In a few days, Framing Faith will be making its way through the post to bookshelves, doorsteps, and whispered through the net into your hands. It’s been such a process in bringing this book to life that I cannot believe it’s really happening. Along the way, I have had questions about how the initial idea came about and what I learned about life and writing… so the next few posts will give you the backstory.
I think it was Socrates who said, the unexamined life is not worth living. One of the most challenging parts of my life to date has been bringing Framing Faith to life.
I remember sitting there, day after day for months, blankly staring at two sentences. I was starved. Scared. Empty. Blank. I remember sitting there, day after day for a month, blankly staring at two sentences. I was starved. Scared. Empty. Blank. Stuck. Tapped out. Exhausted. Crippled. Lost not knowing how to continue. Ever been there? It’s hard to keep going especially when you have deadlines. The writing process was challenging because I wanted write something that was real, something that spoke to people and ultimately lead readers into a place of honest self-examination, causing them to ask, “Am I listening to God?” I wanted Framing Faith to provoke readers toward reflection so they can see that God is in everything we see and do.
The reality… I was in a dry spell and it sucked.
The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.
Obliviously God was challenging me on something. Trying to get me to pay attention—to listen to him. It was during this time I was reminded how God will throw us curveballs on occasion. Just when we think we’ve got it all figured out, we encounter a situation that doesn’t hit us “straight on.” It will come at us from a different angle and if we’re not prepared for it, it’ll strike us out. Just as batters have to learn to “see” the ball, we have to be prepared to anticipate various challenges and have faith.
The challenge, at its core was the fact I wasn’t fully listening to God and I did not have faith in this new direction. I remember sitting with my head in my hands as the cursor waited patiently to advance; when I asked myself some of the questions I so badly need to be reminded of: Who am I really creating for? Who am I trying to impress? Is this what I think God wants from me? And sure enough like 99% of the time all roads lead to my humanity getting in the way of how God wants to use me.
Writers live twice.
I needed to get honest with myself about how I was not focused on the right things. And when I wrote the words ‘It’s time for me to come clean. I have a confession to make.‘ I felt vulnerable, scared, and unsure of what the next words would be—in reality I knew what had to be written. God wanted me to examine my life in this time to reveal experiences that I had forgotten about and to show how they pointed to him. In other words, he wanted me to focus and have confidence in my ability as a storyteller. He wanted to show me how I lost sight of what was most important—my relationship with him.
It was only when I reached this point of true honesty with myself and recognize how much I needed God, the river of thought once again started to flow. The empty pages began to fill. I was able to breathe again. But this time, with a fresh focus and renewed sense of purpose. I have to say, I’m now thankful for the dry moments because, without them, I forget just how much I need to stop, examine, and frame my faith.
During the deliberate, and often interrupted, transformation of this book, I realized there are many ways to go through life, by just going through the motions, or going through life being present and truly taking advantage of the world around you. I realized in the process of writing Framing Faith that the present moment is all we have; that the life we are living is about the here and the now. And while, we don’t think about that when the intensity of life is breathing down our back, it’s a great way to take advantage of our life and to find a sense of peace and calm in the middle of a stressful and chaotic world. I re-discovered the power of being present. I learned to STOP! I stopped scrolling. Tweeting. Instagramming. I learned to put down the phone. To take one minute. To not read. Not talk. I slowed down and discovered faith happens in the subtle moments of life.