Sunday 2 October 2011

Post camp post: being true to myself, a writer.

We had this session during iBridge camp about discernment, i.e. knowing the will of God. I don't have all the notes (I stopped jotting when they said they would get the slides to us, but I haven't seen them yet) but there was one thing that really struck me that day.

One of the guiding principles of discernment is to stay true and truthful to who and whose you are in Christ. 

There's a lot of stuff floating around about knowing yourself, being true to yourself, standing up for who you really are, and not all of it is Christian. In fact, most of it is rather post-modernistic, individualistic, let-me-do-what-the-heck-I-want-so-get-out-of-my-face-God (or maybe I'm getting the wrong kind of vibes here). But more often in the Christian circles, there's a lot of thing about finding God's will, focusing only on God and ignoring ourselves (we are nothing, we are nothing, we are nothing - kind of Buddhist, no?). True, Christ must increase, and we must decrease, but does that mean we ignore everything that our passions and inclinations drive us towards?

What does it mean to stay true and truthful to who you are? (Let's ignore the other bits for a moment.) Who you are matters, because God made you that way. If you are an engineer, you worship God through your engineering skills and making that no one gets killed by a bridge falling down or a phone blowing up or... something like that (I get a little fuzzy on details because there are so many kinds of engineers). If you are a doctor, you worship God by helping people get well, or at least by easing their pain until it's time to go. If you are a lawyer, you worship God by helping innocent people get their lives back and assist in disseminating justice where it's needed (though it may seem rather arbitrary at times). If you are an accountant or an auditor, you help ensure that the companies don't cheat money off their investors and the employees don't defraud their employers (to what little extent you can). But if you are an artist, or a writer, or a dancer, or anything to do with music and creative arts, it suddenly seems that you can't and aren't doing anything productive or useful unless you are leading worship in church, or decorating the church, or doing an Easter or Christmas production.


Why is every other profession more important to the body of Christ than the very professions that have the most impact on our daily lives?
And this is where I get into the rant mode, sorry.
I'm tired of people acting like it's SO easy to get a good story down on paper/screen, and to edit it. Like it can be done in a day. Yes, you can get 50,000 words out for NaNoWriMo in a month but that doesn't mean the story is good enough. It doesn't mean the writing is tight enough. It doesn't mean that you're done with it yet. And all this takes time, people. Time I do not have working a 8.30AM to whenever job.
I'm tired of people thinking it's SO easy to put a good play or *gasp* musical together. Like it can be put together in a week. Yes, you can have once a week practices for a month and do a decent play. But if it's anything longer than 5 minutes and you're working with a bunch of amateurs, or people who are just acting for the sake of it or because there is no one else, then it's not good enough. I'm sorry if I'm sounding condescending - I'm not the best of actors or directors OR playwrights - but it takes time to put stuff together that will be worth watching, and frankly half the stuff that comes out on church stages are not. Time I do not have working a 5-day, but in reality 6-day week.
I'm tired of the slipshod way we approach worship in church, like a two-hour anything-goes practice session is good enough to pull together a team that only plays together once in three weeks, and then expect God to DO SOMETHING WONDERFUL. Yes, He can, and DOES. But at the same time, is this what you really want to offer Him week after week? Because it is an offering, isn't it? It's not just "leading people to worship" it's also an act of worship in itself.

Where does this take us again? Well, it takes me back to the core question - who am i? 
What drives me? What makes me tick? What makes me stay up all night? Pulling aside all that I do and try to do, what motivates me?
This. Writing this. (It's 12.32AM now, despite the fact that you'll only see this on Sunday, 9AM because of the power of blog scheduling muahahahah and I have to get up at 6AM tomorrow to catch a plane.) Writing Friday Flashes. Receiving good and not-so-good comments. Trying to figure out which WIP to start editing, because I can't always sit on them until they grow stale and annoying.

And if this who I am is rooted in whose I am, doesn't that really mean that I'm a writer plugged in to the greatest Creator the world has ever seen? If I stay true to who I am and whose I am, doesn't that mean that I've already found my purpose and direction in life? Doesn't it mean that I don't have to keep asking the question, But God, what do you really want me to do?, as if I'm sure He's going to ask me to do something I cannot do or go somewhere I really hate just because I can't believe that He made me love writing so that I can write?

How does this translate into real life? 
I don't know yet. The two-year plan was to wait it out until David graduates and then see what happens. My mum insists it's a maximum one year break, to study some course or other in creative writing and/or creative arts. That may be part of the plan. I don't know. It's the first step I am looking at, just to redefine where I am.
Then again, it may be shorter. I don't know, there's this restlessness. There's this itch. There's this perpetual question (eh, so when are you going to resign? What, you're still at the same firm? Me: YAH, I know I'm loyal!)
But I'm ready, here and now.


  1. Like. :) You are super cool. Godspeed (to wherever he takes you), friend!

  2. I'm glad I bumped into this while checking out the REN3 stuff. You make a lot of good points here. Some I have thought and/or wondered, some I haven't...yet. But I will say, much like you, I have wondered why God would go to such effort or design to make such individual people, if we were to deny what makes us the individual. And you are right, artistic jobs are discounted for no good reason. And you are right, that hurts.

  3. @KK: Wheee!

    @yy: Thank you. I hope we go far together :)

    @Kwee: Glad to have bumped into you too. Thank you for your affirmation.

  4. When I was a teenager, I had the very same questions. From some, I got the same answers. One answer that really stuck with me was "Miriam danced."

    Not all dancing is obscene. Not all writing is obscene. Not all music is obscene. What is the motivation for writing, singing, dancing?

    Question all must answer when the Creator asks "What did you do with the gifts I gave you?" In the end, when we stand before Him, it comes down to individual responses. The only one who will stand with you at this time is Jesus.

    I was also told: Finding His Will doesn't mean keep looking until you find one you are comfortable with. Meditation - praying in a quiet place = answers if you listen for His Voice.