When God Writes Your Story

Pic from Flickr by Hash Milhan

Pic from Flickr by Hash Milhan

Have you ever found yourself reading a book and you were so captivated by it that you could not put it down? Have there been times when you picked up a book started reading it and wanted to know why anybody would publish such trash? It’s about the story.

There are mediocre books, good books, and awesome books. Awesome books are the ones you want to add to your library and read them over and over again. You highlight sentences and paragraphs, you bookmark favorite passages, you recommend it to others. Why? Because you love the book.
Your life is a story.
Like books, your story can be either a mediocre one or a really amazing one. What determines the difference? Well, it has a lot to do with who the author is.
If you write your story, you are the main character. It is all about you. You write about your likes, passions, dreams, desires, dislikes, struggles, and you avoid talking about the things that you really do not like about yourself. If you are the author, you do not intentionally lie but you do not reveal the whole truth. There are aspects to the main character that you would rather remain hidden. Let’s face it. Your story apart from Jesus, is not really that great. It is lackluster, mediocre, clearance shelf material at best. There are already too many stories that are written where the main character is prideful, selfish, self-indulgent, lazy, complacent, stagnant….you get the idea.
We don’t need another author who is drunk on themselves and wallows in their drunkenness.
What you need is to not write the story yourself but let somebody else write your story.
It is no secret that God wrote a book. God is the author of the Bible. The Creator of the universe, time, and history wrote the Bible.
When God writes your story, the story is not about you. You are not the main character. Jesus is. Your story is just part of a far bigger and better story.
When God writes your story, it is not about your likes, it is not about your passions, dreams, desires etc. It becomes about you were redeemed by Jesus and He is changing you to conform to His image and in this journey, you are not who you used to be. You have been made new. You are becoming who Jesus made you to be.
Your story will be a greater if you take a step back. Put the pen down and just walk away. Let God write your story. There will be times of joy and sadness. There will be times of celebration and discipline. There will be times of rejoicing at an accomplished goal and there will be times of uncertainty and suspense. It becomes everything a good story is supposed to be.
When God writes your story, the story will be far greater than you could ever possibly imagine.

The Preacher

Pic from Flickr by alphalim

The preacher walked into the kitchen and opened his Bible. He turned on his laptop, ready to begin preparing the sermon that he was to deliver on Sunday. He pours himself a cup of coffee as his mind races through thoughts that have seemed to plague him for months.

He sits down in front of his computer and looks at the Bible. He is anxious. He places his hands on the keyboard and he cannot even bring himself to type one word. His mind will not stop attacking him with these thoughts. He has to have some relief from their endless, agonizing, torture.
He walks into his bedroom and there on his nightstand, he picks up a notebook. Dust covered and a bit worn, he wipes his hand across it to remove some of the dust. It is his journal. The walk back to the kitchen is short but seems to take awhile. Thoughts flood his brain as to what he might write down. It has been a long time since he has written anything in his journal.
His journal is full of pages with his deepest thoughts. Raw, emotional, gut-wrenching thoughts. Thoughts that are real and authentic. These pages reveal the soul of a man who has both been blessed and wrestled with God. He knows why it has been so long since he last wrote. The pen is like an attachment of his body. When the pen touches the paper, it is like cutting a vein and bleeding all over the paper. What is inside just seems to pour out onto the paper.
The preacher sits down at the table. He takes a sip of his hot coffee and proceeds to move the laptop away from him. He sits the tattered notebook in front of him and opens to the first blank page that he comes too. He takes another sip of his coffee.
He picks up his pen. He is ready. He is not sure exactly what will come out but whatever is in him causing him to be restless, anxious, uneasy has to come out. If it doesn’t, he thinks that he may never find peace.
The pen touches the page.

Steal

Yes. Stealing. We are not talking about stealing as in running into a store and taking stuff that never belonged to you. Think of stealing as in stealing second base.

The odds of you having an original idea is probably slim to none. In fact, it is not really about how many people have the idea but who takes the dare to act upon the idea. Lots of people have ideas. Few ever act on them.
What inspires you?
Sometimes as a creative artist, you hit a wall. You hit a writer’s block. You cannot think of the next lyrics to a song you are writing. Now is not the time to quit. You are not a quitter. You do not throw in the towel. You don’t bail when the road gets hard.
You need something that is going to help you focus. You need something to help launch your next painting, blog post, or video. So…steal it.
What have you read lately?
What have you watched?
What song struck an emotion in you?
What restaurant did you really enjoy eating at?
What passage in the Bible brought revelation to you in a way that you had not seen before?
Inspiration can come from anywhere.
You see something in a painting and it triggers something within you to paint.
You read something in a magazine, newspaper, blog, or book and you write.
After you see something, or read something, you decide to steal it. You use it as a launch pad, a diving board to create something new.
You collect your pieces of inspiration, and assemble them all in this collage of art.
Your work, your art just might be the diving board for somebody else to create something new.
Don’t quit. Don’t be complacent. Complacency leads to being stagnant. If you let yourself get stagnant, then odds are you will not do anything.
Be inspired.
Dream.
Write.
Borrow.
Steal.
Just do it. Create something. If it is not good at first, refine it, tweak it, change it. Then ship it.
This is what will separate you from the mediocre.
What is something that inspires you?

The Declaration

I am participating in the Great Writers challenge that was started by Jeff Goins. Jeff recently launched his new book, You Are A Writer. It is a fantastic book.

To be a great writer something has to happen inside of you. It is the same thing that has to happen for you to be great at anything. This is true if you want to be great at being a dad, a doctor, a teacher, a professional athlete, a business owner, or whatever it is that you want to be great at.
When do you become great at something? When you say you are. What?
Greatness does not choose you. You have to want to be great.
You have to want to be greater than average.
You have to want to be greater than status quo.
You have to want to be greater than ordinary.
You have to want to be greater than the majority of people who have chosen to not do anything.
To be great, you have to throw yourself out there and risk looking like a fool.
To be great, you have to kick complacency to the curb.
To be great, you have to tell stagnation and laziness that they are no longer welcome in your home.
When most people are watching TV, you are working on becoming great. Why? Because you have taken a step back and looked around and you are not satisfied with the way things are.
You can’t wait on somebody else.
You can’t let somebody else choose to be great for you.
It all starts with you declaring to the world that you are whatever you say that you are.
This declaration of being great laughs in the face of fear. It doesn’t have coffee with people that tell you that you’re not good enough or that you were not cut out for this. It is no longer friends with insecurity.
My declaration is this:
I AM A WRITER!
I AM A HUSBAND
I AM A DAD
I AM A PASTOR
I AM A WRITER!
What do you need to declare? The more you declare it, the more you will believe it.

On A Day Like Today

Today is a good day.

Today began like most normal days. Being woke up by the dogs begging to be let out. After that, who can go back to sleep? I walk in the kitchen and make a pot of coffee. As it brews, the aroma fills the kitchen. I fill my cup and take that first hot sip of java goodness and begin to wake up out of my drowsy stupor.
I sit down at my laptop and begin to read through the blogs in my Google Reader. Now I am ready to write. I open Evernote and place my fingers on the keyboard and I am stopped. I hear the sound of little toddler feet coming through the living room.
I look down and there is my little boy, a little bit drowsy, hair looks like he just walked out of a Dragon Ball Z cartoon, and the biggest smile that he can give.
I pick him up and give him a hug and for the next few minutes, I just hold him and bounce him on my knee or tickle him. At that moment, my perspective is changed.
Why was I in such a hurry? I was rushing to write. I wanted to get that post scheduled and sent out to the world. Why? So, I could feel like I accomplished something today? It is really not that important.
At that moment, I looked into my little boy’s eyes and knew that it is more important to spend time with him than getting a blog post out before 8:00 am. So, we eat breakfast and watch Thomas the Train or Bob the Builder. (This morning it just happened to be LeapFrog.)
A few weeks ago, I was scanning through pictures on Twitpic. It is hard to believe that my son is two years old. It seems like it was not that long ago when I was watching my wife hold him in the hospital wrapped in his blanket. I don’t want to be the dad that got so wrapped up in work or his own thing that I missed out on spending time with my wife and son. I want to have no regrets when it comes to my family.
This is what I have come to realize:
  • I have to be intentional. I need to plan/schedule time with my wife and child. While writing, sermon prep and church stuff is important, it is not as important as being a good husband and daddy.
  • I want to cultivate the relationship with my wife. I want my son to see that when he gets married, his wife should be his closest friend.
  • I want to make time for my little boy. Ultimately, I am responsible for teaching him how to be a godly man. Just because he is two does not mean that he cannot start learning now.
  • I do not want to wake up one day and realize that I wasted valuable time with my son. There is nothing apart from Jesus and my wife that is more important than my little boy.
I believe he is able to comprehend more than we sometimes give him credit for. As his dad, spiritual leader of the home, and pastor, I should start now pushing my boy to be like Jesus. Show him what it looks like when somebody lives their life unashamed and unapologetic for Jesus. Their passion and desire is to be used as an instrument to accomplish the work given them to the glory of God.
I want my little boy to fall head over heels in love with Jesus. I want him to be wrecked by the gospel. I want God to use him as a vessel to accomplish many things that will glorify God and make His name great.
This means that I may need to shift some priorities and learn to make better use of the hours in a given day. I love to read. I love to write more. However, time with my little boy is more important and besides….
there is always nap time.
What have you learned lately? Have you had to change priorities or make better use of your time? How did you do that?
Looking forward to reading your comments.

My Notebook Of Choice

I am left-handed so it would make sense to have a journal that keeps me from having to write with that weird left-handers grip. Now, I absolutely enjoy Moleskines but I am a writer and I don’t use my Moleskine for everyday writing. However, I have found a company that sells notebooks for left-handed people.
The company’s name is The Left Hand. They make spiral notebooks for left-handed people. This is genius. The notebooks come in wide-rule and college-rule They make the notebooks in one subject, three subject, and even a smaller size 80 sheet notebook for quick note taking or you could use it as your task list of things that need to get done like I do. The notebook’s spiral has been reversed. The spiral is on the right side of the notebook and the notebook opens right to left as you can see in the picture. I always order more than I need. I probably order them two or three times a year. Other than the spiral there is really no different. The left-handed person does not have to turn the notebook or bend their hand in any awkward positions.There is nothing magical about the notebook, I just enjoy using them. I use them for just about everything, grocery lists, to-do lists, journaling, keeping track of blog posts, sermon prep, and whatever else I choose to write. They have replaced the traditional notebook for me. You can find them at www.thelefthand.com.

What do you use for writing?