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Posts Tagged ‘trust’

I suppose it is high time I return to the ‘Writing Central’ folder of this blog and give some practical tips for my fellow writers out there. The lesson for today (one that you and I could both stand to learn/re-learn): the way you phrase and punctuate your writing can drastically effect how your characters are viewed.

Example #1:

A: “We found nothing,” she figured.

B: “We found nothing?” she asked.

Not only is the intonation different, we find ourselves looking at two different emotions and circumstances. 1A  is more confident and assured. Probably, she does not rely upon the person to whom she is speaking. 1B is likely more willing to admit lack of knowledge, more likely to ask for help, and less likely to be the alpha of the group. I should note that the same character might use 1A with one character (someone she considers herself superior to, for example, or to whom she is trying to prove herself) and 1B with another character (someone she trusts, respects, and/or looks up to).

Example #2:

A: “We never should have split up,” he thought.

B: “We should have stuck together,” he thought.

Grammatically, they boil down to the same meaning. But, in the minds of your readers, 2A and 2B subtly display whole different personas. 2A shows more nervousness and regret than 2B. Furthermore, 2B displays a sudden certainty, while 2A focuses on a sudden dread.

All in all, you might find these little changes almost unnoticeable as you write. You may they think are not worth the time to consider. But your reader will pick up on the clues you give them. So every comma, exclamation point, period, and question mark counts. The way you put your sentences together really does matter. So join me in carving out the time to think things through–be it as you free-write or as you edit.

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I was reading about Joseph. Strangely enough it has been over a year since I read Genesis (after reading the Old Testament in a semester for school, I took a break and switched to the New Testament. Then I covered Psalms, Proverbs, and some of the Prophets. Now I am finally back to Genesis) so the stories are more fresh than they have been in a long time.

At some point while he was in slavery, Joseph was forced to choose: whether he would trust God had a plan despite the fact that his world was literally falling apart, or whether he would grow bitter for the things that had happened. Maybe we could justify Joseph being resentful and untrusting; but he wasn’t. His choice to throw his life into the hands of the Almighty shaped Joseph into the man that would save the world–literally.

And then I got thinking about Mary. The shame and rejection she must have borne; the questions and fear that must have plagued her. She carried the greatest Gift, yet her road would never be easy again. She had to make that same choice: to trust God or to run? (Note: when Jonah ran, it didn’t work out so well. Part of what I preach about when I go to youth groups is that yes, the road can be difficult when you are following God; but God’s plans are the best for us. He wants us to have the best life possible so following His plan is always better.)

As New Years rolls along, Americans everywhere think about what resolutions they will make. This requires a fair amount of reflection, and it’s easy to get lost in that reflection. We can begin to doubt whether God’s plan is really best for us–sometimes subconsciously, sometimes overtly. I definitely think that Joseph and Mary had to keep making that choice to trust again and again, but I do believe that there was a moment when they surrendered themselves–for better or worse–into the hand of God. We must do the same.

I talk about this a lot in the Xsardis Chronicles, and I sum it up with the word, ‘kiash’: a prayer for victory and an acceptance of the cost and the results, whatever they may be. Joseph and Mary’s roads were not easy or bump-free, but God was trustworthy for them. He was trustworthy for Jonah too, even though the prophet didn’t like it. Joseph and Mary’s decision to stand affected so many others. Just look at Christmas. Just look at the cross.

So, are you ready to stand?

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