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Posts Tagged ‘church’

I’ve been blessed with an abundance of gifts. Creativity and a general intelligence have led me to excel in writing and music and speaking and business and oh so much more. I’ve always felt a little guilty for those gifts because I can’t possibly put them all to use at the same time. I feel the pressure every day to pour myself out and, even when I do, I still have a talent or two that didn’t get used. By not using my gifts I assumed I was putting them on the shelf to accumulate dust or being the man who received one talent and buried it (see Matthew 25:14-30) instead of doing something useful that would earn his master interest. But I’m wondering now if I’ve been looking at things upside-down.

For the last fifteen months music, in the form of worship leading, has taken precedence over writing (as evidenced by the postponed release of Rise of the Dark Sprite). Five weeks ago, I set down the guitar. I’ve set down a lot of things lately–but more on that another time.

It was a hard decision, perhaps one of the hardest of my life. Worship leading fulfilled so many parts of me, satisfying deep needs to minister to others and to celebrate the goodness of God. I miss it profoundly. In the five weeks since I said goodbye to my church I haven’t touched my guitar, either out of a deep sadness or a perpetual busyness. Probably a combination of the two. And, yes, I have been feeling a little guilty for not sharing my gifts as a musician and worship leader with a church who needs it.

But then I got to thinking…

What if my talents are like a deck-building game? Bear with me here. We’re nerds in this family. We save the world from super-villains over the holidays; hit every premiere weekend for Marvel movies; own the extended version of anything involving Middle Earth; and planned our vacation around seeing the new Star Wars move in IMAX. So it should come as no surprise to you that we delved right into a deck-building game based on The Fellowship of the Ring. The purpose of the game is to buy cards, worth abilities and victory points, that then go into your deck. Each round you deal yourself five cards, use them, and put them away to be re-dealt later. One round I’ll be wielding Legolas Greenleaf’s bow like a young Katniss Everdeen and the next I’ll have moved into defensive position with Boromir’s shield. I get five, usually awesome, cards per turn and it is up to me to put them to good use.

Now, back to my point. Perhaps my life is like a deck of cards. Each year I add a few new weapons to my arsenal (maybe a new passion for the banjo–that would be cool), and deal myself out a hand of talents. In 2015, the focus was worship leading and a new job. In 2016, I hope my focus will be writing and healing (surprise, surprise, when you have Lyme’s disease apparently you can’t work 80 hours a week). It’s not that I’m letting my God-given talent for song-writing and worship leading go to waste this year. It’s that He has handed me different cards. If I put them to waste, shame on me. But if I spend 2016 playing a great game with Legolas’ bow and choose not to pine for Boromir’s shield, then I think I will have done well.

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Well, folks, it happened. The well of creativity overflowed. I’ve spent sleepless nights and groggy days in a state of writing bliss. I admit that while I was blogging about the certainty of eventual inspiration for my climax, I felt anything but certain. But it worked. My crazy, weird routine worked.

Talking with a fellow creative after church this morning, I found support for the need to throw out the rule book. But I liked his point. That we have to understand the rules’ purpose and give them a fair shot before we put them in the trash bin. If I needed confirmation that the Jessie Mae Writing Guidebook (I like that name better. I’m renaming it.) should find its way to the blogosphere, I have it.

But let’s backtrack a little. To Topsfield Maine, where I spent Thursday evening through Saturday. It houses the family farm, an hour north of Lincoln–a town whose recent addition of a Dunkin’ Donuts closes at the same time as its Walmart: 9:00 PM. Sharp.

Bye, bye civilization. But the stillness; the lack of wifi; and the nearness of the coffee pot… it was all what I needed to make my final push. My parents, my wonderful parents, asked me to do absolutely nothing the whole time. They brought me coffee and listened to my weird music and didn’t try suggesting I should sleep. My brother–who came up with his kids on Saturday–encouraged me just as fiercely. Each felt the surge of writing in me and respected it. I adore them all.

And so, a dozen cups of coffee and twenty thousand words later (I’m already fifteen thousand words over my hopeful end point), I find myself a mere few chapters from finishing. Will it happen today? I left my sister/her baby and even forewent my nephew’s second seventh birthday party (the second round of celebrating year 7) in the hopes that I will, indeed, finish. I claimed a table at Starbucks, bought some iced coffee, and plugged in The Piano Guys. Because this is routine and, if the last twenty thousand words have showed me anything, it is that the method in my madness works.

So let’s hope I finish soon, because you–and all my friends and family–probably won’t hear from me again until I do.

Blog Bonus Feature: My virtual notebook is chocked full of character facts and plot problems. It keeps me organized. Good solutions will earn a happy face. Bad solutions are getting a frowny face today.

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