I’ve been writing … well … blogging a bit more over the past few days. The inspiration has been surging lately. And I’m not entirely sure why. But, I got some ideas as to why.
I’ve been concluding that you can’t hold back.
If God gave it to you … the gift, the opportunity to give, the opportunity to exercise what is in you, the opportunity to help someone else, to be about Him, His son and His work, AND to have a good time doing that too … you shouldn’t hold back.
I’ve been out of the blogging game for a while and I think it was good to take that break. I needed to figure out what I wanted to do going forward. And more and more I realize that I need to write and create and repeat.
I could imagine that if I had stopped a long, long time ago, I would’ve missed out on my wife, on job opportunities, on ministry opportunities, and so, so much more.
And why should we hold back. Unless God told us to pause, I don’t see any real reasons to stop doing what you’ve been called and created to do.
Growing up, fighting was something I avoided. And some of the fights that I did get into, I lost … big time.
I was a pretty healthy kid apart from bad allergies. While writing this, I’m laughing to myself as I realize that. So, being healthy enough, I could’ve fought. I simply did not know how too and the many times I did end up in a fight for some reason or another, I would end up getting hurt.
The pain was not only physical but emotional and I vowed to never, ever fight again. It was an agreement from boyhood that I didn’t realize would have a substantial affect on my life.
I made that agreement out of fear of getting hurt, and out of fear of the worst that could come out of it. But, what I would find out, is that fear of fighting, and fear period, would mutate into a toxic mindset that was neither Godly or healthy, an idea that life should be easier and without struggle or conflict.
So, I avoided at all costs. And oh did it cost!
During my adult years, I have yet to raise a fist for a physical fight. Hopefully nothing in my life comes to that. But, I do see the Lord trying to teach me how to fight spiritually, a fight that is required of all of us, a fight that I’m no longer going to be allowed to avoid.
In order to learn to fight, I had to deal with the issue of fear, the fear that drove social anxiety, the fear that guided how I would treat myself and others, the fear that said that I would live a certain way in order to keep from what I considered stressful situations:
2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.”
I did in fact repent of the time I let fear lead. Now, I’m learning to trust the Lord with anything and everything that brings about concerns and anxiety.
There’s simply no room for fear or timidity.
My wife also suggested that I invite the Lord into what is going on — work, bills, creative endeavors, even our marriage. That has actually made a HUGE difference in our lives.
Paul in his letter to Timothy encouraged him to fight the good fight of faith.
1 Timothy 6:12 (NKJV)
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
In the pretext just before you get to 1 Timothy 6:12, we’re warned of “the love of money” being the root of all evil. We’re also told that those desiring to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and it leads them into “foolish and harmful lusts,” which drown men into destruction and perdition (to be ruined, loss).
As believers, a lot of our fighting is not only an involvement to stay connected to the Lord and His Word, but, to also fight against ourselves and our selfishness and desires that are not of God.
More and more, I realize now that to fight is to remain in God through prayer and through the reading of His Word. And, daily, I fight that it all remains not about me but about Christ and the life He’s called me too.
And thereby trusting God even in the daily battles — the battle to pick up the phone and take care of bill collectors and school loan debtors, the battle to keep and save marriage, the battle to say no to the next shiny new device and yes to godliness with contentment (1 Timothy 6:6), the battle against self-preservation and self-comfort but for self-control and to saying yes to dying to self daily.
Typically, if I get anxious, I can’t write. Nothing ever sounds good enough and I don’t even bother trying.
Fortunately, my profession, my daily work, involves writing. But, it involves writing for a place, a company and local news geared towards a small community.
And that’s kind of what I’m learning about this anxiety and writing stuff.
Truth is, I love writing, and I shouldn’t worry about the critiques or the opinions of other people. It is my calling, my gift. But, writing what interests you and also what may interest your readers helps too.
It also helps that I know that I should be “anxious for nothing” and that God has not given me the Spirit of Fear!
To add, the past few weeks have allowed me time to really reflect, to remember that I have the opportunity to tell the stories of those who have gone before us. I’m talking about the stories that tell a part of history that many people are uncomfortable about reflecting on … really telling the truth about life and what’s really more important!
Hopefully I’ll have more than enough opportunity and time to do that here too!
A few days ago, during an early cold morning, I noticed the sky with the color and hue that’s always been my favorite moment. I never really bothered to take too many photos of moments like this and began to wonder why.
So, I actually pulled out my iPhone and took a few pictures.
The first photo I took was one of the light pole at the curb I was parked on as the sun peaked some of its rays over the horizon of my block. The sky was a kind of blue color that I absolutely loved. The light on the pole was the perfect touch to an ongoing sunrise.
Those are the moments I love. It actually hit me in my core to see this. I literally stopped in my tracks and just took the time to internalize the moment.
It was like God gave me yet another gift for the morning … I was awakened with health and strength … and this scene right here was an extra gift to the morning. It was not a rush morning. It was a morning that started off peacefully. And this photographic moment was a perfect addition to the day.
After taking it in, I took the photo, feeling as though I didn’t have the moment for too long and needed to record it.
Normally, I’m not that impressed with smartphone photos and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why. And yet, it seemed like every new phone being advertised from the Google Pixel to the latest Samsung presented itself the opportunity for me to get a phone with a much better camera, which in my head meant I would automatically have the best shot.
But, the morning I took the photo of the sunrise with the light pole in the foreground, I realized that I was looking to a machine to actually give me the best shot, rather than actually working to make the shot look amazing!
This led me to question the way I approach any of my creative work, be it my writing or drawing or anything.
What do I value? What do you value? And why? This photographic moment has even moved me to assess my Faith and spiritual matters.
I didn’t have to work that hard with the sunrise. But, I did need to allow some creativity, some effort and some time and patience to have the very best shot. The phone was built for what it needed to do as far as the camera function was concerned. But I can’t count on it to be creative for me alone.
I’ve taken hundreds upon thousands of iPhone photos of people, moments and opportunities. But I couldn’t remember the last time a photographic moment like the one with the sunrise was so very good.
Now, I see the use of my iPhone differently. And I’m learning to see other things a little clearer too. The insatiable need to “update” or “upgrade” is slowly diminishing as value and purpose is being adjusted.