If an idea were a dog . . . by Tracy Williamson

Sometimes I feel quite stumped to know how to write or what to write about.  Ideas seem far away and life seems full of busyness and challenge enough without having to conjure up something new to put down on paper.

But am I trying a bit too hard?

What if an idea were a dog?  A dog that's come to live with you?  A dog that's intent on making itself at home in your life?  That you need to look after in order to see it develop and grow?  That is wanting to be enjoyed, explored and loved?

Can we imagine cherishing our ideas in such a way? 

My friend Marilyn and I have just welcomed a new dog into our home, or more specifically, a new Guide dog for Marilyn is blind and she's been waiting two and a half years for a new dog after her previous one retired. Throughout those two years we've been bandying the thoughts around of what it will be like to have another dog in the home again, for Marilyn to be able to go out and about without having to rely on people being free to help her.  

Sometimes we can bandy similar thoughts around in relation to our writing; What will it be like to have a new project?  to be on the researching path again, following up ideas, creating plots and characters, seeking the right words to encourage others in their faith . . .?

What will it be like?

But there's a time when we need to make those thoughts concrete, to step out and put things in place to actually live what we've been dreaming.

A few weeks ago Arlo came to visit and shortly after that was approved by Guide dogs to become Marilyn's new Guide dog and we welcomed him into our home to join Goldie my Hearing dog.  Life has been manic since, but what we are finding is that just like humans and in fact every part of God's creation, no two dogs are the same.  Marilyn's had several Guide dogs and I have Goldie, but although there are similarities in look and temperament, each one is unique and each has come at the right time and has its own special purpose.

And the same goes for our creative ideas for our writing.  

Each idea is unique.

Each idea needs time to settle in and become 'at home' in our minds and hearts.  

Each idea needs to be watched, explored, engaged with and enjoyed. Each idea needs nurturing and developing to see what it might become.  Each idea needs time given to it.  Similarly, Dogs need to play and express themselves, they need time for us to interact with them and get to know them' time to play and be fed and loved.

Sometimes an idea comes into my mind and my immediate reaction is, 'Oh I've written about that before!  or 'Countless others have already written about that, what else can I possibly add?'  So I dismiss it and tell it to go away as it won't work.  But just as you can't actually dismiss a dog because it will keep coming back to you wanting attention,

so you can't just dismiss your ideas, especially when those ideas have come from God.  We may distract ourselves from them, we may bury them under busyness or try to ignore them but they will keep coming back wanting out attention.  

And maybe what we need to do is consciously take hold of them, make the choice to trust ourselves to them and follow them to see where they'll take us, just as Marilyn is being trained to do with Arlo.

In 2013 the idea popped into my head when I was reading the story of the prodigal son one day, to write a book about the Father's kiss.  I hadn't written anything for years because I'd lost my confidence and this idea seemed mad because I knew there were so many books already about God being Father.  But the idea kept nudging me, wanting to play with it and give it attention. One day I took a step and started to follow it.  Four years later The Father's Kiss was born and I've had many humbling and astonishing testimonies since of lives being healed and restored as people have read it.  

I needed to welcome that idea like I might welcome a dog, to play, feed it, nurture it and then follow it, just like Marilyn with Arlo.

And as I did the idea became a word, a sentence, a chapter, a book.

If an idea were a dog . . .

Tracy Williamson is an author and speaker working with blind singer/songwriter Marilyn Baker for the Christian music and teaching ministry MBM Trust www.mbm-ministries.org. Tracy shares a home in Kent with Marilyn, Tracy's Hearing dog Goldie and Marilyn's new Guide dog, Arlo. 

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