Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Becoming Shiny

Oh man, I'm running late today! Sorry about that, gals. I was out of town for a few days last week for the American Christian Fiction Writer's conference. Since returning home, I've said, "Sorry, I'm running late" about 4 bazillion times.


Me with fellow Girls, God, and the Good Life contributor, Betsy St. Amant. We're still smiling because it's before we've seen what's on our breakfast plates.
In happier news, since returning home, I've been much more faithful in reading my Bible. At the conference, we were encouraged to make our alone time with God a priority, which sounds like a total "duh" thing when I type it, but when I'm living out my day-to-day life, it doesn't feel so easy.


You guys are balancing school and sports and arts and youth group, so I know you understand how free time can feel precious. On a good day, I have about 90 minutes of kid-free time, and my thoughts are usually, "I need to blog, send some emails, write, start the laundry..." They are NOT, "I need to spend time praying and reading my Bible before I hop into my to-do list." I'm trying to change that. If any of you guys have suggestions for how you keep God a priority in your busy lives, I'd love to hear them!


Last night when I was reading Philippians, I came across the words, "...so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life." (2:15-16a)


At first I really latched on that whole part about shining like stars in the universe and holding out "the word of life," because it made me think of my original goals with writing Christian fiction, that I wanted my books to shine and to bring life to people.


Then I realized, "hey, this passage starts out with 'so that, which means there must have been some kind of instruction in the beginning." (Confession: Sometimes Bible sentences are so long, I have to read them a couple times.)


You know how Paul started that sentence? "Do everything without complaining or arguing." THAT is what we're to do to become blameless and pure, to acquire that great shiny quality.


Those instructions, at first glance, seemed too simple to me. I mean, obviously it's crazy hard to follow through on never complaining or arguing, but it's not a difficult thing to explain to someone. A part of my brain was thinking, "It must be more complex. That can't be all of it, because I really don't see how-"


Then I thought of a woman I know at church. A woman who raised 3 kids - two of them with developmental challenges - by herself, and who struggles financially, but does it all with a smile on her face. I've never heard her complain about the man who abandoned her. She's never griped about not having a fella around the house to do the heavy lifting. And she doesn't talk about the stress that can be involved with providing for her kids on such a limited budget. 


Instead, she always wears a smile, regularly serves those around her, and often pauses to say hello and compliment my children or my outfit or my hair.


She has much to complain about (and sometimes I complain on her behalf to God) but she doesn't. And it makes her shine like a star in the universe. I know her coworkers at the public school must look at her and see that she's different, that she's unique.


So I'm going to work on reigning in my complaints and my tendency to argue, because I want to be shiny too!


Hope you're all having a great week!


Stephanie Morrill is a twenty-something living in Overland Park, Kansas with her husband and two kids. Her only talents are reading, writing, and drinking coffee, so career options were somewhat limited. Fortunately, she discovered a passion for young adult novels and has been writing them ever since. Stephanie is the author of The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series and is currently working on other young adult projects. She enjoys encouraging and teaching teen writers and does so on her blog www.GoTeenWriters.com. To connect with Stephanie and read samples of her books, check out www.StephanieMorrillBooks.com.

5 comments:

Emii said...

I actually just read that the other day.
Well, I decided a couple of months ago that I was going to read through the Bible... and so I did. It became normal for me to spend an hour reading.
But now that I'm finished (just this week, in fact) I wondered -- yeah, I've read this book. I know it's real.

But it didn't feel like my life. I mean, I'm hardly living it out. I'm just reading the words.

And then I heard this song, What do we know of Holy, by Addison Road. Like, whoa.
That song was so me.

I actually don't even know why I'm writing this, since it hardly relates to anything you wrote. LOL.But great post! and really, I just wanted to comment. :D

mangalover211 said...

I know what you mean when you say you have little to no free time.
I’m in 8th grade this year, with 7 classes-school is 8-3 this year. Then, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I’m over at the local community college from 4-9, and have homework from that, on top of my actual school work. Plus, I play volleyball, basketball, run track, and swim for my middle school team, and I’m in Student Council, and on the Student Admin Board. I hardly ever get sleep, and when I do, it’s either in the car, on the bus or trolley, or even at church! There’s nothing I can drop, since I’m the best player on my sports teams, I’m the student council president, and I run the student admin board. I hardly get to go to my youth group stuff at my church because I have to much homework, practices, or something else going on.

Betsy St. Amant said...

Emii, I can NOT sing/listen to that song without crying! It's so soulful and holy. I am with ya, girlfriend.

Steph, great post, and you're so right about the breakfast plate. LOL What were those little things with the quiche??? We should have stuck with the muffins.

Mangalover, busy girl! You sound like me ;) I think when the things we do are steeped in good intentions and bathed in prayer, God still blesses a busy schedule. So try to remember to just pray as you go, girl. It will help reduce stress and balance you out!! :)

Stephanie, thanks for this post. I got the same message from this year. I'm diving in.

Daniella said...

i love those books! some of them even inspired me to start writing my own blog which you can find at ella-bellaa.blogspot.com and they keep me sane (not!). i call it post-book/movie syndrome. Where you suddenly realise that reality isn't like most books. But it doesn't stop me reading- or writing books for that matter!

Acuvue online contacts said...

We can draw strength from reading the scripture and so being to busy to gain strength means we eventually run out of ....................