Tag Archives: christian living

Misrepresenting J M

I experienced a little dust-up with a Facebook friend recently. The subject of the dust-up isn’t important, and everything is okay now, but the experience triggered some thoughts about how I’m perceived and what some of my failings are.

Let it be noted that I am still trying to figure out how to integrate Facebook into my world again. I’m still not particularly happy to be back there. And the thing about Facebook is that you’re only really noticed if you’re 1) creating/participating in controversy or 2) sharing Pinterest-perfect lifestyle posts. Controversy gives me a bellyache, and I stink at Pinterest-perfect. I’ve said before–as a wife and mother, I’m a lot more Erma Bombeck than June Cleaver or Martha Stewart.

So in trying to find things to share, I share things that I like, things that speak to my interests and beliefs, things that I think might be helpful to others, etc. I share TED Talks. I share the occasional writing-related article. I share silly grammar cartoons and coffee pictures. And I share posts related to my faith.

What gets the mosts attention/likes? The coffee pictures. My occasional picture of my dog or kids. Maybe a good quote. And a status about something “happy happy joy joy” in my family.

Anyway. This blog post is not about the inanity of Facebook.

Rather, this blog post is about how I communicate my faith to other believers.

Here’s the thing. I’m not very good at sharing why I believe some of the things I believe. I don’t know how to explain it except to give some examples.

When I say that I have some concerns about the culture of “courtship” and the way it’s currently in vogue to push our teens away from dating, somehow, I come across as promoting licentious behavior.

When I say that I have issues with the way we teach God’s will in Evangelical circles, people seem to think that I mean there’s no room for God to work in our lives or that God can’t reveal His will in any way, shape or form.

And when I say that I have an intellectual faith rather than an emotional one, I somehow communicate that I have no room for emotion in my walk with Jesus and that I only have head knowledge.

What do these things have to do with the dust-up and Facebook? Well . . . I started thinking about these things because of the dust-up, and it seems like a lot of these misconceptions about me end up resulting from written interactions (like those that occur on Facebook or in e-mail).

I have to be candid–I’m not sure how to fix these notions.

I can say that I have no intention of promoting licentious behavior in our young people. I think sexual purity is vitally important to our material, emotional, and social well-being in this world. I can clarify that I absolutely leave room for God to speak however He wants to speak in this world. I can tell folks that I have had many, many, many days of pouring out my heart to Jesus in prayer–carpet-fiber-up-the-nose days, in fact, when the only posture adequate before the bone-crushing awesomeness of the Throne of Grace was one of utter prostration (and on those days, if I could have made myself thinner to melt into the floor, I would have).

But it seems hollow to say these things. It doesn’t ring true. It feels like I’m attempting to justify myself and that maybe then I sound like I’m speaking from both sides of my mouth.

It’s a little unnerving that so many of these misunderstandings occur in writing. I worry that maybe I’m not as good at communicating in the written word as I should be for . . . well, for a writer. If these things occur in live conversation, it’s a lot easier to make myself understood. Sometimes. I still get into a lot of trouble on the courtship issue . . .

I suppose the first question is, “why do I care?” And I’m not sure how to answer that except to acknowledge that perhaps I’m more tender-hearted than I care to admit. It hurts to know that I’ve misrepresented myself in such a way as to make people completely misunderstand who I am.

The second question is, “how do I deal with it?” And I can only come up with two possibilities–either stop engaging people on anything where I might potentially be misunderstood, or get better at ignoring the misconceptions. The third possibility–improving how I represent myself–needs to happen either way, but that’s a long process. And even so, I’m not sure I’ll ever really be very good at it.

For the moment, I’m just choosing not to engage. On Facebook, if I post something that might be controversial for some reason, I am choosing to just ignore comments that would draw me into a bad position. If I see a post that might have drawn a comment from me in the past, I am choosing to keep scrolling. It’s the social media version of nodding and smiling–which is, coincidentally, the way I’m choosing to deal with real life conversations.

I suppose this may not be a very interesting blog post. It’s a little bit like the ones I posted in the very beginning. This is me, working out my salvation with fear and trembling, perhaps. It seems like it’s a daily struggle to figure out how to navigate the world when you’re a human oddity.

Perhaps the best I can hope for is to represent Christ well. In that sense, it doesn’t matter what others think of me. It only matters that Jesus is proud of me. So maybe I misrepresent myself, or maybe others think I’m hypocritical, Pharisaical, hard-nosed, unemotional, or even heretical. Maybe that’s unimportant if I’m careful to speak with wisdom, knowledge, and good character.

Ultimately, I’m an ambassador for Jesus Christ. While ambassadors have to be mindful of how they comport themselves, sometimes, they do have to speak hard truths, and they can occasionally misrepresent themselves. But as ambassadors, they have to care less about how they are perceived and more about how the governments they represent are perceived.

I’ll say one thing, though–It would be easier to be a good ambassador for Christ if I weren’t so human.

Till next we meet . . .




Hello, Lord. I’ve missed you.

Actually, to say that I’ve missed you is dishonest. One has to have a thing before it can be lost and missed. I’m not sure I’ve ever really understood you at this level before.

You know I’ve been fighting you for a long time. This is nothing new. And you know that I’ve struggled with joy for . . . ever. This is also nothing new.

It happened today–one of those moments that I haven’t had in years–or perhaps have never really had. I’ve been so angry for the last few days, and I’ve been grumbling and mumbling and writing arguments and defenses in my head, planning my assault, daydreaming about obliterating my opponents, prematurely enjoying a sweet victory that will likely never come. And you gave me an hour of blessed time in the car when I could do this–when I could plan my attack.

And then, in a moment, the desire to defend myself, to attack, to revel in my enemy’s blood, to savor sweet victory–it just . . . went away.




And in its wake was your sweet whisper.

You seek vengeance for a thing that isn’t even worth fighting over. You know what I have called you to. Why do you care what that one thinks? Why do you worry? You can’t add a single hair to your head this way. I am your joy. I am your salvation. These other things are so much flotsam and jetsam. Focus here, right here. I will never leave you nor forsake you.

When my children were small, I told them, “your eyes on my eyes” when I needed to make sure they understood me. Now, Lord, you are telling me the same.

Your eyes on My eyes.

Your eyes on My path.

Your eyes on My will.

Do you understand?

Yes, Lord. And I think, perhaps, I’m finally starting to understand joy.

Joy doesn’t depend on circumstances. Joy doesn’t depend on what other people think of me. Joy doesn’t depend on my house being clean or my kids getting good grades or my husband being in a great mood or my scout troop being at peace.

Joy is a condition of my spirit that recognizes how beautiful and kind and loving and gracious you are.

No, I take that back.

Joy is a condition of my spirit wherein I rest in the knowledge of how beautiful and kind and loving and gracious you are.

There is surely a reason why the psalmist so closely relates joy and salvation. My joy comes from knowing how completely you have redeemed me–how total and complete is your grace, how excellent is your sacrifice, how perfect is your love.

There can be no other joy that could bubble up from the depths of my spirit this way. There could be no other truth that would draw my eyes away from earthly hurts and fix them firmly on you.

So yes, Lord Jesus. I have missed you. But I have missed you as one who has missed the sunrise for sleeping past it for a dozen years.

I have missed you not because you left me, but because I wasn’t looking for you.

You were there all along, waiting to bathe my soul in the warmth of a new dawn.


On Controversy

It’s inevitable.

I tick people off.

I reluctantly waded back into the rather terrifying waters of Facebook recently as part of my return to the world of freelance copywriting. I was trying to keep my posts to things related to business, books, and grammar, but inevitably, I found other things of interest to post. Mostly, I’ve attempted to keep it all fairly innocuous. I post things about art. I post interesting quotes. I post TED Talks that, hopefully, won’t raise too many hackles. I’m trying to be informative, but not combative.

But then, an article came through my feed that I thought was important to share. It was about a controversial topic. The specific topic isn’t important, but suffice to say that I knew in sharing it that I would alienate a lot of people and stir up a lot of simmering coals.

I shared it anyway.

And then I immediately regretted it.

A few hours after I posted it, I went back and saw some of the responses. I considered deleting the whole thing then, but decided to wait till morning. After going back and forth with a few of my friends on the subject matter, I couldn’t take it. I finally deleted the post.

I am just not good at being confrontational on Facebook.

The experience of the last day has me thinking about the nature of controversy, though, and how I respond to it. My husband thrives on vigorous debate. It doesn’t bother him in the slightest. He can mix it up over any number of topics.

Me? I shrink into a quivering mass of heart palpitations and knotted stomach.

It’s probably not a secret to anyone who reads this blog that I’m a fairly right-wing sort of person. And yes, my politics are informed by my Evangelical faith in Jesus Christ, but they are not dictated by it. In fact, what may not be obvious from reading some of my tweets and posts here is that I diverge from a lot of my brothers and sisters in Christ in MANY areas, not just those concerning art. I am probably more libertarian in my views, and that does make me a bit of an odd-man-out in a lot of conversations.

My libertarian politics tend to bleed into how I practice my faith, I think. I think there’s a huge, gaping prairie of liberty between what the Bible actually says about how we should live and how a lot of Evangelicals interpret what the Bible says. Drinking, for instance. We aren’t teetotalers. We go to a Southern Baptist church. This can cause some issues at times.

(Side note: A Free Methodist friend joked a couple of weeks ago, “know what the difference is between Southern Baptists and Free Methodists?” Pause. “We drink our beer on the front porch.”)

I don’t mind being more open about my beliefs on Twitter or here on my blog. But on Facebook, I’m posting under another name, and I have a lot of real-world connections there, and I guess . . . I guess I want them to still like me.

But maybe the question is, do I want them to like me, or do I want them to respect me? How can they respect me if they don’t know me because I’m hiding who I really am for fear of offending or angering or hurting people?

This is why I hate Facebook.

I guess it seems like the last few years, we just have to always be angry about something. I wake up every day and go to Twitter wondering what the daily rage will be. Is it the government? Culture? Entertainment? Doctrine? There’s always something I’m supposed to be angry about. And I find myself siding against–or at least being irritated by–my Evangelical friends and family almost as often as I agree with them. (I can’t say the same of the political progressives. I pretty much always disagree with them.)

To be perfectly candid, Internet, I don’t have the energy to be constantly angry.

I can’t maintain that kind of constant passion for the offense du jour. Half the time, once more information is revealed, I alter my perspective a bit, or I discover that it’s not as big a thing as I thought, or I just decide it’s not a hill I want to die on.

So I guess it comes down to a question of balancing a need to be liked and a desire to be respected. How much controversy can I endure in order to be respected? Turns out, not much–at least not on Facebook. And it also turns out that a lot of things I think might be innocuous are probably going to stir up some kind of rage from somewhere. That article on how literary fiction improves brain function is probably going to piss off the writers and readers of genre fiction. That doctrinal analysis of Noah or Son of God is probably going to ignite a firestorm from both sides.

Facebook does not invite respect, I’m discovering. In general, social media does not invite respect. And I will confess that I have lost respect for a lot of people I know in real life once I’ve seen their Facebook posts.

So, I guess it’s back to posting pictures of grammar snark and the occasional cat video. Facebook seems a lot safer that way.

Till next we meet . . .



There are days when I go to church and wonder why I bothered.

And then there are days like last Sunday . . .

Let me set the stage. Mr. P and Boy Patriot were camping last weekend. When they camp, I rarely go to church. I am not a social animal on the best of days, and church is often more than I can take. So I really didn’t have any intention of going to church last week . . .

. . . except that I couldn’t get rid of the nagging thought that I should go.

I won’t call it a guilt thing. It was more of just an insistence that I needed to be there. We’ve been intermittent attenders lately, anyway, so it’s hard to say that I was feeling compelled out of habit. I just thought I should go.

I went to bed with the sense that I should go to church, but I set my alarm and figured I’d see how I felt in the morning.

I woke up early.

That never happens.

The nagging thought was still there.

I sighed. “Okay, Lord. I guess I should go to church. I hope there’s a good reason.”

The first song was a favorite hymn–something that set my attitude aright. I think God knows what we need when it comes to worship. And worship isn’t just the singing–it’s the listening and integrating, too. I needed that little reset in order to hear the words offered by our pastor.

And such words they were, too!

He spoke on work–our need for it, our calling to it, our warped view of it, and the rest.

I have long accepted the notion that God created us to work–that we are wired with a deep need to perform some task that brings glory to the Father. And in my head, there are different kinds of work. I’ve loosely categorized them as creative, constructive, restorative, and maintenance. There may be more, but those are my categories.

But although it seems obvious, I never really thought about God as a worker.

It makes sense though, doesn’t it? That God was the FIRST worker in history? He made things. He created. He built and molded and shaped. And when He had finished, He rested. How could He have rested had He not worked first?

So that was a revelation.

But the real revelation was this:

I have identity issues.

My crisis over the past several months/couple of years came on because of idolatry and disobedience, and I do believe that. But what I didn’t realize until Sunday was that my idolatry and disobedience were born of a warped sense of identity.

I forgot Who I belong to.

I am so used to saying “I’m a writer” that I forgot what a lie it is.

I’m not a writer.

I’m a daughter of the King, forgiven and redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, given new life and restored to right relationship with God the Father, bought back, purchased, restored, covered, and adopted as a child of the Most High God.

Who happens to write.

I think that my head has been moving in that direction for a while, because ever since I had my little “come to Jesus” with . . . well, Jesus . . . a couple of weeks ago, I have found myself much less bothered by the writing posts of writing acquaintances from my old life. Where they used to feel like a punch in the gut, I can now share them with my own followers on Facebook or Twitter. I don’t know if you can call it jealousy or irritation or pain or just the grief of saying goodbye to something that was so dear to me, but for the longest time, just even reading a post about someone else’s write almost drove me to tears.

And lately, those posts just don’t bother me.

Which, really, is rather ironic considering that I have had zero time to pursue any of my own fiction work in the last two weeks.

But I think, maybe, possibly, I’m starting to remember who I belong to. I’m starting to put my identity back in the Hands of the One Who created, constructed, restored, and maintains it.

And suddenly, going back to working on or sharing my fiction just doesn’t seem all that important.

This isn’t to say I’m shutting the door or saying I won’t work on it, and it’s not angst, I promise. It’s a recognition–a position of my heart–that says that even as important and fulfilling and wonderful as writing fiction was, it pales in comparison to the redemption and grace and mercy and love offered at the foot of the Cross.

I’m 44 years old. I accepted Christ when I was five. You would think I’d get this by now. But I’m still learning.

I’m still learning that He is my treasure and my strength and my source.

I’m still learning that my hope is built on nothing less than His Blood and Righteousness.

I’m still learning that nothing I do in this world–being a wife, mother, writer, troop leader, volunteer, or anything else–can ever get me to where I want to be, because the only place my soul longs to be is in the presence of Jesus.


It’s spring break here, and the ducklings are home. And I’m working again, trying to maintain some semblance of discipline so that I can have focused time to work on rebuilding my freelancing business. Discipline means office hours, free time, and the things that I and the family need built into the day without begrudging any of it.

But it also means remembering–moment by moment if I must–Who I belong to.

Because for all my talk about balance and the work-at-home life and parenting and the rest, I never had the anchor in the right place. I anchored my best laid plans in the work itself, not the One who provided the work.

So maybe I am getting it, just a little bit.

Till next we meet . . .



“For I proclaim the name of the Lord;
Ascribe greatness to our God!
The Rock! His work is perfect,
For all His ways are just;
A God of faithfulness and without injustice,
Righteous and upright is He.”

— Deuteronomy 32:3-4, NASB

If the greatest commandment is to love the Lord Our God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and the second is to love our neighbor as ourselves, then perhaps the greatest calling any of us have is to proclaim the name of the Lord and ascribe greatness to Him.

This was my reading this morning–the last three chapters of Deuteronomy. In some ways, Deuteronomy has a profound poignancy to it. God–who has already given Israel chance after chance to obey–tells His people that if they forsake His commands, they will be under judgment. Of course, He already knows they will break faith with Him–they always do–and yet He continues to promise ultimate fulfillment of a divine plan that will one day exalt Israel.

But that’s not the point of today’s meditation for me.

My mind kept coming back to those two verses, wherein Moses proclaims the greatness of the Lord. And I kept thinking about how this ties into the greatest commandments that Christ gave us.

How do we love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength? By PROCLAIMING His greatness and glory with passion, knowledge, wisdom, and commitment. By ASCRIBING to Him greatness–acknowledging that His works are perfect, that He is unchanging, faithful, and just.

How do we love our neighbor as ourselves? The same way, except that we alter our verb tenses and pronouns a bit.

I certainly acknowledge the need for the church to serve the poor, the widows, the orphans, and those in need through offerings of our time, resources, and gifts. We are obliged to feed, clothe, and visit the least of these.

But ultimately, the best expression of love we can give our neighbors is to tell them about the greatness of God.

To PROCLAIM through our words, deeds, actions, lives that He is unchanging, faithful, just, righteous, and perfect.

I think it’s easy in modern Christendom to focus on the action part of that–to believe that we should only proclaim through our works.

But Moses wasn’t just proclaiming through works.

He proclaimed LOUDLY for all of Israel to hear.

Think about that for a moment.

Moses, with his unnamed speech impediment.

Moses, who was certain he could not go back to Egypt because he was a wanted man, because Pharaoh was too strong, because because because.

Moses, who was denied entry into the Promised Land because of his disobedience.


How can we do less?

Is this not the heart of evangelism–to proclaim the name of the Lord to all the nations? To share that He Is, and that He is so great that He hurled Himself into our time as one of us so that we could eventually meet Him on His turf and be made like Him?

We are called to proclaim. Whatever gifts, whatever wisdom, whatever strength we have, we are to use it all to proclaim the name of the Lord and ascribe greatness to our God!

What a calling!



“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”

— 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, NASB

I have a friend who is struggling right now with a sudden physical ailment that, if it turns out to be chronic, will affect her ability to do a lot of things that she is very gifted at doing–namely, speaking and teaching. She is a woman of deep spiritual conviction, a woman who lives her faith unapologetically in a thousand different ways on a daily basis, a woman who walks in obedience to God in every facet of her life while still maintaining a degree of humility that makes her approachable and open.

In short, she’s not the type of person one would think of as needing to be disciplined by God.

Sometimes, stuff just happens–I realize that. This is a fallen and cursed world, and sometimes people get sick or injured just because.

Because nothing is perfect.

Because our bodies are fragile.

Because life isn’t certain, even when we live and walk in obedience.

I saw my friend this morning, and in a group of women who all prayed for her healing, I could only think one thing: “I need to tell her that this isn’t her only gift.”

I don’t know why that came to mind. I don’t know if God put it there, or if it was just a rare dollop of wisdom hard-won through my own painful journey of the last year and a half, or if it was just . . . coincidence or a random thought.

I fought it, but it didn’t leave. In fact, it crystallized into a more complete thought.

“This is not your only gift. You are a communicator and a teacher and a leader. Those things are internal. They aren’t dependent on your ability to physically speak.”

(Physician, heal thyself.)

I don’t like saying these kinds of things in front of others, and I hesitated to say it to her at all, because I didn’t want to sound like I was giving prescriptive advice or telling her, without saying, that the struggle would make her strong. But the idea wouldn’t leave, so when our group broke up, I approached her and told her what would not leave my heart or mind. “I don’t know why I’m supposed to tell you this, and it will probably come out wrong, but . . . ”

And I told her.

“Your gifts are inside. They aren’t dependent on the external things. As someone who had her “gift” wrested from her pried-shut fists, I have to say that this isn’t the only thing you are. You aren’t a speaker; you’re a communicator and a teacher, and those things are internal. Those things won’t leave.”

She thanked me, and we shared a hug. I have no idea if what I said was meaningful to her, but maybe I wasn’t supposed to say it to her.

Maybe it was for me.

Most of the time, I feel like a very ungifted person. I belittle the gifts I do have, and assume that whatever I am capable of doing could be done by someone else in a far more competent way. And when it comes to spiritual gifts and the work of the Body of Christ, I am always willing to say what I’m not good at: “I’m not good at prayer. I’m not good at joy. I don’t have gifts of hospitality or teaching or shepherding. I’m not an encourager.”

In all honesty, sometimes I wonder exactly why God wanted me in His kingdom.

So, here it is:

Writing was not my only “gift.”

And even if it was, and even if God did take it from me (which I firmly believe He did), it doesn’t mean it was forever. Like my friend’s illness, it may just be for a season.

If God truly did give me an ability to communicate through the written word, then that’s something that’s inside. It’s not dependent on the specific outward expression of that gift. It doesn’t mean that I can only use that gift through writing and publishing fiction.

God’s vision is so much bigger than mine. His Kingdom is so much larger than I can see. I get focused on my little world, my little brick in His big plan, and I can’t see how that brick might be vital to something else. The truth is that my brick might be a foundation, or a keystone, or part of a support column.

I have been so fixated on the “me” of my work that I have neglected the “Who” of my abilities.

There’s that prideful spirit again.

I don’t know what God wants me to do with my work. I don’t know if He wants me to write fiction, or maybe just to keep this blog going, or find some other . . . thing.

C. S. Lewis said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

The psalmist said, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”

All I can do is be faithful, and take the next step down the road, and know that God will illuminate my journey one step at a time.

Till next we meet . . .



Question: Is it an act of obedience to God to practice, develop, and share a “gift” or talent that He has given you?

I suppose I already know the answer to that.

The real question, perhaps, is whether I really have a God-given gift or talent that I should practice, develop, and share.

I have been told by many that I am a decent enough writer. Still, even after all this time, I don’t know that I really believe those people. I don’t think they’re lying; they are, by and large, honest folk who know enough about literature to recognize competent writing. And I acknowledge that I am competent–but gifted or talented?

That’s where I’m not sure.

This last week, I started thinking about knitting as it relates to writing. I recently finished making a baby blanket for an acquaintance. I spent a fair bit of money on the yarn for that blanket, but I didn’t mind at all. I spent my own money–my monthly “blow” money–on the yarn. Some was sitting in my stash, some I bought on sale, and some was full price. But it really didn’t matter. I undertook the project because I like the people, I needed a project, and I enjoyed the process. And I will admit–it’s fun to give away a handmade item!

I’ve been putting together gift baskets for a silent auction for our American Heritage Girls troop. A few of the baskets are getting little handmade items–handwarmers, hats, and even a little dragon.

Earlier today, Lucy wore a hat I recently made for her out in the snow. When she came in, Mr. P put it near the fire to dry out. Unfortunately, it got a bit scorched. But Lucy and I don’t mind; it’s just an excuse for me to make her another hat. (And Lucy suggested, “maybe I can just put a button over that part!”)

I have no trouble sharing my knitted things. I love giving my knitting away. And it would never occur to me to charge for it. I need the projects–they keep the anxiety at bay and give me something to do with my twitchy fingers. The only time I might ever charge anyone anything would be if she (or he) requested something from very expensive materials. Even then, I can’t imagine charging for the labor–just for the materials.

This whole realization this week started me thinking about writing and publishing again. When I was publishing my work before, I thought I was good enough to be able to earn a living at it. The agent I had told me I should be able to earn a living at it. People told me my writing was as good as anything they had read in the mainstream fiction world. But still, I tried and failed, both in self-publishing and traditional publishing.

But what if I just didn’t care anymore?

What if I just published it for . . . well, for the heck of it? Like I give away hats? What if I just never even tried to make money off it? What if I just gave everything away for free, just for the validation of sharing the work?

There’s something liberating in that concept.

Which brings me back to the original query . . .

I have been feeling rather guilty lately that I’m not writing, and I couldn’t figure out why. But I keep seeing all of these quotes, discussions, articles about our responsibility to use gifts and talents that God has given us for His glory. And it’s not like I’m not doing that at all–I do use my stupid administrative gifting for my duties in American Heritage Girls, and I use my questionable mothering capabilities for . . . well, mothering.

But writing . . .

I thought for a long time that my skill/gift/talent really was a talent–was something that made me a little bit different.

But maybe that was the problem–maybe I was focused too much on how it made me different or special. Maybe I should have been thinking more about how God wanted me to use it.

I am absolutely certain that God wrested my writing from my clenched fists back in August 2012 because I had to realign my relationship with Him.

Now, I fear that in His mercy and goodness and wisdom, He is challenging me to obey Him again by once more picking up my keyboard and creating.

So I return to my query: Is it an act of obedience to God to practice, develop, and share a “gift” or talent that He has given you?

More importantly, is it an act of disobedience not to pursue said gifts or talents?

And most importantly, should I engage in the practice and development of said gifts, am I obligated to God to share the resultant creations?

This is a rambling and frustrated post, I know. But I would love to hear your thoughts.

Till next we meet . . .