Archive for November, 2015

Be Nice to My Baby!

Anyone who has submitted a creative work for critique can understand the emotional tug of war.  You have this precious creation you’ve poured yourself into.  Probably has some expressions of you that people don’t normally see.  Vulnerable.  It is your own creative flair.  A very personal thing.  And then comes the time when you hand your precious Mini-You over to someone to tell you what they like … or dislike about it.

You do it on purpose, believe it or not!  You know you’ve gotten too deep into it and a fresh perspective could inspire you to something great.  You need to hear how an idea lands on other ears, what you missed, where the holes are and which word you used 300 times too many.  You know you want to hear that stuff.  Sort of.

But how fickle we creative types are!  If someone comes back with TOO good of a report, we are immediately suspicious.  We look at them out of the corner of our eyes, not really believing that they liked it that much.  Surely there must be something wrong.  Did you actually READ it?

Thankfully, there are longsuffering friends and family, and heck, even strangers who are willing to put up with the bipolar nature of the creative mind, ignore our funny looks or groans of agony and tell us exactly what works and what doesn’t.  The Lord bless and prosper their tribe.

I am grateful to say that I have access to some members of this editorial tribe (otherwise known as people who are willing to share their opinion) and have embarked on the critiquing process for my book.  So far I have received some good input – particularly one idea that I had not even considered.  Right now it is in the hands of the next round of critiquers, one of whom has some professional editing experience.  That was a God thing!  I did not know it originally and God set it all up.  I am so grateful.  So far nobody has said that my book is “nice”.  That is encouraging.

What is also exciting about this stage in the process is that it means the manuscript is complete … well, loosely speaking.  I suspect there will be some more additions and subtractions before it goes to press.  But it is a big milestone to be this far in the process.

There is one person of the editorial tribe who will see the book next who has already told me what they will be looking for.  That could be the Week of Chocolate.  Lots and lots and lots of chocolate.

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Things to Give

There are those moments in life when something you know in your head sinks down into your heart and lands with a “whump!” that reverberates throughout your whole being.  What you knew to be true, or what you repeated to yourself over and over again is suddenly something you can feel.  Many times these transitions sneak up on you, quiet, like the still small voice of God.  That’s how it was for me the other day.

My framework for life has been to respond to needs and desires.  So, you tell me what it is you need from me, and I will do my best to achieve it.  In more recent years I have come to see that there are design pieces wired in there and I do try to function in those areas.  But even so, I wait for a request.  The impetus comes from outside of me.  In my head I know that God made me with a specific set of gifts and I am to live according to that design, not to need.  That was all fine and good, but in my emotional view of life, it all still hinged on people outside of me.

Well, the pot has been boiling lately, thanks to a recent album release from Sapphire.  The teaching is called “Office of Personhood” and it is a gem.  This teaching addresses the issue of emotionally embracing that you are a Person, not just an entity that accomplishes things.  In Arthur’s words, a commodity.  Like a bar of soap.  Or a garden hose.

So, I have all these ideas stewing in my cooker, and something bubbled to the surface that I didn’t quite expect.  I went to the car wash the other day and stopped to vacuum all of Philip’s mess out of my back seat.  In the slot next to me was a Dad and his young daughter working on their SUV.  I caught the eye of the daughter a couple of times and smiled at her.  I started wondering what her life might be like, if she had good parents, what kinds of ideas were forming in her mind, and that sort of thing.  Then something strange began to happen.  I started thinking about what I could give her.  What do I have as an adult Christian woman?  What questions burning in her mind could I answer?  How could I give her a role model of what womanhood could be like?  What kind of fragrance could she pick up being around me?


What on earth?  Nobody had asked me for anything.  She certainly wasn’t!  Now, maybe her spirit was.  I can’t deny the possibility.  But not a single word passed between us and she was more shy about my smiling at her than anything.  And here I was, all eager to give her gifts she hadn’t even dreamed of wanting.

Then came that little voice, slipping a crazy new thought into my head.  It was deceptively simple.  “I have things to give.”

Wait.  I have things to give.  Ok.  This is going deep, way deeper than it should for a sentence that seems to bear little difference to the concept I already had.  If I didn’t have something to give, then no-one would want anything, right?

Oh, but the difference is monumental.  Not only was a shift from head to heart, it was a massive emotional paradigm shift.  The impetus was no longer someone else.  It was me.  Intrinsically, in my essence, at my core, in all of my life’s experiences, I HAVE THINGS TO GIVE.

In the past, I waited for a request.  But it was even worse than that.  It also meant that I was continually trying to synchronize to the outside world of needs and wants.  Not that I tried to satisfy everything that came my way, but let me tell you, it is tiring to look outside first instead of inside first.  And it is awfully hard to maintain a stable sense of legitimacy in that context.  Like trying to tap dance in an earthquake.

It doesn’t matter if anyone needs what I have to give.  It doesn’t matter if they know about it or even want it.  It is wonderful to pair up need with design, but the status of the need doesn’t determine the status of the design.  That was the huge shift for me.  If I was stranded on a slab of volcanic rock in the middle of the ocean without even a shrub to sing to, I would still have things to give.

I know the shift is something that God has been building behind my back.   The teaching on personhood got the circuits crackling with more thoughts of freedom to enjoy being who God made me to be.  Now I can enjoy giving what He made me to give, in any size context He arranges.

At the end of the day, this has let off a geyser of joy in my spirit.  There is still lots to learn and develop in terms of the “how to”, but fundamentally, I now feel the truth of living out of design.  I think there is something of the joy of God that we can partake of here.  He gave massively out of His own essence to create a universe.  Nobody needed it.  There was nobody there TO need it!  He did it because He had things to give and it was His nature to give them.

So, I share this for all of you who are on this journey too.  Is your framework like mine was?  If you look at the “why” behind living out your design, is it because of what is in you or because of what people need?  Do you know this in your head or your heart too?  Do you have joy because you know you have something to give?

May you be blessed on the road of discovery and truth.  You, too, have things to give!


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