Monday, January 29, 2007

Audiences and Idiots

On Friday I was teaching creative writing at a seminar in Edmonton, Alberta. The people were great and we had a blast.

Well, I noticed a woman sitting in the front row who didn't seem too engaged. In fact, she seemed well... bored. And even though there were 70 other people in the room who were all totally into what I was doing, that one woman began to bother me. A little voice in my head started saying, "Why doesn't she like me? Aren't I funny enough? Did I offend her? Why won't she smile?" It was annoying. Not only her, but the voice too.

Then suddenly I heard another voice. I wish I could tell you it was God, but I think it was just common sense. It said, "Ok Steve. So 70 people are laughing, learning, connecting, loving this seminar and this one woman isn't into what you're doing and you're letting that bother you? Do you have any idea how stupid that is?"

Um no. I didn't.

Why do I do that? Why do I let these perfectionistic tendencies get such a firm grip on me? I want to be wanted, I love being loved. But in that moment I realized that not everyone is going to love me and I better just learn to deal with it.

That revelation was sort of depressing and also encouraging at the same time. I'm not perfect. Everyone else knows that. And I'll be alot more fun to be around when I can learn that too.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

First Peek at "The Pawn"

Hey everyone. Exciting news! I just had to share this.

For years I've had this idea of writing a thriller that explores the interplay of good and evil in the human heart. Something intense, unsettling and downright scary. My favorite reads tend to be high-octane, adrenaline-laced stories. So, I decided it was time to write one.

Well, it's finally coming together. The Pawn is scheduled for a September 2007 release from Revell Publishing. This is the first in a series of three books featuring FBI criminologist Patrick Bowers. So today, rather than sharing any deep (or maybe not so deep) spiritual musings, I thought I'd just share my good news. Here's a look at the cover artwork, fresh from my publishers. You, my faithful readers, get the first peek.

I'd love to hear your responses—good or bad. What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know. If you don't like it, this is the time to speak up!

You've all been so encouraging and supportive over the years as I've written educational and inspirational books. I can't wait to introduce you to my alter-ego as a thriller writer.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Believing in Forgiveness

I hear people talk about forgiveness all the time: "God has forgiven you, but have you forgiven yourself?" But honestly I have no idea what that means. What does it mean to forgive yourself?

As far as I understand forgiveness, when someone forgives you, they cancel the debt that you owe them. So, when we get consumed with self and materialism and judging others and all that other junk we do every day, we build up a debt of transgressions against God that only he can forgive. Or maybe, we've hurt someone with an affair or a half-truth or a verbal attack and we need them to forgive us. In each case the debt we owe someone else needs to be canceled. All that I can understand. But when we do this stuff we don't owe ourselves an apology, so how could we forgive ourselves?

I think what people mean by that phrase is, "Have you accepted the forgiveness that's being offered to you?" And that's the kicker. Because truthfully, most of the time I would have to say no. I don't really accept the gift of forgiveness because it takes a ton of humility and courage to accept the idea that I owe anyone anything--and even more courage to accept that they have canceled that debt.

So that's my goal for today--to say yes. To accept the gift of God's, and other people's, forgiveness. As hard as it is, as humbling as it is, that's what I seriously need right now. The courage to accept a canceled debt.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Climbing Out of the Cave

I've noticed something during the times when I've gone caving: once you've been underground for a while and your eyes get accustomed to the darkness, it takes some time for your eyes to adjust to the light. The longer you've been in the cave, the more stark even a faint whisper of light appears. You see a glow illuminate the rocks, the walls, the ceiling of the cave. It looks so bright, but it's not. It's just a hint of light climbing into the cave, a promise of things to come. It only seems so bright because you're so used to the darkness.

Over the last few months I've been crawling out of a cave. In my book Sailing Between the Stars I wrote about my bouts with depression and, apparently just to prove I wasn't making it up, I started getting swallowed by the darkness right after the book came out.

So if you've been waiting to hear from me, forgive me. I've been moving back into the light and the eyes of my hopes, my dreams, my writing are only now starting to adjust.

Over the next three months I'll be traveling across the US and aboard speaking and teaching. I look forward to sharing some of the insights and struggles and discoveries I have as I explore the world beyond the cave. The ground is steep here, but the light is getting better with every step I take.