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We’ve all worked on writing projects that we loved (passion projects), and projects we’ve---well, loved less. Lady Bird Johnson advised: “Work on projects that make your heart sing.”
As I’ve been thinking through Lady Bird Johnson’s wisdom, I’ve thought of projects that have sustained my interest until completion, while other projects initially excited me, but then became a chore, and I wished I hadn’t started them. What made the difference? It helped to know that I needed to discern whether a project excites me initially, or whether it continues to enliven me, bringing a sense of life, and making my heart sing.
I’ve recently come across a number of relevant concepts, concepts I want to share with you.
1. To discern whether we’re enlivened or only excited, the psychologist Dan Allender asks us to probe the following questions: “What moves me most deeply? What do I most enjoy doing? Where do I find the greatest pleasure and joy? What is it about this activity…that brings me such a sense of life?”
2. If we’re enlivened, we write from love and joy. The writing instructor and author Elizabeth Andrew says, “Write from a place of love—for the subject matter, for the writing process, for the language, for our readers.”
3. Even in joyous experiences, we can run into discouragement, uncertainty, obstacles, and setbacks. We may need to acknowledge that we need help. But ultimately we need to persevere, to think of creative solutions, to turn to the Lord for His guidance and how He is sustaining us.
4. Then we need to look beyond ourselves, to think of how we can inspire others. Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Dillard advised us: “Dedicate (donate, give all) your life to something larger than yourself and pleasure—to the largest thing you can: to God, to relieve suffering, to contributing to knowledge, to adding to literature, or something else. Happiness lies this way, and it beats pleasure hollow.”
5. Ultimately we give our passion back to God to develop according to His plan and His mission for us.
6. I conclude with a very personal note. “To everything there is a season,” the Preacher wrote (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Projects that make us sing come to an end, and the Lord directs us elsewhere.
Over eight years ago, our then-moderator of InScribe Writers Online, Brenda Leyland, invited me to develop monthly themes and become the lead writer. Doing so has stretched my faith and writing, from my first tentative posts, to a variety of writing strategies. The Lord has been my constant guide. Comments from other bloggers have encouraged me, and in addition, I’ve developed both professional and personal friendships through this blog.
But now I sense the Lord asking me to close this chapter. Beginning with our June blog, Wendy Macdonald will assume these responsibilities or designate others in these roles. I will not completely disappear from IWO, however. For the foreseeable future I will continue as a regular contributor sometime during the month.
I pray that this ministry will continue with God’s blessing. Please continue to pray for our writers, just as I extend my love, gratitude and prayers to you.
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Now over to you.
As you think of your past or current writing projects…How have you discovered Lady Bird Johnson’s advice to be true? How does doing so honour the Lord in your writing?
You are here to live in God’s love and reflect it to everyone around you.