Motivational Pictures


Photo: Nik MacMillan

Yesterday I started going through a huge basket of pictures in search of photos I might include in my upcoming book. So imagine me in my dark writing cave/workout room combo space, 15 pounds heavier than I was ten years ago (hey, you’d get fat too if you had a bad hip for three years), sorting through hundreds of snapshots, when suddenly a photo of me drops to the floor. From ten years ago. And I’m in a bathing suit.

Can we get a “DAMN!” she looks good? (No, I’m not posting it).

So, while calculating how much grief my merciless family will dish if were I to tape the picture to the refrigerator, I decided to keep it tucked away in my desk drawer, bringing it out only when I need a motivational image to stop me in my tracks as I head for the tortilla drawer in the kitchen.

Motivational pictures are helpful at times like these when I’m really twenty pounds over my target weight, and I’m about to launch my first serious book. You’d be surprised how often I have to beat back the other “me-s” who tell me I’m too old to get back in shape and I’m really just dabbling at this writer thing, never to make a living at it, let alone get more than 15 Amazon reviews. The “are you serious?” me tells me there’s no way I’ll ever crank out prose as quickly as a Christian Romance writer, or as rational and clear as C.S. Lewis. Don’t worry. I’m not going to write Christian Romance. The aspiration to write like C.S. Lewis is for sure a “no way” thing, but hey, I’m still enrolled in seminary (even though I haven’t registered for a class in more than a year.) The door is still open. It could happen. And then if it does, my email signature would have letters by my name that would make other people want to listen to me, even if it’s just to discredit my views.

The “just give it up, girl” me criticizes me for allowing my once lean and “cut” arms to get flabby. She loves it when I go out for a walk. As soon as my shoulders begin to ache she says, “See? You might as well face it. You’ve reached the Maude stage of life. It’s time to find a good tunic merchandiser.” Today when I arrived home from my walk, I sat down at the computer, went to Amazon, and started looking for flowy tops. They always look good on the skinny chicks. But I wasn’t fooled; I knew they wouldn’t look as good on me…and I began to feel blue, so I logged out. I need to stay motivated.

Speaking of staying motivated, I just read a great book by a guy I know from the writer’s conference circuit. His name is Allen Arnold and he wrote The Story of With: A Better Way to Live, Love, and Create. I’m not even going to tell you what it’s about except that you can see it as you read it and the pictures are beautiful, even motivational. I couldn’t put it down. In fact, I woke up at 2 am this morning to finish it. I NEVER do that. I was pulled in because it was about me. It was about how I look at things, and how short-sighted I am, and how I’m always striving to keep up. Keep up with what? I have no idea.

The Story of With is about being with God. It’s about resting in Him. For me, the idea of resting is usually met with a snarl from the “let’s get this done!” me. As soon as she detects I’ve let up on the gas pedal, she says, “You’ll rest when you die. Right now you’ve got work to do.”

The message in The Story of With is about living life at rest, dependent upon Him. Everything else is secondary. I don’t have to make anything happen. I don’t have to perform. I don’t have to have all the answers all the time. I only need to choose to be with God in the present.

It’s amazing how freeing it feels to rest in Him. There’s nothing to keep up with.