Tiny Distractions and Silent Vows

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“Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead.” 

– C.S. Lewis

These emails have been going out every Monday for more than four years now. I think I’ve missed a Monday or two, but a recurring theme has been getting past the common barriers to live the higher purpose.

DSC_0031Because Mondays come, of course.

So how are you doing at living out of your core commitment these days?

On Thursday, I drove the 30 minutes to downtown Portland to speak about writing for freedom at the monthly meeting of the Faith & Culture Writers Conference. I love the mission of the group: “inspiring writers to impact culture.” It’s a big vision. A big mission. But as I told them, sometimes I think to get big, first we have to drill down.

To one simple thing.

Our impact on culture will happen through a small, simple decision. This tiny commitment that eventually becomes a deep conviction, this is the silent vow we make to ourselves that determines who we’ll be. Whether we’ll be a good person, a good spouse, parent or friend who supports others in need.

Before we can be good writers, this silent vow must decide how our faith gets lived out. This is what will make us good writers.

It’s not incidental.

DSC_0025Because your identity as a writer and artist is based in these other roles: Spouse. Parent. Son, daughter. Leader, worker, confidant.

And all of those are founded on one unshakable identity—the one set in Christ. Ultimately, there’s nowhere else to find who we are or what our impact will be. That core is where freedom is found.

At least, we strive to remember this, to live it and share it.

And at times, Christ-followers who have been saved into this grand unfolding belief can begin to see everything flowing from that secure base, from HIM.

But this guy I know, he gets scared. He gets distracted.

DSC_0016The world twists him up. And his deepest identity can become completely foreign. He wonders if he’s really totally redeemed, or if he’s just another unimportant sinner of the sick world.

This is the challenge every day. But sometimes he doesn’t even realize it. He’s stuck in fear and distraction and doesn’t even know it.

And fear of the bigness of his tasks and forgetting to give all his worry and pain over to God, it can blind him, impair his work. And soon, the larger impact is forfeit.

Such a little thing; a tiny crack in an invisible vow.

To be effective writers of faith,

to reach the culture we’re called to help,

it means we have to slow down,

and more often than we’d like to admit,

get quiet again, and take note of the tiny distractions.

DSC_0010Writing and living for God require a commitment to our core identity. Our struggles all come from these seemingly-small challenges to our deepest beliefs. And all higher purpose writers and artists must learn to take them seriously to defeat them in becoming who we were meant to me.

If we only realized that’s what every Cross-seeking artist goes through on the way to freedom. This is just how it works.

Becoming who we are is the goal of it all. It’s what writing and living is for. Many writers far greater than I have talked about this. The goal of all art is this kind of freedom.

You are finding it just by showing up and keeping committed to your call despite the constant assault of fear and distraction. And I’m grateful to get to be here, to be allowed into your life,

to have some of your most precious commodity,

to talk to you about this.

We’ve got to take on the tiny distractions,

to make a difference in our culture.

DSC_0018We’ve got to learn to hold to our simple vows,

rest in the midst of difficulty,

peace in the complex challenges that stretch us.

And we’ve got to hold fast our root of Christ,

To continue in the daily work.

“Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”  

– C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

For the higher purpose,

Mick    

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7 thoughts on “Tiny Distractions and Silent Vows”

  1. This comes at perfect timing as I face a Monday where I must rest and set aside distractions for all the reasons you mentioned. I’ve been overwhelming with life and distractions so much lately I don’t even feel like myself. And I know my writing and the higher purpose behind it is suffering. Thank you.

    1. Excellent! I love when God does that. Praying you find you groove again, Roanne.

  2. I’ve just spent probably an hour and a half on this. A big chunk of time was spent taking notes on Brenee’s talk–much of which I’ve already read/heard on the audible versions of her books. It will show up as a blog, a professional presentation on Shame and Grace which I have been mulling over for a couple of years, and/or one of the pages on my (pending) web site–or maybe I’ll just footnote what you have to say :-).
    Brenee is very valuable, even necessary in changing one’s focus and self-talk. I’ve taught some of her techniques. But you nailed it by pointing out that we not only must be intimate with our fellow-travelers, and those who have yet to become fellow-travelers on this “Christian” road, but also, most importantly, we must persevere in the struggle to be intimate with Him, and to follow.
    Brenee–good, techniques invaluable, but also insufficient.
    Ultimately, our sufficiency is in Him.
    Mick, you nailed it, conceptually, and made it in-spire us by doing what you tell us to do.
    Wow.

    1. Kathleen, thank you for seeing all that and sharing it so freely–I’m grateful for your eyes and your words so often. You build up and you make the connections so few are willing or free enough to see. That speaks to the hard-won freedom you’ve found and the commitment you’ve made to get there.

      Praying for your continued stamina and clarity in the journey to ALL of who you were meant to be in Him.

  3. “…keeping committed to your call despite the constant assault of fear and distraction.” Extremely hard to do! And fear and distraction do assault us don’t they? Mean and annoying buggers.

    1. So which is needed more, persistence or patience? Kind of hard to have one without the other, amiright? :)

      That balance of persistent patience is a tough one. Kind of like staying playful in the seriousness of the work. Taking it seriously, but not taking your problems and struggles so seriously you don’t see how everyone struggles and it’s just par for the course. It’s such a breath of freedom to realize we’re just going through what any cross-seeking artist has to. And to see that just on the other side of this challenge, we’ll have gained the ability to balance and maintain that to pour into the people in our lives and through our art.

      How exciting is that?

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