Sunday, August 3, 2014

Ordinary Lives

Well, the rest continues. I think this dreary weather and my weary body have been ordained. When Katie was born, the doctor ordered me not to drive for two weeks. One of the rainiest seasons in June ensued as if to keep me down, to love and bond with my baby girl. I had anemia, too, from loss of blood during delivery, so I needed the rest.
Rest is hard to take up at times. I see so much I should be doing, but have no energy. One more day of lazing should get me back in the fray. Yet, I also think recreation renews energy more. I can't seem to recreate.
I read. I watched movies. Wrote a little. Walked around downtown Sharon a bit Friday afternoon, but shops closed shortly after we got there. Humidity drained us. I watched a movie, instead of sitting with the mosquitoes. I want to camp, but don't have the reserves to prepare. I feel woe is me and I bet you are, too.
I really want to write about why I write about people of faith. I enjoy reading stories, watching movies, but I always think, what if these characters believed in God, what if they were Jesus followers? Why can't we see them going to church on Sunday mornings, instead of working in gardens, preparing wonderful breakfasts, having crisis? I feel really sad when a character I've come to love, doesn't even believe in God.
I write characters that believe in God, follow Jesus, eventually, sometimes. Because I know not all will answer the Call. I don't want it to be a pat thing. And following Jesus does not keep troubles away. I seem to struggle more each day. I think that is why I want to write about followers to encourage those who also follow. I am not looking for resolutions where even the chicken becomes saved at the end of the novel. Or a chicken in every pot.
Which leads me to the new song we've been singing in church by Casting Crowns, Thrive.
What are ordinary lives? I understand the concept, but sometimes I wonder are we pushing an Americanized version of Christianity? I hear that phrase and think of my brothers and sisters in third world countries, who only have Jesus. The dreams of a better life here on earth can't take root. They are persecuted for their beliefs, sometimes placed in prison. Or grinding poverty fills their days. They may live with a page of the Bible, only. Or they can't even read.
One morning, as I strided into church, that song played. "More than ordinary lives," as I stand next to a woman whose month old niece died that week, the man playing guitar with an accidental trauma, and my own troubles as I drive alone to church. How many more hurts? What does ordinary mean? Maybe I want ordinary? Our American view of a non-ordinary life comprises a painless success, a mansion, two cars or three in an immaculate garage, great clothes that fit a fantastically tanned body. Is that what this means when it declares we were made for more than ordinary lives?
What do I want? Living for Jesus is definitely more than ordinary. Prayers answered for what purpose? Everything glorifies God. American success is not the life we should want as Christ followers. Maybe that is the ordinary life, success without the turmoil of living for Jesus. We are made for more than that.
I desire to write characters to cheer on those wanting more than ordinary lives. I write characters in lives focused on Jesus for an adventure. What is that adventure? Adventure is not problem free. Adventure does not mean earthly riches or a life of ease. That may be the ordinary life.
Do I want to be pigeon holed as just a Christian writer? No. Can I write stories like the book and movies I watched this weekend that have no Jesus in them? No. Do I enjoy them? Yes. But I think the Christian life can add so much more. Am I writing for just Christians? I hope not, but my Christian faith influences my writing. Do I offend? Maybe. One lady told me at first she felt offended reading Summer Triangle, but it made her think, in fact she couldn't stop thinking about what she would do. I told her, I'm not even sure what I would have done. Main Street may be more preachy than something I'm writing today, but I still admire Martha. I hope her struggle to understand the Christian life helps someone.
These questions nagged at me lately on my quest for success with my writing. I desire to make money so I can write full time without feeling exhausted from the afternoon job. I also know, I have not hit the lotto, nor do I really want to be that successful that quickly. I ponder if I have been too focused on the publicity side of writing. Looking deep down, am I a people pleaser that will compromise? I hope not. And I am striving to live all of Philippians chapter four, to be content in all circumstances, where the strength of Jesus boosts me.
I look to the Lord to continue to help me with the direction of my novels. I am stand in awe how little things help. The constant observation God uses. An open heart is what He requires. I guess we were made for more than ordinary lives.

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