When you need a little more confidence

writer girl

“Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” E.L. Doctorow

For most writers, what our hands produce is an expression for what we feel in our hearts.  Sometimes though it gets a little mixed up in there I’ll admit.  For the most part, if you let a thought simmer long enough it will produce something that can be moving or thought provoking.  For me areas around me have to just about right to get my mind to settle on what to express on any given day. Such as it is all artists, we need things like we like them, handy accessible or within reach at least.

This weekend I spent some quality time in a room where I formulate thoughts and articulate them in a blog.  I was surprised by what I found on my dusty shelf.  A full, actually overloaded basked of blog thoughts, ideas of thought provoking posts and many unfinished blog concepts.  Most of them were only half started and looked like a scribbly mess.  I remember those days when I was a firestorm of ideas.

I still have a lot of ideas for blogs but lately God has been focusing a lot of my efforts on writing a book.  I am making great momentum in that project.  The point of my mentioning a lot of half-scribbled notes about blogs is two ideas:  1.  What did people use before the invention of Post-it’s?  2.  Do you think Paul had a stack of half scribbled notes surrounding him while writing from prison?

When I found the overload of the scraps of paper I had to wonder why I didn’t take time to write some of them out.  I recognized that I have a great ability to start a lot of great and awesome projects around here and my kitchen table is paralyzed right now with about 10 craft projects that I want to pin to a board someday.  I realized “someday” needed to become a bigger priority to actually finish any of the projects.  Was my need to accumulate a lot of stuff by crafting or was I just wanting to cover my table to make it literally unusable for the purpose it was intended for?

I think it’s because we tend to find value in what our hands produce and receive our worth from the false sense of productivity to gain value in our lives.  I’m pretty sure Paul, the writer of over half of the New Testament, didn’t have a craft table or 10 projects laid out on it.  I am pretty sure he didn’t have a basket overloaded with chapter ideas either.  I pretty sure that Paul had a lot of time to articulate his thoughts.  Take a read some of his latest releases called the New Testament Bible.

I am pretty sure that Paul didn’t always have the cleanest of areas to work in.  I’m pretty sure there were days when Paul didn’t see the light of day or get out into nature to inspire him to put pen to paper.  I’m pretty sure that Paul didn’t over analyze his work nor have doubt about what his calling in life was.

Do you think he was disappointed with how his life turned out?  He wrote about contentment a lot.  He wrote about praying a lot.  He wrote a lot and remained focused on truth.  He kept his mind in check and could have let it stray to dark places but he didn’t.  What did Paul have in his life that other writers didn’t?

I think in his “knower” that he knew.  Paul wrote to churches that needed encouragement, teaching and preaching the truth, and showed how to love first and foremost.  Paul wrote about some “hot” topics too.  Paul was known as a passionate person who had been radically changed by an encounter with God along a dusty road.  Paul didn’t question his ability to write, he just knew that it was God who was empowering him to share the Gospel that still inspires us today.

He just knew.  And there was no doubt that was what he was supposed to do.  If there was any lack of faith it didn’t show.  Am I the only one or do you get stuck in the “how” of God’s ways and try to figure things out before we let Him have His way in us?

I have gotten stuck in the “how” details were going to happen, or if my dream would ever happen.  I stacked my little notes on a shelf thinking if I’m better I’ll write that, or if I have time I make that a great post, or if there is no one else out there that will tackle this subject, then I will.  How often I think I have nothing to say about something?

This stack of unwritten blog ideas has changed me a little to think I only need a little more confidence to focus on if I should write it at all.  Focused confidence was what Paul knew as his purpose and it came from the Author Himself.  I often find myself reminding God what I don’t have to do what He has asked me to do.  He has confidence in me, so why can’t I have confidence in me?

All that changed this weekend.  No, I don’t think I can write all those scraps into a post, because it’s not about the quantity number of posts that I write but the confident quantification that I write from.  If God is in your unfinished pile of projects then don’t give up before He has had a chance to add a little confidence to your mind and heart.  It will do you a world of good to throw away a bad idea.  It’s okay, no one knows about those silly ideas anyway.  Focusing and letting God sort your ideas will help you become confident and know which ideas to put effort towards.  Who knows you could be the next Paul creating something for a generation that hasn’t even been born yet!

If whatever creative stroke is consistent in your life then seek God in the middle of it and ask Him to be your confidence.  He will bolster your faith in a way that won’t make you over-productive but will help you produce what He has put inside of you.  God cares about those details too!

Where do you need more confidence in your life?


Why I can’t give up

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.  I was supposed to write rainbows and fancy swirls.  When I set off to own this, it worked perfectly in my mind.

As easy as the words flowed through my journal.

My fear of being someone who wasn’t heard in words was real and massive.  I grappled but now you finally convinced me that the world needs my story.  Thank you for believing in this cause, I’m so grateful.

From the heart flows the life in which God gives.

Proverbs 4:23 “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”

I thought this would be different in some odd sense of the word.

When I dreamed of it all, I became paralyzed.  Nothing made sense and I struggled in words that used to flow so freely.

Who doesn’t need help in overcoming barriers that your heart has settled on?  I needed a leg up on some time that would help me over the obstacles.  I need time to learn, to heal, and to peel back another heart layer.

“The story we are telling the world isn’t half as endearing as the one that lives inside of us.”  ~ Donald Miller.

I need more time.

I hate that I have more time and yet can’t assimilate my thoughts into words.  I only need to be still and continue.  There is always time for the things that you want to do.

Instead of writing about this or that idea of writing I should be penning chapter 3.

Instead of just dreaming about doing the dream I just need to let my mind show up and do.

Instead of talking about it constantly, I just need to do what I am talking about.

My life depends on it.  My heart as already aspired to go there, I just need to give permission to it.

The other day, one of my mentors asked if I only had two hours a day, what would I do?

I knew the answer.

If you only you had two hours a week?

If you only you had 30 days to live?

If only I had something to say.

If only, I had the words to wrap around my heart.

If only, I had the words to capture all my thoughts.

If only, then….

Then, I could scale this wall of words.

Then, I could let the words flow out

Then, I could…rest my heart on what I know.

Then, I can share well in words and thoughts.

Then, I must help myself to accomplish what I must do.

I’ve come to far to give up now.

So what now?

Quit Facebook.  Period.

Train for the race.

Have deep discipline.

Delete the distracting apps from my phone.

Watch television only on the weekend.

Turn off notifications and internet access while I create.

Protect my time.

Concentrate on developing the art of words.

Trust God.

Speak my inside voice.

Write compelling words.

Show up every day.

Leap the procrastination barrier.

Draft the impossible.

Create art and resist the enemy.

Stay confident and remain.

Believe still.

Drop perfectionism and stop comparing.

Continue to persevere.

Finish well with excellence.

Commit to the art no matter what.

Do the hustle.

Be authentic.

Grow in the good.

Push forward.

Hope bigger.

If you had only two hours a day, what thing could you not give up?

Never give up.

Where God doesn’t belong

Once I wrote this post.

I don’t know if you struggle with confidence.  Truth be told I think we all do.  Confidence and arrogance can look the same to the common man.  Only God knows our hearts and knows the intention in which we plan, accomplish, and speak of the things that we do and respond to.   Only God knows.

Knowing from the intention in which I respond and make decisions isn’t necessarily the same for the next person.  I’m grateful to know that God does know our very thoughts.  If I am clean before the Lord, I have nothing to hide.  If I am in error, I can depend on the Holy Spirit to check my thoughts to know the difference.

So when you strike out and do new things, they will look different to others.  This new blog for me is  my heart’s response to what God has asked.  I don’t have anything to prove but my heart of obedience back to a request that seems only right to the Father.

Actions we take often don’t make sense to others.  The reason for this?  God’s telling you what He’s only telling you to do.  With His instructions, one can never go wrong, but we can go forward in confidence because we know the Plan-Maker.

We can’t put God in a box.  There are times when He asks you to something that might look completely out of the normal for you.  We have such a creative God, I don’t want to think of Him as only having boxed parameters.

What we know of God should be enough to trust what He tells us to do.

“Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”  Isaiah 43:19

I’ve often thought why there are verses that give great encouragement in reminding of God’s faithfulness.  Those truths certainly help in more ways than I can describe here.  But in this verse Isaiah encourages us to forget the things of the past.  I believe that is his way of saying that God is going to do things in such a different and new way that we shouldn’t compare to how God has worked in our past.  By doing so we put God in a box.

We know God doesn’t change in His love for us, it’s not dependent on our behavior.  When we put God in a box, though we limit what God can do only through our obedience.  And when it comes to matters of my response back to Him, I want all His wild and crazy plans I can get.  That’s when it gets empowering, exciting, and difference making.

Besides there isn’t a box big enough to hold my God.

What I have in common with a giraffe

There’s a child’s book that speaks to me every time I read it. It’s about a giraffe named Gerald who dreams of dancing with the other animals in the jungle.

Oh my, how Gerald has the desire to dance and be like the others.  Gerald doesn’t really have dancing dreams of grand and great, necessarily, he just wants to dance. His knees are crooked and his legs are thin, and all the other animals mock him when he approaches the dance floor at the annual Jungle Dance.  All his jungle friends sneer and call him weird. He doesn’t have the beat, the sway or the swag like his fellow jungle swingers, like the chimps, the rhinos or the warthogs.

Gerald is just looking for his rhythm, his place, his niche, his dancing legs among all the other jungle dancers.    He took lessons, he studied others moves, he longingly dreamed of owning his unique sway and style. One day, an unlikely source of encouragement came from an a cricket who came at just the right time.  The cricket showed one glum giraffe that those who are different “just need a different song.”

Gerald wanted to have a different beat, a unique style all his own and pace his steps to the beat of his own design.   Gerald took the cricket’s advice.  He went to his own little jungle corner and danced to the beat of his inner design and just danced.  Soon Gerald was prancing and sashaying and boogying to moon music (with a cricket accompanist).  The jungle crowd came to watch Gerald in amazement and recognized that indeed he could dance after all.

All he needed was his own little space be brave and bold.  Gerald found his rhythm to dance while dancing.

How many of you are looking for your purpose?  Your inner design that makes you wish you were dancing free in the middle of the jungle without a care in the world?  Dancing like no one was watching?

What Gerald showed me was that you have to have courage to seek what your purpose is.  As a writer I have been looking for my voice for years. I finally learned how to dance like I am designed to dance.  And it feels good, right and awesome.

I don’t care who’s watching.  I’m writing to the beat of my design and my Designer.  I have been created for this and God has said it’s a good work.  But wait you say, this is a new thing, this blog?

Yes, it is but what I have learned is that I can’t dance without Him taking the lead.  Since my steps have already been determined, there’s no fear in the size or direction this will take.  The size of this place doesn’t matter but the confidence I have in God to make a place for my dancing does.

All the jungle’s got the beat, but Gerald the giraffe has four left feet.  Until he found his courage to brave the jungle with his own moves, he didn’t know what he was capable of. We are all looking for our place in this world.  When we find the place we’re were meant to be, we can discover more about ourselves than we every thought possible.

But the search for purpose sometimes leads to unexpected places.  You never know were the journey will take you when it begins with God. There has be a time when you decide to own your dance, your voice, your story.  If you don’t decide to grip the design that God has for you, then fear will always get the best of your courage and tell you can’t, won’t, or shouldn’t.

Fear dances around you while others appear dancing perfectly.  Their moves are smooth and fluid, flowing and practiced.  It appears they have been dancing all of their lives but they have only just begun. Ever wonder how dancers get their start?  They dance.  How did Gerald get his start?  It wasn’t by being a jungle wallflower waiting for someone to invite him to dance.

No, Gerald just started.  He took action on his confidence and simply danced to the beat in his heart.  All the jungle friends gathered and watched and stood in amazement that he could dance after all.

Dancing takes courage, dancing takes skill, but you will never learn how until you step and find out what you are made of.  To create takes guts, it’s risky and it’s hard.  It’s never to late to be what you might have been.

What lies behind us, and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies with us.

Life isn’t about finding yourself, but rather more about overcoming yourself to let the awesome design placed inside of you out.  It’s never too late to discover awesome, nor write or tell about it.  It’s a story that we like to hear over and over.

Dance till you find your voice, write until you right your voice, dream until you see awesome.  It’s not the size of your dream but rather WHO you look to fulfill your dreams, who you turn to for confidence that sticks.

Confidence in God matters.

Keep on dancing friends.  If this blog has helped you in one small way, will you dance along with me and follow this new grace?  It would mean a lot to me to have company as we discover awesome stuff together.