#write31days, faith

Day 30: Telling THE Story

I have so loved getting to share on this blog for this 31 days series. It’s been a joyful burden. After all, aren’t the best things the hardest of all? It has been a delight to do the things I love and come alive to who God made me to be in order to reflect His glory. I feel like this 31 days writing challenge was a gift God gave to me to rediscover my buried talents. I love telling His story by telling my own (because it’s all really His story anyway).

Remember this from day one?

This summer I read a book, A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman, where she essentially tells her audience that each of us was created by the ultimate Artist, God Himself, to reflect His glory. We do that by being who He made us to be —artists—by coming alive to the talents, gifts, and uniqueness that He has given us.

“But you are designed to reflect the glory of God, and when you release the fullness of who you most deeply are, we will see God because we’re finally seeing you,” she writes.

You were made by the ultimate Artist to be an artist. We point others to him. Perceived worldly success doesn’t even factor in when we’re doing it for Him anyway.

Singer-songwriter Christa Wells wrote the following in regards to Dave, the under-discovered artist: “Maybe Dave fell in love with the idea of becoming an acclaimed artist, where I fell in love with the Original Artist and the idea of being a part of what He’s making. Dave, like many hard-working people, wants to be a SUCCESS story, but what I want most is to help tell THE story.”

Christa goes on to say this:

It’s who we ARE and WHAT WE GIVE AWAY that makes us a PART of something worthwhile.  If they remember our names 300 years from now (and they won’t), we won’t be here to care about it, anyway, so why not celebrate and honor the fact that we’re alive today and have something to share?

Why not do what brings you so much joy that you do it when you’re NOT getting paid–because you “feel God’s pleasure” when you do it?

Why not do what meets someone else’s need and sends people reeling, thinking “There MUST be a design to all of this”?

Do something that tells the truth and asks good questions and leaves a footprint on souls that won’t wash out when the tide comes for our bodies.

Do small, unnoticed things you’re good at that make a difference to your family and community.

Do it with LOVE.   Do it at a cost to yourself.  Do it in small increments, in the midnight hours, after working your day job, or the wee hours of the morning, if that’s all you’ve got.

Do it because you CAN’T STOP.  (hat tip to Miley)

I pray that this 31 days series has helped to tell THE story, as Christa put it. I pray that you know that you– yes, you— have something to offer as well. You are an artist.

Christa Wells, me, and Emily Freeman

Christa Wells, me, and Emily Freeman

p.s. A huge thank you to Emily Freeman and Christa Wells for their art that has encouraged me and their writer’s conference in September that inspired me to start this blog and join the 31 days writing challenge.

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Day 2: Comparison and Inferiority

For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.                                                                – 1 Corinthians 12:14-20, ESV


I suppose the two biggest hindrances to my “coming alive to my own talents,  gifts, and uniqueness” have been comparison and inferiority.

About a year ago, I read a blog entry on the Desiring God blog titled “Lay Aside the Weight of Prideful Comparison” by Jon Bloom and it hurt! Comparison prideful? Needless to say, I had never thought of it that way. Bloom said that unless we are “…pursuing humility, pride will hijack comparison.”

“We can tell this is happening in us when we look at others and don’t see the grace of God, but reflections of our own inferiority. We don’t see them as windows into God’s glory, but as mirrors into which we are asking, “Who’s the fairest one of all?” — and we know it’s not us,” Bloom wrote.

Ouch! Guilty. Jon Bloom went on to share some steps to help us to “lay aside” our need for self-glory if you, like me, need to check those out.

Comparison has kept me from using my own gifts while making me wish I had someone else’s gift. I’ve spent the past several years trying to find my place post-motherhood and sometimes trying to use a gift I don’t have to try to “fit in” somewhere I don’t belong. I felt God’s prompting last year to stop doing some of those things that I wasn’t so good at… But I think I was afraid to listen then because that meant there would be a great unknown that would be filling my not-so-wisely-used time… or maybe it was a fear that the activities I was giving up wouldn’t be replaced at all?

I have also felt inferior— and rightly so— because there are so many incredibly gifted writers and songwriters out there. Quite possibly millions. I’ve kinda been thinking to myself, “Why bother when someone else can and is doing it better than I ever could?”

Emily Freeman wrote in her book A Million Little Ways, “You may not be the first to say it, write it, create it, or believe it— but you saying it may be the first time someone finally hears. Yes, someone else can say it better, but that doesn’t mean you can’t say it too. Throw out your inhibitions and spin around in this crazy world of recycled ideas. There is nothing new to say. Say it anyway.”

This year I finally listened to God’s promptings and now here I am— with bits and pieces of time— to write something that’s definitely already been said, but I pray that you hear.

P.S. Check back tomorrow for the song connected to today’s story.

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31 Days of Stories and Songs

Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.                        -Matthew 5:14-16, The Message

Carla Santos 31 days Stories and Songs

The first day that my oldest son went to preschool last fall, I went straight from preschool drop-off to Target with my then 14-month-old younger son and bought a journal on clearance. I had begun to feel like I had lost part of myself since becoming a mother and this was the first small step of my recovery. I had somehow unconsciously lost all of my passions and dreams that fell outside my role as a wife and mom. Don’t get me wrong, I had also gained a whole other part of me —being a mom —but felt like it was at the cost of my former self.

You see, I used to call myself a writer… I used to write journal entries, news articles, poems, songs, etc… But my writing diminished after getting married and mostly vanished after having kids.

This summer I read a book, A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman, where she essentially tells her audience that each of us was created by the ultimate Artist, God Himself, to reflect His glory. We do that by being who He made us to be —artists—by coming alive to the talents, gifts, and uniqueness that He has given us.

“But you are designed to reflect the glory of God, and when you release the fullness of who you most deeply are, we will see God because we’re finally seeing you,” she writes.

So, I am starting this blog but also taking the 31 Days writing challenge in hopes to rediscover the writer in me while also reflecting the glory of God.

Over these 31 days, I will tell uplifting stories that connect to a song. It maybe be my own story, or that of a friend or stranger. The following day, I will post the song (some original, some not) that perhaps best communicates the message of the story. I hope you’ll join me for this journey.

Day 2: Comparison and Inferiority

Day 3: “Shine” 

Day 4: Unlikely Romance

Day 5: “Dancing in the Minefields”

Day 6: “Don’t Try So Hard”

Day 7: You Can’t Earn It

Day 8: Prideful Rule-Keeper Turned Humble Servant

Day 9: “Only Hope I’ve Got”

Day 10: Changing Diapers and Sweeping Floors

Day 11: “Do Everything”

Day 12: Far from God

Day 13: “How the Pain Comes”

Day 14: Lack of Trust

Day 15: “If You Doubt”

Day 16: When I Worry

Day 17: “Can’t Help Myself”

Day 18: Feel Like a Misfit?

Day 19: “The House You’re Building”

Day 20: Dealing with Disappointment

Day 21: “Everything Changes”

Day 22: When Everything Goes Wrong

Day 23: “Carry Me Through”

Day 24: Rethinking Marriage

Day 25: “Ride It Out Together”

Day 26: “Love Alone Is Worth the Fight”

Day 27: Fear. Vulnerability. Love.

Day 28: “No Man Is an Island”

Day 29:Love Jesus but Not the Church?

Day 30: Telling THE Story

Day 31: “Add to the Beauty”

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