Confessions Of a Determined Mind

If you’re one of those who has a clearly painted vision for your life, but few artistic tools to get there, hang tight; I have something for you.

If you just want to read some lurid confessions made by a frantic soul, who knows? I may have something for you as well.

My wife recently mentioned the dream I had to write books. Interestingly enough, that was never my dream. I had wanted to be a professional songwriter, and probably had the tools to achieve that at one time. However, the calling to walk the road God was leading me was far stronger, and over time, more anonymalizing. That’s not really a word, but I like the way it embraces the fading of myself in favor of the magnification of God.

So I’ve written a book, one that I know will never breach any sort of best-seller list. It is personal, heart-rending, and I lived it all to the bone. I’ve been speaking about the book in various venues and found that its story was compelling. And yet, I know that if you write one book, you’ve, well, written a book. If you write multiple books, then you’re an author.

It seems I have more stories to tell and more lessons to share. So after much prayer and many discussions on many levels with many people, I changed my ministry focus from pastoral ministry to writing and creating online content. God seemed to clear the way for me to write, and so, I sat down to do so with my laptop and notes on day one. And then…

And then this monstrous writer’s block took over. Oh sure, I could still write short form stuff (read: blogs, social media entries), but anything else that I wrote came gushing out like Play-doh through an extruder; it was flavorless and only fit for remolding. Or throwing back into the can.

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So, in the stress of trying to finally achieve a worthwhile goal, I froze up like a thanksgiving turkey on November first.

That stress inevitably lead me to a period of being a really lousy husband, and a really lousy person. One failure inevitably leads to three or four or a dozen more, it seems.

When you get to that place where failures begin to mount, desperation, anxiety, and a loss of spiritual mooring can ensue. And they ensued.

But this story is about a determined mind, not a desperate one.

In his book, “Confessions Of a Dangerous Mind,” Chuck Barris weaves truth and fiction together to suggest that he was not only the creator of such lovable TV dreck as “The Gong Show,” and “The Newlywed Game,” but he doubled as a CIA assassin all the while. As forgettable as Chuck Barris should be, he has found a way to imprint himself into history in a very ignominious way. That means, he has an embarrassing career that we can’t seem to forget though we’d like to. Desperation drives us to dangerous degrees. It enlivens the foolhardy in us all.

I don’t want to be the man with a desperate mind. My lifelong prayer has been to be the man with a determined mind; to rise up in humble service so that God’s fame could be known by even the most desperate mind. I don’t want to stay in this place of despair and servitude to hopelessness.

I may have found a place of heart-struggle, but I’ve never forgotten the friend who lifted me out of the lowest, deepest, dankest places in times past. It’s in Jesus alone that I find the Name worth fighting for and the hope worth having. Here’s my game-plan, and you’re welcome to crib any of these notes that resonate with you:

I’m returning to James 5 to reclaim the humble credo I created through a severely summarized version of its teaching:

BE PATIENT,

TAKE COURAGE,

DON’T GRUMBLE.

James 4 speaks powerfully to my heart today as well. Take some time to take it in. I’m doing just that. I will be restored to the right place, and I will walk with truth, hope, and strength by the power of God alive in me. I will be patient, I will take courage, and I will not grumble.

That’s the confession of a determined mind.

Greg Fish