Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Arise. Shine.--Cindy Blomquist

I am not a teacher, but an awakener.
~ Robert Frost

I want to awaken you to the possibility of writing a tidbit of your story in the form of a spiritual essay. By me asking the question, "What is the Lord doing in your life?", how would you answer, in a written piece, consisting of:

  • a stunning first sentence,
  • a paragraph setting up your life (Act 1),
  • an inciting incident (God's shining principle vs. your dull reality),
  • the body that unfolds your struggle (Act 2),
  • the climax (your spiritual breakthrough/transformation), and
  • the final paragraph (Act 3), elegantly crafted that does not end with " and as you can see, 'all things work together for the good.'"

The challenge of the spiritual essay is trying to convey your story so effectively that you don't even have to quote Scripture. Jesus told spiritual stories by way of parables (sans Biblical references). Am I saying don't quote the Bible? No. But what I'm trying to get across is let your story speak for itself--the unfolding of events, your honest stirrings. You have to trust that if Christ is living in you, then He will most certainly come across in how you live out your story. That's how you capture the essence of "what is the Lord doing in your life?" on the page.

Be believable. Wrestle with God...in front of all to see. Once you commit to writing your story, commit also to telling the truth/Truth. Avoid the tendency to "preach" at your readers. If you want to convey a story of trusting in the Lord, just tell the story. Let your audience draw their own conclusions. Nothing is more satisfying than being moved, on my own, by a spiritual story. I love it when I can see the Truth too.

So, wake up! Tell your story; that is my hope with writing these four posts. Know what you are going to say. Plot out how you are going to say it. Draw us in with a captivating first sentence and then release us with great care with your last. Be honest. Be believable. And believe that your story, as simple as it may seem, has power to impact others. As the writer Flannery O'Connor said, "When the book leaves your hands, it belongs to God."


Linda said...

Great stuff--bravo! That quote is powerful, too: "When the book leaves your hands, it belongs to God."

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't age equal wisdom? As a missionary with limited funds, I'm always looking for ways to make or save money. I recently went on a support raising trip and thought I had met the man God wanted for me. He was a widower, very involved in his church, and seemed to like me! What great timing! Did God arrange for that someone who was comfortable financially, owned his own home and didn't live a million miles away, to fall in love with me? Hello! Wake up! Reality Check! I was so in the river in Egypt (De Nile). I had been alone over 20 years. Trying to see him through God's eyes, I ignored the subtle quips he would make about my weight. I would overlook his diatribes on topics he wanted to tell me about while never listening to me. After six weeks of trying to force conversation and thinking he was THE man from God for me, I cut him loose. I'd rather keep trying to raise financial support than be supported by someone who didn't respect me.


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