Monday, June 15, 2009

When Did You Labor? (or, will Sabbath help your gift go viral?)

Gladiator broom

Sam got stuck in the Intro, and I decided to wait for him in Chapter One— just a little corner of it... just the last sentence... okay, just the intro to the last sentence (see, Sam, I'm working with you)...

The Lord says, 'All that opens the womb is mine...' And this reflects back on the Introduction, which uses the image of laboring... When we are moved by art we are grateful...that [the artist] labored in the service of his gifts.

This supposes that we know what our gifts are, and that we take the time to refine and share them. For those who love the cyberlife, this can become a thorny issue. It's easy to get carried away on the wires for hours on end, while our gifts sit idle. As Vincent Rossmeier notes,

I would say that if there's one thing that's causing the novels of the world from getting written right now, it's surfing the Internet. I do think that a lot of creative people want to be working on their craft, they want to be thinking big about what they should be doing and my belief is that the culture is encouraging them to think small. To me, the challenge is to try to find ways to partially unplug ourselves. To carve out spaces in our lives away from information.

That's one reason I take a weekly technology Sabbath. It helps me carve out thinking and dreaming space. It relieves my heart from all the hype and bad news (I'm talking about the news links that pop up when I open Yahoo). I'm even working on a daily schedule of unplugging and prioritizing, based on some cool suggestions I found in Power of Less, The: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Business and in Life. (This book oversimplifies sometimes, but it's worth a definite checkout at the library.)

So now, if you'll pardon me, I'm off to do a little labor in the service of my gifts.

Gladiator-Flower Broom photo, by L.L. Barkat.

High Calling Blogs' Mozart, Tiger Woods and Me: Gift 1 1/2
Liz's Increase and Sacrifice
Laura's The Gift, Forcibly Taken

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Blogger Laura said...

Hmm. Very timely for me. Here I am at the coast, ocean humming out my window...grand schemes of doing some "real" writing, and yet; wanted to catch up on some of my favorite bloggy friends first. I won't reveal how much time has gone by, but now boys clamor for beach time.

Not one line written.

Shame. On. Me.

Like the idea of the tech sabbath. Have to consider that one.


1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

have a good one.

1:25 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

I love the tech sabboth. Some time back, I realized there were just some days that I needed to be free of too much information, too much time in life that was not immediately in my presence. I too take a break from technology (that includes blogging, emailing, reading internet articles, television, etc) once a week also.

5:08 PM  
Blogger Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience said...

As always, thought-provoking post, L.L....

Intrigued by your daily schedule...
You use your gifts well...and inspire the use of so many other gifts...

Humble gratitude...

7:10 AM  
Blogger Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience said...

LL... the viral piece @ Salon... fascinating... and disturbing.

What does Jesus make of "going viral" and self-marketing?

What does He make of gifts?

Unsettled in a good way...
Unplugging now...

All's grace,

7:29 AM  
Anonymous Diane L. Harris said...

The best response I can think of to this post is to share just six lines from one of my favorite poems, "The Art of Disappearing" by Naomi Shihab Nye:

If they say we should get together,
say why? It's not that you don't love them any more.
You're trying to remember something
too important to forget.

Walk around feeling like a leaf. Know you could tumble any second. Then decide what to do with your time.

Even on the internet, I must learn to question and decide what to do with my time, because God didn't give me my gifts to be stuffed in a junk drawer while I keep in touch with thousands of strangers just because I can.

The weekly technology sabbath is hereby adopted in my life. Thanks.

1:10 PM  
Blogger Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience said...

L.L.... thinking about this...
Do we labor in service of the gifts?
Or labor in service of the Giver?

Any thoughts?...

1:46 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Laura... As I've continued on this writing journey, I've discovered that my blogging can work synergistically with my "real writing." Indeed, God in the Yard grew out of posts and conversations on this blog. And these days I use my Love Notes to Yahweh blog to pre-write for my manuscript. It's like jazz... the themes arise, recede, go round, and come back again in ever deepening cycles. But Sabbath, yes, that is also a critical piece of the puzzle.

nAncY... thanks, friend. :)

Liz... it also readies us to be more present when we get back.

Ann... I imagine you have a pretty good schedule too, considering how much life you fit into your days. :) I decided to read the book that was the grist for that article and it gets even more disturbing when one begins to consider what's really going on.... what are we about here? As for what we serve, I guess I picture it as a seamless piece; if I serve my gifts I am really serving the Giver... now, if I worship my gifts, that's probably different... but service takes humility and perseverance and, at least for me, a leaning on the Giver for true resonance. Okay, but how about you... any thoughts? What made you ask?

Diane... I love that phrase "walk around feeling like a leaf." :)

4:11 PM  
Blogger Jim Martin said...

This is a very good post. What you say here is important. In the past six months I have worked on a number of articles and chapters for two books. There have been several times when I realized that I just needed to go ahead and write! (My tendency far too often is to read one more article or book about whatever when actually, I am already prepared for the project.

Thanks, L.L.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Yes. Quite interesting.

I like blogging for fellowship (I know it's limited) and sharing. And helping us to books in which we can find thoughts well thought out, and as in you case, craftily laid.

But the idea of a weekly Sabbath is a good one. Could prevent me from getting burned out over the news. And then I don't honor God when I tune out of it completely.


1:28 AM  
Anonymous Sam Van Eman said...

Glad you got the Viral Culture article. I sent it to Marcus as soon as I read it. I guess I should have sent it to you, too.

Thanks for posting your thoughts on The Gift here. Big help.

11:57 AM  

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