Engaging Discussions

Engaging Discussions

This post is number nine in a series On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life that Lasts, by Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig, hosted by Kate Motaung.

In contemplating engaging with other writers and creative people I find myself very grateful for the internet. The ability to gather with like-minded people and grow as part of a group despite the span of miles is an enormous blessing. I considered the call to write long ago. I always wrote, but I should specify that I considered a career just out of college. I did not stumble upon a group of Christian writers at that time. In the secular sphere I felt like I did not belong. In truth, I felt as though I was too anachronistic to ever belong. I went to work in the church. I believed that it was the only place where my contribution would be welcome.

After more than a decade I did stumble upon a Christian writer’s community online. In many and various ways I found parts of myself. I had suffered under the illusion that I was an anomaly. I learned that there are many other people who view the world in many of the ways that I do. I am learning that one of the enemy ‘s chief tools is to isolate us and suffer us to keep quiet about our faith out of fear that very few people share our faith today. The Internet has torn down walls that kept us quiet. We are a community of believers. We are strong enough to build each other up. The internet is famous for those who tear other people down. Social media has a bad reputation. In my view it is undeserved.

Since the early church believers have encouraged one another. We have always been a community that resembles a family. There are always relatives who behave selfishly, however, Christians are not as a rule dysfunctional. The most positive and caring group you can affiliate with are Christians with mature faith. If you have been hurt by believers keep looking, for there are many good groups. Do not become discouraged. I wish that I had known about groups like (in)Courage and Five Minute Friday’s sooner.

image

I have enjoyed being a part of this writing group! I will be linking up with 31 Days in October as well. If all goes as planned I will be checking out a local real-life writer’s group tomorrow. They are not a Christian group per se, but hopefully I will find some encouragement there as well. I have the courage to try because of the online communities that I have been able to become a part of. It is possible that someone may want to read my thoughts. Thanks to the online Christians I am certain that God did not give me a love of words to frustrate me. There is a purpose to my penchant for obtuse words and if one person is uplifted by my verbosity then it is all for the glory of Jesus Christ. I think that this is the key difference in between Christian writers and the secular writers. We are not looking for our own glory. My image is irrelevant. I write to build up the reputation of Christ. If I look a bit foolish, or even very silly it is for a greater purpose.

1 Corinthians 1:18-25

Christ the Power and Wisdom of God

For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

1 Corinthians 4:10

We are fools for the sake of Christ, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute.

Knitting Your Life

Knitting Your Life

I was on an emotional “high” after the If:Gathering. I feel as though I fell off a cliff. Someone important in my life pushed me off when I wasn’t prepared. I have always been a “Miss fix-it.” Not that I am that good with power tools, although I am learning. No, I have always tried to fix other people’s’ problems. That sounds foolish. When I write it down I feel foolish, but it is the truth. I think I learned to be a person who fixes problems for the people I care about because my mother taught me. She was an amazing mother. She loved so deeply and cared about everyone. She modeled Christian discipleship so beautifully. She was human, though, and in hindsight I realize she tended to fix problems that were brought to her. If you couldn’t fix your problem yourself, you took it to my mother and she did her best to fix it for you. Some problems must be fixed or borne by the bearer. Some people in my life never learned to do this.

After my mother died her “responsibilities” were unconsciously divided up by the family. I become the “fixer.” I love to knit. It releases endorphins and makes me feel good to knit. I work out my problems on yarn. I untangle and rewind if the yarn has a tendency knot. I make center-pull balls to knit with. I learned to use a wooden spoon in place of a nostepinne and if you are a yarn person and want to know more just look it up on YouTube and you can make them also.

Some skeins make many tangles
Some skeins make many tangles

To work out the insensitive remarks that knocked me off the cliff I bought a skein of yarn and decided to take time for spiritual whitespace to knit. As I faced tangle after tangle my frustration grew and after cutting knots out of the yarn (something I never do, I patiently untangle) I recognized that I need to cut the thoughts of the hurtful remarks out of my life. This person has told me in the past that they cannot filter their words and simply say everything they think. I was instructed to let the hurtful words, “Go in one ear and out the other.”

The difficulty is that my thoughts are like a skein of yarn. I don’t have a setting for ignoring some of what someone says to me. I don’t know what statements reflect their real intentions and when they are just venting. I feel like I am trying to knit with a lot of loose ends. How do I weave this person into my life if I must keep cutting out the statements that cut me deeply? I am dealing with an important person who is hurting. They are begging me to fix problems for them. They are desperate for help,but other than to demand that I drop everything to help them, they don’t know what to do. My suggestions of ways to work on the problems themselves falls on deaf ears. How do you stop acting like the “fixer” when adults are trained to come to you with all their challenges?

In a recent post Amber Haines wrote for (in)Courage about being in her words a “burden bearer.” This resonated deeply for me. This morning fighting with my skein of yarn, with time I do not have to spare, I recognized this in myself. Life really is like yarn. We do not know exactly what the finished project will look like at the end, but we usually have a pattern and an idea. We can change our mind, unknit, unravel, and alter our fiber, but the fun is in the journey. We are creating a one-of-a-kind piece of art. We need Gods’ help to do our best and we never quit learning, but the feel of the fiber through our fingers both soothes and invigorates. We are incomplete, but beautiful. We are knitting with our lives, His handiwork. God is the spinner who put just the right amount of twist in our yarn to create what He wants from us. No one has the same tension, we don’t even use the same technique,but all of us are works of art spun by His loving hand.

I cannot knit anther persons’ life for them. I can sometimes help them unravel, but usually an extra pair of hands is in the way. I need to learn to get my hand off others yarn and work on my own. I am in a period of winding an uncooperative skein into a useful ball of yarn. If I continually drop my own nostepinne and try to unravel others’ work none of us will make progress. Wind, Amy, just wind your own yarn!