August 11, 2015

Handling Blocks by Connie Inglis

I've always liked blocks. When I was young it was the vintage wooden blocks with colorful letters. It was always a balancing act, trying to stack them as high as possible. Soon after my son was born, that turned to Lego blocks. He and I would spend hours building out of our imaginations, inventing games with castle walls and catapults. Beautiful memories.

So when the question, "Why do blocks happen for you?" was posed this month, my eyes rested on the word "blocks" and that got me slightly side-tracked to ponder the question: Are blocks really a bad thing?

I feel that in this past month, a gigantic set of Lego blocks has been placed before me, before our family. You know the kind with 3000+ pieces--my month has been a jumble of that many pieces. With Lego I've never actually built anything that elaborate but the challenge intrigues me because I know it is possible. And that encourages me as I try to piece past events together--building from the inside out taking one block and putting it on another block, adding another block and so on and so forth until the project is complete, until some sense is made out of it all.

Writing involves the same kind of undertaking--building one thought upon another thought, one character trait upon another character trait, one relationship upon another relationship until the project is complete. Building blocks. 

The distractions of this past month have kept me from meeting my writing goals. But that doesn't mean I haven't written daily--a thought here, a thought there, an inspiration here, an inspiration there. Ideas, or blocks, for the future--God-given ideas. And even though these thoughts have been disjointed at times, it doesn't mean God can't take these blocks and use them to create something beautiful. That again gets me excited about playing with blocks, blocks of another kind.

And I am reminded of the lake that we camped at recently. I enjoyed sitting on the water's edge on a tranquil evening after a full day, the lake's surface a perfect mirror reflecting a kaleidoscope of colors on the west's horizon.  A time to be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10). A time to meditate and be thankful.

Yet the beautiful thing about a seemingly still lake is that underneath the surface, life is happening: Fish, crustaceans, frogs, insects, pondweed, grasses--all these life forms are moving under that surface. So even though it appears that the water is static, life below proves otherwise.

I have to believe that it is the same with my writing. That even though my pen has been relatively silent this past month, life is still stirring and creative juices are still flowing. And just as the lake's surface will not remain calm, so I know my pen cannot sit unused. To be a writer, I must write. God has taught me that the past month's experiences are not wasted. He will stir in me and the words will flow--He will turn my experiences into useful building blocks.

I don't have any astute words of wisdom to cure writer's block. If you look you can find a number of blog posts that deal with the issue.  But I have learned that sometimes it is okay to just sit by the quiet waters and let God fill you up. His filling will inspire because He is a good God and He loves to give good gifts to His children. Rather than beating yourself up over a feeling of ineptness, bask in His love and seek to know His love more and more. (Eph 3:14-21). That is truly what He desires for each of us. And I believe then the writing will come.

God is the Master builder. Ultimately, He is the one building masterpieces in and through our lives. And as Ephesians 2:10 (NLT) says, we are God's masterpiece. Ultimately, He is the one building us into something beautiful. He is the one using us to create works that speak His goodness and love into the world, thus glorifying His name. I rest in that knowledge.
Lego Taj Mahal

19 comments:

  1. This is so timely for me, Connie. "He will stir in me and the words will flow ...". Exactly what I have been thinking regarding my writing. Such an encouragement. Thank you.

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    1. Thanks Joy. If I can encourage ONE person, I am grateful.

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  2. I love all of your analogies. the lego blocks is a brilliant one, since that is exactly what writing is like... brick by brick we build, sometimes having to tear down in order to make it work. I also loved the lake analogy. Brilliant! We need those times of calm. It doesn't mean there aren;t things going in under the surface. You are just so clever!

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    1. Clever? Nobody has ever called my quirkiness, clever or brilliant. And to be honest, I really had to rely on God's strength to help me this month. And, like ALWAYS, He gave me the right pictures and the inspiration. He is good.

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  3. Connie, this post has touched me on many levels. I loved your analogy of a stil lake with life teeming below the surface. I'm going to hold onto that picture!

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    1. Thanks Tandy. Your words, your connection with the lake picture, are a real encouragement to my heart.

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  4. I love Lego! Your description of the lake struck me as well - God is perfecting His message in us so we are ready to share it in His time. God is at work, even when we cannot see it :D

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    1. Woohoooo--a fellow Lego lover. And yes, God is at work. I have seen that even in His help in writing this blog. All the glory goes to God.

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  5. Beautiful...thanks for a well-needed reminder!

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  6. "...building from the inside out." Is that not what happens when we first turn our lives over to Christ? When months like yours, Connie, take precedence over our writing, I think that maybe that building process has bumped up a notch. The Lord has promised me (after I demanded he give me some hope when we were in a very difficult time), that, "I will bring value from your suffering." Perhaps sometimes when we experience writer's block, that's the process that's going on. Good thoughts to ponder. Thank you, Connie!

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    1. Bobbi--you are a beautiful example to me of how God brought value to your suffering...and how God used and continues to use your writing for His glory. Thanks for the reminder.

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  7. To borrow Tandy's thought, this blog has resonated with me on all levels too. I can identify and learn from your lake image and I never thought of writing being like Lego, but I like that. The water like a duck is tranquil on the surface.

    When I was going through a difficult time, but showing up at school every day and trying to do my best for my students, my son gave me a poster that showed a duck "calmly" swimming on the water. My son, who was also working at the school then, said, "Mom, this is you!"

    The caption read, "Calm on the surface. Paddle like heck under the water."

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    1. So true Sharon, so true. I'm glad this blog post resonated with you--it's nice to be able to identify with people and know there are other people out there struggling with stuff, dealing with stuff and paddling like heck under the water. Your words are an encouragement to me.

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  8. Thank you! I love this: "So even though it appears that the water is static, life below proves otherwise." - I feel this can happen in our writing, and in so many other aspects of life. I've learned that when God says, "Trust my timing." it's because He knows what great things are coming. It's so important to cultivate patience, and wait, knowing that there is life bubbling to the surface even when we don't see it immediately.

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  9. Thank you! I love this: "So even though it appears that the water is static, life below proves otherwise." - I feel this can happen in our writing, and in so many other aspects of life. I've learned that when God says, "Trust my timing." it's because He knows what great things are coming. It's so important to cultivate patience, and wait, knowing that there is life bubbling to the surface even when we don't see it immediately.

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  10. Thanks Karma. It's true--there is life bubbling to the surface even when we don't see it immediately.

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  11. Yes! God is building us in every season. Still waters run deep, and there is life flowing, building under the surface. Beautiful lake shot to accompany insightful writing!

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    1. Thanks Lynn--Carson-Pegasus Provincial Park. It was beautiful.

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