Feb 17, 2010

The Next Step

     I got a package today!

     Alright, it isn't that exciting, since I ordered the package myself. But getting mail is still fun.

     In the package was a book called Christian Writers' Market Guide 2010. The book was brought to my attention several times, so I thought it would be a good investment. It lists many helpful resources such as publishers, conferences, and (most importantly to me) agents.

     If you remember from my last update, I said that I was researching a few agents. Sadly, they do not seem to have worked out; thus the reason I bought the market guide.

     The next step in my journey is to tackle the book and glean what I can from it. That may take a while, though; I have been greatly pressed for time as of late.

     Oh, if you want to check out the book, it was written by Sally E. Stuart. I found my copy on Amazon.com.

     Another point I should mention; my computer has an overheating problem, but I gave it to a friend who I hope will be able to fix it. I am not sure how long it will be before I get it back, so I may be absent from the internet for a while. In fact, I am typing this post on my iPod. Obsessed? Undoubtedly. But I do it for you. :)

Post Tenebras Lux!


Feb 7, 2010

Romance: How Much Is Too Much? (Part Three)

     Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

     How do we protect our hearts? The same way a fortress is defended; by keeping it well maintained and fighting against those who seek to invade it and tear it down.

     Our lives should not be centered on anything except God. In order to maintain our hearts, we must have a strong relationship with our Savior. He loves you more deeply than even your spouse will. Nothing in life matters more than God, not even your marriage. Do not forget that. Ever.

     Our hearts can easily be invaded through our minds. Every action we make is first contemplated. The mind is the plain before the heart where the battle is fought.

     If you could avoid a bloody war, wouldn’t you? One way to avoid a long war in your mind is to stay away from outside influences that may tempt you with thoughts and emotions that you simply do not need at this time in your life.

     This is why I do not think romance stories for children and teens are a good thing. These age groups are not ready to be married, and therefore not ready for romance. Books and movies can plant tempting thoughts and dreams in a young person’s mind.

     Daydreaming can be a distraction from your goal. Of course, we all wonder about our future, but to think about it all the time will pull you away from the work God has given you to do. Make His plan for your present life your number one priority, and let Him handle what is to come.

     Again, every action we make is first contemplated. The battle begins in your mind. Be very careful of what you put in front of your eyes.

     Maybe you are reading this and thinking, ‘I can’t do that. It is way too hard!’ You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.  It has been done, and if you desire to live a life of absolute purity, the Spirit within you will help you. Yes, it is hard; all battles are hard. But the reward is worth it.

     Perhaps you have already given your gift away. You may think you could never achieve the picture I have painted, because you’ve already messed up. Listen, what good is grace if we can’t use it? The Bible says that God forgives those who repent. It is never too late to begin again. It is never too late to fight.

     ‘Ok, sure, ST,’ you might be thinking, ‘but if I don’t date, then how am I supposed to meet my spouse when I am ready for marriage?’ That is where the faith comes in. I am sure that you know many people of the opposite gender that you haven’t dated. They may be at church or at your job. You meet people of your age throughout your life and someday one of those people may be the one you will give your gift to. Let God write your love story; He is the best One to do it.

     I hope these posts have been helpful in explaining my beliefs on this subject. If you have any questions or if you have something to add, feel free to comment on this post or, if you would rather, email me at storytellerjourney@hotmail.com.  

Post Tenebras Lux!

Feb 6, 2010

Romance: How Much Is Too Much? (Part Two)

Why is guarding our hearts important?

Let’s use the story of the King and the gifts again. Suppose the person who had the gift they were supposed to give to you gave it away to someone else. How would you feel if you received less than the whole gift? Yeah, me too.

So, if you would be disappointed by someone recklessly giving your gift away, why would you recklessly give their gift away?

Remember that the gift the King has given you is called your heart. Philippians 2:3-5 instructs us as Believers in Christ, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus….” If this is how we should live, then how can giving your heart away be justified? Your future mate should have every bit of the gift God has given you to give. That is how God created it to be; He made one man and one woman for each other. He did not make a bunch of people and tell them, “Ok, go have fun!” He said, “… each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.” (1 Corinthians 7:2)

Romance is a good thing, created by God. But it can be misused by those who are not yet ready for it. We are ready for it when we are ready to be married, and not before.

Be very wary of making emotional connections with the opposite gender. It does not matter how fun it seems at the time. Later on, what will you have to give the person you marry? Imagine if you save yourself for your mate. If everything you do together after your marriage is a first for both of you. Seriously, stop reading and muse over it.

I do not mean just your first kiss. How about your first candlelight dinner? Your first, “I love you?” Imagine how connected you could be to this one person! Doesn’t that sound like something you could want?

The question should not be, “How much can I get away with?” But, “How much can I reserve for the one God has for me?”

The third and final part is coming tomorrow.

Post Tenebras Lux!

Feb 5, 2010

Romance: How Much Is Too Much? (Part One)

     I have found that romance is a controversial subject among Christians. In these next three posts, I would like to tell you what I believe, why I believe it, and why I apply it to reading and writing. I do not intend this to be a putdown of any differing convictions you may have, and I hope that you will comment with your thoughts;  I only want to have my personal beliefs written down so that there will be no confusion about how I approach the books I read and the stories I write.

     So the question that many single people ask is, “How much romance is ok for me to have before I am married?” I think the answer is very plain. None.

     Let me tell you a story, paraphrased from the book Before You Meet Prince Charming by Sarah Mally:

     Once upon a time, you, a servant of the King, are entrusted with a gift. The King gives a gift to each of the other servants as well. You are all instructed to guard each of your gifts carefully and, when the time is right, to find the perfect person who will receive your gift. Well, you eventually notice that some of the servants are sharing their gifts with each other. They are taking bits and pieces from each other and giving bits and pieces away. You are now faced with a choice; will you give your gift to just anyone or will you save the whole thing for the only, right person, as the King instructed you to do?

     The King is God, your Creator, and the gift is your heart.

     Do you desire to have a godly, wonderful marriage? Do you desire to please God with your life? God desires the very best for you. He has given you a wonderful gift meant to be given away. We, as humans, are meant to love and be loved.

     This is where the dangers are. Because God has given us the freedom to give this gift away, we can easily abuse it.

     Dating, for example, is a classic pitfall for giving away your heart and your purity. Consider this; dating is a cycle during which you give away pieces of your gift. You meet someone, you date and, if you do not really like them, you break up. If you do fall in love with the other person, you give your heart away and are crushed when they leave you for someone else. The cycle goes on. Now let’s compare dating and divorce. I was once told that dating is “practice” for divorce. That makes sense, doesn’t it? Dating does not prepare you for a life-long relationship; it encourages you to have fun when you want it regardless of how it affects other people.

     But you do not even have to be “officially dating” to give your heart away, or to unintentionally steal the heart of another. There are many ways to fall into the trap. The simple flirtatious glances, the misleading flattery, the huge runaway crush. Before you know it, you have fallen in love with someone who may or may not truly love you in return. You have given your heart away.

     Proverbs 4:23 tells us to guard our hearts. But what is the best way to do that? What is the alternative to the world’s alluring way? For fear of losing all interest on this rather long post, I will continue in part two tomorrow.

Post Tenebras Lux!