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paulchernoch

On giving up and getting it wrong to get it right

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Writer's block can be your friend. I can hardly churn out a page or two without getting stumped.

 

A few days ago, I got to a new chapter on finding purpose in life. This is part of a section of my book that was supposed to be a single chapter. Now it is six! My book is becoming unbalanced (in my mind) because I found too much to say. I wanted to be done with it and get on to the part of the book that I am longing to write. The new chapter was supposed to be about the human lust for power. You could write whole books on this. I could wing it and make something up and sound intelligent, but as soon as that attitude crept into my conscious mind, I rejected it. I prayed and stopped writing for the night. I GAVE UP.

 

The next day, I was listening to Christian worship songs while I was programming for my day job. Something in a comment on Youtube caught my eye. I don't remember the song or the comment; I just saw the name Hagar.

 

My mind then made a wrong connection - that is the getting it wrong. I forgot my genealogies and mistakenly thought Hagar was a direct ancestor of Job, which got my attention. In my mind I made up this whole story explaining how her suffering and the lessons she learned somehow were carried down through the years and taught Job a useful lesson. So I began to read about Hagar, and only then realized my mistake, after I began digging into her life and the wonders God did for her.

 

Hagar is not a footnote in someone else's life. I never liked her. Now I know why: self pity nearly killed her and her son. She is so much like me. That is why I hated her.

 

Now I know Hagar better. If I had not given up, listened, heard wrong, researched, found my mistake and admitted it, I would not have a perfect example of a powerless person and what God can do through such a person.

 

God gave Abram a new name (Abraham). He gave Sarai a new name (Sarah). Also Jacob (Israel), Simon (Peter), and Saul (Paul). He gave them a new identity, destiny, a promise. The greater person (parent, king) gives a new name to the lesser person, who humbly receives it.

 

Hagar gave GOD a new name!!! The God who sees me. And God humbly accepted that name and wrote it into His eternal word. What a privilege! What dignity and respect did God accord to a runaway slave with a bad attitude, self pity, and despair.

 

So as you write, do not be afraid to give up, get it wrong, admit your mistake, and finally get it right. Do not settle for "winging it" solely from your own imagination when you could find something REAL to say. If I hadn't admitted my emptiness and frustration at having to write this chapter on power, I would not have seen this small gem that I had overlooked. Who knows what you will find?

 

 

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We all make mistakes, and we all struggle with self-pity.  Sometimes I struggle with my own self-pity when mistakes in my writing seem “unfixable” to me .  

 

Thank you so much for this great story Paul.  It makes me realize that I'm not alone with this.  

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