Wednesday 22 May 2024

Showcase YOUR writing - 6-7 July by Ruth Bonetti



Christian Authors Showcase Queensland is the ideal venue to launch this exciting anthology of local writers–on Saturday 6 July at 3pm. 

SHOWCASE (6 -7 July) will be packed with opportunities to connect with publishers, editors, designers and fellow authors. 


"More please! Next year?" feedback chorused in unison after CASQ launched in August 2023.

"Sure. In two years’ time." 

But ... then again ... WHY NOT ... NOW? 

Simply reinvent, streamline and enlarge the template into dual streams. 

There's enthusiasm, so many local authors keen to showcase their writing that panels are preferred to give voice to many. 

Similar to last year’s Showcase, it will be a time of fun, learning and worshipping. 

MEET PUBLISHERS

Take opportunities to meet with traditional publishers from Wombat-Rhiza, Armour Books and CHI-Books. The latter is the imprint of our keynote speaker Ben Gray, international publisher, local author, national prayer organiser, missions coordinator, pastor. And discuss paths and pitfalls with the many motivated, experienced Indie publishers.

POLISH YOUR SHOWCASE PITCH

Promote your writing in a 2 minute spotlight. Or, with likely sell-out numbers, edit and polish your pitch to a tight 90-seconds. Alert: A shepherd's crook will curb the verbose. 

No photo description available.

PANELS/TOPICS will include:

  • Self-publishing ("Wish I knew before...")
  • Publishers' POV
  • Editing
  • Shaping characters
  • Writing life stories
  • Overcoming writers block
  • Writing about trauma
  • Turn your scene into a script
  • Edgy Fiction

MARKETING - Show don't tell! And how better than in an eye-catching costume? 

No photo description available.

Take Tips from the Rendered Realms girls, Lynne Stringer, Jenny O'Hagen and Adele Jones. 

BOOKSTALL

A bookstall will take stock of your books to sell for the weekend. That sure softens hard sell phobia.

WHEN AND WHERE

                      Saturday 6th July 

           8:30am to 5 pm

           Dinner at your own expense at the motel restaurant if you wish to stay and join us.

 

           Sunday 7th July

           9:00 am to 4:00pm

 

Early bird rates apply until 1st June -$95 full time (both days)

                                   $55 per day part time.


Includes Morning/ afternoon teas and lunch -  they were filling, gluten-free and YUMMY last year.

After 1st June rates will be $125 full time and $70/day part time.

 Venue: Coopers Colonial Motel, Acacia Ridge Brisbane. Book overnight accomodation ASAP.

Check our website CASQ.online for details and booking. 


 Hurry to catch that early bird! Book


 ABOUT Ruth Bonetti

Since in 1991 the idea to form Omega Writers was planted in Ruth's head and heart, she feels awed by a prolific harvest of writers' publications. Ruth has published 12 titles, two by Oxford University Press and others by her imprint Words and Music. 

Research for her award-winning trilogy Midnight Sun to Southern Cross offers scope to genre morph into Kids Lit historical novels.

https://www.ruthbonetti.com/

Book chapter narrations

FaceBook Author Page

Speak Out Audio Book

YouTube channel

Thursday 25 April 2024

CENOTAPHS AND MONUMENTS

LEST WE FORGET TO REMEMBER

My family and I have recently been required to pour over and sort through years of belongings, photos, letters, and memories of loved ones who have passed away. It has been a challenging process, in many ways heart wrenching, often confronting, sometimes joyous. It has been as though we have entered the vaults of our loved one’s lives. Their material lives are a testament of memories with stories, histories, and intimacies to tell. Remembering is a powerful process, it can be liberating and empowering.



SORTING THROUGH THE MEMORIES

During the Easter holidays this year (the time I prefer to label “The Passion week”) my wife and I spent much of our time we would spend in reflection, rest and recreation working through about 35 years of our own archives, files, and ministry notes and resources. This was a space and time-determined imperative. In the process we needed to discern what was necessary to retain and those elements that would need to be processed for shredding (including much confidential material). A monumental experience after successfully filling four wheely-bins of discarded material. Amongst all the archives we also discovered artifacts we have chosen to retain as they are eminent memories. Emotionally charged. Important. Relevant. Impactful.

The Australian Light Horse


MEETING THE LAST LIGHT HORSEMAN
 
Amongst them was an order of service that sparked a precious memory from twenty years ago.I had been invited with my family to the birthday of Albert (Bert) Whitmore (1899 - 2002). I remember being so honoured and proud of my son when he was blessed to shake his hand. Bert was the last surviving Light Horseman and last surviving South Australian World War One veteran. Having joined the service as a 17-year-old Bert joined his fellow comrades in arms shortly after they had captured Beersheba in the historic cavalry charge. Bert rode in the successful third battle for Gaza. Allied victories soon led to the capture of Jerusalem. The rest - they say- is history. Bert described the scenes he had witnessed  as "like riding through the Bible". Israel is an archaeological museum of peoples, and lives and stories and beliefs. In the midst of the war, Bert had been graced to view with his own eyes the good news places he had read of and heard about in Sunday School. Beersheba is the place of cisterns in the desert where “The well of Abraham” can be seen on numerous plaques heralding the narrative to visitors. 

Author Shane Brigg at "Abraham's Well" at Beersheba in Israel


CENOTAPHS, MEMORIALS, AND MONUMENTS

Today monuments and cenotaphs are seen in this place too of the time Bert and his mates rode through.  In Jerusalem there are many cenotaphs, memorial places, plaques, and archaeological sites of significance. The most eminent and debated over is the burial place of the risen Jesus. The word cenotaph is derived from the Greek kenos taphos, meaning "empty tomb." A cenotaph is a monument, sometimes in the form of a tomb, in our modern usage it is often utilized as a place of remembrance to a person or group of persons buried elsewhere. Including our ANZACs.



LEST WE FORGET

Bert Passed away at the age of 102. Soon after the opportunity our community had made to honour him in life we then gathered for his funeral service which took place on the 31st of October 2002. This date was also the 85th anniversary of the Battle of Beersheba. I was honoured to attend this humble man’s graveside State funeral service in the Barmera cemetery. It was a solemn, impactful, appreciation of a servant-hearted man and his comrades who had laid down their lives. The words “Lest we forget” resounded. The phrase simply implores that 'it should not be forgotten'. We say or write 'lest we forget' in commemorations to always remember the service and sacrifice of people who have served in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations. A Bugle sounded. Bagpipes played. 

Albert Whitmore. The last Light Horseman

I visited that cemetery several times over the years.

OTHERS NOT FORGOTTEN 

Among the artifacts we found as we cleaned up all those archives was the memorial service handout of a ten year old boy's funeral that I had conducted at that same cemetery a couple of years after Bert Whitmore’s farewell. I was his Chappy and Pastor caring for his family over many years. I have kept that order of service. This was a difficult memory to process. Especially considering that only a little while later I was doing another service for his Dad who had passed away after his battle with cancer. Bagpipes played at their funeral, but there was no bugle. The phrase “Lest we Forget” was not announced for these two friends of mine. But they had both fought a brave fight: one which is the battle of all young people to live their lives, grow, learn, wrestle through the challenges, connect, love and be loved by others and celebrate every heartbeat, the other was to experience the same and to have lived and loved and fought a brave battle for health. Then to have known the peace of God in the last hours as hands were held, prayers were said. I will ever remember them as having fought the good fight of faith. Sometimes this fight may have been faltering for them. Sometimes it was full of glory. Remembering them is important. It helps to anchor my own life and be thankful for the lives I have been honoured to know. It also deepens the appreciation of those whom I have not known and yet who are important to value and appreciate and take time to remember.



HONOUR TO OUR ANZACS 

This ANZAC day we will pause to remember our service people who have laid down their life and living to secure peace in our world. Many have paid the ultimate price of their life in sacrifice. No greater love. Lest we forget.

The phrase 'Lest we forget' is from a line in the1897 Rudyard Kipling poem, “Recessional”:

"God of our fathers, known of old,

Lord of our far-flung battle line,

Beneath whose awful hand we hold

Dominion over palm and pine—

Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,

Lest we forget—lest we forget!"

 

Remembering is a powerful process.

Shane Brigg Chaplain Remembrance Day Service Prayers


The memories that had been catalysed by our archival cleanout over passion week have culminated in my final thoughts here:

The opportunity to journey with loved ones (like my family and friends), acquaintances and even people less known to us but whose stories have had an impact on our lives (Like Bert Whitmore) is a blessing.



The memories literally grounded in the cemetery in Barmera are not just of deaths, but of lives and loves that have touched my life. And Life goes on.

LIFE. LOVE. LIFTING JESUS . 

The siblings, wife, family, and friends of those who we had buried at the Barmera cemetery gathered at the beautiful Lake Bonney near this landmark at the culmination of my tenure in this region. It was for a baptism in its waters. As we remembered the saving works of Jesus. No Greater Love has any one than to lay down their life for their friends. And as those who went through the waters, we recognised that this act was more than just a memorial of death. It was a living symbol of Jesus having laid down his life he rose again to give us life. Life abundant. The sister and daughter of that little boy and the dad who had passed away was baptised.

 There was no bugle or bagpipes, but someone played a guitar and we sang.

 "Lord, I lift Your name on high

Lord, I love to sing Your praises
I'm so glad You're in my life
I'm so glad You came to save us

You came from heaven to earth
To show the way
From the earth to the cross
My debt to pay
From the cross to the grave
From the grave to the sky
Lord, I lift Your name on high."

(Written by Rick Founds).


We could have added a stanza we might have borrowed from Kipling (my thoughts):

God of our fathers, known of old, (and known to us)

Lord of our far-flung battle line, (Our lives, our world, our time)

Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, (Jesus, you never leave us nor forsake us)

Lest we forget—lest we forget!


Lake Bonney Barmera, South Australia


The Passion week is a time for us to remember. Baptisms are a mark on our lives to memorialise in our own living Jesus death and resurrection. A testimonial of saving love. We do that conscientiously and consequentially of our faith journeys. Jesus life and death and resurrection has redeemed our past and marked and influenced our future. I am grateful.  Remembering is powerful.


The opening of the memorial portal that was stored in all the archival and material elements that my wife and I have kept and reviewed have meant that I have and will conscientiously make  time to remember my family and friends. My loved ones and their lives. To tell and write more of their stories. To bless. To heal. Those who have lived their lives and touched ours in the past and their passing have marked and influenced our future. I am grateful.  Remembering is powerful.


Love is a reminder that the story of our lives is interwoven with those of others. The strongest reminder is the greatest of love. The laying down of lives. Living sacrifices. Faith, Hope and Love, and the greatest of these is love, and no greater love has anyone than they lay down their lives for their friends. (1 Corinthians 13:13, John 15:13).

This ANZAC day I chose to remember. I chose to remember, appreciate, honour those who have served and have laid down their lives in times of war and conflict to secure a future and peace for us. I am truly grateful. 

Bert Whitmore Light Horse Memorial Barmera RSL 


On the 14th August 2022, on Albert Whitmore’s birthday a memorial was unveiled by Tony Pasin MP & Bert`s family at the Barmera RSL. The Plaque reads :

“Erected by the RSL Barmera Sub Branch to celebrate Albert (Bert) Whitmore.

The last surviving WWI Light Horseman”

 The Front Inscription reads :


“L E S T   W E   F O R G E T”.

 

I won’t.  I hope we all remember. Remembering is powerful.




Monday 18 March 2024

Can you help judge the 2024 CALEB Award?

Call for judges in the 2024 CALEB Award

The CALEB Award from Omega Writers recognises the best in Australasian Christian writing each year. The awards are an opportunity to celebrate excellence within our Christian writing community. We invite you to help us celebrate the talent within our community by volunteering to be a judge of the 2024 Award. 

Entries will open on 1 April and instructions for writers wanting to enter will be available shortly on the Omega Writers website.

Why be a judge?

There are so many reasons! If you are a writer, it helps you interact with some of the best Australian Christian writing from the past two years. If you are an aspiring author, it can help you learn about your genre. If you are a reader, it can help you discover new Australian books. Being a judge is an opportunity to elevate the great work of others in the Christian writing community

You don’t have to be a writer to be a judge!

Anyone who enjoys reading Christian books (not just writers) can volunteer to be a judge. You don’t need specialist writing knowledge, just a bit of time to read and give your feedback on the entries. Books (except picture books) are entered electronically, so you can read them on your e-reader or computer.

First-round judges need to read and judge the first 10,000 words (of between 4 and 10 entries) between 1 May and 18 June 2024. Final-round judges will read and judge 3 or 4 whole books (up to 120,000 words each) between 1 July and 20 August 2024.

If you are entering the CALEB Award you can still be a judge in a category that you have not entered. Volunteer to be a judge here.

Are all entries Christian?

The CALEB Award recognises and celebrates excellence among Christians who write. This may include the writing of books for the Christian market or for the general market. As such, judges can expect the writing they read and judge to be consistent with Christian worldviews and values, even if they do not contain overt Christian content.

This year the award is for books published in 2022 and 2023 in the following categories:

  • Published Adult Fiction
  • Published Young Adult Fiction
  • Published Middle Grade and Early Reader
  • Published Picture Books
  • Published Adult and Young Adult Nonfiction (excluding Devotionals)

Entries for the 2024 Award will open on 1 April 2024. Winners will be announced at the gala dinner as part of the 2024 Omega Writers Conference in September.

Click here to volunteer to be a judge of the 2024 CALEB Award.

Monday 19 February 2024

The 2024 Omega Writers Conference

Looking to take the next step in your writing journey but not sure where to start? 

The Omega Writers Conference is the premier event for Christian writers in Australia, gathering writers at all career stages for a weekend of learning, encouragement and collaboration in a relaxing environment.

2024 Omega Writer's conference

More value than ever before!

The 2024 Omega Writers Conference features:
  • Keynote talks by best-selling, award-winning US author, Susan May Warren. Susan is an author of over sixty-five novels, a writing teacher and publishing powerhouse. 
  • Ticket to the Caleb Award gala dinner
  • Fiction/Non-fiction focussed craft workshops
  • Sessions on writer health
  • Agent, editor and mentor appointments
  • Bookseller speed-dating
  • Prayer support
  • Networking opportunities and much more.
Plus a bonus workshop opportunity! Susan May Warren will offer an additional day-long romance fiction workshop only available to conference attendees. 

See the full program here.

What people say about the Omega Writers Conference 

“I really love the in-person conference…it was my first Christian one where I found like-minded writers and…a hub appointment turned my attitude to my writing around.” 

“It felt as though God had arranged everything and His presence was obvious. My favourite thing about conference is always the connection and encouragement I receive.” 

 “The conference is a celebration of the joy, quirks, challenges and privilege it is to write for the King of kings.” 


Take the next step! 

 Join us at the Metro Mirage Hotel Newport this September and experience the creativity that happens in a room of Christian writers and let 2024 be the year you get clarity and direction for the next steps of your writing journey. 

 Book now!

Thursday 25 January 2024

BACK TO SCHOOL

 "I am a Yarigai Logophile”  

As a school Chaplain I work with parents, students and teachers to ensure families that may be finding the back-to-school effort and outlays a little challenging are supported. Starting school or transitioning back to school after the summer holiday break can be stressful for some. Add to that the potential financial pressure on families of getting all the necessary items on the book list, school uniforms, computers, getting routines organized, and things can be a little difficult. For students this may be compounded by social and emotional stresses. Reading the social cues correctly. Saying the right words at the right time to the right people. Not saying anything at the right time. Timetabling. Behaviour expectations. Learning. Homework. Assessments.




At the beginning of my grade 4 school year, I was one of those students whose family were struggling to face the challenge of making the budget work to pay for our schooling necessities. Dad had been off work with an injury and things were tight. I remember needing a dictionary as a required part of our schoolbooks acquisition at the beginning of the school year. I remember going off to school with Dad’s old Webster's dictionary and being told quite obtusely by my teacher that it was the “wrong dictionary.” All the other kids had the correct one. I was the odd one out. I think there were tears. I remember a letter home. Embarrassing stares from my table group. I remember my honest wish to not just fit in, but also have access to the learning tools I needed. I loved words and wanted to get this part of my schooling right.

I love words.

I am sure I have said that before. Many times.

In Primary School I was the kid at school who spent hours of my lunch time sourcing fresh inspiring books in my school library. Particularly, I borrowed every book I could get my hands on about Dinosaurs. Yes. I loved the Palaeontology and the amazing forms these creatures  had. Yet, perhaps more telling I fell in love with their names, their meanings, and where their names came from. I started with the the word “dinosaur” which is from the Greek deinos (terrible) and sauros (lizard) ‘terrible lizards’. Then came words like Tyranosaurus rex  (which is derived from the Greek words tyrannos, meaning "tyrant" and "sauros" (lizard) and the Latin word rex (meaning "king"). I became a junior etymologist (at least about all things dinosaurs).




Getting my first personal dictionary boosted my logophilia.

I was so very excited when Mum bought me that book with the green cover: “ The Australian Pocket Oxford Dictionary”. Mum worked extra hours to buy me that new dictionary. What a precious gift. 

By the way, it didn’t fit in my pocket: it was so loaded with beautiful, prepossessing words.



My love of words grew.

A couple of years later, I started year 6 in an entirely different school. My new teacher placed a challenge in front of us to learn a list of hundreds of Latin and Greek roots and suffixes and prefixes. I was an average student academically, but she inspired a passion in me to learn more.

At the end of year 6 (before year 7 began in yet another school) I started to “read” the dictionary. This was at the prompting of my grandfather who was an inspiring word smith and cruciverbalist. I started in “A” and learnt and put into practice all the new words I encountered. I then dove into a 22-volume encyclopedia of animals and began to learn their names (including their Latin names). I was a rabid lexophile. I read every book in our year level reading list. Year 7 I was dux of my new school. I went on to being the first person in my family to go to university.




(I loved words even more. Words seemed to love me. I began to read the bible. I discovered that The WORD loves me and saved me and has a plan and purpose for me in sharing his love and words with others)  

My wife and I were inspired recently with the story in movie form (The Professor and the Madman) of Sir James Murray (lexicographer) who was invited by Oxford University Press to take on the job of capturing all the words then extant in the English-speaking world in all their various shades of meaning. He is known as the first editor of the Oxford English Dictionary. This fueled my back to school/ New Years resolution which was to be more intentional about my reading list (actually finish that pile of books I have waiting to be read) and ignited the other goal which is reflected in my thoughts above: to embrace my love of words.

Sir James Murray in Scriptorium



At our staff personal development at the beginning of this school year our guest relayed some mind-set thoughts with us and challenged us with this question:

“What is high performance in your context? … Discuss with your partner.”

My discussion with my partner (our teacher of Japanese) went something like how I aim to do things that are worthwhile and supporting the efforts of others to discover their purpose and meaning. My teacher friend grew excited as she explained that there is a special word in Japanese that expressed my sentiment. “Yarigai” she said “You are talking about Yarigai: it means something worth doing especially when you are helping someone else, you are helping yourself too.”


やり甲斐 = Yarigai

 

So allow me to pose that question to you :

“What is high performance in your context as a writer?”

For me it is continuing to grow in my writing prowess and embrace my love of words to help others fall in love with narratives that empower, motivate, inspire, and mobilize them.  

What is Yarigai for you?  What is your back-to-school resolution?

Perhaps for you - like me - it is to fall in love with words again. I plan to go “back to school”, dust off my old dictionary and start reading it again. Noting the words I need to learn. Finding out what they mean. I will put these words into action by utilizing them creatively, and helping to inspire others in their worthwhile living.

Shane Brigg - "I love words"



Thursday 18 January 2024

In for the long haul

 

I began my writing journey in earnest almost twenty years ago now. Back then, if you had told me I would have ten books published by 2024, I would not have believed you. I thought I had one novel burning inside me, but that turned out to be seven in the end. I also remember declaring back then that I could never see myself writing non-fiction. Yet, just last week, my third non-fiction book, Swansong, was released.

Some have asked me why – and how – I keep going with all my writing and speaking. I usually respond by saying that I still feel I have things to say that I hope will encourage and draw others closer to God. Also, I still enjoy both – so why stop? As to the ‘how’ question, I can honestly say I would not still be writing if it were not for God’s guidance and strengthening over the years through the words of Scripture, through others and directly into my spirit. While I did not know I would still be writing all these years later, God knew and has constantly given me the impetus to keep going and the opportunities to be published.

I remember with gratitude how, when I was struggling to find a traditional publisher for my first novel, a young mum in a group I was part of prayed earnestly that my novel would indeed see the light of day. Later, she told me she thought she had seen a new Christian publisher advertised in a magazine at her mother’s place. She promised to email me the relevant information and I thanked her – but, in my heart, I was sure she would forget. A few days later, however, her email arrived – and, eventually, this was the publisher who released my first manuscript.

Fast forward to around eighteen years later when I was again looking for a publisher, this time for my third non-fiction book, Swansong. In October 2022 at the Omega Christian Writers’ Conference in Kingscliff, at what I believe was God’s prompting, I booked a Zoom interview with a representative of an overseas non-fiction publisher, Authentic Media UK. A wonderful online meeting ensued – and, soon after, I was offered a contract with Authentic.

When I started my writing journey, I did not fully believe those who told me writing is a ‘long haul’ undertaking. Yet, they were right. After all, it can take months or years for one book to emerge – and it can take even longer to build up any significant body of writing and gain a wide readership. But God of course knows that – and God also knows what shape our writing journeys will take. Perhaps God has just one book for you to write – and that is absolutely fine. But perhaps God wants you in for the long haul too and has given you many ideas that are waiting to see the light of day. In this case, I want to encourage you to keep trusting and walking with God, who is more than able to strengthen and guide and bring the right publishing opportunities your way. Our role is to listen, to obey, to persevere and to give of our best, whatever shape our writing journey may take.

May God enable us all to do exactly that in 2024.


Jo-Anne Berthelsen
lives in Sydney but grew up in Brisbane. She holds degrees in Arts and Theology and has worked as a high school teacher, editor and secretary, as well as in local church ministry. Jo-Anne is passionate about touching hearts and lives through the written and spoken word. She is the author of seven published novels and three non-fiction works, ‘Soul Friend’,  ‘Becoming Me’ and ‘Swansong’.. Jo-Anne is married to a retired minister and has three grown-up children and four grandchildren. For more information, please visit www.jo-anneberthelsen.com.

Monday 18 December 2023

Merry Christmas from Australia’s Christian Writers Network



 A message from Meredith Resce, Acting President of Omega Writers

Omega Writers: Australia’s Christian Writers Network has had a wonderful year––full of activities, successes and a few challenges. I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the Omega Writers management team who have worked tirelessly around their own day jobs and family responsibilities to make the year a success.

Please pray for our team as we continue to plan for activities for next year, including our bi-annual face-to-face conference, planned for September 20-22rd 2024. Lots of work still to do for that. If you are keen to help, please let us know where your talents lie, and we’d be pleased to include you in our team of helpers.

We have begun to plan for another round of masterclasses next year. Our first will be with indie author Christine Dillion looking at “What to focus on at the different stages of your author career”. You can book your spot on this masterclass here.

After a hectic year, the committee are stepping away from their Omega Writers’ desks and taking a well-earned break. You won’t hear much from us until the new year when we start to tell you all the exciting things we have planned for the conference!

On behalf of the management committee, may I take the opportunity to send you Christmas greetings and many blessings as you and your family welcome a new year. Have a restful holiday and we look forward to resuming our activities in February.

Thursday 7 December 2023

A Spiritual Practice For Growing Healthier Writers

by Charis Joy Jackson

 Earlier this Autumn (or summer depending on which side of the world you’re in) I found myself stuck. It wasn’t exactly writers block per se but a paralyzing fear that kept me writing a sentence only to delete it and start over again.


And again, and again.

I’d been asked to write an article for a magazine read by missions leaders around the world and the topic was close and heavy, and out of reach.

One of the founders, Loren Cunningham, of Youth With A Mission, the movement I’ve worked with for over 15 years, and been around since I was six, passed away and they wanted someone, a YWAM leader specifically, to write an article about him. How I was offered this incredible honour, only God knows.

Every time I went to write though all these thoughts kept intruding and had me deleting every five seconds.

Who was I to have the authority to write about him?

What if I didn’t have all the information that would be best for this piece?

What if, what if, what if?

When these questions have come in the past, there’s always some part of me that knows I’ll get the piece written because I always find a way. But this time, one of the deepest and scariest questions was: what if I don’t this time? What if I have to pass the job to someone else?

In the end, I went back to my leader and told him I wasn’t sure I was the right person for the job. The magazine was looking for someone who was a Leader, with a capital ‘L’ and right now, I have limited responsibilities as a leader. And even my past experience as a full-on leader, lower case ‘l’, I felt, was still not the right type.

What was my leader’s response?

He shrugged his shoulders, and said, “So. You’re a leader.” I tried to protest with my lower case ‘l’ and he said, “Would it make you feel better if we co-wrote it?”

The relief I felt at having his covering was palpable.

And. It helped me get the article written.

An article, I might add, I’m pretty proud and honoured to have been a part of.

I share this story for a few reasons. One, because that pesky fellow, Fear, seems to constantly gnat away at me and I want to continue to expose him for the Liar he is — capital ‘L’. Two, writing really does flourish when we’re able to do it with other people’s help/advise/feedback. And three, the only way to get the job done is to persevere.

I feel a bit like a broken record as “fighting fear” and “recognizing that we need people around us as writers” tends to be something I often write for CWD. Maybe it’s just me that needs to process it through the act of writing about it,  but I don’t think I’m alone with these struggles and if my vulnerability can encourage you to keep going than it’s absolutely worth it.

When my leader offered to co-write the piece with me, it was such a blessing. Not only did I feel covered by him but his surprise that I wouldn’t think I could be that capital ‘L’ leader was a real boost too. A few years ago, I’d probably have seen this interchange as a failure on my part but I’ve been learning something lately about how God created us. And realising that Fear often doesn’t allow us to see ourselves the way God sees us.

Have you ever heard of something called the Tension Examen? It’s a spiritual practice I’ve been exploring over the last few months.

Imagine a string with a knot tied on both ends and another right in the middle. Each knot represents the tensions we hold every day between areas of giftedness, areas of brokenness and in the middle our natural limitations.

Giftedness ——————— Limitedness ——————— Brokenness


Giftedness — areas where you flourish. Ex. Writing, singing, art

Limitedness — areas where there is a natural limitation. Sometimes lasting for a lifetime, sometimes just a season in our life. Ex. sickness, finances, gravity ;)

Brokenness — areas where you need to see healing. Ex. How you view yourself because of lies said over you

You see, I’ve always felt my limitations were areas of brokenness that needed to be fixed/healed. But the truth is, limitations are a gift from God. If we didn’t have limitations we would be like God and, I’m sorry, but you and I would be horrible at that ‘job’.

But it wasn’t just limitations that I struggled to have grace for, it was also giftedness. It felt prideful to say things like: I’m a good writer or I’m a great teacher, etc.

I thought I was being humble by not saying those things. Even though I’ve often said that humility is being known for who you are, the bad AND the good. But I wasn’t living like that.

Anyway, as I practiced the Tension Examen, and learned to accept the areas I’m gifted in, and the areas of Limitedness, the less shame had room to condemn me for things like the above story. Does that make sense?

I’d like to encourage you, my fellow writers, to take a week (or more if you can) to explore the spiritual practice of the Tension Examen. Take 20 minutes every day and write down what’s causing you tension in your day and then ask Holy Spirit to show you where you’re limitations are, where your brokenness is and where your giftedness comes to play in that tension.

For me, it’s helped free me of that pesky ‘friend’ I mentioned earlier. I’m not done, by any means, but Papa God has definitely used the practice to help me peal another layer of fear away.

Let me finish with this … About a month ago, I was talking on the phone with a good friend about how much I hated thinking and mulling over past hurts and painful situations. I didn’t want those things to take any more of my time or energy but they just don’t seem to want to relent.

We talked about the analogy of the peeling onion and how these were layers that needed to be dealt with. Then my friend said she hated that analogy because once you’re done pealing away, there’s nothing left.

“Have you ever heard of the rainbow eucalyptus?” she said, and then went on to talk about the stunning process of how it grows. “It sheds sections of bark in order to grow taller, and when the new bark of trunk is exposed to oxygen it reacts by turning different shades of greens and reds. Even blues and purples!

You have to admit it’s a better analogy of a life of continual growth — we outgrow the layers and though it may require a bit of perseverance on our end, think of the vibrant life you’re growing into.

All this to say, keep going. As we get ready to celebrate Christmas and then look back at what we’ve done this year and start planning ahead for those New Years resolutions, keep making room to sit with I AM and grow in your understanding of what you’re good at, what areas you need healing, and learn to have grace for natural areas of limitations.

This doesn’t mean we use limitations as the excuse for Fear to be victor, but rather, it frees us us from Anxiety/Fear. And we won’t be kept back from the thing we were gifted and created to do — tell stories, write.




 

Charis Joy Jackson works as a full-time missionary with Youth With A Mission (YWAM), an international Christian missions movement. Currently located in a village north of London, she spends as much time in the great wide outdoors as the weather will allow. In her spare time she spins stories of speculative fiction, capturing her crazy dreams in print. Literally. You can read them in her anthology Too Bright

She has also begun a new initiative on Instagram called A Minute Of Stillness, where she reflects on what God’s creation can teach us about being still and slowing down. Her heart is to see it be a moment of peace for those who happen across her reels, and hopes it will help people to stop the endless hours of scrolling in the wee hours of the night. A recovering scrolling addict, she found the few accounts that had reels telling her to stop scrolling and go to bed helped give that extra nudge to turn off her phone and either get outside, back to work or, indeed, go to bed.

C h a r i s     J o y     J a c k s o n
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