I don’t know how much time passed before I regained awareness and realized I was standing in the shoe section of the fashion discount store, caressing a cute little brown wedge with a brown flower on top. I couldn’t help myself, not really. Italian Shoemakers crafted the shoe.
And when I saw the brand, I naturally thought of Italy. And when I thought of Italy, I thought of vineyards. And when I thought of vineyards, I thought of the movie Letters to Juliet. And when I thought of the movie, I thought of romantic comedies. And when I thought of romantic comedies, I thought of Letters to Juliet again. And when I thought of the movie again, I thought about a yet to be imagined romantic comedy about two young people falling in love.
That’s when I saw the unsuspecting young man working nearby. He was three aisles over, straightening the heels. I can’t really remember what he looked like. I think he had brown hair. I think he had a scruffy beard. But when I saw him, I thought “Hmmm…what if? What if he were the leading man in this movie I’m making in my mind? What would he be doing?”
I thought about the shoe, and I thought about Italy, and I thought about the vineyards. Then I pictured this young man, riding a red bicycle on a dirt road in Italy, just peddling along in the peace and tranquility alongside the vineyards, going to see his girl. Maybe she was like Cinderella, and he was returning the little brown wedge she lost when they first met. Can’t you just hear the tingalingaling of the little silver bell on the handlebars as he pulls up to the cottage to meet her? Can’t you see the bouquet of flowers in the little wire basket? I’ll bet he picked them fresh from his mama’s garden.
I never got around to “meeting” his girl because the woman next to me cleared her throat and brought me out of my catatonic state. She looked at me kind of funny, and then I realized, “Oh no! She thinks I’ve been ogling this innocent young man. Did he see me?” I panicked and left the store—without the little brown wedge. I kind of regret doing that. Those shoes were cute! And cheap! But my imagination got the best of me again, and I had to suffer the consequences. Ah, imagination. It’s just one of many gifts God grants to those people who have been given the desire to write. But as with any gift, we must use it wisely.
Every Monday SerendiTeeblog will feature helpful tips for writers. Just think of these days as Mentor Mondays. To kick things off, I’m borrowing a few tips from my Sunday School class. We’re currently reading a series of lessons, based on Dr. Charles Stanley’s book Landmines in the Path of the Believer: Avoiding the Hidden Dangers (Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2007). In each lesson Dr. Stanley focuses on one of nine main landmines that show up in our paths: pride, jealousy/envy, insecurity, compromise, unforgiveness, disappointment, fear, immorality and laziness.
I think Christian writers are particularly susceptible to these landmines because we have such active imaginations. We are always asking ourselves, “What if?” That’s just what we do. But if we aren’t careful, the enemy can toy with our imaginations and lead us straight to one of these landmines. Then…boom! One wrong step can result in all of our dreams blowing up in our face.
So for today’s Monday Mentor, I am taking tips from what I reaped from Dr. Stanley’s lessons and adapting them for the writer’s path:
- Let us not forget that the enemy doesn’t want us to succeed and will use so-called harmless sins (gossip, unforgiveness, cynicism, etc.) to pull us away from God’s will. We must seek the will of the Lord and be careful in our walk. We should let our creativity guide us in a positive way, not encourage us to dwell on negative thoughts (Read Ephesians 5:15-17)
- Disappointment happens to all of us, but sometimes we allow ourselves to suffer disappointment even before something disappointing occurs. Blame it on our active imagination. We should always keep our focus on Jesus and take refuge in Him when things don’t go our way. The enemy watches our reactions and will use them against us. (Read Psalm 57:1)
- When things do go right, we should be very careful to avoid being prideful. It’s easy to get caught up in the “what if” and think we’re “all that” when we are actually nothing without Jesus. Let us not forget that God is the source of our talents and our abilities. (Read Proverbs 29:23)
- We should remember to encourage one another. Sometimes it’s hard when someone else reaps God’s blessings and we don’t. It’s easy for jealousy to get a foot in the door of our hearts when we aren’t satisfied with what God has given us and we yearn for the things we’re missing. (Read Galatians 5:19-21)
- We all want readers to enjoy our works, but we should remember who is our most important audience. We must be careful to avoid compromise. If we don’t consider all the consequences when we play “what if,” we may find ourselves standing on the edge. If we cross the line, we may never be able to repair the damage done. (Read 2 Thessalonians 3:13).
Have a great week writers, and don’t forget that every Monday is Mentor Monday. Don’t miss the August 9 interview with Jen Stephens, author of The Heart’s Journey Home. There’s even a chance to win a FREE copy of her book.
Check back this week for more details!