Monday, January 09, 2017

What is Your Word of the Year?



For a number of years now, I have selected a word for the year as a theme. This year, I was delayed in settling on a word. Evidently I'm not alone. I have talked to several friends who said they didn't have their word of the year by January 1.

After much deliberation, my word for 2017 is grace.

"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9
 
Pastor James McDonald says:

"You never really experience the grace unless you see the need for it—and even that realization comes by grace. The power of Jesus' grace is not fully seen until weakness is fully acknowledged. The moment you are overwhelmed with your absolute helplessness is the moment you are ready to hear Jesus say, I’m all the grace you need."

Without God we'd all be sunk, in general. But there are times in your life where you desperately need something from God in increasing measure. I desperately need more grace for the days ahead and I know there is more for me.

One of my grandmother's favorite songs was, "A Very Special Grace." She listened to a recording of Pastor Dan Betzer singing it over and over again. I learned the song through being in her home and hearing it so many times.

A very special grace in times of trouble.
A very special grace, to see me through.
A very special grace, to heal my heartaches.
Now Jesus wants to give, that special grace to you.

I am thankful for His grace and have a lot of it on special order for 2017.

Grace, grace, grace, Lord.

Now, what is your word for the year?  It's not too late to choose one.


Tuesday, January 03, 2017

When You Write Something and Experience Loss as a Result



Writing about some things can cause you to lose everything, or nearly everything.

I've written a lot, and I've lost a lot.

I've also gained.

But the losses tend to stick in your mind more with anything. So we avoid loss if possible. It's called "loss aversion" and it's real.

Reading about some issues is rare simply because people are scared out of their mind about what will happen if they write openly about it. If you dare to write about some challenges in a public setting, the consequences can include loss of relationships, job, income, and a lot more.

I'm going through a challenge at this time in my life that is quite common. Although it is normal, I hear it is one of life's greatest challenges. Due to not wanting to experience further loss that what I'm already experiencing, I'm not going to share what the issue is. But I will say this. I've combed through Amazon to find even one book about it. I have surfed the internet. And there is not one book about it. Not ONE! At least that I can find, and I'm a pretty good searcher. Meanwhile, millions of people are trying to navigate the same thing I am.

How could this be?  How can millions of people struggle with something that not one person is writing about? And so I asked my wonderful assistant Erika who is also a friend I confide in, "Why is nobody writing on this? Is it not a need? Am I alone?" She responded that it's a huge need but nobody wants to write about it because they don't want to lose more than they are already losing. And she said I could probably write a bang up book about it and get a ton of readers, but also agreed -- I'd lose big time. Neither of us felt the loss was a good idea. So...

On some subjects I've written about I've "taken one for the team" so to speak and been the person who braved the inevitable loss enough to help other people. I gained a lot in catharsis and readers, and yet the losses were so painful.

I don't believe any writer is called to lose everything over and over and over again. You have to choose carefully what you risk everything for.  I've taken risks to write and I'll do it again. Just not about every subject that comes along. But here's what I want to say about this today... 

When writers take a leap of courage to write on any sensitive subject, we need to appreciate them. When a writer takes one for the team, those whose lives are changed by their writing are one of the main rewards for all the loss they inevitably face. Not the only one - but one of the biggest. So when someone writes about something that requires tremendous bravery, let them know what a difference it has made for you.

Somewhere, there is a woman at her computer right now daring to write her story about going through and overcoming the current struggle I am also facing.

She is weighing the consequences.

She desperately wants to help people.

And yet she fears the aftermath.

She is in the process of making the choice to press forward to write about it.

I can't wait to read her book.

And, I am eager to write my letter of thanks.

I hope my note of appreciation for her taking the hit for all of us who need her words will be just one reason she smiles and says, "it was worth it."





 Photo credit: Deanna Shrodes, taken at the Hemingway House in Key West. In Hemingway's writing studio.