last time that I blogged. It's amazing how easy it is to get into a funk and neglect things. Maybe I should reclassify myself from blogger to slogger (Slacker that poses as a blogger). I get overwhelmed sometimes by these bloggers that seem to have it all together. They are posting all the time about everything. I think it'd be easy to sign up for a reality TV show. At least them I don't have to worry about editing, posting, content, or anything of the such. I'd just spout stuff off as it comes to me and the cameras would always be rolling. Ha, awkward!
Well, this post is to simply let you know that I am alive. I survived my pity party of having to return to the 'normal' workforce and I am determined to complete a middle grade level novel this year for my son.
Last month, I started a part time job. It has the usual challenges that exist at most jobs- complaining, grumbling, and “that’s” not my job” comments.
When I started the job I wasn’t really in a “yeah I’m so excited to get this job” mindset. My husband and I decided to start saving for a house so the job was simply a means to an end. I’d much rather focus on writing. But, book sales are inconsistent so having a specific-ish amount of money going into savings each money seemed like a wiser plan.
One of the hardest things to remember when dealing with customers is that they too are people. They have crappy days, they have family issues, they have life outside of their shopping experience. And the same goes for my co-workers.
Which is why I’m so thankful I stumbled upon this YouVersion devotional that reminded me the simple truth, “It’s better to give than receive.” Work is not a place for me to be filled, it’s a place for me to pour out, to serve others.
Last night, I was able to train a new cashier. He asked me what I thought the best way to handle an angry shopper would be. In short, I told him to treat them like a person and how he would like to be treated.
In my experience, people don’t act ugly towards others because that is their goal in life. They act ugly toward others because they are hurting, broken, or struggling. Sometimes all they need is to be reminded that they are not the only ones living life. When we serve others despite their attitude or gratitude it may not instantly change their mood, but it will plant a seed. When we take time to plant rather than destroy we allow the world to become a more beautiful place.
Do I always want to go to work? No. Do I always want to serve others with a smile on my face? No. Is it in my job description to clean dirt off the floor? Not that I know of. Is it in my job description to restock a shelf? No.
But when I do these things without complaining it puts me in a better mood. It also puts those around me in a better mood and it changes the atmosphere around me.
Let’s take time to be the change we want to see. If you are tired of all the negativity in your life, make adjustments to be positive. Serve others.
I’ll kick off the transparency and maybe some people will get brave. Yesterday, I had this nudge that I needed to stop what I was doing and help somebody out. I regret to say that I didn’t. I disregarded it as just a silly thought when deep down I know the voice of my Creator.
Today, I contacted that person to apologize. Not because I wanted a reaction or reassurance but because I knew that I had disobeyed God’s prompting and I needed to be honest with myself and my friend.
I don’t know if God had something specific in mind. But I do believe that it doesn’t matter. If God wants to see a result He honestly doesn’t need me to accomplish it. My reaction to His prompting has nothing to do with what He wants to see done. It has everything to do with where my heart is at. There are so many stories in the Bible that talk about always being ready. One that comes to mind is the virgins waiting for the bridegroom. I’ve always heard these talked about in reference to Christ’s return but what if they are actually stories for us to recognize the hour and time are not determined. He could come to us at any time of day and say, “Hey, are you ready to represent me or have you put all your energy into your own efforts and now find yourself lacking?”
This afternoon, I'll be meeting with the writing club at Shaw Elementary. It consists of eight to ten children in grades second to fourth. I first met them two weeks ago. We talked about my experiences as a writer/author and what advice I could offer them.Then I walked around as they worked on ideas and outlines for their stories.
Meeting with other writers, no matter their age, is always a fun experience. Often times, I can see myself, at various stages of my writing experience, through what they say. What do I see...
There are so many others but these are probably some of the biggest that I've combated especially over this past year.
What does it take to tell a story?
Whether it's a short story, a picture book, a novel, a biography, an article, etc. The most important thing for me as a writer to remember is that if I don't believe the story is worth telling, the reader will never believe it's worth reading.
I've been writing for the majority of my life. Whether it be diaries, journals, picture books, scripts, poems, chapter books, short stories, parodies, song lyrics, instruction guides...there's a lot of avenues to write in. However, I have not been involved with other writers very much.
I joined a children's writing course when I was seventeen or eighteen but I never completed the course. I didn't value the insight that they provided. I saw the tasks as 'hindering my creativity'. I couldn't be prompted on what to write, I was an artist (thought my teenage self). So, I discarded that useful information and never completed the course. Man, did I have a few things to learn!
Then I went to a writer's workshop and learned how to self-publish. That was a great experience. I was finally able to get my stories into the hands of readers. I was able to easily pick up on the mechanics of the process (formatting and publishing) but the marketing and promoting eluded me. So I had to turn my attention elsewhere (pretty much get a 'normal' job to pay the bills).
I also received an opportunity to work as a ghostwriter with a small ghostwriting company. I was nervous because I didn't (and still don't) have any professional schooling, awards, or anything like that for writing. I worked on a few projects and had a really good time. It pushed my limits as a writer. I found myself writing on different topics and writing in different styles to accommodate the voice of the 'author'. But because the unknown freaks me out a bit, I backed off and settled into a corporate job with a steady income rather than pursuing commission work with ghostwriting.
This past year, I joined a writer's critique group that started at my local library. After a few meetings I wasn't sure if I would make it. I felt like these writers were way out of my league. They were all educated in writing industry lingo that months later I'm still attempting to figure out. Most of them know all the ways that manuscripts can be submitted and rejected. They know all these English terms. It boggles my mind.
But despite all the ups and downs, the lack of knowledge, lack of confidence, lack of substantial income, one thing remains- I love to write.
If you are a writer and, like me, you can't seem to get away from it, I encourage you TO WRITE! And keep these things in mind along your journey:
Yep, it happened to me too. I watched "Stranger Things" back in July and got hooked. My husband asked me if I wanted to check it out with him. I don't like scary or creepy stuff. I avoid it. But man, do I get hooked by a good story. I watched the first two episodes and waved my white flag. Yes, it was good, I liked the story, but the music and dark scenes weren't working for me. It was a little too creepy for me to watch right before bed each night.
I'm a storyteller, so one image (visual or spoken) can go a thousand different directions in my mind. That being said, when you end an episode with something dark lurking in the shadows making creepy noises not only do I begin to piece together a visual but I start playing out scenarios where all the other characters interact with that creepy noise in the shadows. I immediately start playing through my mind which characters are expendable and which characters cannot be killed off- no way no how.
My husband watched the next two episodes and gave me some updates of what had happened. So, curiosity got the best of me, and I decided to watch another episode. Game over, the story grabbed me and I had to know what happened next.
But, I'm not going to write a Stranger Things review. Sorry to disappoint. Instead I am going to write about the strangest thing, the thing that baffled my mind more than anything. As I told friends that I was a little bit hesitant to start but eventually gave in to watch the show they said they had felt the same. The thing that surprised me most was that many of them said, "But it's so far out there that it's not really scary."
So far out there? *SPOILER ALERT* There is another dimension where creatures exists, things that we do not understand. That dimensions can be felt in our dimension and sometimes crosses over to affect our dimension. This seems far out there?
If these were friends that had no belief in God then maybe I could understand. But Christians saying this concept was so far out there?
Hello? Have you read any portion of the Bible? Spiritual realm? Demons and Angels? Possession? Any of this "out there" stuff ringing a bell? These are all things that are intertwined in our belief as Christians. And yet, more and more I hear Christians not believing in the "unbelievable". When I say unbelievable, I'm not talking about mythical creatures in the Upside Down. I'm talking about angels, demons, healing, miracles, heaven, hell, etc.
Does anyone else see this as the strangest of things?
Okay, grab your coffee or tea or water, whatever be your drink of choice and let's have a little 'come to Jesus' moment. "What's that?" you might ask. A moment of truth. A moment where all the cards are laid on the table and you're honest with yourself about yourself.
Since June 2018, my career status went from Senior Account Manager at a design agency to full time author to small business owner to (about a month ago) part time cashier. To say I've been STRUGGLING over the past month would be to say Godzilla was a little lizard. A bit of an understatement.
My husband and I have some goals in life. One of them being owning our own home once again. Since book sales have been low, finding a part-time job seemed like the route to take to stay on track with that goal. So far so good, right? Wrong! Since I got the job everything flipped sideways and spun around faster than a roller coaster at an amusement park. Not because the job is bad but because my ideas fell through.
I guess I walked into this with some magical idea that everything would just fall together. Then, when it didn't I felt overwhelmed. I realized that I needed to get back into routines. A time to write, a time to read, a time to hang with the family, a time to work, a time to workout. I had to fight for what was important to my schedule.
Last night, I watched a movie with the family, then watched a movie with my husband (Crawl-that could be a blog in itself), then I spent some time writing. I spent a good couple hours writing and I felt great about what I had accomplished. Then, this morning, I started feeling bad because the project I worked on last night wasn't anything that I had been working on recently. Which brings me to my title for this blog "discipline vs. dictatorship".
I'm SUPER bad about beating myself up when I don't measure up to my imaginary standards. Maybe I walk on the treadmill for thirty minutes and instead of celebrating my accomplishment I tell myself I could have jogged the whole time and it would have been better. Instead of being excited about working on a project that has been in the works for a few years now, I thought about another project I had recently started that I should have spent some time on.
Which got me thinking, do you ever have moments when you should be celebrating your accomplishments but instead rain on your own parade? It's one thing to be a humble person, it's an issue to be the one humbling ourselves. I am great at encouraging others and helping them pursue their goals. But I often find myself beating myself down as if nothing I do is enough. Well that's just crazy!I'm never going to get anywhere if I keep slashing my own tires.
God, help me walk today with a keen sense of discipline. Holy Spirit, guide me throughout my day to better prioritize and complete the task that are most important. God, help me end the dictatorship I have over my life and submit to your loving rule. This kind of life is hard and wearing on me. But the life you offer is light. Let me pick that pick and walk in it. Amen.
I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep. I had the “Mary, Mary, quite contrary” rhyme in my head only it was a little bit different. I kept seeing these two trees. One tree sprouted life and the other death, even though it had some appealing fruit.
We are given choices in life. We can decide to accept lies or we can discover truth.
When we discover truth, it is like a light illuminating us from the inside out. In this moment, we quickly discover we’re more like craved up Jack o’ lanterns than whole pumpkins. Life has cut us apart and the light exposes every area we’ve tried to patch up.
Rather than back down and dim the light, that is the moment to let it shine that much brighter.
A New Identity
What is this blog about? You mean, I'm supposed to have a purpose? Ok, if that's required then my purpose is life.
Better with age...
Choose a Topic