Monday, June 23, 2008

Guest Blogger Allie Pleiter!

Stretching weaknesses, stretching strengths

I’ve started exercising. Me and some TV guy with a thick accent who looks like he could lift my refrigerator with one hand get together three times a week (thanks to the magic of DVR) and exercise. I’ve never been a sports person, or much of an active person. I’m a big fan of comfy chairs with knitting needles nearby. I rank being out of breath (i.e. that thing that happens when you run) up there with a root canal. Age has caught up with me, though, and left me no choice. Unless I wanted to pay my monthly Weight Watchers fees until my social security checks started coming, I had to bite the bullet and pick up a hand-weight.

All this has me thinking about stretching , strengths, and weaknesses. Stretching—not just the physical extension part like touching your toes, but the pushing of a muscle beyond its ease—is essential to this exercise process. You must push your muscle to the point of weakness to gain strength. I’ve decided this is true in the spiritual world as well. God is in the habit of taking a weakness and asking us to use it—even to flaunt it in some cases—so that He can show His power through us. Most of us understand this concept, and many of us have lived it when asked to do something that feels completely out of the box for us. It’s one of my favorite places to take my characters because I think it’s where the real growth of life happens (and it makes for great drama which makes for good reading). But God does this to our strengths as well. He’ll take a talent we have, or a skill we possess, and push it like the TV guy does to my muscles. God will push our strength to the point of weakness because we grow when that happens. In Masked by Moonlight, Georgia is asked to take her talent of storytelling and push it into an entirely new realm. Matthew, on the other hand, learns that something he once considered a weakness (or more precisely, what others in his family considered a weakness), is actually a great strength—once God gets His hands on him.

The trouble with all this is that stretching and strengthening hurts at first. Georgia and Matthew get their happy ending, but they go through a lot of “pain” before they get their “gain.” And me, I’m always groaning the morning after my exercises. I’ve learned to think of that soreness, however, as the byproduct of beneficial growth. That—and a little Advil—makes it easier to take.

You may think writing is my strength, but it didn’t start out that way. If you want to see me use my original strengths, come to and click the link that lets you hear me read the first chapter of Masked by Moonlight to you. I have a theater degree and I’m not afraid to use it.

So how’d I end up a writer? How God does love to put a fork in the road….

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