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Tag: God

bandaged teddy bear

Walking Wounded

bandaged Teddy bear

My novels all follow a pattern. The heroine and hero are going about their daily lives trying to maintain the status quo when an inciting incident throws their ordinary world into chaos. This new struggle reveals wounds and insecurities and forces them to figuratively look at themselves in the mirror and realize they are broken. Up to that point, they’ve been either ignoring their issues or trying to fix the brokenness by themselves. The problem is, they can’t.

And neither can we.

I have tons of insecurities. My biggest involves my children. I’m constantly plagued by doubts that I’ve done the right thing to build their characters or trained them up in the way they should go. I’m always second-guessing whether I disciplined them enough or too much, whether I supported them or let them down, whether I blessed them or messed them up for life. It wasn’t until God impressed upon me that I wasn’t the only one who brought them into this world. My boys are His children too. There wasn’t anything I could do that He couldn’t undo or fix. He made them the way they are for a reason, and he made me their mother for a reason. I must try to do my best and leave some things up to Him.

We have self-doubt. We are all broken in one way or another. Some wounds are accidental, some are generational, and some are deep and put us on life support. We don’t get to choose our wounds, but we do get to choose how we heal.

I’ll never forget watching the movie Master and Commander when the ship’s physician is shot and has to pull the bullet out himself and stitch himself up while his shipmates hold a mirror. His work was messy, and he did a terrible job, but it’s because we weren’t meant to fix ourselves.

How often do we try to band-aid a gushing wound? Placing a bandage on a broken bone isn’t going to do the trick. We don’t know how to fix ourselves properly because we didn’t make ourselves. However, the one who formed us in our mother’s womb, our Creator and Maker does. When we surrender our lives insecurities, wounds, and brokenness, God will hold us in the palm of his righteous right hand and heal our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls.

Our wish list vs. God's wish list

But I Want It …

“But I want it.”

I hear those words all the time. If you have kids or employees or any human Our wish list vs. God's wish listinteraction you probably do too. “I just want _______.” You fill in the blank. (A candy bar, a raise, a new car, a new game system, a bigger house, the new position, the toy that comes in the happy meal.)

It’s normal. We all have wants. In fact, God gave us the capacity to desire, for example, companionship, love, relationship, etc. However, it’s how we handle our wants and desires that can change.

My husband and I tried to purchase an old stone house. It was built in the early 1900’s. It was unique in its style like stepping into history. It was a dream for a writer of historical books. I could imagine the daily inspiration the house would have provided. However, it needed a lot of fixing up and repairs. We prayed and put an offer in on the home which was accepted. I wanted the house, but the more we prayed, the more uneasy my husband and I began to feel. Our prayers turned to, “God, if you don’t want us to have it, please make it very clear.” Let’s just say that even though the house failed the septic inspection, we still continued to try to work things out. It was only a couple days before closing when we did our final walk around, we discovered the previous owner had stripped it, the wood paneling, the moldings, even the doors off the cabinets. My husband called it quits on the spot. But even then, since I’d become so emotionally invested, part of me kept saying, “but I want it.”

Thankfully, I conceded to God’s and my husband’s better judgment. Looking back, I now realize the timing for buying a fixer-upper house would have been horrible. A work opportunity arose for my husband to invest the money into an office buildout. I began to write less as a hobby and think of it more as a future career. My kids’ sports schedules overtook our weekends so our plans to fix the house only would have added undo stress and never would have come to fruition.

It’s hard to see clearly God’s best for our lives when we let our fleshly desires obscure our view. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Sometimes, I will stop myself when my prayers become a list. God, please fix this… God, please take care of that… God, I would really like…  I have to start over and delight in Him, submit to His will. I can tell you, God has never let me down. His ways are greater than our ways. The joy that comes with His best is a thousand times better than the fleeting happiness in getting what we want.

Do we often treat God like a vending machine? Do we insert our prayer into the coin slot, “God, please give me… God, please make me… God, please change them…” then wait for God to spit it out, work His magic, so to speak. And then, if God doesn’t grant us what we wish, we question whether He truly is God.

God knew what I wanted, but instead, he gave me what I needed, and I am much better for it.

How often do we sacrifice God’s best for what we want?

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Showing Vs. Telling - homework page

The Dreaded Show Vs. Tell: Why It Can Improve All Aspects of Life.

Show don’t tell.

The dreaded words that baffle many writers. They’ve been marked in red pen in the margins of my manuscripts. Hence, when my son handed me his school paper, a gasp escaped my lips. My jaw fell slack, and my eyes widened. I blinked as words blurred on the page then refocused. (See what I did there instead of typing I was shocked?) Here’s his schoolwork page:Showing Vs. Telling - homework page

Bam, and just like that my son learned showing versus telling.

Simple, easy-peasy.

Even as I self-edit, I’ll still find places where I’m telling my readers what they should feel instead of showing them through description and allowing them to experience their own emotions. If it is that simple, why are there entire books written on the topic? Why do I occasionally let it slip into my writing?

Because it’s easier to tell. It takes fewer words. It gets to the point. It doesn’t require any emotional involvement.

It got me thinking. How much of my life is telling instead of showing?

  • Do I take the time to show people I love them?
  • Do I tell people they are forgiven or do I demonstrate how I’ve forgiven them?
  • Do I tell people I’m going to pray for them, or do I take a moment and actually pray with them?

One of the most impactful things I learned from leading a church group was from an instructional video that came with the curriculum. It said your group will only be as open as their leader. If you are vulnerable, your group will open up. If you answer questions generically, so will your group. To lead my group effectively, I had to become emotionally involved. It would have been easier to just preach, but I wanted the group to go deeper, so I had to set the tone and lead by example.

My husband has consciously decided to never say the words, “You know what you need to do …” Instead, he has trained himself to say, “I was in a similar experience, and I handled it this way …” By describing his own experience, he’s allowing the people he interacts with to draw what they need from his past mistakes and to form their own conclusions. If he merely told them what they need to do, most of them would jump on the offensive. Some may go through the motions and take the advice, but the idea would never be their own. Within my husband’s business dealings, he too has learned to show instead of tell.

Don’t get me wrong there is a place for telling. In fiction, it’s usually used to show time passing or to skip through some of the boring parts, but it doesn’t convey the same feeling as showing. It doesn’t generate the same buy-in.

God too understands showing versus telling. It’s why He sent his son to earth to show us His great love. I believe it’s why he gave us free will. God is all-powerful. He could easily tell us, “You will worship me,” but He wants us to willingly choose to love Him. He wants our emotional buy-in. So, He chose to demonstrate His love through His grace and mercy.

1 John 4:9-11, not only sums it up but also calls us into action, “God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.”

How can you show God’s love today?

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