Monday, July 16, 2012

Our desires are for a reason

Writing fiction is always what I want to do because it drives me and enthuses me like almost nothing else. The only other thing that might be up there with it is living the simple, homeschooling lifestyle. Other things that stimulate other people don't affect me. Why is writing my choice? It can be difficult, it doesn't earn money (with the exception of those household names we all know), it takes months, maybe years to complete a long term project and then people forget the books once they've read them and moved on to the next novel on their piles. I'm aware of all the drawbacks to my choice but I still want to do it.

It's because I like the heart-thumping, skin-tingling excitement. I promise, I'm not exaggerating. At the risk of sounding like a wimp, exciting or  deeply moving fiction is like sky-diving for me. I love the inner nudges I get when I'm reading other people's and thinking, I want to do that too! I can mention a few cases when that has happened strongly to me. Once, when I was reading the "Thorn in my Heart" series by Liz Curtis Higgs, which is basically the story of Jacob and his wives adapted to eighteenth century Scotland, tears were pouring down my cheeks and I remember putting my feelings into a simple prayer, "I really, really, really want to be able to move other people like this too. Please let me be able to do it."

The other occasion that springs to mind was the Harry Potter series. At the end of Book 4, when Harry had his stand-off with Lord Voldemort, their wands clashed and there was such a lot at stake that I was at the edge of my seat. I found myself saying something similar. I want to take up the challenge of doing something like that too.

Being able to weave a cool story that gets readers crying, panting, loving and getting their whole gamut of emotions stirred up, twisted and wrung out again is what I really want to do. I can't think of any better aim for me, and that, I think, is the crux of dreams. The most significant question when considering your life direction is possibly, "Do I really want to do it?"

I may bake a yummy cake from time to time but my daughter, Emma, is actually developing a passion for the food industry. We have to be sure she doesn't miss "Alive and Cooking" when we're home mid-morning and the competition element of "Master Chef" excites her. She enjoys concocting recipes and recently, when there was a quiz which included a question about a where a certain cut of meat comes from, she shouted, "It's the loin!"

Emma loves doing art too. She attends lessons with an artist on Wednesday afternoons and nothing delights her more than having an empty slab of canvas or plywood and taking weeks to replicate old masterpieces on them. Recently, she's been watching episodes of "The Cake Boss" which incorporates both cooking and art. I think he is awesome too but never feel inspired to rush for a spatula or paintbrush as Emma does.

"God will give you the desires of your heart." I used to interpret that to mean that He'd give me resources for overseas holidays, cool clothes and a reliable car. I'd shrug and ignore this verse when these things weren't forthcoming. Now I've learned that you can interpret this promise another way. God will give you the desires of your heart. He'll give me the passion for writing, Emma for cooking and art, Andrew for playing saxophone and Logan for computer games, (which he assures me is a very lofty, complex and legitimate passion).

In Salzburg in the Regency period, Antonio Salieri heard the young man, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart play, and was filled with a burning desire to compose music just like him. In the 20th century, Mother Teresa left her European village as a young woman to travel to the poorest of the poor in Calcutta partly because she earnestly wanted to. Another friend of mine says she'd love to work with the intellectually disabled.

What is your heart's desire? I'd love to know.


  1. A fantastic post Paula. I love the way you've written about the desires of our heart. I'm writing an article called Castles And Dreams at the moment and your thoughts have prompted me to look at the issues with fresh eyes.

    So. you have the desire of your heart. Today you've touched and inspired me through your writing.

    Thank you and thank God. x

  2. Simple living, writing, art,compassion and justice, environment/ creation care, God's creatures... I have so many desires of my heart.

    Thanks for your post Paula. I recognised my daughter in your daughter's passion for cooking. Riva bakes practically daily.

    Asta x

  3. Thanks Elaine,
    You're right, and I sometimes find myself reminding myself, "I am living the dream that I wanted to live." It's a good reminder.
    Your article sounds interesting :)

  4. Asta, what a great list of passions.
    It's good with daughters who bake, when we get to benefit from their passion :)

  5. Ahhh, living the dream, totally! I love how you relate writing/reading books to sky-diving! Tickled pink by that one. I one-hundred per-cent agree with you. LOL. Love it. :)

  6. This is a great post, Paula. The fact that God intended for us to have desires is something I have to keep reminding myself. I lost sight of my desires for a long time. I think I actually believed that I wasn't allowed to have any. When I was struggling with a difficult issue a couple of years ago, I was completely thrown by a simple question: "What do you want?"

    I am striving to follow the desires that God has placed in my heart now ... and you're so right, even though it might sound dull to someone else, the thought of writing and editing to me is as thrilling as sky-diving! The other thing I'd love is to have a house for me and my girls on an acre or two - with the sole purpose of having some space to breathe :)

    Good on you Paula for following your heart's desire!

  7. Amanda and Helen,
    I'm glad you both relate to the sky diving analogy :)
    Bless you both, and Helen, I think it's great that you're considering a move into editing.

  8. Sometimes we don't even realise what those desires are until God plants them and then gives them to us. If anyone had told us thirty or forty years ago we would ever live near the beach I would have laughed.Then about five years before my husband retired it sprang up and grew and grew. Every day we praise God for where we are.
    We're not in a beachside mansion but we are where God has called us to be and the beach is ten minutes away. Bliss.

  9. Hi Dale,
    I love to hear about such unexpected ways dreams are filled. I'd love to visit the beautiful place where you live, too.

  10. I tend to follow my heart pretty well. For me, I've found that it is always the process that drive me. Writing and art is a constant pursuit. If I am close to finishing something, I'm already starting the next project in my head. Always reaching for that next goal is the challenge for me. My desire is to finish all the projects I've started. :o)

    Peace and Laughter!

  11. I'm so glad you follow your heart, Cristina. You are one of the people whose creativity I always look forward to.

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