jessiehancock

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Growth In The Quiet​ Times

For writers, fear can take hold when the words go on vacation. Fingers in position on the keyboard, but no flow. Handled wrong, it could lead to stress at the misconception of having nothing to say. Our gifts come from our Creator and they are not going to abandon us. We can use a bridge of love to cross over the fear and safely wait for our inspiration to return on its own time. This quote from John the Apostle is short and sweet, but it carries some serious weight. 

“There is no fear in love, perfect love casts out fear” from 1 John 4:18. 

Fear and love cannot be roommates. When we live with faith, love takes precedence and we see the good around us. Maybe your voice is growing and it has to change style and outgrow familiar footprints to become what it’s meant to be. It means you’re going to face the unknown. That includes stillness of the mind and the patience to let things happen as they’re meant to. 

When I went a month without writing any blog posts, I felt a small nagging voice that whispered “Where is it? When is it coming? Are you worried you’ve run out of things to say?” You could hear the cracking of the screen door as it slammed on that voice while I walked away from it with my head up. My voice isn’t going to desert me; it has its own way of doing things and requires patience on my part. How do you handle the seasons of waiting when they come upon you? 

Four weeks after my creative hiatus, the words come back. Relief and joy elbowed each other for room as I raced to put ideas down on paper. You too may struggle with currents that rise and fall, taking your sense of worth, identity, and creativity on a roller-coaster ride, but the currents are not the truth and they are only temporary. It all comes back to love. I had to sit and wait for the current to subside, ultimately trusting that my voice would return. It took me out of the driver’s seat. It defies our cultural logic. Self is no longer front and center. Letting go of perceived control frees you to move into new places you would never experience otherwise. If you return to love, you are known. That brings peace. It’s so simple. Your words, talent, calling-it will return from that vacation. Just wait for it on the other side of the bridge. 

Make Your Masterpiece

Did you ever watch the Muppets when you were growing up? One of my favorite characters was Fozzy Bear. He was cute, wore cool hats, and could play some serious piano. What’s not to like? I wanted to play like him, but I didn’t have the resources to learn music. There was an exact moment that shot down the beginning of the piano dream. 

Now it’s your turn. Do you have one? A moment where you went from thinking you could become anything in life you dreamed of, to the precise second a voice crept into your head and whispered lies and doubts about your worth. “You can’t do that, what makes you think that will ever happen,” “You want to be a —?” Stop right here. Now is the time to ask how you handled it? Maybe you were equipped with the resources and confidence to bypass it, so now you’re in an ideal position to help others whether you realize it or not. 

If however, you were anything like me, you were unprepared for it. Why did you let that voice plant a seed in your mind? Who said it was welcome in the first place? Did you chalk it up as part of growing up? Learning how the “real world” works? Humor me for a minute, and let’s play a game of “What If?” 

What if you knew that voice was coming your way? You had prepared for it with a response like “nope, not buying that today.” Say it out loud. If you had said those five simple words, would you be a different person right now? It doesn’t have to take years to identify this little thief of our potential and grab it by the scruff and stomp it under our feet. Picture what it could look like if you started each day with the assurance that you have what it takes to make a mark on this world, to contribute something no one else can provide. Yep, that’s what I believe. Are you ready to believe it too?

If a moment can break you, why can’t you break that moment apart and rebuild?

Just because Matisse painted masterpieces doesn’t mean that no one else should paint because he had the market cornered. If Lauren Daigle assumed that there were enough singers out there, her voice wouldn’t be lifting hearts and minds by reminding them that she has felt their struggles too. What are you doing to share your gift(s) with others? 

Consider Romans 12:6-8: “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”

Can you reach for the far-off goal that you once had or might still have? Do you have other dreams that you haven’t given life to yet? They can’t fly without you, so get moving right along. Only you can make your masterpiece.

Finding Status

Yesterday, we took a family walk when it happened. The sight of those purple flowers growing next to the sidewalk sent me colliding into my past. Back in Hollywood in 1985; it’s a city shimmering with promises of future success-tarnished by the contrast of the walking failures pushing shopping carts down Sunset Boulevard. At ten years old, I know it’s the place to go if you dream of being on the big screen. Like so many before me, I press my small fingers into the concrete handprints in front of Grauman’s Theatre as I imagine the glittery lives of the people who were worthy enough to have their names engraved on the ground. All the colored gowns, the black tuxedos on bended knees, the heels delicately balancing while flashbulbs exploded like hot kernels in a pot. The grandiosity of the place increases my insecurity and self-awareness that I’m not anyone special, just a girl that lives everywhere and happens to be passing through once more.

Across the street from the small motel sits an abandoned lot with some wildflowers growing-not willowy pastels but rather hearty purple masses on thick vines of the stem. Their pop of color emphasizes the drabness of the very place they grow. They must have decided that it was as good a place as any to announce themselves. Sometimes I feel like those flowers, randomly transplanting and trying to perk up. When half your life exists inside an ever-changing room with two double beds and snow-covered ceilings overhead, the locations don’t matter. Seeking freedom from the staleness of the room, I grab a pair of scissors from my mother’s sewing kit and walk over to the small field.

A fragile, almost paperlike texture to the flower surprises me; it’s nothing like the silky smoothness of a rose or even my favorite flower of all, the pansy. Snipping enough for a bouquet, I carry them back to the vault and place them in a clear plastic drinking cup with some faucet water. Such a contrast of color in this dreary room weighed down by the periodic disagreements and the battle of wills; these flowers deliver a small dose of relief. My mother brightens for a moment as she tells me that they are called status. Wrinkling my nose and turning my head sideways to consider the contradiction, I wonder why a flower that grows wild in a field with no one to care for it was ever named status? Isn’t that something people achieve with hard work and recognition from others? Especially in Hollywood.

Although I know now the spelling is different, the flower whose meaning is remembrance still takes me back to the overgrown lot where I first found it. My future was far-off and undetermined, but I could feel the need to carve my own path out of the circumstances assigned to me.

Burning Stars

Burning stars and semi’s flying by,

The hum of the road

Sounds like a lullaby.

Desert lands and a million cacti,

Cold air that bites your face keeps you alive.

Undercurrent of endless drive-

Pushing to be woken up!

Peel away the layers of compromise and redundancy that numb our minds.

Put a torch on a spark,

Watch it explode!

Sharp as a blade.

Zoning in on a feeling,

And keeping it forever.

UNMISTAKEABLE SOUND

Caged and waiting, pacing my square.

My ear to the ground;

Like atoms contained in a jar,

Made to explode and affix.

One unmistakeable sound-

Something we can hear 10,000 miles afar.

We’ll come running,

Flying all night through a parade of stars!

Cool mist lands upon our cheeks.

Souls drinking mercy faster than water;

Such a long time coming.

Always tastes sweeter after the heat-

Now this we can breathe.