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Coffee for Two

shutterstock_Coffee for two

“It’s up to you, but I think we should consider killing _________ [insert character name].” 

I was reminded today of a phone call I had with my editor some time back. She’d received my manuscript and in reading it through, had that key suggestion for our book.

Without even thinking, I chimed in: “Yes — Good! Let’s kill them. I’ll get started on that right away.”  I jotted the plot change in my notebook. A second later, I looked up and realized very quickly that:

1) I was in a quiet coffee shop.

2) I’d shouted my answer out loud.

3) People were now staring and at least one girl edged her chair away from my table.

and 4) You should never sound that gleeful when a character’s demise is at hand!

Oh, the life of a writer… 

I assure you I was not excited to kill that character. (That would just have been heartless.) And I’m not an undercover Converse-sneakers-wearing assassin masquerading as a Starbucks-drinking writer. I’m a normal gal. My mind wanders and I write those imaginings down for others to read. It’s what I love to do. But there’s vulnerability in this writing life that I hadn’t realized in the beginning– I’m not ready for everyone to see what’s behind the curtain of this author. (Certainly not for the other folks sitting in the coffee shop with me. They were clearly not ready to hear about how I was going to enjoy killing someone.)

Don’t we all do that? We show our perfected selves to the world. Facebook and Twitter only get the best angles on our photographs. We’ll probably update our social media status when our kid scores five goals on the field. (But what about the game where he scores none, but the team worked together and knelt in prayer at the end?) And what about those high school reunions? I’m probably going to feel like I should talk more about myself than listening to others. Over and over again, we’re pulling curtains when what we should be doing is letting people in. Inviting them to our table and ordering a coffee for one more.

Why in the world is this so difficult?

Here’s the truth: it’s all about vulnerability.

  • Am I willing to tell the world that I don’t have it all together?
  • Am I ready to post a photo or a status message that shows who I really am?
  • Am I able to say: “I’m struggling today. I’m a child of God and YES — I’m still struggling.”
  • Am I going to tell the truth that Jesus carries me? That I’m not perfect but flawed. And not strong, but weak without Him? That my bank account, accomplishments, degrees, success, shining photos on Facebook and telephone conversations in a coffee shop mean nothing if I don’t have Him?

Book written. Curtain drawn.

Life struggle? Curtain drawn.

I’m doubting. Not trusting God with everything. Maybe I’m sick or grieving or discouraged or the bills just keep coming… Curtain after curtain drawn.

I’m not saying you have to air your dirty laundry in public. (Please don’t shout about killing characters in a coffee shop. It’s just not polite.) But I am saying that scripture – and the nature of our gracious, strong, loving and selfless Savior – will entreat us to live our lives with passion enough to be real with ourselves and others. To take up our cross daily. To follow Him with our whole selves – without drawing curtain after curtain to block our eyes from locking with His.

 

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Ephesians 4:2 NIV

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The next time I’m in one of life’s coffee shops, I’m going to change it up a little. I’m going to order coffee for two.

I’m going to invite others in.

I’ll pull back the curtain — and so help me, be real. And be okay with being vulnerable. And able to ask for prayer when I need the covering. And yes, willing to lay down my pride enough to accept the outstretched arms of those who aren’t edging away from the table because I’m showing the depth of my character flaws. In fact, there needs to be some character killing going on! Killing of pride. Of the focus on self. Of the unwillingness to see beauty in the imperfections of this life.

If you see me in a coffee shop, I hope you stop by to say hello. We’ll order a coffee for two. We’ll smile. And laugh. And be okay with being real. We’ll order a cup of it and pull back our curtains together.

(And please… If you do stop by, bring your story suggestions with you. I’m all ears.)

In His love,

Kristy Initials

 

 

20 thoughts on “Coffee for Two

  1. Hi kristy… Just a question… I’m a youngster so… I would like to know what should I write about… I want to start writing a book at my age but I dont know what to write about… Thanks for all the help you can give me!!!

    1. Hi! It’s always fun to connect with other writers, especially those of you who want to start your writing career early. That’s a great question — one I hear often. I think it would start with two things: 1) What do you like to read and write about? 2) Is there an idea that speaks to your heart, that you have great interest in? That’s a great place to start. I enjoy writing historical fiction because I felt drawn to read those books. (You’re going to find the writing probably comes easier if you love the subject first!) And 3) Pray about it! If you have this dream of becoming an author, pray about it and seek God’s will for your life. He’ll make the path known to you through His Word, and in your daily walk with him. Best wishes! ; )

  2. This is so beautiful, Kristy! You worded it exactly the way I’ve been feeling lately. I filmed a video for my YouTube channel this week. Haven’t posted yet, but it’s me, no make-up, wet hair, talking about true beauty. I agree it can sometimes be hard to let others in and see our true selves, but I realized that when others do that, authors or whoever, they are the ones I connect with and relate to most.

  3. Love this Kristy! On a funny note, we had a plumber in the house the other day and they had to open up the wall and I commented on how I was kind of sad they hadn’t found a dead body…well, being a suspense author I was only thinking in the context of story but realized I should have started with that 😉 On the serious side though, I often times find myself crafting what I’m “willing” to share with others. Don’t want to share too much and give the impression I don’t have it together, right? But really, who does have it all together? I know I’ve learned more from women who have been honest with me about their struggles and successes more than I have the women who seem to be “perfect”. Thank you for sharing this!

  4. It would be wonderful to meet you in a coffee shop (although I’m strictly a tea drinker :>) to talk about writing and life and everything in between! Maybe someday….?

    1. I would love to bump into you too! Coffee/tea, writing, Jesus talk with some prayer stuck in there. Sounds like a dream coffee date. (With no character killing talk!) ; ) Hugs!

      1. That would be wonderful…except that I’m in Illinois and I’m guessing you’re not. But maybe we could meet during our travels at some point…? And as far as killing characters, sometimes it just has to be done. :>

  5. begs the question: is there a difference between vulnerability and transparency? I am, or claim to be, pretty transparent. but to make myself vulnerable is pretty risky, and is a work in progress. the progress being in knowing / accepting my identity in Him.

    and by the way, I LOL’ed, literally, at the coffee shop scene!! “Kill them!! Kill them all I say!!!”

    1. Very, very good question. And it’s a tough one that seems to have layers to the answer. When is it vulnerability and when is it transparency (or too much of it)? I think you nailed it with finding our identity in Christ. That’s really been on my heart lately.

  6. Funny! And a good reminder. I’m usually pretty vulnerable. I’ve found it easier to actually express my feelings than bottle them or pretend they aren’t there. It has taken years of practice. And sometimes they say I’m too honest. Maybe I am, but I guess I’d rather have you know the real deal, warts and all, than a puffed-up-wannabe-me. That said, there are days I should probably just stay off social media… 🙂

    1. I think I am too. It was a BIG thing for me to open up and start a blog in 2009. It felt like a step to be vulnerable with the world, though only my Momma and my husband were reading my blog. ; ) But with books out there now – and readers able to share in the vulnerability of the storytelling… that’s a special thing to me. I believe God was preparing me to take that step. (And… who hasn’t been tripped up by social media now and again?)

    1. I just love that verse. It was the highlighted verse on Bible Gateway today. I went there to find a verse of scripture that spoke to the post today, and I had to look no further than that one.

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