Expect the Impossible: Speak Up Round 2 Finalist Charity Goodwin
In this episode, you’ll also hear:
- The only way to push through roadblocks in your writing
- Reflection on the Langston Hughes Poem “A Dream Deferred”
- Valuable reminders for when you don’t feel like continuing to write
- Why you should “expect the impossible” as a Christian writer
This episode is part of the Christian Authors Network global speaking competition, Speak Up. Click here to learn more and stay up-to-date on the competition!
Charity Goodwin: Make Today Your Day One
Which of these is a problem for you?
- Writer's block
- Not enough time
- You started the book, but you're yet to finish it
- You have an idea, but you haven't put pen to paper or hands to the keyboard
Well friends, there is one solution to all of these, and that is to write. Yes, it's easier said than done, but there are no shortcuts. The only way to do it is to go through it — and for us writers, “through it” is writing.
So today, let's connect, reconnect, group, and regroup, so we can get back to — or start — writing that dream book, the next blog post, the social media content, or whatever it is God has inspired in us.
Is Your Dream Deferred?
Philippians 1:6 speaks about how God who began a good work in us is faithful to complete it. That work in us was the idea, or the dream, or the desire to write and eventually, perhaps, write a book. But what happens when we don't move forward, or we stay stagnant on the idea or the dream?
Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes in his poem “A Dream Deferred” gives us insight into what happens when a dream goes unfulfilled. He writes:
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
and then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
The Harlem Renaissance poet speaks to a dream that doesn't come to pass, and perhaps you know what that feels like. You have this dream, this desire, on the inside of you. But you may be feeling crusty and cranky, and maybe even a little stinky! These may be signs that we have deferred that which is in us. That which God has planted in us.
Now it's in us, friends, but it's not just for us. God has planted these gifts, and this dream, and the desire in us, but it is for other people. This book, this blog post — all the things we do — are for others. And there are people who are waiting on you. They are waiting just to hear what you have to say. So write! Write your way through it.
When I was in the fourth grade, I had the honor of meeting Maya Angelou. I had heard her speak and had read her books, and I was so excited to meet her. I had written a poem in fourth grade about people who I admired, and she was one of the people in the poem, on my list of “The Greats,” if you will.
When I showed her the poem, she silently read it. And then she signed it. She autographed my poem. And on it, she wrote: “Write on.”
There is something about sitting down and continuing to do what we do and be who we are — which for us is being a writer. So write on, even just for one minute. Write on, even if it's a table of contents or a journal prompt that has nothing to do with anything else that you're trying to write. Write on by writing a letter to the audience, to the people for whom you are writing. Just write a letter to them and allow yourself to feel and to express how you feel about them. Write on, and get in those chapters. Get into the nitty gritty. Or maybe just write what feels easy right now, in this moment.
Write a sentence, write a phrase, write a string of words, whether or not they make sense. Make an offering of your writing to God.
God Will Extend What You Have
In 1 Kings, there's this little story that I love, that my grandfather would tell often in his own sort of vernacular, about the widow who was met by Elijah. And he asked her to make him some bread, a little cake. And my granddaddy says that it was cornmeal, in his estimation. So she had a little bit of meal and some oil, and it wasn't enough in her mind to go very far. But God, through the prophet Elijah, says, “If you make this meal, there will be more than enough.” And so she does, and it all lasts. It goes on and on.
Just taking the first step — taking a little bit of time, writing just a little bit — as we do that, we can expect that, in the same way that God extended the little bit of flour and oil, God will extend in us the words to say and to speak.
So expect the impossible. It might feel like there's nothing there now, but take just a moment, and God will expand what you have. So timeout for saying, “Someday, I'm going to finish it. One day, I'm going to make it. I’ll make some time to get it together, finish it all up, do the next thing, or start.” Instead of “one day,” make today your Day One to completion.
With 20 years in ministry, quick wit, and practical wisdom, Rev. Charity Goodwin is a speaker on leadership as well as spiritual wholeness and emotional wellness. She’s the Clayton Site Pastor at The Gathering in St. Louis, MO, which is her hometown. Charity strengthens her ministry with certifications in Emotional Intelligence from Six Seconds as well as the research of Dr. Brené Brown. Her first book GET UP: Unearthing your Passion and Taking Brave Action in 50 Days was released in March 2020. It’s a devotional journal.
THE CHRISTIAN AUTHORS NETWORK SPEAK UP COMPETITION
The Speak Up Competition, sponsored by the Christian Authors Network, is a powerful source of hope and light for people all over the world. This year’s theme, “Expect the Impossible,” is a reminder that no matter how dark our situations may look, we always have hope because we know that all things are possible with God! The inspirational messages featured in this series are from the round two finalists. Stay tuned for updates as the competition progresses, and please pray with us that God will use this competition to bless and encourage His people. We know that the speak up community has the power to make a difference in this world, and we can’t wait to see what God does through us!