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.

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!

FRIDAYfreewrite

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

FRIDAYfreewrite

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!

How a pearl and perfume have challenged me

Since 2014 started, I’ve been reading through a new One Year Bible. Every day, it goes chronologically through a passage from the Old Testament, a passage from the New Testament, a passage from Psalms, and one from Proverbs. It has been rocking my world. Seeing the whole narrative of the Bible woven together throughout different books and passages that usually aren’t read in sequence like that has been opening my eyes to the most beautiful, powerful truths of Scripture.

pearl and perfume

So– A pearl. Perfume. Beautiful things, and things I never thought would challenge me in my life today.

In Matthew 13, Jesus tells a few parables about the worth of heaven and the kingdom of God. Here’s a few verses to give you context.

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field. Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!”

In Matthew 25, another story is told.

While he (Jesus) was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume and poured it over his head. The disciples were indignant when they saw this. “What a waste!” they said. “It could have been sold for a high price and the money could have been given to the poor.” But Jesus, aware of this, replied, “Why criticize this woman for doing such a good thing to me?”

So it’s been a few months now since graduation, and let me just let you know, I haven’t accumulated any great amount of wealth in that time. I’m really making not a lot of money at all. But my life has become so deeply rich, because I’m spending my days living out my passions and my calling. After graduating and entering the real world, so much of life becomes about who you are and what you have to offer the world and what you’re going to do about it.

In both of these passages, the man and the woman found and had something of incredible worth. In these stories, they gave up everything they had and owned for the sake of the Kingdom and the Lord. The man sold everything he owned to have that pearl of great value. The woman poured out this incredible jar of expensive perfume onto the head of Jesus just to show her adoration and her worship of him as he was preparing to die and be buried.

As a post-grad twentysomething, the only real thing of worth I possessed was my talents and abilities. And after reading these two stories, I’m reminded and challenged to be more like those two people. I want to be ready and willing to sacrifice everything I own and everything I have and everything I am to gain the Kingdom of Heaven like the man did for the pearl of great value and worth.

I want to pour out everything beautiful that I have just to show my love for my Savior. 

That woman knew that the Lord was about to do an incredible thing, and she beautifully and wholly and even literally poured out all she had just to give him her very best. What an act of love and worship and selflessness. She could have sold that perfume for great riches like the disciples said. The man searching in that field had possessions and things that belonged to him that I’m sure he liked having, but he sold them all just to get that pearl.

For both of them, there was something worth giving everything up for. There was the Kingdom of Heaven. There was Jesus.

I want to be more like them. I want to pour out my talents, my passions, my possessions, my time, my energy, my love, all that I have and am for the glory of the Lord and the Kingdom here on earth and in heaven. I want to give everything up for Him in response to how He gave all He was for me first.

Buy Art and Rewrite a Story

FINAL_AFO_BANNER_FB_city2

You, yes you, can help save an orphan’s life. And, to make it even cooler (as if there could even be anything cooler than rewriting the story of an orphan), you can get awesome art as well.

How? Here’s how.

We over at Rethink are proud to announce a new initiative called Art For Orphans, which we officially launched TODAY!

We are selling digital and physical art from artists all over the country (who graciously donated their work) with 1 goal in mind—rewrite an orphan’s story. All proceeds (yes, literally all of them) will be going to aid orphans in Zambia through our friend Katy and her organization, Family Legacy.

Our hope is to raise more than $10,000 over the next few months to help orphans a world away. You can help us get there. You can find out more about Family Legacy by watching this video.

I encourage you to consider buying art from our site afo.rethinkcreative.org. One, because it’s awesome artwork, and two, because these orphans are beautiful and incredible, and you can rewrite their story to be one full of hope and life and love, and that’s priceless.

If you don’t want to buy art (that’s okay, not everyone is an art-obsessed person like me), or maybe you do, and you want to do even more than that, here is what we would love.

Help us spread the word.

We are tweeting out all this week about Art For Orphans using #afo.

Join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest—anywhere you connect with others help us get the word out!

If you are looking for something to say, here are a few ideas:

  • Tweet this or post it to your Facebook or text it to everyone you know: Check out a new initiative from @Rethinkcreate to save orphans by selling art afo.rethinkcreative.org #afo
  • Or maybe you would rather say this: Hey friends! @Rethinkcreate is inviting everyone to make their lives more beautiful AND save orphans. afo.rethinkcreative.org #afo
  • Or even this! Want to change the world today? @Rethinkcreate is giving you the opportunity afo.rethinkcreative.org #afo 
  • One more! Buy art and rewrite an orphans story @Rethinkcreate afo.rethinkcreative.org #afo

I (and all of us at Rethink) are so deeply thankful for your support, and are so excited about this opportunity we have to change the world, one orphan’s story at a time. Please be praying for this initiative and the lives we can reach and for the Kingdom to come in a mighty, beautiful way through this.