Lately I've been taking a retrospective view of my life in preparation for a book I'm writing about lessons I learned in life. As GOD often does he points me to other works similar to what I want to write to give me a sense of how to successfully accomplish my goal. I keep my fiction writing and my evangelical or Kingdom writing separate for reasons I won't elaborate on at this time. The non fiction I'm working on currently has a heavily autobiographical lessons learned theme. The two books I was pointed to for guidance and style were what I consider secular works but each had noticeable spiritual influence. FAIL UP by Tavis Smiley was the first one I read. It was twenty lessons he learned from failures and how they were turned into positive experiences. I consider it a very good read and it helped me rethink a couple of areas in my own life. I'm proud of the brother for his broadcasting work. The book seems to be a culmination of his experience, maturity and authenticity. It's evident his faith is an important part of his life if you watch his PBS show and the book confirms the fact. I highly recommend the book. The second book I read of this type was by Iyanla Vanzant titled PEACE FROM BROKEN PIECES. I knew close to nothing about this woman prior to reading her autobiographical trek. I'd seen her on Oprah a few times and on other television shows but that was it. Reading her story I was amazed at where she hailed from and what she'd been through. The woman is strong and very accomplished. My hat is off to her for her tenacity and strength. Considering her background becoming who she is to the public was no small feat. I cried and laugh through her experiences like sisters often do for one another. I fussed and if I could have would have hit the girl up side her head for being foolish. It was a good read also. Iyanla's theology and mine don't mesh. I think she's confused but I know she's representative of this new age melange of all sorts of things mixed with Christianity. That's not me. I'm sold out for Christ Jesus and that's it. No African, Native American paganism or Eastern philosophy for me, thank you. I don't fool with communicating with the dead either. So that aspect of her experiences turned me off but she also talked about Jesus and the Bible quite a bit. Like I said I think she's confused and something else is in play but I won't get into it. The main point I'd like to make about her book is she peeled layers of her life back and exposed all sorts of dysfunction in her world and family line...a very brave thing to do. Bravo, my sister! Both books showed courage and authenticity in exposing unfavorable, sometimes shocking and downright ugly occurrences. Much respect to both of them for being as real as they were for their readers...and themselves.
The common thread I got from the two books that stuck with me was benefiting from life lessons learned through the ugly stuff and digging down deep to expose your destructive stuff. That in itself I think is healing. Writing exposing work that shows how you got from where you were to where you are can't be easy. That's a self examination kind of book that most of us would rather avoid. For me, a very private person, it is not my comfort zone at all. Yet my spirit has told me even before I read those books I needed to do just that. As an author at the least a tiny piece of me is in everything I write but this will be different. I'm the focus and my life is the story. I have to peel back the layers and expose my warts for all the world to see...not a fun thing. Flaws, failures and bad behavior as well as the good stuff...some of the events that taught me worthy lessons in life, that's what this will be about. I'll focus on how the Lord has molded me and honed my abilities for His use. I'm convinced, in my life at least, He guides people toward a certain path. All my journey has been pushed for that end. All the lessons I learned and experiences I had that helped mold me into who I am I need to share. I debated with the Lord on this but as usual I lost. So my privacy goes out the window along with my pride, I suppose. I'm bracing for the task if it helps someone else do better or get over their fear, guilt or embarrassment. I cringe at the thought of such public vulnerability but I hold on to the scripture telling me, I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. Being authentic doesn't bother me. I try to live authentically as best I can. It's writing it down and being so publicly exposed that rattles my nerves but giving help and hope to others is a great benefit even if I have tell a bit of my personal business.
Be Blessed and be a Blessing, my friends