Monday, June 16, 2014

Be My Guest: Mary Albers Felkins

It is my great pleasure to introduce to you a new friend of mine, Mary Albers Felkins. Her unique voice lends a pretty cool point of view in the article she's written for us today. I hope you feel inspired by the end of it. I certainly did!

Just Breathe.
By Mary Albers Felkins
  
Inspire.  I’ve become drawn to this word.  It means to breathe into, to fill with an exalting influence, to animate, arouse, galvanize, awaken, ignite (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.

A similar word, respiration, comes to mind.  Medically it refers to the inhalation and exhalation of air.

Yes, I breathe.  Everyday.  Twenty-four/seven.  The genius of my autonomic nervous system tends to that.  But do I consider the breath of the Holy Spirit in the process of writing?  

I invite you to take a deep breath and check out these verses.

In Genesis 2:7 it states that “God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living being.”  God breathed life into something lifeless.  Hmmm.  Sounds an awful lot like the process of crafting story characters to me.

And in John 20:22 it says, “He (Jesus) breathed on them (disciples) and said, “Receive the spirit.”  That’s powerful!

Beyond the mere fact that breathing keeps me alive it seems there’s greater power in a breath.

Typically I face my computer each day with an agenda.  My agenda.  That blog idea that awakened in my head while on the elliptical at the gym?  Got to record it.  A scene change?  Got to record that, too.  A plot structure flaw?  Must be corrected.  And that’s all fine.  But if I want my writing to fulfill God’s purpose I must breathe in His Spirit before I begin, let Him pour life onto the screen (or the paper), in order to bring characters and words to life.  He’s the one from Whom the ideas came in the first place.

Ah, but then there are those other times.  You’ve seen it; I’ve seen it.  And stared at the thing for several agonizing minutes.  That daunting blank screen with its annoying, on-off cursor (like a ticking time bomb).  I sigh heavily, releasing a boatload of air from my lungs, sometimes with clenched fists.  And inhale the Sprit of the living God?  Honestly, no.  Not always.  Which gives birth to my classic whine, “Just what am I supposed to write here?”

So, before I write, I’ve challenged myself to…

-Quiet myself and pray (Oh yeah, that).  I ask God to breathe into the page/screen and give life to my (ahem, His) characters or ideas. 

-Listen to what God, the Author of life, is saying.  Then create from that launching pad. 

-Receive rescue breaths from others who can encourage me when my spiritual lungs ache.  A check of my pulse might suggest I am hindering forward progress with worry, angst.  Or working inefficiently from relying on my own effort.

Quiet…
Listen…
Receive…

I desire void, shapeless, and lifeless writing to become animated, galvanized, awakened, and ignited to empower another with the ability to say or do something significant.  I want to produce writing that is teeming with life.  God’s spiritual breath can accomplish that.

I’ve asked God to breathe His breath of life onto the pages/screen each time I begin.  How about you?  Maybe you just need to breathe.


Bio
Mary Albers Felkins is currently constructing her first manuscript using principles taught through My Book Therapy.  (www.mybooktherapy.com)  She considers scripture the most alluring romance ever written.  She is married to Bruce Felkins.  They have four arrows in their quiver: Anthony, Alexandra, Jonathan, and Caroline.  She is learning to breathe before (and while) she writes…

Upcoming/Current releases
First novel, Christian contemporary romance.  Inspired by Revelation 19:11, the image seen by John when the heavens stood open, a Rider on a white horse.  What if protective love means marrying the kind of man you said you’d never marry?  Is it worth the cost?

Link to website

Mary, I am intrigued by that story question and can hardly wait to read your debut novel! Thanks for sharing your take on inspiration and reminding us to breathe deeply in our Lord. I think I won't be the only one to consider taking up your challenge of "quiet, listen, receive." Great idea!


Now it's your turn: When have you realized you've forgotten to ask God to breathe in your ministry? Do you notice any differences in your impact on the world when you stop and ask God to bless your work beforehand? What happens when you try to do things in your own power?


Would you like to be my guest? Here's how to submit an article.

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