Follow Your Art

EVERYONE NEEDS AN OUTLET.

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Outlets are important. Sometimes we needs to channel a negative energy into a positive one, and outlets help us do just that.

ART

art

WRITING

Writing

FLOWER ARRANGING

flowers

AND MORE…

I may be a born-again believer (i.e. Christian), but I still believe that our bodies deal with both positive and negative energies. When you’re mad at someone or something (just anger or not aside), that’s negative. When you’re elated because you got a promotion at work, that’s positive. Call it what you will: energy, emotion, vibes…they’re there, and we have to deal with them.

So when negativity comes into play in your life, take a moment to realize that you truly do need–not just need to want–to channel it into something positive, and those outlets can help. Pick something you love, and go for it!

The Battle Rages

A while back (probably a good year or more ago, now), there were a rash of articles and blog posts debating whether or not God can or will give us more than we can handle. Many pointed to 1 Corinthians 10:13:

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (ESV)

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful, he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so you can endure it. (NIV)

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (KJV)

There is quite a bit to unpack in this one verse. It honestly will probably take multiple blog posts, but we’ll see what we can get accomplished here. Let’s just start at the beginning:

First, in looking at the KJV, the word “you” is used, as opposed to “ye”; thus, Paul (the author of this epistle) is speaking to individuals, not to a group as a whole. He is individually telling each one of us that any temptation we face is “common to man.” We are told in the Bible that “there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9. NIV), and that includes temptation. Temptation starts with a lie that we entertain and begin to believe until we’re often acting upon it. As the Bible says in James 1:14, “Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed…” (KJV). The pattern for temptation has been the same since the beginning, and the Bible is also clear on the fact that temptation never comes from God. EVER. (“And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else.” –James 1:13, NLT)

Temptation comes from three sources (as cited by Thomas Aquinas in the Summa Theologica):

  • The World
  • The Flesh
  • The  Devil

There are no new temptations out there–they’ve always been–and God understands: “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18, NIV).

So now that we’ve established WHERE temptation comes from, that it’s NOT new, and that God DOES understand, the question still stands if God honestly gives us more than we can handle.

My personal belief is that, yes, he does.

More than we can handle, mind you. More that we, in our fallen, human state, can handle.

But, graciously, not more than we can handle through “[Christ] who gives [us] strength” (Philippians 4:13, NIV). God does provide a way out with the temptation, even though He’s not the one “providing” the temptation! How gracious! How merciful! He understands, and not just in some “because He’s God” kind of way, but in a very human way since He came to Earth as Christ incarnate.

So next time you think you can handle that big bad temptation all by yourself, think again. Even Job collapsed under temptation and questioned God. David fell prey to temptation many a time throughout his life.

We canNOT handle temptation alone. But through God’s strength, we can escape.

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Endurance Writing

You’ve, no doubt, heard of endurance running. But what is endurance writing?

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Just as in Track & Field, you have endurance runs and sprints, so also in writing, you have endurance tasks and sprint tasks.

Unlike Track & Field, however, just about anything in writing can turn into a marathon. That’s not the goal, though.

Some sprint tasks would include things like

  • Poetry
  • Short stories
  • Articles
  • Smaller research papers

Whereas, when I think of marathon tasks, two (perhaps three) major categories come to mind:

  • Books/Novels – non-fiction and fiction alike
  • Dissertations/Theses – think Master’s degree and up
  • Blogging

I’d like to focus on blogging.

Blogging is unique in that the individual posts are generally sprints, yet we cannot lose sight of the fact that the blogging process as a whole is a marathon.

In fact, a writer’s entire literary career is a marathon. There will be times momentum is gained, and there will be times it will be lost. There will be highs and lows; there will be times of great inspiration and times of great frustration. Times we cramp up, and times we can go for miles.

Cramp

But the fact remains that we must never give up, regardless of the obstacle ahead. Is there a 10-foot wall to climb without a rope? Lend a hand…or grab one, if you’re the one in need. The writing community should be close-knit and supportive. Let’s build one another up, cheer each other on, and always remember to pass on a literary smile as much as you can.

In Search of Perspiration

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I knew I needed to write another blog post–honestly, I’m truly trying to keep up with my blog this time!–but could think of nothing to get me going.

So? I turned to handy ol’ Google.

A quick search turned up a few…erm, interesting?…results.

But at least those results turned into a post idea (and even gave me the idea for my title!). And, no, I’m not actually in search of perspiration. I was in search of inspiration! And I found it. I also found what websites I would not be getting some ideas from.

For example, one website boasts of  “Unusual, creative and fun ways to come up with amazing blog post ideas on demand.”

  • Even if I can ignore the fact that the Oxford comma is missing, I can’t get over the very next sentence.

“Assuming this and you have woke up to a Blank Screen these TIPS should help: …”

Nope, I’m not making that up. Yup, you read it correctly.

However, I will give this site some credit: it likened blogging to a marathon not a sprint, and there were some decent ideas on how to break writer’s block (though not so much on prompts).

Ok, so what was the entire point of this post? Proofread, people. Proofread.

Thatisall.

proofread

Be You

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BE YOU!

Those two little words have caused an awful lot of controversy (especially in the church) for an awfully long time.

Follow your heart.

You can do anything.

You are unique.

You are special.

You are beautiful.

You are talented.

You…fill in the blank.

And ya know what? If you’re a born-again believer, you can do it…through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13). You are unique…because you’re God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). You are special…because God has made you His (Romans 8:17). You are beautiful…because God has made you beautiful through His Son (Romans 4:7-8). You are talented…because God has given you a gift (1 Peter 4:10).

But, there’s a reason to be ourselves beyond the above (because above is really all about God, not us): God made each of us to be unique–He knit us together (Psalm 139:13)–and He taps into our personal leanings and personality strengths when He chooses us. Now, it is oft-true that God will call us to do something antithetical to our very nature (and I do not speak of the sin nature, but of our personalities). He called Moses to lead His people out of Egypt, and Moses argued five different ways–and that was just in the beginning! (Exodus 3:1-4:7) However, as is evidenced in Scripture, God often uses our strengths. David, the poet, didn’t write the way Luke, the physician, wrote. Moses, the man of mistaken-identity, didn’t write the way Paul, the convert, wrote. Solomon, the man of wisdom, didn’t write the way Matthew, the tax-collector, wrote. As you read each of these men’s writings in Scripture, their personalities come through. God inspired all Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16), yes, but He used the authors’ personalities in their writings.

So, is it ok to be YOU? Absolutely. We just need to be sure that you and I are being the you’s and I that God has for us.