Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Living Passionately

At one of my local ACFW chapter meetings, I had the privilege to hear Marybeth Whalen speak on "Being a Passionate Writer." In her talk, she shared with us the eight characteristics of a passionate life and applied them to writing. I'd like to take those same eight points and apply them to living passionately regardless of your situation. Here we go:
  1. Take risks. Sometimes being chronically ill severely limits my world. I've learned the painful way that if I push too hard, then I'll pay for it the next day.  But, I've also learned that if I'm going to be a writer, then I'll have to push myself (within reason) to write daily, attend writer's meetings, etc. I just have to plan to rest the week or days prior.
  2. Pursue rich experiences. How often does a "normal" person get to ride-along with a policeman in a squad car? I have - and not because I'd broken the law. I took a Citizens Academy class through our local sheriff's department. Yes, there were meetings that I had to miss because I was sick, but I still got to do a lot of things - like pet a police dog and watch a SWAT training session - that most people never will.
  3. Be aware of God's promptings. This is a big thing. There are a lot of times when I feel inclined to call, visit or send a card to someone who is hurting. I may not be able to physically help someone, but I can always tell them I'm praying for them.
  4. Make mistakes and be willing to share them. There are times when I do too much or get tired and cranky or in pain - I admit it. But, it doesn't mean I'm going to give up. I've got to keep on going.
  5. Be real. When I first started writing for this blog, it was so tempting to totally ignore my health issues and not admit that I have problems with pain. But, that wouldn't be fair because so much of my writing is based on my experiences with pain. Chronic pain has been a refiner's fire - I don't have time for a lot of fluff. :)
  6. Live creatively. This one was easy because I'm very creative (thanks to my mom and living on my daddy's cotton mill salary). Music always lightens my mood; a good book always takes me away from my problems.
  7. Seek solitude. Another important point. There will be times when the world starts to close in, bills to be paid, clothes to be washed, the children need this, your parents need that. It's in those times when you need to set yourself apart and be quiet. I used to feel guilty about doing this until I remembered that even Jesus had to do this during his ministry.
  8. Be a servant. Remember that others have needs, too and be willing to help them as much as you can.
It was so wonderful to hear that anyone can live passionately, regardless of your station, health or dreams. If you get the chance to hear Marybeth, be sure to go. She will be speaking at the Proverbs 31 Ministries She Speaks conference. Or, check out one of her books. I've got three of them and love her writing. I think you will, too.