7 Words We Say to God (and each other)

Derek Webb wrote a new song in which he expresses that over his musical career he’s tried to say three basic things:  “I was wrong, I’m sorry, and I love you.” I brought these together with words Anne LaMott (great memoirist and novelist) and Nicky Gumbel (Alpha.org) say we can express to God. I then stayed in one Bible text and sewed these together with powerful words from 1 John.

  1. I was wrong. We have a hard time saying we’re wrong, much like the tough time the Fonz had years ago, illustrated in the featured image. I agree with Wade Hodges who said he’s wrong ten percent of the time. And that’s not the problem. The problem is, he doesn’t know which ten percent. God doesn’t expect perfection. He expects an admission that we are much less than perfect. Check out what John says:  If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8 NIV)
  2. I’m Sorry. There’s a line from the old movie, “Love Story” that really seemed to stick for some people. “Love is never having to say you’re sorry.” What? Not in any loving relationship I’ve ever been in. Some people say sorry too much. Some don’t say it enough. In some areas of our work and life we are even afraid to say it. I heard this TED Radio Hour piece about making mistakes, and there’s a powerful piece about a doctor who is saying we need a new medical culture where we are not afraid to admit mistakes. Saying “I’m sorry” to God is what we call repentance. It’s sorrow for what you’ve done that moves you to turn around, go toward God. Here’s what John says: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 NIV)
  3. I love you. There’s this silly old yarn where a wife asks her husband why he never says, “I love you.” He replies, “Darlin’, I tol’ you I loved ya when I mar’d ya, and if that changes, I’ll let you know.” Funny, huh? Well, what about us and God. How long has it been since you told God, “I love you”? Since we got “married” to Him in our conversion experience? Do you regularly express to God that you love Him? Here’s what John says about the love God has for us, and He made us for a reciprocal relationship. See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. (1 John 3:1 NIV)  Continue reading

So you want to write?

Over the years I’ve heard lots of people say, “I think I have a book idea . . .” My first response is, “What have you written so far?”

“Oh, nothing, but it’s in my head.”

At this point I could go several directions . . .

  • Give said writer wannabe a swirly.
  • Tap the person on the head ever so lightly and say, “They’re called Readers (of actual text), not Mind Readers.”
  • Stare and blink a few times then walk away.
  • But usually my better self shows up to these conversations and here’s what I say.

If you want to write a book do one or more of the following:

  1. Write something. You don’t know what there is in there until you write.
  2. Go to a writer’s seminar.
  3. Take a journalism class at a community college or wherever you can.
  4. Get a book or two on writing. One of my favorites is Anne LaMott‘s Bird by Bird and right now I’m reading Tracy Kidder‘s and Richard Todd‘s Good Prose.
  5. Read good books and writing in the style you want to write.
  6. Journal for a year.
  7. Start a blog or just a private diary.
  8. Get a blank piece of paper and a pen and doodle and write till ideas come.
  9. Figure out if you really do want to write or if it’s just a fantasy.
  10. Write something. Did I say that already? Maybe because it’s the only way you are going to write, is by sitting down with the instruments of writing and putting an outline, ideas, a bad first draft, something on paper. Write something.

Still have that idea just “in your head”? Good writing takes time and energy and practice. Write me if you have questions about the writing life.

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