Why Waiting Matters {and a quiet announcement}

True confession—I am a very impulsive person.  On the DISC personality test** I score as a High “I”—impetuous, impulsive, intuitive and easily influenced.

By the grace of God and years of practice I have learned how to not blurt out everything I think all at once. Strike that—I am learning.

Being still and quiet are also a job of work for me, practices I’ve been very intentional about for the past few years. I am desperate to hear God’s voice and listening for Him to speak takes significant effort.

But the greatest area of growth for me is learning to wait on God for my our good ideas to pan out. Hardest thing ever. When I receive an idea for something it is very difficult to understand that good things take time. And if the inspiration is truly a God-idea, not just a good idea, waiting is a wise choice.

I’m also a global learner; I process many, many thoughts all at once,  like the spokes of a wheel going out from the center. I think of it as my God-dependent mind being in the middle and all my scattered, happening-at-the-same-time thoughts circling on the outside.

Given my all-at-once information processing and do-it-right-now mindset you can clearly see why “slow down, take your time, think first” don’t always come naturally to me.

It’s pretty clear I’m not the only who struggles with this. Our society has normalized, not patience, but speed and hurry. We want what we want and we want it now.  This is not because we have developed such short attention spans, which is true to a point, but because we’re willing to settle for so little.

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I’ve been spending some time in Psalm 46 the last week or so, meditating on several verses, particularly the familiar v. 10, “Be still and know that I am God.”  Or, as the Amplified Bible puts it, “Let be and be still, and know—recognize and understand—that I am God.”

Here’s what I noticed: how many times the author says, “Selah.”  “Selah” is a musical term which means in the Hebrew ‘suspension {of music}, pause.’  THREE TIMES in this very short Psalm we read, “Selah”, pause, slow down, pay attention, think about this, these words are important.

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I am in a waiting mode right now, albeit an active waiting mode, because I am writing a book. I’ll tell you more about it in the coming months (or you can email me for the book synopsis). I am learning why waiting is worth it.

Launching a book into the world is a huge feat, as many of you know. I have to finish my book proposal by Jan. 31st, have it reviewed, begin writing the book, send the manuscript to an editor (scary!), incorporate edits, work on marketing, choose a cover, get it published and voila! you’ll have it in your hands.

By October. That’s ten months from now. However.

The process provides the time to tell the world about the book, to build anticipation and suspense, so when you finally hold a copy in your hands you’ll say, “This was worth waiting for.” Sort of like the Academy Awards but without the gowns.

Here’s the thing: I want the end product to be the best it can be so I’m willing to invest the time it takes to do it right.

I can skimp on costs for this book-to-be: cover and content, accelerate the production effort, neglect to market it, etc. etc. all in the name of getting my words out there sooner. End result? I’d be settling for second best. I want something beautiful, well done and a work that makes God look good, so I’m choosing to ‘selah’ early and often on this book journey.

Will you join me in the waiting. I’m counting on it.


**if you want to know more about the DISC assessment, click HERE

 

“LaLa Land” & Other Revelations

Disclaimer: the following is a sort of movie review. This film was made in Hollywood. There are a couple bad words in it and people sleep together. They are fully clothed and nothing happens, but still. Just thought I should say that.

My friend Jill and I finally got to go see “LaLa Land.” (Los Angeles has been called “LaLa Land for as long as I can remember.) I have been a big fan of movie musicals since I was in grade school; I cheered when I heard such a film was even being made. People might think, “But musicals are so schmatltzy. Do you have your head in the clouds? Life is just way too serious–haven’t you seen the headlines?”

I was undeterred–singing! dancing! romance! (Plus, I was so looking forward to see my dear sunny Southern California play center stage.) I was not disappointed. The opening scene of the film had me smiling ear to ear. There were the freeways, the skyline of Los Angeles, the forever-blue sky, the palm trees. The beaches and piers. And the crickets. Filmed in the land where I was born and raised, it was like seeing someone I loved again after a very long time.

img_20150728_103802412LaLaLand is a delightful story–made in Hollywood, about Hollywood–that highlights the dreams of two young people who fall in love but….well, I won’t give it away.

I will tell you this, though. When we stepped outside the theater into the cold, gray reality of the rainy Seattle day, this is the message that stuck with me: follow your dreams.

Indeed, Emma Stone’s character, Mia Dolan, is given a life-changing role based on the poignant song, “The Fools Who Dream.”**

Chorus

“Here’s to the ones who dream
Foolish as they may seem
Here’s to the hearts that ache
Here’s to the mess we make.”

The heart of the film, the message via Hollywood and the scores of talented people making this film, is to honor what you were made to be, to give credence to that voice in you that says, “This is who you are, this is what you love. Spend your life living into that. It won’t be easy. There will be sacrifices. But live into who you were called to be.”

The community of Hollywood–actors, actresses, film directors, musicians, writers–all those committed to telling stories, are people who dream. People who have “taken their broken heart and made art.” (Carrie Fisher).

We sometimes scoff at such vanity, such shallowness. As if dreams were a falsehood, an unnecessary addition to this ‘serious’ world we live in.

I will admit I have held that opinion before.

But when I returned to my very real world, standing in my down-to-earth kitchen making a pot of chicken soup, it occurred to me, in this day and age dreamers may be precisely what we need.

James tells us in his epistle, Chapter 1, “every good and perfect gift is from above, from the Father of Lights…” (v. 17).

Every gift. Music, movies, mathematicians. They can all show forth the goodness and glory of God when we do our part well. Don’t listen to another voice that tells you to settle for second best. Ignore the naysayers who want to give you an easy way out. (Also messages in this film).

Will you consider today listening to the still, small voice of God, that He would confirm for you what is it you were made to be or do that burns in you?

Is it to write? To sing? To invent something? To serve people? Travel to Nepal?

What is your gift? What are you willing to go after even if it’s hard or takes years or there is sacrifice?  What dreams will you pray about today?

Your dreams don’t have to be big, change-the-world kind of dreams. But if each of us holds on to the best that God has for each of us, we will change the world. Each small ‘yes’ bringing us closer to who God has called us to be.

Start small. Start now. And keep those dreams close to your heart.

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**full song here

photo-Huntington Beach Pier, by the author

Linking up with Lyli and the community at Thought Provoking Thursdaythought-provoking-thursday

Start Small, Start Now

Yes, here I am on a Wednesday, writing a little something for you, dear readers.

I’ll keep it short–my random brain is considering a quarterly newsletter communique to stay in touch. In keeping with my ‘start small.start now’ mantra for the New Year–what practices will move you towards who God has made you to be?–I’m extending my reach with another writing avenue beyond this blog.

doubts-declarations

 

Tentatively titled, “Random Acts of Writing-the Miraculous to Mundane,” my newsletter will be a wrap up of life, faith and leftovers, so to speak, from my non-linear brain. Random Acts will also be an extension of the thoughts on “Glory Writers” our online Facebook group, sharing words to encourage, inform and uplift along with thoughts on writing, life and faith.

(By the way, if you’d like to join Glory Writers, just knock on the door. Glory Writers–Putting Faith into Words–is facilitated by myself and Emily Allen. From the description:

“Glory Writers–A vibrant community for Christian writers to find connection, inspiration & information about all aspects of writing, blogging & publishing. This group is a catalyst for encouraging and growing writers of faith from where they are to where they want to be, through weekly opportunities for sharing writing projects, questions and comments and Monday Facebook live videos.
Come join us!”  
We’re a closed group, but would love to welcome you.)

So, would you like to receive such a compendium? Perhaps your friends would? Let me know in the Comments by leaving your email address and I’ll add you to the list.

First issue–March 15th–woohoo!

 

How Not to Be Intimidated by this Great Big Year

For someone who considers herself a writer (I do. I am.) it amuses me and surprises others when I announce, if asked, that I’m not interested in writing a book. Well except maybe my memoir–isn’t everyone writing a memoir? 

But writing an actual book? No. I know how much time and effort goes into such an endeavor–why would I opt for that?

Except that well, maybe I am. The book idea literally dropped into my brain the other night after the long ride home from a Christmas visit to my son’s. I had a few Deep Thoughts while traveling in the car, a reflective time of our four days together, but I had no idea my thoughts would turn into anything. When I sat down to download my thoughts on paper I ended up with an outline, chapter sections, an introduction and marketing plan.

I’m sure every author starts in such an inspired fashion. Of course the hard part, the seemingly impossible part, is to finish the job with the perspiration part, to misquote Einstein.

But this post is not about the book idea but the idea of a book. Those are two different things.

For everything we do begins with an idea. And it’s the DOING that sometimes keeps us from even beginning.

Our pastor’s message last Sunday was about Nehemiah’s rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. Prodded by a broken heart for the condition of God’s city, Nehemiah asked for permission from the King to return to Judah and assess the situation. He began the task alone under cover of dark, surveying the project and noting what needed to be done.

After Nehemiah gathered the information, he returned to the King and asked to begin the work. Permission was granted; Nehemiah solicited help and commenced building, stone by stone, day by day. And 52 days later they were done.

The point of the message: Start Small. Start Now.

Maybe the tasks or ideas before you will take more than 52 days to complete–life changing work usually does–but that shouldn’t frighten you from taking the first step.

What is your small step?

Continue reading

When God Gives You One Sure Thing

This Christmas season has looked like no other–construction projects, appliance delivery disasters, and decorating plans consumed by service and energy poured out elsewhere. Perhaps it’s my age, but I’m grateful for the one sure thing I have–my blessed husband.

I hope you enjoy this re-post. I know it made me smile to read it.

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We’re standing in the kitchen.  I move fluidly from dishwasher to counter, bending, stacking–bowls, dishes, cups, goblets.

Husband is at the cupboard behind me.  I rotate, wordless, and hand him his favorite glass-he replaces it to the shelf and continues swallowing his vitamins.

I interrupt his healthy intake once again, this time with the rainbow-colored stack of Ikea cups.  Without a word, he fits them on the shelf next to our stash of kid-safe plastics.

I love our morning routine–coffee pot steaming and gurgling, the bird clock chiming it’s 8 am hour–the robin, I think–and the garbage truck outside our window beep-beep-beeping.

It all feels so safe–full of comfort and joy.  The silent, sure sounds of an easy morning, a gift to me, along with a view of the birds at our feeders. Their simple presence provides no end of amusement.

How restful to be here, next to my humming husband, the stronger part of our relationship. I smile at his silly whistling to the birds, his concern about feeding the squirrels outside the door; this early quiet time feels like we’ve been doing this for a thousand years.

God reminds me of a soul prayer I had at the beginning of Advent , not a spoken request, a written non-lament (in the book I never finished).  It was a prayer of wondering, “I don’t know what I want, but this is what I think I need”–and I realize the answer is standing right here next to me.

The wordless feeling like a well worn pair of old warm slippers, pouring my juice while I make the coffee, humming ‘Frosty the Snowman’ while I unload the dishes…It’s a quiet symphony of comfort and joy, a gift to my soul from my Saviour–a married Christmas.
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May you find that same comfort and joy this holiday season.

Glory.