Inspired by….

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 ‘Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God’  – Maya Angelou

We see the phrase “Inspired by” on movies, we hear it from people, and we read about it. Though what does it really mean to be “Inspired by”. While there are so many types of inspiration the most common element is to be motived. Even a movie that was “Inspired by” means someone was motivated to tell the story even if it differs from the inspiration.

For me inspiration leads my life. Something, someone, or somewhere will set off an inspiration inside me. Now the interesting thing is even if it is my own inner drive that gets me moving on the inspiration, the key that turned that switch comes from someplace else. It has a driver that sees more than I can see and also knows me well enough to know how to inspire me. I had to be placed in that somewhere or near that something, or meet that someone. It’s what I call “A God thing”, something I try not to ignore.

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“Prayer at its highest is a two-way conversation-and for me the most important part is listening to God’s replies.” ― Frank C. Laubach

I for some reason feel the need to go someplace, so I listen and go. There I end up finding something that inspires something. I’m put in certain spots or meet certain people that seem to help me. I’ve been interested in expanding my photography skill and taking more photos. I go to lunch with someone for one reason but find out they enjoy photography and have knowledge of equipment etc. So not just something we can connect on but also a chance to possibly expand my knowledge.

I learned at a young age to follow the inspiration that comes to me. In eighth grade one of the classes I had talked about the stock market. That stuck with me and over the years my knowledge and understanding of the stock market expanded. It also expanded into finances in general something my parents didn’t understand. That seed that stayed with me from eighth grade on and has been yet another blessing in my life.

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“There’s a lot of difference between listening and hearing.”
― G.K. Chesterton

I could go on about all the blessings in my life but the point is that if we listen, truly listen to the voice that speaks quietly to us that tries to inspire us, tries to place us where we can be inspired, that understands us and knows how to motivate us it can lead to an amazing life, but the first step is Faith.

Allowing yourself to be open to where you are being lead and trusting that even if you don’t understand that at some point you will. Sometimes it is hindsight that you see where that path took you, but that once you have Faith, the next step is Trust. Trust that even if you don’t understand, that even if it is hard and the path is dark, you’ll not only make it through but end up where you should be.

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“Belief consists in accepting the affirmations of the soul; unbelief, in denying them.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

The thing is that Faith and Trust aren’t always easy especially when faced with your own Ego and desire. Do you let yourself go and just follow blindly to whatever end? Then you have to face doubt, what ifs, the question of is this what is intended, what if I’m not supposed to go this way, whose voice am I listening to, etc.   I can’t answer how to fight doubt because we each face doubt in our own way. I present questions to myself and some things I just know, which I can’t even explain how I know I just do.

I like my data. I enjoy knowledge, researching, and thinking. So what I’m going to say will be opposite from my usual nature. Try not to think too much about it and follow Nike’s advice and just do it. Just set out on whatever it is you are being compelled to do or inspired to do. Now I’m not saying don’t think in general, but I mean when you hear the voice just set upon the path then use your skills, thinking, knowledge and etc. once you set upon the path.

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“Not everything we experience can be explained by logic or science.”
― Linda Westphal

Also sometimes being compelled is just something simple not a grand thing. In fact most times it is small things that you may not realize.

My current inspiration is one I’m intrigued by because I ended up picking up a couple books by John C. Maxwell. A had no knowledge of this author, did no research before getting the books, it started as I came across an audiobook and something clicked in me. I ended up walking to the other side of the store to find his other books. Two just seemed right for me “Today Matters” and “Maxwell Daily Reader”.

I have no idea why. I’ve never bothered to read anything on leadership in the past even with all my reading and self-help stuff nothing ever about leadership, so that is the first odd thing. Though I also understand that whatever I’m supposed to get from this may have nothing to do with leadership even though that is what the books are about. It may be some other lesson I’m supposed to learn. I have no idea which is what so intrigues me about this. It’s kind of fun just to see what happens. It may just be one thing I’m supposed to get from it and have absolutely nothing to do with what the writer is writing about.

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“When many voices are speaking at once, listen to the one most quiet and gentle. That’s the one worth listening to.” ― Miranda Linda Weisz

That’s the other thing, make following that compulsion or inspiration fun, and make it about finding out what the journey has in store for you or even others. Make it an adventure. Also be open to it and don’t go in with preconceived notions. You may even fail at something that started as an inspiration only to realize there was a lesson in that failure that helps you later.

I was done with Church, I was one of the “Done with Church” crowd. Even though I was raised conservative Christian and explored when I got older. I had friends that always talked about how strong my faith was, but then after enough moments I was done. I had no interest in going to a church again. My faith in God and Christ were still there, I just didn’t care to go to church anymore. I had become so jaded by the experience I wanted nothing more to do with the church.

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“Stop expecting the world to affirm you as a person. Half of the world will like you and the other half will hate you, despite what you say or do. Christ knew this truth, but he did his life mission anyways.”  ― Shannon L. Alder

 

It seems the journey I took after that would eventually lead me back to church and in a role that I would have never predicted. It also restored my faith in various ways. It seems that God has a plan for me and lead me on a journey so I would grow more before bringing me to someplace that feels right and I care about and even to something that I feel inspired to be.

Which is working for the church, but another interesting twist. The church is a United Methodist Church which is the faith my wife grew up in and the last denomination I was part of before being done with church. Which I noticed the positive impact on my wife with us being there. So it not only was my journey but it ended up helping her. Which anything that helps my wife and makes her happy, makes me happy.

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“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.”  ― John Lennon

Yea God has a beautiful sense of humor and irony. I kind of dig that about him. Though I’ve always considered him a friend and thus it makes sense humor and irony would be part of our relationship.

So to close, listen to that voice that inspires, the voice that comes from someone that knows you, loves you, and wants to help you be where you should be.

 

Thanks for your time.

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“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
― George Bernard Shaw

FYI, any grammar errors you find I apologize for. My editor was sleeping when I finished this and then had this silly thing called work this morning. I decided to be daring and post it without her review of my work.  Which also means if at any point it felt like I went off topic or it was a little confusing, well its just the way it hit the page.

The pictures are from our trip to McCormick State Park and Cataract Falls in Indiana.

Writefully Soul

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I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.”

James A. Michener

The first story I remember writing was a creative writing story in 8th grade. It was for English class and I got an A on the project. I also remember it because it was filled with red ink and an entire paragraph circled with the words “run on sentence” written beside it. Yes, that is right, I wrote an entire paragraph without punctuation. I was a bit confused by getting a paper covered in red with such a high grade. The teacher said the story was great. I just needed to work on grammar. So would go my educational experience with English. Writing projects that were about creative writing or etc, I would get high marks. But when lessons were about grammar, I would get average marks.

I did a project for history class and the teacher told me he had never seen a paper with so much detail. I wrote it about the atomic bomb. I can still tell you the differences in Uranium and the reasons for two different kinds of bombs. The names of the bombs Little Boy and Fat Man, plus various other details about that project. I fell in love with writing. I just was really horrible about grammar. My wife informs me I have gotten better over the years. I still make faux pas but my wife helps with that. She tells me that I should not be scared of commas, they will not hurt me.
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You know, it’s hard work to write a book. I can’t tell you how many times I really get going on an idea, then my quill breaks. Or I spill ink all over my writing tunic.”

Ellen DeGeneres

Early on, I would buy the yearly release of a book that listed contests, publishers, and other information to submit stories. I loved writing so much that I wanted to try my hand at being a poor author. Somewhere along the way, I stopped buying the books and moved on to other endeavors. Though writing was still important to me. However I no longer create vibrant prose of fictional characters, and I have not written poetry in a rather long time. I still love to write.

I think everyone should write, even if it is just in a journal. It is a healthy release and can actually give you some focus on things you face. When my mother went to a grief group to help with losing my dad, they had her write. In fact when she had issues with the way dad handle things that lead to his death, they told her to write him a letter. When she had an issue with the way one of the people at the hospital handled something after dad passed, they told her to write a letter even if she never sent it, she should still write it. Various other groups and programs recommend writing.

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Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.”

Graham Greene

Writing can be an amazing relief valve for emotions and is a wonderful coping activity. The other thing it brings is focus. You may find out as you write, what is really bothering you or it may assist you by being that relief valve so that you may better see the problem in front of you. Writing is similar to talking to someone; you are getting out what is inside. For me over the years it has been a true blessing. It also helps when I have trouble sleeping because something is weighing on my mind. I get up and write down my thoughts and I find myself more at ease when my head finds the pillow again.

Also, when you write you are tapping into something different then speaking. I find depending what you are writing, sometimes you are having a conversation with yourself. As I write I am thinking about the words coming out and making decisions about them, or about the thoughts as they are laid upon the page. I also can go back and read what I have just written and draw insight from that page riddled with pieces of my heart and mind. I write in two different fashions. One is inspiration, which flows freely from me and also is the one more grammatically vexed. The other is focused writing, where I have an intended end result or project I must accomplish, which comes out more polished even in rough draft but is much more tedious for me to do. I attempt to turn projects into inspiration so that I might write more freely.

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You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”

Saul Bellow

I find other activities can help me write as well. I love to drive. If you put a 200 mile circle around St. Louis and look at parks and various other nature destinations, I more than likely have been to them. If I have not, then please let me know what I missed and it will be a destination someday. I love nature. I find walks in nature, exploring nature, and just driving through nature also frees my mind so I may better write. Also taking pictures helps me write, especially since taking pictures changes my perception of the world and sometimes I notice things I did not before. I am prone to distraction, so having very little interruption can help as well.

A thought sometimes for me is like a butterfly that flutters into my brain and then out again. Which is also where I absolutely love my kindle fire hdx with bluetooth keyboard. Typing is the best way for me to write. It is the only thing I have found that comes close to keeping up with my brain so I do not lose a thought. I have been driving and come up with a thought, flesh it out some and then find someplace to pull over and grab my kindle and write it. Which becomes even more fleshed out when writing it down.

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A story is a letter that the author writes to himself, to tell himself things that he would be unable to discover otherwise.”

Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Writing to me can be a personal journey into my soul. It can ignite something in me and give me guidance. I have tried my hand at various writing forms. I find this style that you read now most pleasing to me. I find that I want to communicate with people. I want to convey thoughts and ideas in a way that touches others. While I can write fiction, and I know that fiction touches people it is not the way I want to communicate. I like this format for the moment. What got me started like this was actually Pastor Joel at church asking me to write a devotional for an endeavor he was trying. I absolutely loved it. So I have continued since then. I was also amazed at how many people the devotionals I wrote touched. There was even a card sent to the church for me thanking me for writing the devotionals.

I guess that was it also. I needed that positive reinforcement that I might be able to touch others with what I write. Even if it was just a handful of people. I live with the idea that if I have changed just one life for the better in this world, then I have accomplished my purpose. Though what I really want is to change everyones life for the better. I realize that is a bit unrealistic but I could hope. I rely on the domino effect. That the positive impact I have on those I interact with then has an positive impact on the people they interact with next and so on.

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If you show someone something you’ve written, you give them a sharpened stake, lie down in your coffin, and say, ‘When you’re ready’.”

David Mitchell

To me my writing is part of who I am. It is something I enjoy doing. Even with no audience, I would still continue to write, because it is part of my soul and an essence of my being. My mother always told me that I reminded her of her dad. He started a newspaper called “The Bugle” in St. Louis. I have been told he had a talent for persuasive writing. I never got to know him as I was 4 years old when he passed away from colon cancer. Though my mother would always make that comparison.

I have truly appreciated the positive comments I have had on some of my writings. The positive comments have truly helped lift me up. Thank you to those people.

I also want to thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope you are having a wonderful day and may you be blessed.
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Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”

Virginia Woolf

Member of The Internet Defense League