Admire and Aspire

Dear Fellow Writers,

When I read your words I admire and aspire. I don’t cut down, tear apart, pick apart, or find fault. When I read your words, I pick out the best parts, the parts I like the most, and I let them call out the best parts in me.

When I find the rhythm to your work, I let it lull me, sing to me, draw me in. I admire the voice you’ve developed, I know that didn’t happen the first time your pen met the page. I aspire to practice as much and as hard as you do, so that my own narrative voice will be strong, independent, and yet connected to this community of folks. Folks who string word after word together to make a symphony of thoughts, ideas, imaginations, instructions.

Fellow Writer, I love what you do. I know what you do has helped me do what I do. I know your words have inspired me to put my words on paper. I don’t want to copy you, but I want to be just like you. I want to be brave enough to put my story out there for others to read and enjoy and learn from. I want to write novels that people can live in, if even for short time. I want to write books about how God moves in my life and the hope we have in Jesus.

Thank you for paving the way with your courage. Thank you for giving me something to read. I know you opened yourself up, poured yourself out, and wrote from your heart. I know it wasn’t easy. I know you’ve had doubters, complainers, naysayers, and critics. Thank you for pushing yourself forward anyway.

Until next time,

Words to Live By

To start the new year our pastor, Craig Groeschel, taught a message called Words to Live By (click here to go watch it). This message really impacted my thinking, and continues to do so today.

I have to admit that I often struggle with negative thinking. I am guilty of letting my imagination run away with me when I consider the worst situations. Craig challenged us to consider whether or not we were excited about the direction our thoughts were taking us.

I was not.

I was defeating myself every day before I even got out of bed – disqualifying my efforts, discounting my abilities, and dooming myself to things that I didn’t really want.

Craig said, “It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you think about what happens to you.”

This thought alone was convicting enough to rock my world. I was allowing a few of the things that happened to me the year before to dominate how I thought about everything. Those isolated events were beginning to define me, but the truth is, those events don’t define me. I realized, sitting there listening to Craig speak, I had a choice to make. I could either let those events be my story, or just be a couple of pages in a much larger book – a book about victory and overcoming obstacles.

My mind does not get to be the devil’s playground, and I do have control over my thoughts. Sure, something may pop in randomly, triggered by something I see, hear, taste, touch, or smell, but I can harness that thought and direct it. I do not have to let it play out – especially if it’s going to play out negatively and ruin my day (and subsequently the day for many of the people around me).

I’ll be back tomorrow to answer Craig’s two big questions:

What negative thoughts are dominating your thinking?

What spiritual truth will demolish your strongholds?

You can find three steps to writing your own Words to Live By at