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This first assignment came at an apt time. Last week, my friend Kimberly (a fellow writer) asked me a simple question: why do you write? The answer was a list of five reasons: 1) I enjoy it 2) I feel God’s pleasure in it 3) Others affirm this gift as a way to express my beliefs in an honest and winsome way 4) It brings clarity and order to inner chaos 5) It’s meaningful, leaving a legacy of thoughts and experiences that others are able to enter into.
the healing properties of art
C. S. Lewis used the German word sehnsucht to describe the human heart’s deep longing for eternity – especially in the face of suffering. When I first experienced this longing, I began to gravitate towards books and music and people themselves who expressed it so beautifully. Not only did these art forms (and people) give voice to these unspoken longings, but they’ve given me a greater capacity to persevere in the face of suffering and find hope. I believe God’s brings healing through unexpected sources, and that is definitely true for art. As a writer, inspiring hope is one of my greatest callings.
a long obedience in the same direction
Eugene Peterson wrote a beautiful book on the art of waiting and walking forward in obedience called A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. How easy it is to wander off the trail. Without a distinct end in sight, it’s normal to wonder if the path you’re on is actually going somewhere. Yet I truly believe, as Peterson says, that “all suffering, all pain, all emptiness, all disappointment is seed: sow it in God, and he will, finally, bring a crop of joy from it.” This thought is congruent with the verse from Scripture that says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Walking faithfully in this truth takes intentional surrender of the will, which is just plain hard. It’s easier to distrust than to keep walking. (To read an earlier post about this book, read this post.)
Wholeness is a tall order. It requires you to consider your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health and then walk in a lifestyle that feeds it. My own journey toward wholeness is messy enough, so I sure as heck don’t expect anyone else to have it all together. But the people who I have the most respect for include those who pay special attention to both their inner and outer lives and consistently work to develop habits that feed their mind, body, and soul. Currently, I’m working to heal specific areas of my body that have been broken down, and I’ve found the process to be intrinsically linked to each other area of health. So don’t be surprised if pursuing one area of personal development affects all the others.
wonder & hope
Sometimes we (I!) need a little help keeping our eyes on the road ahead, as well as lifting our gaze to heaven beyond the troubles of this world. So, that’s what this blog is about – living in a state of wonder, while holding fast to the hope of a better day.
Without giving too much away, a collection of like-minded people and I are planning to host a local two-day seminar/retreat this fall with lectures, workshops, and activities that encapsulate all I’ve just described here. It’s going to be pretty great. In the meantime, feel free to Subscribe to this blog and be part of the conversation. And be sure to look for #2 tomorrow in this 7-day blogging challenge series. Thanks for reading my manifesto!