The concept of world-building is a mind-boggling one.  I first heard it explained at a writer’s conference where a former sci-fi writer described her process of preparing to put words on paper.

In science fiction, one has to think about “layers” of setting, which in turn affects all other aspects of the story.  The heavy lifting comes in when you must determine what your base world/planet/galaxy/plane of existence is, however far outside the box this may be.  Then you must figure how distant your story place is from other suns/moons/stars in relation to the gravitational pull/light/ whatever, because this affects physical laws in your world.  Which in turn determines the physical environment your characters live in, what kind of creatures live there, how they actually do their basic activities of living.

Do they communicate by grunting through their appendages? Do they move place to place by morphing into a gas?  Do they gobble up meteor fragments like potato chips, or absorb compounds from the chemical-laden air in order to survive?  Whew!  Talk about a lot of cogitating!

Although it’s more detailed in sci-fi, world-building extends to other realms of creative writing too.  (Thank goodness, some things are a given here on planet earth.)  In my current spheres of  writing–secular murder mysteries and Christian contemporary women’s fiction–my overall setting affects the characters.  Characters and their myriad backgrounds affect the trajectory of the story.  The plotline itself, at least for me, comes from a marriage of character and setting.  A bunch of balls to juggle at once.  A lot of cogitating on my part, before one word makes it to the page.

And yet my heavenly Father juggles all the balls of all our lives, all the minute details, with dazzling brilliance.  He never drops a one! I stand in awe of a God Who maintains the universe effortlessly, without a single mistake, because He is perfect.

God says, “Who is My equal?. . . Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these?  He Who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name.  Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.” (Isaiah 40:25-16 NIV)

Surely if my Father keeps up with every celestial entity out there in space, vast and innumerable they be, then He can keep up with what’s going on from my window.  And if something perchance does happen–something frightening or unexpected–I can know he didn’t drop the ball.  He can’t.  I can rest on His promises that He allowed the event for my ultimate good and for His glory.

Lookin’ up,

Sislyn/Ps. 19:1

There’s More To This Life

Running, running, running.  And always managing to be behind.  Even though my days of diapers and day-to-day commuting are a thing of the past, there’s always an arm-long list in front of me, many of the items ministry-related.  Did I email so-and-so to ask about the bridal shower?  Did I call so-and-so and invite her child to the new children’s class I’m teaching?  Did I let so-and-so know I’ve been missing them a couple of weeks in choir?  I feel like I’m really making progress when I get a couple of things done and am empowered to charge onto my next to-do.  I often am validated by *the list* and can base my self-worth by what has or hasn’t been checked off on it.

And then I hear that still, small voice. . . My Father says Come and spend time with Me.  Wait a minute, Lord . . . I’m coming.  But can’t I whip up this batch of cookies for Awanas, or reword that paragraph I wrote yesterday, or write down the brilliant lesson plan for next week, first?

With a sweet tug of the Spirit, He calls to me.  I don’t want to be a check in your “Done That” column.  I want more.  Come away with Me, and let Me show you more.  And you know, He does, when I stop and obey His voice.  I find that He loves me.  He delights in me.  Imagine that–?  A Creator Who wants more than anything in the universe to love, and be loved?

Lord, I’m so sorry for not consistently making You my delight . . . not beginning my day with You.  You are so worthy, so much more worthy of any adoration and praise and time that I could ever offer.  Thank You for loving me anyway (!), and keep on reminding me that the sum of “what I do” does not ever make me me . . . . It is by Your grace alone I live.

Lookin’ up,
Ps. 19:1