(Please read chapters 1-6 for the context of the weaving of nonfiction topics and a fictional story unveiling a historical truth)
reading time: 8 minutes
When my kids were young and still living at home, I tried to carve out time every weekend to have one-on-one “Daddy and me time” with each of them. We usually started with going to a park and playing on the swings and playground equipment. Sometimes we rode bikes or walked at the mall. My daughter enjoyed walks out in nature. When my son was in Little League, we practiced fielding and batting. When my son got older, his tastes got more expensive, and he liked going to play with the latest high-tech stuff at stores like Best Buy and the Apple Store. We often shared ice cream or yogurt after our adventures.
One Sunday, I got frustrated with my writing. I’d been working on a fictional story (which I hope to publish in 2021), and I just couldn’t get it right. I tend to be obsessive about reaching self-imposed deadlines, but I was stuck. Deep inside, I knew my writing was not good. I had the desire, passion, and effort, but the skills and knowledge were not there. (It took a few years before I acknowledged that I needed to take a writing class.)
After failing to figure out why my writing challenges gnawed at me, and wanting to keep my weekend commitment with each of my kids, I took my son to Best Buy. After a good time at the store, I let it slip that I wanted to be at home to figure out the writing.
I regretted the words as soon as they left my mouth.
I felt awful.
I carried that guilt of not fully treasuring the time I had with my son for years. We still get together for lunch every now and then, and when I finally confessed to him how I felt that day, he told me he didn’t even remember the incident. Praise God this was one time I did not scar him!
About ten years later, I humbled myself to focus on developing my writing skills. I signed up for a writing class taught by an excellent writer. I devoured each book we had to read for the class, and I blossomed. I continued to read every book on writing I could, listened to several writing podcasts, attended a couple of writers’ conferences, and grew even more.
One of the most powerful podcasts I found was an interview with writer, blogger, and speaker Jeff Goins. I wish I could remember more details, as I could not find the podcast to reference it, but I do remember he struck me with his ideas on reacting and creating. I did find a quote from his book You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One).
“When I started writing every day, I realized a painful truth: I can’t react and create at the same time. Neither can you.”
I’m going to go over some of what I remember from that interview and throw in my own ideas as well.
Jeff stated that in life, we are either reacting or creating. Reacting is doing things in response to a particular need. Like doing the dishes after a meal. Cleaning your home because it needs it. Going grocery shopping so there’s food to eat. Going to work and performing your daily tasks so you can pay the bills. Taking showers and brushing your teeth for your physical hygiene needs. Doing yard work to prevent weeds from taking over. I think you get the idea.
What would be creating? Perhaps you enjoy writing. Maybe you’re into painting. Photography. Playing a musical instrument. Gardening. Cooking. Perhaps you’re good at creating special bonding experiences with friends and family.
Let’s include a third category: downtime. Dictionaries tell us downtime is when production time is stopped for repairs, setup, etc. We use downtime to rest and recharge or for entertainment. Streaming a favorite TV series. Watching a movie or sporting event. Reading a novel. Watching silly videos on YouTube.
What does living in the other Story have to do with reacting, creating, and downtiming?
Two verses come to mind.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1
So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. Genesis 1:27
God created you and me, and He made us in His image. So we are creators as well.
You are to live your Story through His POV(point of view) and you are to create.
How easy is it for us to get caught up in only or mainly reacting? How long can you sustain just reacting? How long can you only perform downtiming activities?
That is misery.
How long can you just create?
We are to live a healthy balance of all three.
If things are a bit off for you, are you taking the time to create?
You are made in the image of a Creator, and are you creating? If you are made in the image of a Creator, and you are to create, you were made with passion to create. What creative activity energizes you? Is there something you do that feels like one reason you were created? Do other people comment on how easy you make a certain creative activity look?
Maybe you’re not good at anything creative. Yet. Working through a growth mindset, what skill would you like to develop? I spent years learning how to write, then testing my writing and receiving sometimes brutal feedback before I began to grow. I had to reach a point of humility, where I was willing to try, fail, collaborate, and experience rejection in order to develop and progress as a writer.
I love my wife’s beautiful heart. My daughter’s love of God’s creation. My son’s creative bent.
I learned that I was still creating when I shared life with each of them in the Story. We were creating great memories together and a bond that will help us to withstand whatever comes. I didn’t see it at the time. But looking back, I thank God we were able to create together.
Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl was imprisoned in multiple Nazi concentration camps starting in 1942. In his book Man’s Search for Meaning, he identifies patterns of those who died in concentration camps and those who survived.
He found that those who felt compelled to live for a loved one or for an unfinished freely chosen task were most likely to survive.
While living life in the everyday evil of our world, seeing life through the right POV equips us to love and create in humility. As God moves through us, we can live with a growth/student mindset and utilize collaboration with others. This will enable us to not just get through life but to flourish in our role in the Grand Epic Story.
And that is the Author’s intent.
There it is!
In direct contrast and confrontation to the story you have always been told, you were created to freely choose to love God and His creation and to create what you were created to create.
Someone is telling us His Story. Read it from the right POV. Know that we are not good compared to God, and we need to be fixed. Read His Story to learn to humble yourself and move into a growth mindset. Find a Bible-believing church for collaboration.
Converse with God to love and know Him to then love others. Resist all forms of slavery and social injustice that attempt to take away the value and time with our Father’s creation, our fellow human family members, through the only POV that matters.
What are you supposed to create?
Maybe it’s time to dust off and pull out what you put away a long time ago.
Then go create.
Raise up the other Story,
Charles Anthony Solorio
Not creating what you were created to create is pure misery.
top photo credit Amrutha VM, Unsplash
middle photo credit Evgeni Tcherkasski, Unsplash
Explore charlesanthonysolorio.com and come with me and help me as we navigate the other Story. Tell others and let’s change the world for the better—through His way, not our own.