Saturday, August 18, 2012

The BIG and short of it

I've always loved to write. It's been one of my biggest passions in life. I love the freedom, the creativity and the adventures. I love to lose myself in the story and the world it creates. Sometimes, story is more real to me than life. Maybe someone reading thinks that's unhealthy, but I chalk it up to the wild imagination God gave me.

Throughout my twenty-nine years of life I've written several short stories and started several novels, but I've never had the staying power to complete them. I've often wondered at this. Wondered if I am not disciplined enough or talented enough, but I think it's more along the lines of loving my new worlds so much that I don't want to see them come to a close. Does that make sense? I do the same thing with scrapbooks. Several of the adventures I've gone on in life, the people I've met and the places I've gone fill pages and pages of scrapbooks. However, I never finish them. I hate to see those adventures come to a close, because I know that the people I met or the places I've been will slowly leave my immediate circle of life and be shoved in some corner to be covered in dust, only to be pulled out every once in a while to relive the memories.

Maybe I have a problem of letting go.

It's true, actually, but I am growing in this process of holding life in my open palm verses clutching it tightly in my fist.

At the beginning of of this year, I made a resolution to start writing more. I set an easy goal for myself. Twelve short stories for the whole year. That meant I only needed to write one short story a month. Easy. I told a friend about this idea and he decided to join me, we were going to embark on this together, so there would be accountability for us and we would have to write, because someone was waiting to read.

So, I started a short story. I wrote out the basic outline of what I wanted to happen and once satisfied, I started writing. Around page nine I realized I was still at the very beginning of my "short story". I joked that I was writing a long short story, but then again around page twenty-three I realized I could no longer call my story a short story. So I joked about writing a novella. Then again around page fifty I realized it was a novel.

Excited about my tenacity for the story I shared it with my sister who is a published author, shared it with my mom (who's my biggest fan) and then shared it with several other friends who love stories. Every single person giving me positive reports. This served to fuel my passion and love for the story even more and my fingers flew over the keyboard.

This "short" story began turning into more and more of a monster, until I realized I wasn't just writing a novel, but the first novel in a series of seven! Welcome to the Chronicles of the Oak Guardian. Wait, what? How did that happen?!

I'm convinced this has come about because of God. Somehow it was like I finally got it. I didn't hold tightly to my story. I didn't over analyze every single word and every single character. Instead, I trusted the story and trusted God's desire to co-create it with me. The result? I have a finished draft of the first book and have already started the next.

Now hear me out, I'm not saying my book is going to be the best ever because God co-created it with me, what I am saying is that when we learn to hold things loosely it gives God room to expand our horizon. It gives Him room to tell a BIGGER story, then the small, "short" story we intended.

So often in life we let fear of failure or even fear of success hold us back. We tell ourselves that only those people over there are good enough to accomplish great things, or only those people have the creativity, or the smarts or the charm to pull off the impossible. Maybe, just maybe, God is wanting us to know that any one of us CAN pull off the impossible, because He wants to give us those impossible things. Does that make sense? Let me put it another way, if someone tells you you're beautiful or handsome, what's your response? I know for years and years my response has been "Oh, you need glasses" or some thing along those lines. Why can't we believe that those people are maybe telling the truth, that we are beautiful? Maybe all along God has been telling us that we can accomplish those things that feel so far out of our reach and it's been us that have turned the deaf ear and said, "Keep dreaming, that could never be me."

I started off a short story and let God turn it into the first novel in a series of seven. Something meant to be so short has turned into something massive. What if God has something like this in store for you and He's just waiting for you to hold your dream in the palm of your hand so that He can turn it into something BIG.

The road still stretches far out in front of me. I am after all only 1 draft in to the first novel of seven, but somehow I'm not nervous. Somehow I'm not concerned that I won't have enough to write, that I'll get near the end and feel like I'm beating a dead horse, why, because I know that my Creator, who lives in and moves in creativity will be there each step of the way to reveal more and more of the BIG story He's got....

If you've managed to keep reading this very long blog, congratulations. I leave you now with this challenge. What are the passions you have in life? What is the BIG story God has for you? Will you step out of the mediocrity and step in to the adventure? Or will you let fear hold you back? I beg you, trust God. He's the ONLY one who is trustworthy and the best part- He has a GREAT adventure for each one of us, if only we will let Him be a part of it. Hold your dreams and passions with an open hand. Invite God in to your hearts dreams and marvel at the BIG Story He has for you. You may just find yourself pleasantly surprised.


  1. what an awesome testimony, charis! such a powerful analogy of the " smallness of our own thinking" when it comes to Gods plans vs our ours. Much needed reminder that we need to be willing to let God expand our short stories... making room for Him to move. Good word, my beautiful friend :)

    ps...When do I get to see the manuscript?

  2. I love it... I love that we spoke about this a few months ago and you inspired me back then and again today you inspired me... I'm so incredibly proud of you and so glad to call such a talented person my friend. Keep at it lovely. God is certainly birthing something right now.

  3. Thanks Jenna. I'm glad it could encourage you :)

    ps... I'll let you know ;)