The Enemy of Creativity

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Sylvia Plath once said that the worst enemy of creativity is self doubt. Such truth in these words. I’ve been dancing with self doubt for many years, and let me tell you, he’s a lousy partner.

Self doubt is an expert at leading. The problem is he leads you in the wrong direction. When we listen to the persistent voice that clamors so loud, we miss the quiet one of our heart calling us to our true selves.

This problem with self doubt isn’t just confined to creatives. It’s a common problem that holds many people back from realizing their dreams.

So, what’s a creative like me or you supposed to do with this problem? It’s simple…just face your fears. Shout down the voice of doubt. Move forward.

Easy peasey.

Yeah, I know, not so much. It’s hard because our doubts speak so loudly. The only way around this is to keep speaking truth to yourself. Eventually the doubt will be overwhelmed by the truth.

The other thing you have to do, is move forward despite your fear. Failure isn’t final. It’s the opportunity to try again. Failure may sting in the short run, but the thrill of succeeding washes that sting away. It feeds your quiet voice of truth.

Today, I challenge you to not listen to the doubter in you. Focus on what you know is right and pursue your dream.

What would you do if you were guaranteed to succeed? What can you do today to move closer to that dream?

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When the Call Comes

I confess, I don’t know much about football, but I do have some basic understanding. I know it’s the dream of many high school boys to play in the NFL. They practice and strive to earn a spot to play on a college team. As college comes to an end, the best hope the NFL draft will make them real football players. It’s a dream that won’t come true for the majority of college players.

Only so many can be chosen, drafted.

When the dream doesn’t happen, many give up. Chris Matthews of the Seattle Seahawks wasn’t one who gave up. He wasn’t drafted, but he did get to sign with the Cleveland Browns as a free agent, only to get cut. For some, that might have been too much, but Chris didn’t quit. He played for a couple of other leagues, and eventually went to work at Foot Locker to pay the bills. It was there that he received the call to come try out for the Seahawks.

Finally, another a chance.

Even then, it wasn’t easy going. He was released, then joined their practice squad. Finally he was signed with the team in December 2014. He played in 3 games and didn’t catch a single pass. Most players would be discouraged and give up. Not Chris, he kept going. In 2015 he made a key play that helped the Seahawks win the NFC Championship, and then went on to play in Super Bowl 49.

football-596747_1280 CC0I first heard the Chris Matthews story during last years Super Bowl and it struck a chord with me. As a writer, I’ve worked and dreamed. I’ve had some successes and some set backs. I’ve worked a day job and probably will throughout my writing career. I’ve been tempted to give up many times. To say I’ve tried and it’s just not going to happen.

Have you been there? Do you feel like you’re at Footlocker when you want to be playing in the Super Bowl? Life can be tough for those of us who dream big. It can be more brutal than having a 250 pound linebacker tackle you.

What if Chris had given up and said, nah, I’ve tried this dream and it’s too tough, I’m going to stay at Footlocker? What would have happened to the Seahawks? Would they have made it to the 2015 Super Bowl? We will never know.

And there’s the rub.

God has given each of us a dream. Not all of us dream of playing pro-football, or writing novels, or curing cancer. Some of us dream of having a family, working in a particular profession, or helping others grow into their own potential. Regardless of the scope or size, dreams are important. Our dreams affect others. If we give up just because it gets hard, we have no idea what might happen.

Don’t give up. Keep working. Keep dreaming. Keep answering the phone at your own version of Footlocker.

 

*Source of information regarding Matthews: Wikipedia

Picture courtesy of Pixabay.

The Beauty of a Woman

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I think there are some things that are universal with women. Feeling beautiful to someone is one of those things we all seem to desire. As a teenager, I turned to magazines for definitions for what the world wanted women to look like. That created some ideas that have really bogged me down over the years.

We all know that the world and media’s view of beauty is warped. Still, I think all too often we women fall in line with these views and are too hard on ourselves. I know that I do.  How many times have I listened to a friend say, “What’s wrong with me? Am I not pretty enough? Interesting enough? Smart enough?” How many times have I said those words myself?

Then along comes Audrey with this gem…

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, & the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.                     ~Audrey Hepburn

 

 

 

Are You Weary?

The pace of life these days is frenetic. We rush from one thing to the next, until finally dropping into bed at the end of the day.

I’m just as guilty as the next person. It always feels like there should be more time. I’m constantly saying, “I thought I had plenty of time. This just snuck up on me.” But that’s not really true. Things don’t typically just sneak up. We—I—put things out of my mind so that I can do something more pressing. Then that one thing sneaks up on me.

I think we can only blame part of this on our society and the push to do more and be more. For me, the lions share of the blame lies squarely with me. I listen to society’s lies and push. Or, I feel inadequate and put off. Either way I end up paying for it in the end.

The thing is, I know the answer for this. I’ve known it for a long time. I just often forget the answer.

This is the answer:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28

If we—I— would just remember to rest in the Lord I wouldn’t be so apt to over schedule, be paralyzed with indecision, or push too hard.

So, here, in the middle of the week, won’t you join me in seeking the rest the Lord promises?

 

Wordless Wednesday

How Much Time is There?

My momma loved to watch the TV show Everybody Loves Raymond. There aren’t many shows that she enjoyed that I can watch these days. Most of them make me sad because it reminds me how much I miss her laugh.

The other night, my aunt and uncle were in town so I spent the evening with them at my dad’s house. When I got there, the TV was on and back-to-back episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond was on while we chatted about life, family history, and various and sundry other topics.

At one point the dialog caught my attention. I’m not sure exactly what was going on or even who said the words, but I heard this…

“I always thought there’d be more time.”

“How much time is there?”

That’s the question of the ages. How much time is there? None of us knows the number of our days.

Still we humans put off for tomorrow all the time. We keep the good china in the closet until that special dinner. We dream of traveling to exotic locales, but put it off until we retire, or have more money, or fit better in a bikini. We hold our love inside because we’re afraid of being hurt. We hold back because we thought there’d be more time.

How much time is there?

Only God knows the answer to that.

All we’re sure of is today. So, use the good china on a week night just because it’s Wednesday. Travel even if it’s just to another part of your state. Love completely because broken hearts heal, but losing someone without them knowing how much they mean to you is irreparable.

How much time is there?

Never enough. Don’t let it go to waste.

 

 

Time Flies

Excuses, Excuses

So, it’s been a little crazy lately with family in town. I planned to work on a story on my day off yesterday, but I came down with something and spent most of the day sleeping. I’ve been trying to get ahead on some stories so this doesn’t happen, but I just don’t have anything but sorry excuses today.

Instead of words, I invite you to enjoy this picture worth a thousand words…

 

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Elisabeth Elliott

Yesterday morning a great lady passed through the gates of splendor to spend eternity with her Savior. Elisabeth Elliot inspired thousands of Christian women in her lifetime.

From everything I’ve read about her, she was an unassuming woman. Her desire was to love the Lord and love people, and she spent a decades doing just that.

Perhaps the greatest thing the world can learn from Elisabeth’s life is the power of forgiveness. Her first husband, Jim, and five other missionaries were brutally murdered at the hands of the Ecuadoran Indians that they were trying to help. As a young widow, Elisabeth returned to Ecuador and became friends with two of the women from the tribe. Despite her loss, Elisabeth forgave those women and loved them. She knew that those Indians needed Jesus just as much as she did, and she wasn’t willing to stop until they’d heard the truth of the Gospel.

Hearing of her death left me with an empty spot in my heart. I didn’t know her in real life, but I knew her through her writings. The world is definitely less for the loss of Elisabeth.

 

“The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman.”

Elisabeth Elliot

1926-2015

Moms Irises

 

What I Remembered this Week

Life is sometimes, well, often, hard. Nothing new there. I’m sure you all know that by now.

Yeah, I know, but I’ve been pondering this recently. Okay, so I ponder it a lot. Deep down a part of me really thinks that it should be easy. I’ve had enough hard. I’ve paid my dues. Isn’t it time for easy!?!

The logical side of me knows that there’s no such thing as paying enough dues to have it easy for the rest of my life. That side also understands that some people’s lives would make mine seem like a walk in the park. In the grand scheme of things, I have no right to complain.

Still there are times when the car needs expensive repair work and the faucet is leaking and that cranky woman ran over my toe with her grocery cart and traffic is backed up to there and oh, yeah, I need a root canal.

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Want to know what I do when I have weeks like that?

I whine. I tell God and anyone who will listen how unfair it is. Sometimes I even cry into my pillow at night.

This week in the midst of my self-righteous rant about the unfairness of life, I remembered that God didn’t promise it would be easy. He promised eternity with Him would be easy. That’s my reward for trusting Him through anything this life throws at me.

And I remembered that my strength isn’t enough, it’s God’s strength that builds me up. It’s there. I just need to ask for it.

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. ~1 Samuel 22:33