Tipping For Hope

“So, what do you do?”

imageDo you dread the question? How do you answer, when asked about what your time on earth is worth? I know what I want to say, but I also know how crazy it sounds in this modern, post-Christian world. “I live for Christ, to tell of the Good News, however I can. I blog. I worship. I teach. I Share God’s Story in my life. But, oh yeah, I gotta work this ‘job’ to pay my bills because I don’t get paid in money to do those things .”

Maybe it’s the question. “How do you earn your living,” is inquiring about one thing I do. “What are you so passionate about you do it for free (but would accept donations for),” asks something completely different.

Let me be perfectly clear. I am not selling hope. I refuse to. How can I determine a price that you should pay for “the life which God has promised?” (James 1:12 GNT) “I want to give a little hope to you.” (Third Day, Tunnel) That’s why I proclaim:

Come and hear, all you who fear God. Let me tell you what he has done for me.
Psalm 66:16

…be doers of the Word.
James 1:22

I alone know the plans I have for you,
plans to bring you to prosperity and not disaster,
plans to bring about the future you hope for.
Jeremiah 29:11

I want to broadcast the evidence of my life that proves to me that God exists and that Jesus Christ is everything the Bible says he is. First, he is life-saving, he’s rescued me from multiple rock-bottoms. He’s life-changing, making new life possible. Then he’s life-giving. I have another chance through and with him. Last, but certainly not least, he’s life-filling. Saved, changed, reborn, I have new purpose and new value (and values).

And I disclose, freely, that he – my faith, my belief in him – is what keeps me alive, what keeps me going, through dialysis three times a week, through endless temptations to think and look and touch lustfully, through days when I want nothing more than to hide under the covers. And, oh yes, through times when I feel like and think seriously about quitting. But, I believe! He helps my unbelief.

Jesus will do this for anyone. Everyone. What can I tell you about him?

Is sharing a two-way street? What is new life worth to you? Would you tip for hope?

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How Do You Write About Not Writing?

How Do You Write About Not Writing?

This is a post that’s been begging to be written but I, the writer, have been stubborn and obstinate and maybe even a little nonchalant about writing it. Same as it ever was.

A simple comparison of my blogging frequency last April (15 posts) and this April (3 posts, 2 of those reblogs) demonstrates what I mean. (Actually, I was going to say the whole year, so far, but looking back, I actually had more posts in January-March this year than last – but my feeling was quite the opposite! Maybe that’s because my passion for it was burning so bright back then and not so strongly now.)

Still, the question remains: How do you write when you don’t feel like it or can’t seem to set yourself to it?

That I had a negative self-impression of my posting frequency is nothing new. Personal story #1: when I had my own home-based business (a video studio), I loved finding the jobs but not so much completing the technical side of the work. My complaint was the seeming “two-part” requirement: the finding, then the doing. Like I had to do everything twice. Lord, can’t we just go through something once and be done with it?

Of course, I think we all know that that is not how God works – and certainly not how we learn! One of my personal motivation themes, therefore, is:

Plan, now do
Commit, then complete
Faith, with action
Patient, but urgent

holy-grailI’m great at the planning and the starting of things but have a horrible record on finishing them (aka “The Follow Through”): books I’m (still) “reading”; house projects left off in the messy middle; ideas that never got off the paper (and onto the blog).

Yesterday (and today), I sat down for Quiet Time with the goal of figuring this out. I started with a google of “verses follow through”.

The top result?

Ecclesiastes 7:8
(Line 1)
CEV Something completed is better than something just begun
(Line 2)
MSG Sticking to it is better than standing out OR
ERV It is better to be gentle and patient than to be proud and impatient

There’s a lot being said to me in those lines. One of my lifetime mottos has been, “Waiting for something to happen.” That word “something” was an obvious connecting hint. “Gentle and patient vs proud and impatient:” This gave me something more to think about.

Personal story #2: I had a 17-year “career” in IT which ended with down-sizing. The company put us laid-off employees through some programs to help us find new work. One of those included a sort of brainstorming about our perfect day. Mine was after a successful run of published novels. Hmmm. This now strikes me as being good at the planning (and the dreaming), but not so good at the doing. Or having the glory without having to put in the effort. Or having my cake and eating it, too, (which could be another motto).

439Because it’s not like I stopped “writing.” I’ve continued to journal all year, scribbling in my notebook, sometimes for hours. And I more or less wrote in a format that would fit transition to blogging – I just haven’t been taking that next step of typing it up. (I even tried one post consisting of a picture of my journal page, hoping that would resolve my “two-part” angst. The responses I got indicated it was not very legible. Sigh.)

If you’ve been reading along here on Sharing God’s Story, you know that I have an addictive, obsessing personality, but that also means I’m really into “instant gratification.” I want it now – whatever it is – like a movie that jump-cuts to “several years later.” The distinction of ‘being'” lures me in, only to detour me when it comes to “just doing it.”

I want to answer that “so what do you do” question with “Oh, I’m an author.” (See my last post, a reblog of “Being A Writer Is Hard.”)

I’ve come to understand, however, that this is full-blown pride of life at work. I’ve been seeing and saying things in a way which puts me first:

I have been saved (oh, yeah, by God). Listen to me tell about it.”

instead of

God saved and redeemed  me. He can save and redeem you, too.”

This is, after all, the Sharing of God’s Story, not mine. It’s about His work as seen in my life, a small but miraculous chapter in a much bigger book.

Of course, there are a few other, very familiar negative influences: my love of comfort and the easy way (forgetting that it is, in the long run, the hard way), my fears (of change, of success – which is a whole nother topic!)

(Left: May ’15 BEF 5K; Right: April 30 Groton 5K)

So, you see, I don’t always carry on to the finish. However, I do know that “I know I can, I know I can,” and not just think “I think I can, I think I can.” Personal story #3: The past 3 years I’ve started and completed multiple 5k walks. On April 30, I walked the annual Groton 5k – and improved my 2015-post-open-heart surgery-four-months-earlier time by 30 minutes! 57 minutes to walk the 3 miles. (And, I actually jogged for a little bit of it!)

This kind of accomplishment is right up there with me, the daily 6-pack drinker for 3 decades, not having even a drop of alcohol in the last 4-plus years. (Um, I mean God giving me the strength to make this kind of change, of course.)

can do all things through Him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13

The Bible story I’m identifying with as I write this is Jonah’s. God spoke to Jonah, who ran the opposite way only to be “convinced” to correct his course. (The one about waiting to plant until perfect weather fits, too.)

The lesson? “Just do it!” “Git’r done!” Don’t find the time; make the time!” And, so, here I am (finally) at the end of my next post.

For whatever was written in former days243
was written for our intruction,
that through endurance
and through the encouragement
of the Scriptures
we might have hope.
Romans 15:4 ESV

I would like to thank Brian Manon and Faithful Bloggers for their Blog Planner worksheets which helped me organize the brainstorm in my journal into an easily fleshed-out outline. I think I’ll make some tweaks and incorporate this into my process for blogging.

Your turn! What do you do when you find it hard to follow through on blogging regularly?

In A Fickle Pickle

Trying something new today: posting a pic of my journal page right from miPhone… I’m in a fickle pickle about what I’m “supposed to be” doing (really, I’m avoiding the work of writing a post based on my scribbling).

Please comment with your thoughts- especially as to whether you could read this. I’m more interested in the quality of the picture than of my hand-writing (I can adjust that). Thanks!