Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Passion For Passion ...

Okay, yeah, big surprise—I’m writing about “Passion.” Why, you ask, other than the fact that I’m a hormonal Baby Boomer? Well, because it’s important—in our relationship with God, with our family AND in our writing.

Okay, I’ll admit it—there are times when my passion for my husband may wane a bit. Especially over his inability to sink a dirty T-shirt in the hamper when the man can swoosh a basketball through a hoop with his eyes closed. I mean, come on! What’s that all about?

But there are two areas where I unequivocally do NOT waver in my quest for passion: with God and in my writing. And, quite frankly, as Christian fiction writers, that’s the way it should be. Because nothing is better than the merge of passion for God with passion for our craft. Kind of like hot fudge glazing vanilla-bean ice cream—God’s anointing makes our writing all the sweeter, all the more “moan good.”

Now I wish I could claim the distinction of being the one who first pressed the limits of passion in Christian romance, but that honor belongs to God. Have you ever read “Song of Solomon”? YIKES! Keep a fan handy. That is one passionate account—of God’s love for Israel, His love for the Church, and in its pulse-pounding sensuality, a metaphor of just how crazy He is about each of us. Which got me to thinking. Why is passion so all-fire important to Him?

Good question. And one He makes no bones about in His Word. You see, I have this weird habit of writing favorite Scriptures (or ones that apply to current problems of mine) on index cards and carrying them around or tucking them as bookmarks into my Bible. And you know what I realized just the other day? Most of my index cards talk about passion and fervor for God! Check it out:

They sought God EAGERLY, and he was found by them. So the Lord gave them rest on every side. 2 Chronicles 15:15


And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe he exists and that he rewards those who EARNESTLY seek him. Hebrews ll:6



For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are FULLY COMMITTED to him. 2 Chronicles 16:9



The effectual FERVENT prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16



Eagerly. Earnestly. Fully committed. Fervent. Passion in all its glory. And it’s important to God, so it should be important to us. With Him … and with our writing.

So what does that mean? Well, for me, it means that before my fingers even shadow the keyboard, they need to shadow the pages of my Bible. And before one single, solitary e-mail is answered, I need to answer my God when He asks “Do you love me? Will you spend time with me?” And it means that before I lose myself in writing a love scene that will make me swoon, I need to first swoon over the Love of my life. Because without “passion” for Him, my passion is flat. So I pray—DAILY—for passion and fervor for God.

I truly believe that then—and only then—will my passion flow ... for contests … and revisions … and that proposal I need to get in the mail. Because true passion in writing for Him comes, first and foremost, from passion FOR Him.

18 comments :

  1. Julie, I've always seen and admired your passion for God and His word. You're a wonderful example of living your faith in such an open, honest way that others can't help but see it.

    I've read and seen that when we put God first...before anything...our love for Him will grow, as will our praises for Him, our knowledge of Him--all strengthening our trust in Him.

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  2. Very good points, Julie.

    Passion is risky, though. I think that may be the very reason I'm having trouble now. The more passionate you are, the more those inevitable rejections hurt. The more passionate you are, the harder it is to find balance and pull back from writing and focus on other things, like your family. The more passionate you are, the more painful it is.

    At least, that's what my subconscious has been saying.

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  3. Excellent advice, Julie. And something I need to work on.

    Thanks for the Bible verses!

    MIssy

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  4. Melanie, I know what you're saying. The more passionate we are about anything in our lives, the harder it is to keep our priorities in order and handle the related disappointments.

    Which brings me to the message I got from Julie's post, and which I am striving daily to incorporate into my life. It's not about rejections. It's not about writing versus family. It's TOTALLY about putting God first. Letting His love wash over us and finding our fulfillment in Him, rather than in our success as a writer, or even as a parent or spouse.

    That's hard if not impossible sometimes. This is the world we live in, and we want to feel validated here and now. I have to tell myself every day that as long as I'm loving and trusting God, doing what I believe He called me to do (whether at any given moment it's writing or spending time with my husband or helping a friend), then I can trust Him with the results.

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  5. Hi, gang. I came and commented earlier but it's not here?

    Talk about rejections, even Blogger is rejecting me!

    I'll try again. I loved your post, Julie. I think you've got a bead on something really special and powerful and wise with your whole approach to life and that comes through so well in A Passion Most Pure.
    When's the sequel by the way. I can't wait!

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  6. Have you guys ever noticed how excited Julie is about everything?

    I just love that!

    Julie, you're one of the most passionate people I know! It comes through in your blog posts, your fiction and even your comments.

    I'm just much more low-key, I think, but hey, they always did say still waters run deep!

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  7. Janet, Melanie, Missy, Myra and Mary (got some "M"s there, don't we??), thank you for your comments -- I am blessed to have you as friends.

    Melanie, yeah, passion is risky because it does make you more vulnerable, but in my opinion, it is WAY riskier to be without it. The things closest to our hearts (God, family, writing) deserve all the passion we can give them, and they are WORTH the risk of hurt. Give me hurt passion that I can run to God and have Him heal ANYDAY over a ho-hum existence without pain. No pain, no gain. And with God in the midst of it, there is ALWAYS gain.

    Myra, dear Lord, your response made me cry! And then I jumped right up and screamed, "Preach it, Myra!!!" Wow, you are sooo dead-on -- "It's TOTALLY about putting God first." I am actually struggling with that right now because my flesh wants to pounce on Amazon.com a million times a day to draw my confidence from glowing reviews or a good sales ranking. But all it took was one 1-star review with an opening line of "This is simply a horrible book," to send me running right back into the arms of God. HE is my strength, my confidence, my sales rep, my agent, my publicist, my Savior. Without HIM as our focus, all the contest wins, books sold or glowing reviews cannot sustain us.

    And, Mary, sorry Blogger ate your comment. It ate my blog as well before I finally got it posted! :) Anyway, thank you for your kind comment about my passion for God coming through my book. A higher compliment could not be paid to me. And since you asked, the "passionate" sequel, A Passion Redeemed, comes out Sept. 2008.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  8. PAM SAID:
    I'm just much more low-key, I think, but hey, they always did say still waters run deep!

    And thank God, Pam!! Can you imagine a whole world of drama queens like me??? Dear Lord, the sales for Xanax would go through the roof.

    Thank God for calm, stable, steady people like you! I crave friends like that.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  9. I hope you all don't think I was arguing AGAINST passion! I totally loved Julie's post and she is so right about being passionate for God. He is what life is all about, or should be. I'm very passionate, my writing is worship to God, and it feels like worship. Lately, so much has happened to make the "flesh" part of me want to opt out of passionate writing and passionate living. I've had to rethink what I write, how much I write, if my writing is ruining my marriage, and whether God wants me to write. But I can't not be passionate about it. (And I do believe God answered my questions.)

    And so I'm not giving up. Never, never, never. Well, unless He tells me to, and that doesn't seem likely. And I am passionate. And persecution comes to the most passionate, am I right?

    Julie, I was at my first writers conference, just starting out, really, in 2005 when you had those 19 rejections in one year. I thought, "That poor woman. How did she handle all the discouragement?" Ha. Little did I know I'd rack up more rejections than that and not even think it was that discouraging!!!

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  11. Oh, c'mon, Mel, that number isn't high enough, it was more like... FIFTY rj's wasn't it Julie?

    MAN rejections suck!!!!!!!

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  12. MEL SAID:
    And persecution comes to the most passionate, am I right?

    Amen to that, sister, especially if you happen to be on the more vocal and less intelligent side like moi. ;) And don't worry, Mel, nobody sees you as arguing against passion, just pointing out the very real risks in opening your heart.

    For the record, it was 19 rejections in that ONE year. And Mary's close ... the total rejections on A Passion Most Pure now stands at 45, including three I got AFTER I signed with Revell!!

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  13. Julie great post today. As the others mention I can see your passion for writing and God.
    thanks for sharing.

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  14. Julie, your passion fits you like a second skin. Close, seamless and flawless.

    Wonderful post.

    But now I want a hot fudge sundae where the hot fudge glazes the vanilla bean ice cream... luckily I didn't give ice cream up for Lent.


    But Mel, your post touched me the most because we all go through that, Sugarbeans. Really. Truly. Seriously. And it's important to assess your timing, to make sure you can juggle all the plates you have spinning in the air. And you might want to examine what you can give up to make that more probable.

    Cheryl talked last week about how she gave up TV to spend more time writing and with family.

    That's a great starter. And wasting time on the computer is a big temptation to writers and anyone who works on a keyboard. Turn off the distractions, use your time well. (But that doesn't mean occasional forays into Seekerville, you understand...)

    :)

    And those rejections? Shrug 'em off. Big deal. No big whoop. Sure they sting, but their loss will be someone else's gain eventually. I figure that God's vantage point is so much better than ours, that he can see down bent roads, over towering mountains, and into deep wells. He's got us.

    Stay tough, stay strong, have fun. If you focus on the downside of this business, no one would ever venture in. So check your schedule, adjust as necessary, and I totally understand about the family/husband thing.

    Not easy.

    But you're cool. Keep it up. Hang tough.

    Ruthy

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  15. Thanks, Ruthy. :-)

    I don't watch TV, but we do watch a movie once or twice a week. I think I'm just slow and easily overwhelmed. :-)

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  16. Julie,

    Your posts always inspire and encourage.

    Your passion for God and life shows through everything you do. I feel honored to know you.

    Hugs,

    Cheryl

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  17. Julie, you and your passion have lit a fire under my behind! You are so true form, in your books and in your life. Easy to see how passion for life and God are so evident in your work.

    Awesome, girlfriend, truly awesome.

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  18. Julie, I've have been looking for realistic, passionate christian romance. Well, this is it! Thank you for being honest with what real people feel in relationships. Christian stories are wonderful but sometimes...they are just too good to be true. I have been thru alot in my life and appreciate relative scriptures ( I cried and prayed many times while reading) and stories that show "human" sins. Please hurry up with the third book and never stop. If you have any recommendations of other authors that write in a similar way, please tell me. I have been searching...
    God Bless,
    Pat McEwen

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