the bottom, the basics and the blessing of beginning again

Sometimes………………………..    I wander off.

Even with the best intentions of trying to maintain my footing and the best notions of how to get from point A to B, sometimes after a while, I discover..  I’ve strayed off course.

Maybe I started out fine. But over time, careless distractions or unintentional shimmies, just a hair to the right or left, can eventually lead my heart and head dangerously off course from my God-intended destination.

Can you relate?

Finding myself in difficult places mentally, spiritually or emotionally… at the bottom of a valley or the end of a path I barely remember traveling, I have to stop and ask, “How did I get here?”

Michael Jordan is credited with saying, “The minute you get away from the basics, the bottom drops out of whatever you’re doing.”    Ya know?    Yeah.

The Bottom, Basics and Blessing

It’s been nearly a month since I last wrote in this space. Words have kept flowing into one of several-many notebooks shifting around with me at all times. However,  I’ve felt like I needed to keep them to myself until I could get my heart sorted back out from this place I’ve wandered towards— hardness?   Cynicism?   Fear or even a little (un)holy anger?   I’m not sure it hasn’t been a little of each and more.

In my “silence” I’ve been trying to sort out what IT’s all about. You know— the BIG IT:

Life.

The here and now, mixed with past remembrances and future hopes. Sorting out how to navigate all of IT at this age and stage and in the midst of things we deal with on this temporary island called Earth.

In the meantime, our family has celebrated both a birth and a funeral. Then a week ago, I was notified by the Keeper of the WordPress Clock that this little corner of the Blogosphere has celebrated it’s 4th anniversary. I still recall Day One— where I was in my soul and how far I’ve come since. It’s been worth it.

What motivated me to hit “publish” on Day One still motivates me four years later although, thankfully, it’s a tamer and slightly more mature spirit. Less angry and frightened and more sure of God as the source and substance than ever before. That’s some healing work right there.

Still, I’ve questioned what needs to be written and how I ought to proceed from this point forward. In the midst of the last few months the Holy Spirit has been calling me to pay attention. Helping me to know I’ve strayed and it’s time to revisit the basics— the unchanging truths about the Unchanging Truth in my life and how my identity in Christ must reveal itself in all my roles— especially as a writer— for the remainder of my life.

Because knowing we’re defined by the unchanging Truth makes all the
difference for how we must represent Him in this world

where nothing else stays the same.

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It’s easy to get burned by sparks flying around in today’s politically charged atmosphere, in a world that’s racing from pole to pole, abusing all powers and positions, and tossing aside rules and standards left and right.

Red flags are flying up all over the place.
I’m horrified.
I’m moved and so damn weary at times .. just wanting to look away and ignore it if I only could.

I want to make a difference.
But how?

It’s exhausting— trying to avoid jumping in the ring with all the other monkeys loudly screeching and tearing each other to bits. I have to resist the temptation of becoming purely a pixel-pushing reactionary— all heat and no Light and ultimately doing no lasting Good.

Other times, when there’s good to be done, it’s been difficult to discern if what I have to offer is supposed to be offered on that altar and then sometimes being accused that to make no offering is akin to not caring at all.

Do you feel it too?

Peace and Happiness with God

In the past four years I’ve tried on different ideas for size. It was exciting for a while as I envisioned wearing the “Member’s Only” badges being handed out with the sense that I had been welcomed into a room and to a common table to share from this deep place God’s fire and water has carved out in my soul. It didn’t take long to realize it was a poor fit and that “one size fits all” label remains uncorrupted only when kept and applied by the hands of God alone. (Galatians 4:17)

Here, I’ve recognized how precariously close I’ve come to nearly having the bottom drop out of what I’ve been called to do simply because I’d forgotten the basics. Instead of looking to the Light— so I can be the Light, I began looking at other shiny things and places. I got distracted and drawn off course.                             I wandered.

Do you know this place?

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That’s where I’ve been. 

We artists and writers can be a passionate and temperamental lot and the Christian artist is no different except where our passion ought to be rooted and established. Although the blossoms and fruit will vary, this rooting makes all the difference.

In Christ, it’s distinct, unique, individual….and useful.

I want to be useful, don’t you?

I’m reminded by a few snapshots I carry around in my heart taken from scenes in movies that have changed me forever. There’s that brief discussion between “Gilbert and Anne” (of Green Gables) and a lesser-known moment from another personal favorite, I Remember Mama.

The situations are similar: aspiring authors (Anne and Katrin) are trying to write good stories but they are using ideas borrowed from the world around them hoping to find their success. Katrin is about to quit until Mama consults a local author who, as a “gastronomist”, offers her honest assessment of Katherine’s work over a glass (or two!) of sherry in exchange for the secret family recipe for Swedish meatballs.

Mama reports, “She say, you must go on writing. You have the gift.”
“But,” Mama continues, “She say, you must write what you know.

There it is.
There it is for all of us.

Hid With Christ

If we are deeply rooted in the unchanging Truth of God, then offering whatever we have to give from there is sharing the most Light,
doing the most Good
and is the most honest thing we can do.

And me?

With the Apostle Paul I can only confess:

“When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit.”
                                                                                                     1Corinthians 2:1-4 (NLT)

This is all I know. These are my basics. What about you?

In weakness– timid and trembling,Lorretta signature

Linking @ TellHisStory

11 thoughts on “the bottom, the basics and the blessing of beginning again

  1. Oh goodness, yes. The struggle is real. With so much flying around it’s hard sometimes to stay centered. Thank you for the reminder.

    1. Yes. I know I have blind spots– we all do. The only problem is when we choose to stay blind or ignore them. I’m fully convinced that’s why the story in Scripture exists of the blind man and how before he could receive healing, Jesus asks him, “What do you want me to do for you?” Because we all have to answer that question: do we REALLY want to see? Seeing is hard. Blessings!

  2. I want to be honest in my writing. I want to write from the Light reflected within me. Sometimes, I feel like my site has multiple personalities and I’m going through the growing pains of trying to figure out what to do about it. But most of all, I want people to know that Jesus loves them and will always help them.

    1. I definitely understand this place. I recently looked over my tag words and categories and it read more like “Scattergories”! It’s good to just pay attention and tweak it out little by little. Thanks for visiting with me here… it’s such an encouragement to know others are hearing some of the same things. Bless you!

  3. Thank you for these beautiful words. God has the plan and returning to Him every time we stray is returning to the basics. You speak from deep within your heart and relate to so many of us who have been in the same exact spot. Praying for you as you journey forward in your writing and in your understanding. In grace and peace!

    1. I’m so thankful for your encouragements… I’m convinced that the best thing we can do is possibly more on a personal and private level within our own communities. You know, BE the change. Change is uncomfortable and sometimes, very unwelcome. Blessing to you as well!

  4. Hey there, fellow sojourner! I think we might be at a similar spot on the journey! 😉 I so got this (and laughed a little that we both took breaks simultaneously and hit the 4 year mark last week. Somehow you are just my sister from another mister ;)) Glad you are back, Loretta. Loved what you shared. (And can I tell you this part was my favorite and downright good writing: “We artists and writers can be a passionate and temperamental lot and the Christian artist is no different except where our passion ought to be rooted and established. Although the blossoms and fruit will vary, this rooting makes all the difference.” Yes.)

    1. Girl you know it! 🙂 I’m grateful– no lie– that God is so gracious to encourage me that I’m not the only one He is speaking to in these ways. The enemy would just like to jerk the rug out from beneath us and make us retreat back into ourselves versus being humbly bold in Christ. So do me a favor: stay out here with me!!!! 🙂 Bless you!

    1. Oh Katharine… I KNOW you understand what I’m trying to say here and why it seems so important for me to reiterate these things…. there are days it seems we’re fighting a losing battle until I remember– the battle is the Lord’s. Love you!

  5. Ah, girl, you hit the nail squarely as usual! The Madeline L’Engle quote- “what we are is going to be visible in our art”. We write what we know-Jesus. Thank you for affirming that it is the basics that we cling to- Knowing Christ and speaking that message “very plain”. Keep on writing and taking pictures and giving out what He has given you. The world needs to hear it!

Welcome to the discussion!