Made That Way

As I press onward in my quest to become the person God wants me to be, I can’t help but reflect on how gracious God really is. I am hard-wired to be creative – writing, painting, playing music, directing for the theatre … these are a just a few of my passions. Sometimes, however, I get annoyed when I have to do all those other things that continually take my time and attention away from what I love. I get angry when it seems like people don’t appreciate all my efforts. I get impatient when my writing career isn’t progressing as fast as I would like it to. I get discouraged when I get another rejection letter for a manuscript I’ve sent in for perusal.

Then I have to stop and ask myself. Why do I write? Why do I paint? Why do I do any of the things that I pour my heart into? The bottom line is, I do it because I love to do it. It’s the way God made me – with a desire to constantly be in ‘create’ mode. But ultimately, that need to create, no matter in what form, needs to be a reflection of the Creator Himself.

Now, I’m not talking about always including ‘religious’ symbolism in my work. I don’t think that is necessary. Creation itself speaks about God’s glory, but there isn’t a placard anywhere saying “Made by God”. Similarly, whatever I’m doing, be it directing a secular play, writing a novel, or painting a picture, it must be reflective of who I am as a unique individual created in the image of God. Also, I must remain true to the calling that I feel on my life. No watered down ‘pansy’ work for me! I’m just not that inspired by anything too sentimental or flowery. Some people (like my husband) might like to tease me and say I’m a bit of a cynic – maybe even a rebel, but I’m really not the romantic type, even though, I write Romantic Suspense.

Once, quite a few years ago, I entered a juried art show with some Intaglio prints I had made. The subject matter was quite melancholy; the color palette mostly black. The adjudicator asked me if I was depressed, which made me laugh because nothing could be further from the truth! I feel very content and satisfied with my life, (and did back then, too) but I have always been fascinated by the deeper, darker side of the human psyche. It’s why I love Shakespeare’s tragedies, like twisted stories (’The Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson is the BEST STORY EVER WRITTEN!) and admire artists like Kathe Kollwitz. I’d far rather watch a Sci-fi flick than a romance, and – I’m being honest here – I really do not like bonnet romance. Period.

It’s why I feel there is a market out there for the kind of Christian fiction that I write. I like a story with a little bit of an edge – something slightly unexpected and that contains characters that are ‘real’, with their less than perfect flaws and all. At one time I felt apologetic for my tastes and interests, (Well, maybe not, but it makes me feel good to say so …) but I have long since given up trying to please every one all the time.

I am grateful for a husband who loves me for who I am, idiosyncrasies and all. I’m also grateful for children who have learned to stand up for themselves as individuals while maintaining their faith in Christ. Which brings me back to my first point. I am grateful for God’s blessings, especially in regard to making me the way I am. I am so blessed to be able to love and worship Him in freedom, without fear that I am ‘doing it wrong’. I am who I am and God made me that way. As long as I keep my eyes fixed on Him, I need not worry about trying to please another.

Expressions

As I press onward in my quest to become the person God wants me to be, I can’t help but reflect on how gracious God really is. I am hard-wired to be creative – writing, painting, playing music, directing for the theatre … these are a just a few of my passions. Sometimes, however, I get annoyed when I have to do all those other things that continually take my time and attention away from what I love. I get angry when it seems like people don’t appreciate all my efforts. I get impatient when my writing career isn’t progressing as fast as I would like it to. I get discouraged when I get another rejection letter for a manuscript I’ve sent in for perusal.

Then I have to stop and ask myself. Why do I write? Why do I paint? Why do I do any of the things that I pour my heart into? The bottom line is, I do it because I love to do it. It’s the way God made me – with a desire to constantly be in ‘create’ mode. But ultimately, that need to create, no matter in what form, needs to be a reflection of the Creator Himself.

Now, I’m not talking about always including ‘religious’ symbolism in my work. I don’t think that is necessary. Creation itself speaks about God’s glory, but there isn’t a placard anywhere saying “Made by God”. Similarly, whatever I’m doing, be it directing a secular play, writing a novel, or painting a picture, it must be reflective of who I am as a unique individual created in the image of God. Also, I must remain true to the calling that I feel on my life. No watered down ‘pansy’ work for me! I’m just not that inspired by anything too sentimental or flowery. Some people (like my husband) might like to tease me and say I’m a bit of a cynic – maybe even a rebel, but I’m really not the romantic type, even though, I write Romantic Suspense.

Once, quite a few years ago, I entered a juried art show with some Intaglio prints I had made. The subject matter was quite melancholy; the color palette mostly black. The adjudicator asked me if I was depressed, which made me laugh because nothing could be further from the truth! I feel very content and satisfied with my life, (and did back then, too) but I have always been fascinated by the deeper, darker side of the human psyche. It’s why I love Shakespeare’s tragedies, like twisted stories (’The Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson is the BEST STORY EVER WRITTEN!) and admire artists like Kathe Kollwitz. I’d far rather watch a Sci-fi flick than a romance, and – I’m being honest here – I really do not like bonnet romance. Period.

It’s why I feel there is a market out there for the kind of Christian fiction that I write. I like a story with a little bit of an edge – something slightly unexpected and that contains characters that are ‘real’, with their less than perfect flaws and all. At one time I felt apologetic for my tastes and interests, (Well, maybe not, but it makes me feel good to say so …) but I have long since given up trying to please every one all the time.

I am grateful for a husband who loves me for who I am, idiosyncrasies and all. I’m also grateful for children who have learned to stand up for themselves as individuals while maintaining their faith in Christ. Which brings me back to my first point. I am grateful for God’s blessings, especially in regard to making me the way I am. I am so blessed to be able to love and worship Him in freedom, without fear that I am ‘doing it wrong’. I am who I am and God made me that way. As long as I keep my eyes fixed on Him, I need not worry about trying to please another.

Priorities

I’ve been extremely busy this last little while, what with a new semester, my work at the church, and an upcoming speaking engagement. It’s caused me to think about priorities – in particular my own. My husband says I don’t know how to say ‘No’, but I know that’s not true because i do it to him all the time. It seems like so much of my time is spent on the mundane. Which means when it comes to the things I actually want to do, I’m often out of steam.

This leads to the question, “Why?” If creativity takes so much energy, why do I do it? With such a busy life, what drives me to also always have a ‘project’, be it a painting, a play I am directing, or a manuscript?

Firstly, I suppose, the answer is because that’s what gives me energy. It’s what ‘fills my tank’. I need to be creative in order to feel fulfilled, and I’ve come to realize that this is the way God wired me from the beginning – not such a bad thing when I consider I am emulating the greatest Creator of all.

But beyond my compulsions, I see the need to express the love of the Creator through my efforts. It’s not enough to write a really great book or paint a nice picture. The end product should reflect, in some way, the awesome love and power of Christ. Does this mean every thing I write must preach a sermon, or every painting must depict a moral lesson? I should hope not! God himself is much more subtle than that. The Bible states that creation is a testament to God – we can see His majesty and His handiwork just by observing what He made. But as far as I know, the rocks haven’t actually cried out yet.

So it should be with every thing I put my hand to. Even the mundane should be done in such a way as to bring glory to God, if that were possible. I know I fall very, very short of this, but I can at least purpose to do so in my creative efforts, especially in my writing. Beyond the need to create or the desire to tell a story, I want to focus on the One who truly is my life line. The real reason – the purpose – of my writing should be to elevate Jesus. If I can do this, without being preachy, then I will have accomplished what I set out to do.

Article submitted by friends of mine at this website.

Use Your Intelligence- Again

I’ve had an interest in creationism since I became a Christian back in the eighties. I was alerted early on to the discrepancy between what I had been taught to believe in school and what the Bible had to say. Often the best that I was told was, ‘Just have faith’. This wasn’t good enough for me, and so began many years of reading and research into the topic, culminating in my fictional novel AND THE BEAT GOES ON.  It turns out there is lots of information out there, some favoring a ‘Young Earth’ model and some an ‘Old Earth’ model of creationism. Of course, there is evidence for both and when listening to either argument, one could be easily ‘convinced’ due to all the ‘so called’ facts. I’ve always been one to let God be God and not try to figure everything out. I think we may all be surprised one day, if and when He chooses to reveal all those secrets.

However, too many people believe blindly in evolution and its so called ‘evidence’ simply because no one has ever pointed out that there could be a plausible alternative. Actually, that’s not exactly true – most people who do question evolution are labeled as religious quacks and discounted before even getting a chance to present anything. It’s really so unfortunate, because if anyone with any brains at all stopped for a minute and just looked at the world around them, there really is no other alternative than to believe in some kind of intelligent design. The probability is SO great that it literally could not have happened. Yet, for some reason, if we throw in that magic and elusive element – time – people will believe anything. How does stretching our thinking past time limits make it any more likely?

As a long standing fan of Science Fiction (okay I admit it, I was a Trekkie) it seems like even that genre can at least embrace the possibilities, even if not in the strictly ‘religious’ context. (Any one remember ‘Q’?) Intelligent Design is so sensible, with or without the aspect of Diety, although I suppose it does finally lead to one conclusion: If someone or something out there has the capacity to create the universe in all its complexity, then they are probably worthy of some kind of allegiance, if not worship. As a believer in creation from a Christian perspective, I suppose God in his wisdom chose to let some things remain a mystery. If we could figure everything out then there wouldn’t be any room (or need) for faith. And so I am content to know that God made the universe in His own time, whatever that might mean.