Stresssss

This is an experiment.

Earlier today, I read something from a writer/blogger I very much respect, and his advice to writers was this: don’t worry so much about what you write about, but instead, be concerned about how you sound. When your voice is authentic, when you are being yourself as you write, the content will be meaningful and take care of itself.

So here’s the experiment. I’m not editing this post. I am not backspacing or lingering too long over my next thought. I need to be me. I need to just talk to you.

I want to be cool. I really do. But not the traditional kind of cool anymore. No, I used to want that a lot. I want to be the kind of cool that loves herself yet forgets herself for pure enjoyment of life.

I don’t think I think too much about life, I know I do. That should probably stop. By thinking too much about life I mean over-analyzing and fearing the future and being too concerned about little details I can’t control. And it’s happening. I really do think I’m in the process of becoming cool as a cucumber. Of course, harried days will always exist. It goes with being human. But I think we can all make the choice to be LESS STRESSED OUT. For the sake of your health and your Mom’s and your children’s and your friends’, take a breather (an extended one if necessary) and remind yourself that it is not as big of a deal as you’re making it to be. It’s just not. If it’s not evident, I’m talking to myself here (except for the kids part) but I have a feeling many people feel as I do. Thus, I blog…

Misunderstanding the definition of "cool", in my opinion (but funny, nonetheless).

Misunderstanding the definition of “cool”, in my opinion (but funny, nonetheless). Drawing by A. Schaff.

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? – Matthew 6:27

I love the logic of Jesus. He asks such searching questions. A lot of them are “duh” questions. I mean, are we ever going to look back and say, “I wish I had worried more” or “I wish I had been more stressed, then all my dreams would have come true!”? When we worry, it can sometimes make us operate/take action out of fear. And when we operate out of fear, life is less than it should be. It’s less beautiful.

So be cool. Try to enjoy whatever is right in front of you, even if you loathe it or can’t handle it or just don’t understand it. It won’t eat you, not forever.

And I did backspace and edit a little, but not much. Thought I should be honest about that.

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The Wonder of Words

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“Our culture has made a radical shift in the last century from a word-based society of readers to an image-based society of viewers. The media of our time are movies, television, and the Internet, not books. As a result, unlike our forebears of just a few generations ago, we don’t know how to read. To a large extent, we’ve lost that art.” – Howard G. Hendricks

It would be hard not to agree with Hendricks’ statement at least somewhat. The fact that I’ve never heard of the word “forebears” is a small testament to it. Noun. Ancestors, forefathers. There we go.

I love to read. Books, articles, blogs, handwritten letters, whatever. I haven’t had a stack of less than six books at my bedside since 2007(ish). I am absolutely fascinated by words.

But it hasn’t always been this way.

I’ve always been a movie junkie. ALWAYS. My mother raised me on what I consider the good stuff. Shag. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. The genius Trifecta mentioned in my previous post. Dad tried to get me into Top Gun and such. Didn’t quite take. Though there were the occasional surprises like the Jurassic Park movies that we enjoyed together. : )

Around high school, I began to take a little bit of interest in movies of the Jane Austen genre (an interest that would skyrocket a few years later). I was entertained, but I remember thinking, really each time I watched, “What did people really do back then? It had to be so booooring.” I knew what they did. I watched four straight hours of them socializing, going to balls, eating together, playing rather mild sports, taking strolls through meadows, and reading reading reading in the A&E/Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice. What I meant was, though I was a little embarrassed to admit it to myself because it might mean I had an obsession with entertainment and no real hobbies of my own, “They didn’t have movies or TV! How did they survive?” I couldn’t bear to think of life without…you know…the little boxes we sit in front of ev.ery.day. Honestly, I was a little concerned that I considered the situation that horrific.

Since, I have indeed come to terms with the fact the every other generation since the beginning of time has survived, thrived even, without TV, movies, and the internet. It’s funny. Now I actually long for a “simpler” era when I would have seemingly endless time for my now-favorite activity.

Television, movies, and the internet are not bad things. They are great things! We get to see stories, stories that need to be shared, and shared visually and beautifully. We hear and see the news when it’s, like, actually very new. We can communicate with each other in a probably inestimable number of ways. My real-time face can see your real-time face when your real-time face is not physically in front of me. That’s crazy.

But. Back to Hendricks. Is it true? Have we let one art form, the one that has carried the history of God and man century after century, be squashed by a thousand others?

I don’t think it’s been squashed. But I do think it’s in need of serious attention.

I am so interested in bringing back the wonder of words.

Relish

I was just thinking about going to bed, but how can I do that with Jon Foreman singing about life in my ear?

At the end of the day, I absolutely relish reflection time. Or chill time. I don’t know exactly what it should be called. But it’s my “settle down” time right before bed, and if I’m not careful, it can last for a few hours. This happened so many times in Hattie. Many of our ministry activities were at night – community groups, the weekly worship meeting, socials. Sometimes my heart would be so full after spending uninterrupted time with students and staff that I just couldn’t help but wrap it up in a little solo worship session at home – writing, reading, listening to music, praying, thanking God for things. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned that to anyone before.  Well, here you go, world. And so that’s what I’m kind of in the middle of right now.

I had the privilege of meeting some well-known bloggers this weekend who I admire very much. They shared some great gems of blog advice. One of the most encouraging statements, to me, was something to this effect: “There is no better time to fail at writing than when hardly anyone reads your stuff.” That would be now for me. And it is oddly freeing. Another good one: “Always write the way you talk, as if you’re sitting across from the reader, enjoying coffee together.” This is a huge part of “finding your voice” and being authentic, being consistently yourself. I definitely need to remember that.

I also went camping this weekend. Like, actually slept outside in a tent, for the first time in thirteen years. And it was glorious. I hope to make it a fairly regular event. I am thankful to have made some friends here who are camping experts. : ) We hiked, read, eno-ed, sat for hours talking and being mesmerized by the fact that fire exists, and ate too much. And the weather was PERFECTION!

And now I’m thinking about the fear of the Lord, and how it’s the most freeing thing in the world. To fear (be in reverential awe of) Him, and nothing or no one else. Obviously, that needs to be unpacked, and I don’t have quite the energy for it now. But just relish the beauty of the thought.

Practice

I’ve heard that writers need to write, even if it’s just a little, every day. I guess it’s like that with anything. If you want to be good at something and comfortable doing something, you have to, you know, do it. Practice! That’s what it’s called. And this is why I’m on post-overload. Stretching the aging and flabby writing muscles.

Concerning observation in Scripture study (and life in general) that I discussed briefly a few hours ago, I’m really digging it. Today was our first day of homework with the study (Living By the Book) and we were prompted to make observations about one verse. Just one verse. When was the last time I spent thirty minutes looking at one verse? Honestly, it was grand. We looked at Psalm 93:1.

“The Lord reigns; He is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed; He has put on strength as His belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.” 

Try it out if you’d like. Some good questions to think through when observing (not necessarily trying to find meaning just yet): Who is the author? Who is the audience? What terms or phrases are repeated? How are all of the words connected? What does it say about God, and us? Basically just dissect it.

I really focused on the word “majesty” this morning. Good word. I keep finding when I take time to really look at the Word, slowly, not racing through it, something always surprises me or delights me in a new way. That’s the Spirit at work. I love that!

 

another new (let’s see if dis works…)

Blogging has always been a challenge for me. This is my third blog, but I have created a total of four (if we count my Xanga in 2005…ha. But in all honesty, I think we should count it). I made my newest one last year (see http://claireawiggins.wordpress.com/) to keep my ministry partners informed about Cru at Southern Miss, which I enjoyed. For three months.

I’ve come back to this one. And I intend to be faithful to it.

So why do I keep on trying?

This time, and only this time, I believe God told me to do it. He told me why to begin writing on this blog, and He told me why I failed at writing consistently on the others. I don’t know what the exact words were, but here’s a summation:

Why begin again: “Because you love to write. I’ve gifted you with loving words and wanting to share ideas and stories through them. And you can bring glory to Me through it.”

Why I’ve failed in the past: “You fear people. You fear people when you should only fear Me.”

Edward T. Welch recently helped me really hear God on that last one. The other one I’ve known for a while.

I don’t know if I’m actually going to be a good steward of this thing, but I pray to be. And I don’t know if anyone will actually read this, but I pray some will. Because God knows that I have sure been encouraged and challenged by the Lord speaking through some people on their personal or organizational blogs. My life has changed because of their obedience to write.

At the risk of sounding like I’m patting my own back, I feel like the Lord has something to say here. And I don’t want to get in the way of that.

 

 

 

there will never be a perfect time…

…to begin this blog. So after creating it one month ago today, I am just going for it.

That is what this is all about for me, anyway. Just going for it.

You see, this is an “anonymous blog”. And you may be able to see my email address, I don’t know, and then you would know exactly who I am, but, oh well. I won’t acknowledge it here.

I have one blog which I am temporarily abandoning (I hardly ever write on it) because I have a problem with perfection and recognition and a preoccupation with how others view me when it comes to writing (and when it comes to various other things as well!). You might call it insecurity. But I really want to write! And I think that is what is slowing me down, and ultimately, stopping me.

So, in an attempt to be an honest writer, I will use this as my forum. An outlet for my creative (probably not always too creative, but, I don’t care…) urges. No expectations, no promises, no worrying about what anybody thinks.

Because this is my place that nobody knows about.

Woohoo!