A MARVELOUS paragraph from The Lord of the Rings................... 'ARE YOU ANGRY WITH ME GANDALF,? PIPPIN SAID, ....I DID THE BEST I COULD'.
'YOU DID INDEED', SAID GANDALF, LAUGHING SUDDENLY; AND HE CAME AND STOOD BESIDE PIPPIN, PUTTING HIS ARM ABOUT THE HOBBITS SHOULDERS, AND GAZING OUT OF THE WINDOW. PIPPIN GLANCED IN SOME WONDER AT THE FACE NOW CLOSE BESIDE HIS OWN, FOR THE SOUND OF THAT LAUGH HAD BEEN GAY AND MERRY. YET IN THE WIZARDS FACE HE SAW AT FIRST ONLY LINES OF CARE AND SORROW; THOUGH AS HE LOOKED MORE INTENTLY HE PERCEIVED THAT UNDER ALL THERE WAS A GREAT JOY; A FOUNTAIN OF MIRTH ENOUGH TO SET A KINGDOM LAUGHING, WERE IT TO GUSH FORTH.
Gandalf is often symbolic of the Lord Jesus in the Lord of the Rings and Jesus said,'These things I have spoken unto you that my joy might be in you and that your joy might be full. This portion of the book is a marvellous description of the inner life we share with King Jesus.
Peter put it this way,'You love Him (Jesus), although you have not seen Him, and you believe in Him, although you do not now see Him, and exult and thrill with inexpressible and glorious triumphant and Heavenly joy (Ampl) because you are receiving the salvation of your souls which is the purpose of your faith in Him. (1Pet 1v8,9 )
You might be thinking,'but I don't feel like that'!!
The passage from the book says that Pippin at first saw only care and sorrow on Gandalfs face. But as he looked more intently he perceived a great joy, a fountain of laughter. Notice the words, under all! We have to do the same as Pippin and look more intently at our lives and see that under all of our life and our circumstances is a great joy. The joy of our salvation.
When Peter said,'yet now you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory (KJ) he was not saying this is something you could do. No, he is saying this is the truth of what is in you. You may not have recognized it but I am telling you that in you now, is joy unspeakable and full of glory!!!
You see you have to faith it! first, accept it because the Word of God says it is so and move on from there.
Isaiah 12v3, Therefore with JOY shall you draw WATER out of the WELLS of SALVATION and in that day shall you say,' GIVE THANKS and PRAISE to the LORD'.
I DON'T get writers block as badly as some writers do. I did have periods though when I was in a bit of a slump, feeling uninspired and uncreative. At those times I could go for three weeks or more not writing a thing. I would then start to feel frustrated and tempted to be irritable and annoyed.
At about the three week mark, just recently, I was lamenting the fact of writing nothing all that time, when it came to my mind to buy a book I had seen in a shop. The title was,' Around the writers block---using brain science to solve writers resistance' ( Author; Rosanne Bane). I was aware that I was getting guidance from God and I bought it the same day.
The book explains that the Limbic part of the brain is where emotion and the fight or flight response comes from. Anything that we have perceived to be a threat to our well being is subconsciously stored in the Limbic section. And anything means anything!!!For example if we had what we interpreted as a bad experience with public speaking, people laughed during our presentation or some such, and we decided we would never do that again. That is stored unconsciously in the Limbic area and the next time public speaking comes on the radar the red light comes on, the limbic area sends out the message danger to well being!!! and we get a nervous reaction.
A lot of writers have perfectionist tendencies that can build up an emotional response that is stored in this area of the brain and if they don't know how to control it, it tends to build on itself. That is also true in other areas of our lives. Christians can have this sort of response with regard to witnessing and speaking openly about Jesus. We experience some mocking and ridicule while sharing our faith and the Limbic system records the message of danger to well being, and we are less relaxed next time. It can happen regarding anything that we have perceived as a threat and developed a fear response to.
What is happening is the Limbic area of the brain is overiding the common sense decision making part of the brain called the cerebral cortex. Most of us would think that the solution would be more willpower or thought control. But there are better solutions. The field of brain science is continually discovering more about how the brain works and what we can do to manage our own brains. The answers I found in the book went in a completely unexpected direction.
I recommend reading the entire book. The behaviours that most affected me were, play, meditation, self care and surrender expectations.
Limbic responses tend to get us thinking and feeling intensely and what is needed is balance and harmony restored to brain function. Our achievment oriented lifestyle means a lot of us have given up play, to some it will seem ridiculous, but brain harmony and general well being is restored through deliberate periods of play. It is very important for a childs development and adults need to play also. Play (any sort of play whether kicking a ball around, playing cards, crossword puzzles, going for a run with the dog or what ever else appeals to the individual) done for even 15 minutes restores balance between the Limbic and cerebral cortex.
Short periods of meditation on God and His word helps the brain to balance itself.
Self care is taking it easy on ourselves and not blaming or being hard on ourselves about what we see as our short comings. This also releases tension and gives the brain a chance to balance.
Surrender expectations for a writer who is blocked would be to plan to sit at his writing desk for 15 minutes even if no work is done. For fear of public speaking it could be 10 minutes of imagining oneself at the event just watching. Next session would be imaging oneself sitting in the front row watching again. There are no expectations or demands for performance made and the brain begins to perceive of the situation as a non stressful experience.
The Lord did lead me to pray quite a bit while i was reading the book which I think accounts for the fast results I got. The change to my mental and emotional outlook was surprising. I am much more relaxed and have a sense of more self control. I have only briefly touched on what is in the book and as I have already said, I recommend reading it in its entirety.
Jesus ate and drank with sinners, so the Gospels tell us. Probably the equivalent of our meeting at Starbucks for coffee.
A couple of days ago I read some advice to Christians for handling contact with the worlds uncleaness. Basically the advice was get away from it lest you be contaminated. Is that the mind set we are supposed to have?
I don't think so. Obviously we should not go looking for contact with the many instances of impurity in the world. We can change channels on the TV, choose not to read ugh! stuff and stay away from places preeminently sinful. But what about the many situations where I can't get away. I had a situation not to long ago where I was working with a self employed person, just the two of us together every day. He knew I was a Christian and I spoke openly about the Lord. This guy was not bothered about me being a Christian and continued with his normal conversation of dirty jokes and generally off! conversation. I couldn't get away, I had to work with him for three months.
I have been in that situation many times before. My first thought always is, here is a sinner whom Jesus died for. He is still alive so God is not holding his sins against him but has already forgiven him in Christ if he will accept it. Secondly Mark 7v18 records Jesus saying,' Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from the outside cannot defile him, because it does not enter his heart'.....He goes on to say that what is in a persons heart and what comes out of it is what defiles them. Therefore I don't have to be concerned about being contaminated.
It is important , and life is so much easier, if we have received the pure heart that Jesus obtained for us by His suffering, death, burial and resurrection. Acts 15v9 records Peter as saying that a pure heart is received by faith. Jesus said,'blessed are the pure in heart'. Speaking of the heart in Luke 6 He said that a good tree cannot bear bad fruit. We can then go out into the world knowing what God has made clean cannot be made unclean. We can then focus on praying for and winning the lost to the Gospel.