False Starts

I’ve started writing again, and something occurred to me.  It was like a punch in the gut.  I’ve been feeling it more often now that a new season is starting in my life.  Some changes have already happened (a new church) and some are still on the horizon.  One thing stuck out to me as I started to write again…

For someone to write, there has to be something to write about.  You have to get out and do something if you are going to be any kind of storyteller what-so-ever.

I used to think I wanted to write strictly about theology.  However, when I write about that I start to descend into feeling pretentious.  After so many big words I begin to feel like I am just trying to sound smart.  That “wow” factor very rarely wins people over.  When it does, you don’t win them over for very long.  You wow them once, and they expect to be wowed again.  Its like a friend once told me, how you win them is also how you have to keep them.  After awhile, there just aren’t any more big words.

Big words may wow people.  They even may provide meat for those who want it.  However, in the end, big words just don’t grab peoples’ attention very much.  There are many reasons why Jesus told stories.  Some people think that His parables were riddles.  However, if Jesus was both God and man, and I believe that he was and is, than it should be completely plausible that He knew the crowd that He was speaking to.   He knew what story would grab their attention, and He knew what story He could use to describe the nature of the Father.  Instead of describing the theology of repentance, Jesus told the story of the prodigal son.  Not only did it reveal the repentant heart, but it also revealed God’s desires and His very heart.

I’m not very good at making up stories.  Its hard for me to get past naming the characters.   I have slaved after character names and then thought them too cheesy or too much like someone I know, and so I change it…and change it…and then I eventually quit.  I have to live out stories to be able to write them.  I have to experience change to be able to write about anything.  All too often life has just been waking up, going to work, coming home, and going to bed.  I’ve dabbled in things before.  They were all false starts, though.  They weren’t just false starts because I gave up.  I did give up, but I gave up because in the end, the start always sprung from something temporary.  It almost never started with God.

I’ve found that some of my ideas were sprung out of wanting to look cool and desirable to certain people.  I don’t want to admit that I can be this shallow, but I can.  When you start an idea based on this kind of desire, its almost certain to fail.  And its a grace that it does.  If it were to succeed, life would be a bunch of image management and what you thought that you loved and enjoyed would only serve to create misery.

So, go out and do something.  I plan on doing a lot of things in the coming year, God willing.  Hopefully, some pretty great stories will come out of it.


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