Tag Archives: Donne

Regret to Repent: My journey through Psalms (6)

Psalm 6

The other day I was babysitting my nieces. My eldest niece is eight going on thirteen and so when we were sitting down to eat dinner, she was in quite a sassy mood. In her attempt to assert some kind of rebellious authority after having been told no, she reached over and tried to jerk something out of my hand. Well, you can imagine how well that went over. She was in trouble now, and she knew it. Out came the water works, but you see. I’ve been the queen of water works since I was three, so that didn’t work on me. Off to your room, I said, you can finish your dinner when you’re ready to act like a decent human again.

The big guns came out then. There was foot stomping and hands on hips now and for a moment I thought she was going to tell me no. Straight to my face. Until I said the magic words.

Do you really think your mother and father aren’t going to hear about this little fit?

Instant silence. Rebuked and shamed now, she begrudgingly trudged to her room.

Later, worn out from her fit, she put a card in my hand that read ‘I’m sorry, Aunt Ashley’ and she whispered, “Please don’t tell Mom and Dad.”

The fact is we all mess up and feel regret–especially when we feel like what we have done is going to be found out (as clearly seen in Psalm 6), but it is the Lord’s unfailing love that allows us to heal when we come to Him with our sorrow and repentance. Because the Lord accepts our prayers readily and forgives our transgressions even mores readily than an Aunt who forgives a niece for a temper tantrum of epic proportions.

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Questions:

1. What am I afraid of admitting to God and others?
2. How does my openness with God shame my enemies and free my soul?
3. What are the rewards of repentance?

Finishing the Writing Challenge: Stealing, Starting, Building

steal

When I last posted, I was on step 5 of the writing challenge. I proceeded to finish the fifteen days, but to be honest 15 days is not enough time to ‘master’ anything, let alone good writing habits, so I am continuing with each one and picking a focus as I go along. On Goins’ blog, he lists the rest of the habits as:

6. Steal

7. Start

8. Build

9. Connect

10. Share

11. De-clutter

12. Provoke

13. Publish

14. Brand

15. Serve

For this week I am going to focus on steal, start and build. These three ideas go hand in hand for many reasons and all of them help to improve writing on a basic level.

Stealing is valuable advice. We spend so much time and energy trying to be original, trying to stand out, trying to be non-conformists and radicalists that we forget what Solomon so clearly states in the Bible:

“What has been will be again,/ What has been done will be done again; /there is nothing new under the sun./ Is there anything of which one can say, / “Look! This is something new”?/ It was here already, long ago;/ It was here before our time.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10).

Even if you don’t believe in the Bible as truth (as I do), most scholars agree that Biblical texts contain wisdom and this is evidenced in this passage. Great teachers don’t reinvent the wheel or try to do it all on their own. You learn that the first day you step in a classroom. Even before the students arrive, you collaborate with your colleagues, because if you don’t you have immediately set yourself up for failure. John Donne said it best:


 

            No man is an island,

            Entire of itself,

            Every man is a piece of the continent,

            A part of the main.

            If a clod be washed away by the sea,

            Europe is the less.

            As well as if a promontory were.

            As well as if a manor of thy friend’s

            Or if thine own were:

            Any man’s death diminishes me,

            Because I am involved in mankind,

            And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;

            It tolls for thee.


No man or woman is an island so it’s important to ‘steal’—if you can get past the connotations of the word and understand what that means for an artist. This doesn’t give an artist freedom to plagiarize—why would any artist want to do that? What it does give the artist license to do is to “scoop up all the little pieces of inspiration” and then curate them (Goins). It’s like taking a dozen smashed teacups—all originals into themselves—and creating a picture frame from the shattered pieces. You create something new by using the ideas and inspirations all around you. You must “meld together pieces of the chaotic mess we call life” and end up with a new creation (Goins).

Then you start. And no one starts pretty, you start where you are. For the vast majority of us, it’s a pretty ugly place. For gold to be purified, it must first go through the refining fire. So waiting for the “perfect” moment or the perfect idea won’t work. Perfection doesn’t exist. You must start where you are and make it beautiful as a part of the refining process.

Once you’ve started, then you can build it. But this takes dedication. I have been keeping up with my word counts daily as a way to discipline myself to write more. Each day I record how much I have written either on a novel or blogging so I can have accountability for what I do. This is how I build my writing habits. Establishing a habit isn’t easier, if it was I doubt it would be worth doing. I have found that this works for me, but only if I can have a tangible result. The more I write, the more progress I see with my writing—but I can’t expect it all to be beautiful. If I did, I might as well quit now.

Writing is what you make it for yourself. You can write for relaxation, for fun, for entertainment.  The main difference between writing and being a Writer is once you claim the title, you claim a new perspective and it is that new perspective that will make all the difference in your prospective ideas.

http://goinswriter.com/great-writers/