Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Making It Clear

As novelists, we write stories to entertain. Regardless of what genre we explore or what worldview we hold, there is an underlying theme to every story. Aesop's Fables, The Iliad, the Parable of the Talents, Black Beauty-every story, poem, or even song has a universally understood message whether positive or negative. What do you suppose the message is in Gone With The Wind?

As readers, we internalize this theme. We "get" the story of the lion's thorn and the mouse hero, the lack of use causing the loss of talents, and the underdog (or horse) making good against all odds. It doesn't even have to be conscious.

What's your universal message?

Wouldn't it be interesting if we lived so our life's theme would be understood without having to say anything?
What does that look like for you or me? Our priorities blare it publicly, despite what we say, by how we spend our time, money, and energy. Would someone watching your actions, words, and lifestyle "get" who you are and what you believe in? Does anything need to change to better reflect the inner you? Are you really working toward your dreams and goals or are you just talking about them? What would people say you stood for after you're gone? Are you willing to hone yourself to make it clear? Do you trust God to trim away the dead twigs?

Like Aesop used fables tell "the moral to the story" and Christ used parables to help his followers understand his lessons, I realized recently the power of this method lay in giving it a meaning by using word pictures (analogies) that connect to the emotions rather than logic. This is an ancient practice. I found it in use way back in the Old Testament. Check this out...

Nehemiah 8:8 "They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was being read." NIV

They gave examples that helped the people relate in order to give the message meaning. The examples pull the emotional string that illuminates the light bulb or put a torch to a signal fire and suddenly-POW-you get it!

Is your life like a lighthouse declaring your purpose, who you are, and what you stand for? Are you using those beautiful, terrible experiences to help guide others through or around the same rocky reefs that snagged your boat?

Maybe you are still climbing to the lighthouse. What help do you need to fire up that brilliant beam that'll pierce the murky night? Your life has meaning and it is important that you shine in the darkness. You may never know how many people landed safely because you could light the way or guide them away from harm. Be the light on the hill, it's who you are in Christ.


Angie

PS The Montana chocolate question of the day...What do you think the universal message is to the post on my personal blog today (Feb 7, 07)? Head on over to http://godusesbrokenvessels.blogspot.com or you can click on the link that says "Angie's Personal Blog" on the sidebar too. Hint: I'm curious about your opinion-that's the right answer-not someone else's. And, for an extra bonus entry into the contest (yep, your name will go in the hat twice)...share either your universal message or one thing you'd like to change to clarify it.

13 comments:

  1. Angie, what a wonderful message. Are you talking to me? Hey! are you talking to me? :)) Your words really hit home with me today. I might have to print them out and tack them on my bulletin board so I can see them daily. Every question needs an answer. Sure does make me take a long hard look at myself. Keep up the good work, sweet girl, and I pray God's blessings on this F.A.I.T.H. blog. May it touch many!

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  2. I think the universal message is to love ourselves so we can better know how to love others.

    Your post really made me think and I find the thought of trying to post what I love about myself - scary. What does that say about me? Hmmmm.

    What is my universal message? I'm trying to be real - what you see is what you get. I don't really put myself out there though - I think there is still some fear and your posts (both) have really made me think. Thank you.

    This of course is way better than chocolate, but, hey, I'll still try for the chocolate, too lol.

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  3. Would it be okay to print out this post and the one on your personal blog for further pondering? :)

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  4. Thank you so much Jess:-) I'm so glad you found this post helpful. Let me know what changes you make after pondering or if you need any at all :-)
    Angie

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  5. Audra, you are going to make me cry! Of course you can print out the posts. I'm so glad they have meaning to you and want to hear back after your ponderings :-) Feel free to share them if you think it will help someone else too.

    Angie

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  6. I think this is the universal message for today: Your life has meaning and it is important that you shine in the darkness.

    Now the next question is harder. Personally, I don't think I would change a thing. But, I am a strong believer in the second part as well...

    You may never know how many people landed safely because you could light the way or guide them away from harm.

    Thanks for the encouragement.

    Gina N

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  7. Hey Gina:-)
    That was definitely an excellent opinion:-) I'm thrilled that you know who you are and what you stand for. This is the first step in becoming authentic.
    Let your light shine out because you are already making a difference with these tools at hand. You go girl!

    Angie
    PS What was the message in the post on my personal site for a second chance to enter today.

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  8. Hi Angie,

    I think your universal message on your blog is building relationships. You used the example at the beginning of finding out six quirky things about yourself and others. Then later, by listing the things you love about yourself, you were really showing how you are learning to cultivate better relationships with others in order to shine for Jesus.

    As for my universal message - well, I guess my life message is to show by my life and encouraging words how to surrender to God's will in everything. That can get pretty tough sometimes when I don't feel like surrendering things I hold dear! But it's been the theme of all of my stories, even when I didn't realize it, so I guess you could say it is my universal message to anyone who's looking for it. :)

    Blessings,
    ~Jill

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  9. Excellent opinion! Isn't it interesting how the same words can speak to us differently? That's how the Bible works too. The verses we read one day filter through our experiences to meet that need for that day. Then we read them again later, at a different juncture, and we get another layered meaning.

    Thank you for sharing your message:-) It's wonderful! Also very important to note that it is hard to live every day. Keep it up.

    May God bless the work of your hands,
    Angie
    PS You're in for 2 entries today:-)

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  10. The first thing that came to mind is what I am going with...
    "...and the second is like unto it, love thy neighbor as thyself."
    We can't love others until we love ourselves, not that self-centered, vain kind of love, but the kind of love that knows we are loved by our Father and that makes me love me!
    To tell you what I love about myself is hard. I'm not down on myself by any means, and it's not that there are so many things, lol. I would want others to see that I truly love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind & strength. And one of the things I love about myself is that I have said "Yes!" to God, to follow Him harder, to get to know Him more, to walk with Him even when I don't understand, to be able to say no mattter what "I'm Believing God!"
    Blessings for your blog today!
    Love in Christ, Jennifer McLemore

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  11. Hi Jennifer,
    You connected with exactly what I connected with as I wrote that blog last night. It isn't about self-centeredness but about learning how to accept the gift God gave us of our specific life. Our gifts are not for ourselves (well the fulfilling and joyful feelings are a gift too) but to be used to glorify God by reaching others for him.
    I'll tell you a secret, it was really scary to write those things:-)
    I'm so glad you visited and entered the chocolate contest:-) Two entries for you too.

    Angie

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  12. Hi Ang,
    Great message.
    I think my universal theme is to do unto others as I would want done to myself. I try. I fail. I lose sight. I win.
    But I've been given things that some people haven't just like others have been given things that I haven't. One of my best friends, although we have the same goals and values in life, has a totally different personality from me. Where I'm strong, she may not be so strong. Where's she's strong, I'm weak.
    I don't know if all that relates or makes sense, but it's late.
    Thanks for this message.

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