July 6, 2016

Creativity with a caution

As an extremely imaginative person, I understand why some famous writers became alcoholics or suicides, or both. Without the self-control of the Holy Spirit, it is easy to mix reality with the imaginations of creativity. When it happens, the mind can go into overload. Without supernatural power to separate the creative fantasies and plots from the stuff that is actual and real, a person could become mentally deranged.

It could be said that the writers of fiction live in a bubble. Some tell me that when they are involved in a story, their characters seem alive. These imaginary people start making their own decisions and seem to govern the how the story evolves. The author becomes emotionally involved with them and their fictional plot, feeling the passions of their heroes and heroines as they sit in tears before their computers.

My fiction writing is limited, but my stories have involved people who are real to me, even as they are imaginary. I understand the need to guard my heart from getting lost in the fantasy. Even non-writers can become so involved in books or television series that when the main characters suffer, they suffer, so imagine how the writer can struggle with their attachment to the characters they have created.

Today, Chambers talks about visions from God can seem real to His people even before the vision has become a reality. When that happens, our spiritual enemy tries to ruin the vision — which is actually God’s plot for our lives — and we become discouraged at the very least. Chambers uses a bit of a rhyme to illustrate that God allows even struggle because He takes us “down to the valley to batter us into the shape of the vision.”

Then Chambers adds that it is fires and floods and other struggles that mature our faith so that God can trust us with the reality He has in mind. However, in this struggle we can also resist Him and try to retain our own plans. It might take many trips into many valleys before we give up our own goals and yield to His plans.

Yet God’s vision is not a fictional story. It is a real image of what He wants for me. I’m to be a willing and pliable lump of clay that He can shape into what He wants. I’m to let Him put me “on His wheel and whirl me as He likes” trusting Him that I will turn out like His vision, not losing heart as He shapes my life.

To change metaphors, as the Divine Author, His words reveal what lies ahead for His people. I am one of those characters that plot described here . . .

Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. (Isaiah 35:4–10)

Chambers says this as a reminder that before this amazing nonfiction story becomes a reality there is the valley . . .

‘Life is not as idle ore,
But iron dug from central gloom,
And batter’d by the shocks of doom
To shape and use.’

I’m not much for the battering. With my imagination, it is easier to write my own plot rather than wait for God to make His vision known to me, never mind bring it to reality. He works slowly; I’m in a hurry. As Chambers says, over and over again I try to escape from His hand. I like the plot, but am impatient. Too often I write my own story, hoping for a quicker route to a satisfying conclusion, only to find that there is no lasting joy in my substitutes for His promises.

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