Monday Mayhem: The Secret to Success

Hi Everybody!  First, a quick update:

Chrystal Evans Hurst Mastermind 2018

As a member of Chrystal Evans Hurst’s Mastermind 2018 Team for Digital Media and Branding I have been busy these past few months helping to design and create the content that you see when you go to Chrystal’s She’s Still There Instagram page or pop over to the show notes for her upcoming podcast. There is a flurry of activity taking place behind the scenes to make sure the images and words come together just right and it has been exciting working with Chrystal’s team to make it happen. Be sure to check out her YouTube show The Sister Circle and sign up for the online She’s Still There Bible Study that begins TODAY! In addition to the study you also get some cool freebies too.

Now, on to other news!

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In an earlier post I mentioned that I had the privilege of meeting the author of the best-selling novel, The Shack, and I wanted to tell you more about that incredible experience. William Paul Young has done many interviews and his story is well-known. His book, which was published in 2007 has now been made into a major motion picture starring Tim McGraw, Octavia Spencer and Sam Worthington.  There’s no need for me to re-hash what you, likely, already know or what you can easily Google, so instead, let me tell you what impressed me about Young from a writer’s perspective.

I asked W. Paul Young to talk to my students about writing and how he came to write The Shack in the first place.  What struck me about Paul’s response was his apparent lack of ambition: “I just wrote it as a gift for my kids,” he said, quite matter- of-factly. He said he had no expectations or intentions when he wrote it–the exact opposite of what I see in most writers who absolutely crave the attention and approval of their audience. Not Paul Young.

If you ever get a chance to meet him, you’ll notice right away, he’s an easy-going guy. His words and manner flow freely.  He greets everyone with a warm hug and a smile– as if he’s known you all along! “My wife’s name is Kim, so I’ll never forget your name” he said to me when we met and I was pleasantly surprised by his friendliness. I was embarrassed to escort him through our antiquated building with its creaky stairs and musty, basement classroom. I tried, in vain, to apologize for the less than stellar accommodations where he would be addressing our students, but he waved away my self-pity, shoved his hands into his jeans pockets and proceeded to share his story with the students. He cared not one bit about the chipped paint or the tattered seats, but cared immediately for each upturned face, each student who listened intently. Leaning casually on the teacher’s desk, he spoke from the heart and told the secret to his success–yet, the secret might surprise you!Teaching

Paul says when he wrote The Shack he had no intention of publishing it beyond the 15 copies he made at the Office Depot because his wife had asked him to write something for the kids– to put down on paper all that was going on in his head. She had no idea the finished product would be a 250pg. novel! And Paul had no idea it would impact so many people’s lives. He says it was through the story that he worked out his own questions about God and found peace. At the age of 50, for the first time in his life, William Paul Young says he finally obtained ten crucial elements that allowed him perfect peace:

identity, worth, value, meaning, purpose,

destiny, significance, security, community and love

which is why he was perfectly content with his job as a janitor scrubbing toilets and had no burning desire to sell his book–nor did he have any inkling that it might one day be a multi-million dollar blockbuster movie!  All of that happened because of a bigger plan that was operating outside of Paul’s control.

As a writer, he just worked out his questions through the fictional, yet “true,” story and allowed God to handle the rest.

I know. It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Yet, the lesson for me—and all the other writers out there—is who are you before you sit down to write?

Paul says he was completely fulfilled, happy and at peace working three jobs before he ever published a single copy of The Shack!  So, if our whole identity is wrapped up in our profession, in our craft, in our possessions—in anything that is outside of us—will we ever find that perfect peace that Paul described? It seems that his success with The Shack flowed naturally from his own place of peace rather than from any striving or effort on his part, and I realize that was the secret to his successsecuring success before his success. For him it meant finding the answers to his questions about God and settling into a loving relationship with his God, family and community as a result. Then, when he sat down to write, it all began to come together.

Paul told us that people often say they want God to “use” them, but God has no need to “use” us. Instead, God invites us to be a part of something, to join Him, if we will, to take part in His divine plan. The work and the striving that we do suggests so much effort on our part, but when we rest and wait to see how we can join in with God’s plan that’s already in place, there’s such an ease and freedom that follows, an ease that W. Paul Young exudes and that, apparently, has manifested in all his successes.

Paul’s talk has made me think differently about my own striving towards success as a writer. Perhaps my focus should be less on where my work will go, who will read it, where or whether it will ever be published. Instead, I may just need to write and see what happens. There may be a plan in place for my writing that I know nothing about! The same is true for you–in whatever area you hope to be successful in.  Why don’t we wait and see? 🙂

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Happy Monday!

 

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Monday Mayhem: Don’t Miss the Moments!

From the time they are born, we can’t wait for them to grow.

“Say mama” we mouth into their chubby little faces.

“Come on, walk!” we prod, pulling them up by their pudgy little hands.

“Oh, grow up!” We chide when chubby charm gives way to adolescent attitude. We hurry the years along, then, rushing past the little moments, only occasionally stopping to look and wonder at how fast they’re going by. Sure, we notice and sometimes comment. Occasionally we admire them and remember how it used to be, but we’re busy and the dishes and laundry are piling up. There’s no time to sit and chat.

Then, one day, they take our advice. They grow up.
Then, we wish…

wish we had listened more than we talked
wish we had observed more than we critiqued
wish we had sat more than we ran…
with our feet up and our hearts open, enjoying our time together.

Because time was all we had.
If only we had known then, what we know now.

 

Happy Monday!

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Photo credit:

Antoine Stephenson Photography & Design

https://www.facebook.com/AntoinetheCreator/?pnref=lhc

 

Soul Sisters!

So, this has been an AMAZING week for the writer in me! In this one week I have had the opportunity to engage with two inspired writers who have had major impact and reach and both of them have had an impact on me.  The first person I met was W. Paul Young, author of The Shack who visited my class and spoke life into me and my aspiring student writers.  I will share more about his visit in a later post.

The other person is Chrystal Evans Hurst, author of Kingdom Woman and She’s Still Here whom I have just spent the past two days with in her home town of Dallas, TX.  A few months ago, on a whim, I responded to Chrystal’s call for interns to be a part of a six month project to help her build on her current media platform.  By some fluke–one might say God’s Providence–I was one of the 15 chosen! Now, as part of her “Mastermind 2018” team, I will help her to create and manage the content  for her podcasts and social media in order to further develop her ministry of encouraging, equiping, educating and empowering women.

Although Chrystal is a brilliant writer and speaker, she is also the most warm, kind, down-to-earth person you will ever meet. So when she told me that she thought that I was a “good writer” and that she knew she wanted me to be part of the team in order to “put my writing skills to use,” I can’t tell you how much that seal of approval meant. Validation matters–especially when it comes from someone you admire.

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But, this is not all about me! This is about the beautiful women that I met this weekend. Amazing women with an array of talents and vibrant personalities. Chrystal’s core team did an incredible job of pulling together a group that clicked immediately! I LITERALLY wanted to spend more time with every one of these ladies. We just did not have enough time together!  Each one exuded such a spirit of Godliness and love that I wanted to know them more. I wanted to hear their stories. I wished we had two more days, at least! I know that this group can and will do good work together simply because we connected so well, so quickly, which can only translate into good things for Chrystal’s ministry, which is a win for all of us. I’m truly excited about the possibilities and I am looking forward to everything that is to come.

The title “soul sisters” popped into my head because that’s what it felt like. We made a “soul” connection. First with Chrystal, then with each other and soon it will flow outward to all of you! Big things are coming, so get ready!

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Never heard of Chrystal or her book, She’s Still There? Well, this is one that that very well may change your life–for the better! Don’t just take my word for it, click here to see what others have to say.