Friday Freewrite: This passion in me.

If you have no idea what this whole “Friday freewrite” deal is, read this post. And then come back here, and read on. If you want, you can even join in, too. Happy Friday!

FRIDAYfreewriteIt’s only been recently that I’ve really gripped onto the idea that I am a creative, that I am a writer, that this is my craft and my art and the thing that I do. I always knew I loved it, but I never really grasped that it defined me and shaped me. It does. It molds the shape of my heart and puts a rhythm to its every beat. It nudges my thoughts into a coursing current of words and phrases and potential blog post titles and rhyming couplets and rambling lyrics. These definitions, these titles of creative and writer, they cultivate in me this thing that I can’t quite wrangle into words. It’s this thing of eyes always open, ears always listening, hand always aching to write, heart always yearning to find meaning. It’s this thing of comparison that sometimes stifles every word that might have come from me. It’s this thing of freedom that liberates my soul to share and open and surrender. It’s this thing of doubt that stampedes over my thoughts with one mighty one: you aren’t good enough for this. It’s this thing of joy that I can’t contain, this thing of intimacy with the most glorious Creator, this thing of purpose and plans and potential. There’s this thing in me, this beast, this passion. It’s my calling, I’m sure of that. It’s at times my burden. It’s at times my very breath and life. There are times where it pushes me into a dark corner, into what feels like a dead end, a place where no words come and no light is in my eyes and nothing flows from my pen. Those times are rich, even when they feel desolate. They cultivate in me a deeply rooted understanding that this is a gift, and it’s not of my own creation. This isn’t of myself. These words may come out of my mouth, but they aren’t my words. They can come and they can go. They are the words of the Author of all, and I’m merely a tool He sometimes uses to craft them and send them out. When the words come, when the ideas flow, when I sail on a breeze, light and free and full of something to offer, I celebrate. When the words are hiding, when my brain is murky, when I battle with the beast of my passion, I still celebrate. I’m a creative. I’m a writer. I’ve been made who I am for His glory alone, come what may.

#EndItMovement and What Comes Next

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27 million.

That’s how many men, women and children are in slavery. Right now.

Can you picture what 27 million of anything looks like?

Only 2.1 million people fit tightly squeezed on the National Mall in DC. So fill that up with people 13 times, and you have 27 million.

Only 8 million or so people live in the entire state of Virginia. So three times the entire population, and you have 27 million.

The Georgia Dome (and the place where the #enditmovement launched at Passion) only holds 71,000. Fill the dome up 380 times, and you have 27 million.

Can you wrap your head around those numbers? Can you fathom that slavery exists today, in 2014, to that magnitude? If you can, or even if you can’t, can you stomach that? Can you be okay with that?

I can’t. I want it ended. I want my generation to be the one that ends slavery.

Today, February 27, red Xs are on the hands of thousands of people around the world. It’s a sign that we are in it to end it. But it isn’t enough.

#enditmovement is trending on Twitter in the United States. But that isn’t enough.

Freedom fighters and IJM and other justice initiatives are standing up and raising awareness and dedicating their work to breaking chains and bringing freedom, but it isn’t enough.

A Twitter trend and a red X on your hand and a hashtag alone won’t save 27 million people from bondage.

But Jesus can. And Jesus will. And He needs us, all of us. Our hands, our hearts, our resources, our passions, our creativity, our prayer.

Together, with the Prince of Peace and Redeemer of the Universe, with all believers and brothers and sisters and humans on this earth, we can end it.

It’s more than a trendy cause. It’s more than that #enditmovement hashtag. We can’t sit back after sending out a tweet and just hope it ends itself. We need to join in. We need to fight the good fight.

I believe God’s heart is for justice. I believe His heart is for mercy. I believe He wants to hold his beloved children close, free from bondage and free from chains and free from slavery. And I believe we, as His people, are His hands and His feet and the ones on this earth to bring His kingdom to every end of it. May today be a day of awareness, but may it be more than that. May this be a launchpad for a generation of freedom fighters committed to doing whatever it takes to end it. May this be the start of the end. May this be a day where we unite and open eyes and hearts around the world, and may it be a day of momentum pushing us forward to end slavery once and for all.

I’m in it to end it. Are you? learn more here

The first Friday freewrite: Bare but beautiful

If you have no idea what this whole “Friday freewrite” deal is, read this post. And then come back here, and read on. If you want, you can even join in, too. Happy Friday!

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Driving home a few nights ago as the sun was fading out of the sky, I was in awe of the stark beauty of winter trees against the streaky, watercolor sunset. When the sun is almost out of sight and the clouds are illuminated with colors so vibrant and rich, the silhouette of the trees is bold and beautiful. The branches are bare, no leaves to hide the setting sun from view, just dark shoots of wood in harsh lines against the soft sky.

We are those trees. There are seasons of our lives where we are barren. We feel stripped of the things that make us beautiful. We feel dead, naked, exposed, far from our fullest potential.

But it isn’t about us. It’s about the radiant, glorious Light of all the world. It’s about not just the sun, but the Son of our living God. And when are lives are seen up against His, it isn’t the nakedness and the bareness of our lives that stands out, it’s the radiance of His shining through us. It’s a season where we feel like we aren’t offering the world much, we aren’t bearing fruit, we aren’t seeing the growth, but He is using those times when there is less in the way competing for His attention, and He is shining unbelievably through us. Can you picture that?

It’s not about us. It’s not about our best efforts and our best fruit and our best seasons of growth. Those make us who we are, yes. But our life has always come from the Son, like a tree’s life has always come from the bright and shining sun. Our growth has always come from taking root in Him. Our beauty has always come from His beauty radiating out of our souls. Our light has always been a tiny flicker of His mighty fire.

Our dead branches stand out in stark contrast against His beauty, His glory, His perfection. But that contrast is what makes us human, what makes Him divinity. We are His, and He makes us glorious when He shines through us, even in our seasons of winter.

Introducing: Friday freewrite

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Loyal friends and followers, and anyone else stumbling on to this blog, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. You ready? Here it is: my life is very busy. It’s not an excuse, I don’t want to be consumed by it, and I’m not glorifying it. What I doing, however, is giving myself a little room for grace, and a little room to grow.

Thus, the “Friday freewrite” was born. Every Friday, I’ll post a blog aptly named “Friday freewrite”, and it will be the result of a fifteen minute (no more no less) outpouring of all the chaos and art in my head into a post. No edits, no revisions, no thinking, just writing. It may be awesome, it may be awful, it may make no sense. But every Friday, it will come. It’s my hope that this practice will help challenge me, will help lighten the burdens of perfection that I too often carry, and will help empower me to say what’s on my heart, nothing held back.

It’s also my hope that you’ll join in. If you’re a blogger and you know what it’s like to carry a mix of tangled blog ideas in your brain at all times, let’s do this together. Friday freewrite will be more fun with friends!

Steal my images, plop them on your post, give me a shout, and let me know you’re in. Let’s freewrite on Fridays. Let’s be genuine, let’s pour our words out with no hesitation and just see what comes.

See you on Friday!

I’m not a soggy veggie wrap, but thanks, Buzzfeed

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Social media has become flooded lately with results of personality quizzes and Buzzfeed quizzes and the like. They’re everywhere. Nobody is immune to them! My parents and even my older relatives have shared results on their newsfeeds.

We have become obsessed.

I’m one of them, don’t get me wrong. I was curious as to what type of dinosaur I would be (the results: triceratops, “one of the last standing dinosaurs in history, probably because you don’t take crap from anybody”) and what kind of sandwich I would be (a soggy veggie wrap– “your life is a weird tortilla filled with unripe tomato chunks and really terrible hummus”…what does that even mean?), among others.

Why, though? Why do we care so much about what those quizzes will say? Do we really think ten questions about silly little details and preferences will lead to a result that is true and accurate? Apparently we think they’re worth taking, and it’s such a strange phenomenon.

Here’s the truth of the matter: a Buzzfeed quiz won’t tell you who you really are.

Plain and simple. Would you even want it to, really?

I’m not satisfied thinking of myself as a triceratops. I’m not going to move to Washington state because Buzzfeed tells me that’s where I belong. I’m not going to get a typography tattoo because that’s the best kind of tattoo for me. My dad’s results said he should get sleeves, which I encouraged purely because that’s hilarious and not at all like him in real life.

That’s the point really, these quizzes aren’t real life. They aren’t speaking truth (at least not meaningful and worthwhile truth). They aren’t really getting to the core of who we are.

I think we like that ten questions or less leads us to a comical, quirky nugget of a definition that we can hold on to. It gives us something to label ourselves with, even if in just a fleeting way of sharing it on Facebook. Really, truly trying to discover ourselves and our truest identities would take more than ten questions. It would take hard questions. Gut wrenching, palms sweating, stay up all night wrestling kinds of questions.

 

Discovering who we really are would take more than just a quick quiz, it would take earnest, challenging, time-consuming soul-searching.

 

Are you ready for that? (Insert Buzzfeed quiz here to find out if you are.)

Got any hilarious or bizarre quiz results to share? Give me the best you’ve heard in the comments below!