I watched a movie recently where the protagonist (a minister) wrestled with questions concerning prayer. Is God listening to us? Can we know his thoughts on the matters that most trouble us? Is there only one way to pray? As he struggled to reconcile his faith with his feelings, I found myself resonating with his concerns. At the root, I kept returning to one question:
Does God still listen when we feel like we’re praying all wrong?
Today, my message may be a bit redundant. I want to highlight a point that almost everyone I read or listen to on the subject of writing seems to say: if you want to be a writer, you need to be a reader. Among the exhortations given to aspiring writers, the call to read is one of the most consistent, and for good reason. And while I know the idea verges on the cliche, I also know it took me far too long to actually understand the importance of reading in the life of a writer.
Last semester, two friends and I decided to run a half marathon. When we signed up for the race, however, we knew we would need to change some habits. I had to break my bad habit of avoiding exercise and form a habit of regular running throughout the week. I had to pay more attention to what I ate and to when I ate, breaking my bad habits of eating whatever and whenever I desired to form new habits of practicing moderation and of eating healthier meals. The process of breaking old habits and of forming new habits was difficult at first, but the work proved worthwhile when we each crossed the finish line of the race.
Fast forward to this semester. I’ve failed to run consistently since the race. I haven’t abandoned exercise altogether, but I haven’t worked as diligently as I did last semester. Although my intentions are good, I’ve found myself slipping back into old habits again.
What happened? What affected my progress? Continue reading