Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Too Stupid to (Really) Live

"I love it when a plan comes together." ~Hannibal, The A Team

Cue the theme song. Why? The movie's main roles have finally been filled, putting fans one step closer to an '80s revival of the old show. My geeky cult-tv-fan heart is all a-twitter.

Here in Inktropolis, we blog each week (or month, sometimes) on a different theme. Generally, I like to have the person who suggested the theme be the one who starts the discussion. This time, the theme suggester (me) is ending it, although I was supposed to have posted yesterday. What happened? Lemme start at the sorta beginning.

See, I had a plan. In my post, I'd planned on first talking about Kit Wilkinson's new Steeple Hill: LIS release, PROTECTOR'S HONOR, in stores now. (Great book! You should buy here or here, here or here.) Even had a couple great quotes from her on our theme of the week: Too Stupid to Live (TSTL). I'd then have shared how if we look, we can see TSTL people everywhere on tv and in movies. Ever seen the movie JUMPER with Hayden Christensen and Rachel Bilson? If you haven't, don't. Please don't. It's awful. And I'm not just talking the acting.

A guy who you haven't seen in years suddenly shows up out of the blue and invites you to go to Italy with him. What do you do? Call police? Taser him? Well, if you're in this movie, you ignore your (wise) qualms and hop on a plane to Rome because he's cute and you figure he's paying all the bills so why not. Hello!?!?! What part of stupid are you not seeing? Don't blame the actress. The screenwriters are all at fault.

Now after I'd rambled about that, I'd intended on talking about the movie TAKEN--a "Must Watch" movie for any female traveling outside the US.

Then I'd have add bit here about Kanye West, aka last week's classic example of stupidity. Share a stupid question like, "If it's tourist season, why can't we shoot them?" More rambling until I finally got to a point about making wise choices. Would have been fabulous and, hopefully, funny.

Unfortunately my plan fell apart because of life, antibiotics, and Golden Pen contest historial coordinator duties. Fortunately, I'm flexible. More fortunately, I read.

In 1900, L. Frank Baum wrote a little book, called The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, in which a young girl from Kansas travels to Oz by way of a tornado. Reminds me of the time when someone at church asked, "If the news reports your county is under a tornado watch, what do you do?" I raised my hand and said, "Ooo, if you're from Oklahoma, you go outside and admire the rotation." (That's what my family does. Please don't tell hubby's grandmother.) Wasn't quite the response the teacher was looking for. My inability to only answer "God" or "Jesus" is why hubby says I should avoid attending adult Sunday School classes.

On the journey to find the way home, Dorothy meets three others who are also desperate to find that "one thing" they thought they needed so very badly. Like Dorothy, the scarecrow, tin man, and cowardly lion knew what they wanted, only they weren't doing anything to achieve it. Why? Because each of them were in some type of bondage--stuck on a pole, rusted, posturizing to cover his own fear--caused either by someone else's doing, circumstances (rain), or his own choice. Sound like anyone you know?

Today a friend wrote to me: "I think I'm just feeling out of sorts, out of control. Things are not peaceful in my heart or my soul right now. I think God wants to work something in me, and I need to allow Him to, but it has been difficult. When the Bible calls it refiner's FIRE, it isn't whistling dixie."

"Did you speak?" asked the girl, in wonder.

"Certainly," answered the Scarecrow. "How do you do?"

"I'm pretty well, thank you," replied Dorothy politely. "How do you do?"

"I'm not feeling well," said the Scarecrow, with a smile, "for it is very tedious being perched up here night and day to scare away crows."

"Can't you get down?" asked Dorothy.

"No, for this pole is stuck up my back. If you will please take away the pole I shall be greatly obliged to you."

Dorothy reached up both arms and lifted the figure off the pole, for, being stuffed with straw, it was quite light.

After Dorothy attended to the scarecrow's external bondage, she invited him on her journey to the person who had the answer to his deeper need. She did the same with the tin man and cowardly lion. That, though, is not the lesson for the day. See, each had the choice to accept Dorothy's offer of...well, a better life, or to reject it. Don't know about you, but far too many times in my life I've been stuck in bondage because of my own choosing.

I've been too stupid to really live.

The refiner's fire is hot and unpleasant. Forget going home to Kansas if it means enduring poppy fields, wicked witches, winged monkeys, fighting trees, hammer-heads, or giant spiders. Put me back on that pole. Yes, it scratched, but I was used to it. I knew what to expect. Hide my oil can. Doesn't help my complexion anyway. Let me posture in denial of my fears. Being a scardy cat keeps me out of the ER. Because even though I survived this calamity, I know--I KNOW--something bad will happen again.

Get me off this yellow brick road, Lord.

I. Am. Tired. Of. Running. This. Race.

In Strong Women, Soft Hearts, Paula Rinehart puts it this way: "People often complain of such things during the season of life--like someone drilled a hole through their souls. While everything looks the same on the outside, they feel hollow and restless, bored in ways that make no sense."

"But that isn't right. The King of Beasts shouldn't be a coward," said the Scarecrow.

I know it," returned the Lion, wiping a tear from his eye with the tip of his tail. "It is my great sorrow, and makes my life very unhappy. But whenever there is danger, my heart begins to beat fast."

"Perhaps you have heart disease," said the Tin Woodman.

"It may be," said the Lion.

"If you have," continued the Tin Woodman, "you ought to be glad, for it proves you have a heart. For my part, I have no heart; so I cannot have heart disease."

"Perhaps," said the Lion thoughtfully, "if I had no heart I should not be a coward."

"Have you brains?" asked the Scarecrow.

"I suppose so. I've never looked to see," replied the Lion.

"I am going to the Great Oz to ask him to give me some," remarked the Scarecrow, "for my head is stuffed with straw."

"And I am going to ask him to give me a heart," said the Woodman.

"And I am going to ask him to send Toto and me back to Kansas," added Dorothy.

"Do you think Oz could give me courage?" asked the Cowardly Lion.

"Just as easily as he could give me brains," said the Scarecrow.

"Or give me a heart," said the Tin Woodman.

"Or send me back to Kansas," said Dorothy.

"Then, if you don't mind, I'll go with you," said the Lion, "for my life is simply unbearable without a bit of courage."

"You will be very welcome," answered Dorothy, "for you will help to keep away the other wild beasts. It seems to me they must be more cowardly than you are if they allow you to scare them so easily."

"They really are," said the Lion, "but that doesn't make me any braver, and as long as I know myself to be a coward I shall be unhappy."

Last week I realized I have candida. Not pleasant to know. Not a pleasant disease to heal from. Gaining the knowledge of the root cause of all my physical ailments, however, was like Dorothy plucking the strawman off the pole. Lemme tell ya, I've been plucked, girlfriend. My eyebrows haven't looked this good in ten years.

I'm burning that pole.

While some of us need to reclaim our bodies, others need to reclaim their minds, and many more need to reclaim their hearts so that they may really live.

In their book Sacred Romance, Brent Curtis and John Eldredge share: "In the end, it doesn't matter how well we have performed or what we have accomplished--a life without heart is not worth living. For out of this wellspring of our soul flow all true caring and all meaningful work, all real worship and all sacrifice."

God does not desire any of us to live in any form of bondage.

Jesus said, "The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give [you] a rich and satisfying life."

"Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good....Listen, that you may live." Isaiah 55:2, 3 (NAS)

I love how Rinehart writes, "What God asks of us is both simpler and more profound than adherence to a system of beliefs or following a set of rules. He asks us to walk in an honest pilgrimage where we let Him show us what real strength, and real love, are all about."

That's one yellow brick road I want to travel. Why?

Dorothy stood up and found she was in her stocking-feet. For the Silver Shoes had fallen off in her flight through the air, and were lost forever in the desert.

Aunt Em had just come out of the house to water the cabbages when she looked up and saw Dorothy running toward her.

"My darling child!" she cried, folding the little girl in her arms and covering her face with kisses. "Where in the world did you come from?"

Well, Aunt Em, I was on this journey that was freakin' hard, but along the way I met some friends who, like me, decided we were tired of being too stupid to live and knew we wanted to really live, so we followed a golden path to Someone who showed us how to reclaim our minds, hearts, bodies, and find our way home. And I learned I need to eat more spinach.

I don't know what holds you in bondage, but I want you to know that you are not alone. If you'd like someone to lift you up in prayer, please e-mail us: inkwellinspirations(at)gmail(dot)com.

A trained professional can be reached here or here or here.

Serious Question of the Day: Is there any one area of your life where you feel God is stirring in your heart to move you out of the stands and onto the playing field?

Non-Serious Question of the Day: In honor of the 70th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz, which character in the movie do you most relate to on Wednesdays, the sagging middle of the week? Notice I said "Wednesdays." Who you feel like on Mondays is irrelevant. :-)

Leave a comment on this post with your e-mail address included (include spaces or brackets around the "@" sign so Net spiders, etc, can't phish your address) and we'll enter you in two different drawings. One on 9/25 and also for one of the grand prizes which will be chosen the first of November!


  1. "With the thoughts I'd be thinkin, I could be another Lincoln . . . If I only had a brain."

  2. "But I could show my prowess, be a lion not a mou-ess
    If I only had the nerve."

    That's me this week, not just Wednesday. By the way, the lion says "Noive" not nerve. "The noive" Love it.

    I entered the Genesis contest last time around. I really wanted to final, because I thought it would help get some attention on my WIP. I did pretty well but you know the story, two high scores plus one low score equals . . .
    But when I sat at the banquet Sat. night (ACFW Conference) I thought, oh, i'm so glad I don't have to worry about going up there on stage. I was a wreck just imagining it.

    On a more everyday point, I've had the request for a book proposal from 4 'industry professionals'. Hey, that's a dream come true, right? But what happens to some of us writers? We let all our insecurities keep us from the keyboard. Ah, it won't be that good. I really can't do it. I'm sure they won't like it.

    Definitely the Cowardly Lion today, Gina!

  3. There's no doubt about it . . . Toto. : ) He's so cute and has lots of energy. Okay, I might not BE that way, but I WANT to be that way.


  4. Well, I'm about to take a shower so here's to hoping I'm not channelling the Wicked Witch of the West today. :-)

    "I'm melting...."

    Hi, Rylee! Glad you stopped by for a visit.

    Deb, I hear ya on the courage thing. The year my story finaled in the Golden Heart, I attended the awards ceremony. Crazy me was praying, "Lord, please help me. I don't want to win because I don't want to walk up on that stage in front of all these strangers and give a speech that I haven't written."

    Last night I had another Inky read over my post because I was chickening out of posting it. Why? Well, every time I post, I have a nagging qualm that something I said is gonna offend someone. Trust me, if anyone's gonna offend sweet Christian ladies, it's gonna be me. Not intentionally. LOL.

    Yes, more often than not, I relate to the Cowardly Lion on any day of the week.

    Oh, and my answer to the Serious Question of the Day is "starting this blog." For almost a year, I've wanted to be in a joint blog (hanging out over at Seekerville causes all sorts of wild thougths), but I kept waiting for someone else to instigate it. After all, I'm not really an instigator...or the person who wants to be the Inkette in Chief.

    I happy to say it's fun being on the playing field instead of sitting in the stands.

  5. Hey, Gina,
    Thought-provoking post.
    Since I'm one of the few middle-agers not enamored with The Wizard of Oz AND since I write edgy fiction, I'll go with the serious question.

    God has demanded that I be more loving to unloving persons. Love them first. So radical, societywise. So commonplace, Jesuswise. With the Holy Spirit's help, I'll keep going--and growing.


  6. Like you, Gina I've just jumped out into this bigger arena of group blogging. It's both intimidating and exhilarating. I felt so blessed to be an Inky at the conference. It was amazing to see the quick fellowship that developed. It's so good of the Lord to be there waiting for us when He's challenged us to jump into the deep end of the pool.

    Oh, and this particular Wednesday I'm most definitely the Scarecrow. Still brain dead. I hope to recover by the weekend.

  7. Gina, you are officially the first Inky to make me cry. There is a strong anointing on this post. I'm so glad you had the courage to share it.

    I'm not sure today if I'm lacking the brains or the courage to carry out what I need to do. I think for me courage is usually the issue.


  8. GREAT post.

    I think my lacking trait is courage, but not in a scare-d-cat way, but in that I'm a procrastinator. I find plenty of excuses NOT to do something I know I should. Maybe that's like all three of Oz characters. They knew they were missing something, they longed for it, but didn't go get it until Dorothy came along to hold their hands. When they took the step, they found what they needed and ended up happier!

    I see this post as a helping hand. :-) Thanks.

  9. I loved Patti Lacy's two books An Irishwoman's Tale and What the Bayou Saw. I look forward with great anticipation to her next books. She is a fantastic writer and her books are hard to lay down once you start to read them. Thanks

  10. I love your posts, Gina! :)

    On a serious note, yes, I believe God is moving my family into a new realm of selflessness. Above and beyond what might seem necessary or sensible. And He's going to position us so that we can do this, but first He's been preparing our hearts.

    Re: Wizard of Oz, one of my all-time favorites, on a Wednesday, I'm probably more Scarecrow because I'm still kindheated but very foggy upstairs.

  11. Great post, Gina. I am the lion--hey, it's a cat after all--probably six out of seven days. Everyone intimidates me, from taxicab dispatchers, to people who can write thought-provoking blog posts.

    Most of all, what God has done in my life over the last three years intimidates me. He told me loud and clear three years ago that He was going to break me so he could fix me. He kind of took a sledge hammer to me, and I had to trust Him through it without any promise of something better, just the knowledge that He loved me enough to change something if I was willing to let Him.

    Even in the abundant blessing of my book contracts, He has set it up so I can't write a page without laying my complete trust in Him. I can't meet my deadlines otherwise.

    Trust is not something I do easily. Yet not trusting in God's perfect plan for our lives, whatever life throws at us, definitely makes a body too stupid to live. Praise God he doesn't view us that way, even when we act like it.

  12. Thanks for writing the post you intended to AND the post you did. Hugs on your struggles, and for taking the courageous step of sharing them with the world. When we are hurting or scared or just plain feeling inadequate it is so easy to pretend it's all good behind the mask.

    By Wednesday, I'm definitely the cowardly lion. It's easy to lose sight of the goals I say I want to achieve by churning through the day completing one "have to" task after another. After a couple of days like that, the futility of wanting more takes over.

    Thanks Gina and fellow Inkies (that's all of you sharing in this blog with us) for stepping onto the yellow brick road with us.

  13. Wonderful post. Right now I am in a situation that I feel the Lord has been refining me by fire. In November 2008 I slipped on one of my 2 year old's toys and tore my ACL, MCL, and Meniscus and fractured my Tibia. Since it was right before Thanksgiving it took a month to find out any results to tests and to even know what to deal with. In the meantime I was stuck in a wheelchair dependent on my husband and unable to care for my 2 year old and 5 year old. In January I had to undergo surgery and than had to go through months of painful physical therapy. I gradually got to where I could walk with the help of a walker and then eventually to walk with a cane. I am almost to the point where I no longer need the cane. For months I had to wear a dynasplint to try and get the full range of motion back in my knee, a rather painful process. The day the doctor told me a couple of months back that I was finall y well on the road to recovery I cried tears of joy. I had prayed constantly and when I ws too full of discouragement to pray my closest friends prayed for me. I still am not fully recovered but I know that by the grace of God I will get there. I just have to remind myself that it is going to be by the Lord's pace not by my own. I just need to let him take my hand and walk with me until we get there.

    As for a character it would have to be the Cowardly Lion because it has been rough for me today. I want to so badly hide under the covers away from my 2 year old and 6 year old because they are really frustrating me today. Since I homeschool my 6 year old though that will not be possible. I just need to take a breath and keep on going.

    Have a blessed day everyone!


  14. The deepest inner meaning of The Wizard of Oz only becomes apparent when you realize that all along, long before they get to Oz, the Scarecrow is the one doing all the thinking. The Tin Man has an achingly tender heart and the Lion risks everything bravely.

    This is the point.
    Not that they were seeking a brain, heart and courage but that they already HAD a brain, heart and courage but just didn't realize it. Their true limitations were their own doubts. Their willingness to deny their heart, brain and courage, and live safely, rather than risk.

    Did Gina alreay say that?

  15. So when Dorothy finally says, "There's no place like home." What she's truly doing is accepting that she loves her home. Embracing her home rather than running away. Facing danger-the evil dog hating lady, risking.

    Her journey is the same as the scarecrow, tin man and lion...only with cuter shoes. :)

  16. Hello Lori and Norma! (oh yes, we are way happy to have Patti Lacy as an Inky!)

    Hi Patricia. Always nice to see your smiling face.

    Wow. I so love reading comments. They round out each of our posts so nicely. yes, yes and yes. It's about using what God has already given us isn't it?

    Thankfully we do step out in faith (even a baby step) or none of us would be admitting any of it here.

    Laurie Alice. You? fearful? wow. No way. I'm always in awe of your gutsiness.

    Cherie, what a trial you've been through. We're all so glad you visit and sharing your struggle with such a huge physical limitation is tough to do but it blesses others. thanks. Praise God for bringing you through it and I hope that any reminder of pain is also a reminder of how He was with you all the way.

    Mary, yes, Gina sort of said that, just not so 'succinctly' but with all the heart in the world which is why we love her. I'm always Pleased As Punch to see you here, Gramma.

    Re: Dorothy's shoes. I would have worn flats. But that's Dorothy.

  17. Gina, you certainly managed to be both funny and inspiring! Great blog entry! Don't we all have days when we feel as though we're missing something? I blame it on being blonde! LOL

    Hugs, Tamela

  18. I saw your name and knew I would be in for a treat, but wow, I've never even thought of the Wizard of Oz like this. Ever. What a great post! (although I respectfully disagree about Jumper, LOL)
    Really, really insightful. I don't know where I might need to step out and play, and I don't know if I'm ignorant in some area of my blessings. Hmmm. Thank you so much for an awesome post Gina!
    And too funny about your Sunday School answer!

  19. Gina, what a beautiful post. This is one of those days where, if I were the scarecrow, I'd climb back up on that post! That makes me more of the cowardly lion than the scarecrow today, I supppose. Ok, I want to really live so I'm getting off the pole!

    I'm so encouraged by everyone's comments. Thank you all for sharing.

  20. If you blame things on being a blonde, what's my excuse? I'm a redhead?

    And as for Dorothy's shoes--all that glitters is They were red glitter. They're in the Smithsonian.

    Debra: Oh, yes, me cowardly. Didn't go to an ACFW conference for three years I was so scared.

    Right now, writing this really pivotal scene in my novel, thinks maybe I'm more the scarecrow. Maybe I have brains, but I sure can't find them.

    Not leaving my email address; you all know it.

  21. Gina, you inspire me and I just want to make sure you know it! Thank you for being flexible enough to follow the Spirit and brave enough to post something you were a little afraid to say. I agree with Dina, it's anointed. Bless you!

    Serious question: This is actually what we're working on at church - getting "fit for the King" in every area of life, so we'll be attacking ALL areas in the next 90 days. Yikes.

    Non-serious: I wake up every Wednesday thinking "I hate Wednesdays." I think that might make me the Wicked Witch of the West. Just on Wednesdays, though. : )

  22. O The Wizard of OZ, my favorite movie of all times. Just last week, my sis and I were talking about it. I remembered watching it first in B/W, we didn't have colored TV! then. We were talking that even though it was B/W, we knew her shoes were ruby red. A few years ago a friend gave me the DVD which was in color, what a difference. Didn't realize the Wicked witch was green! The film was beautiful in color. Sometimes what God has for us we see in B/W - but it really is in beautiful living color.
    I enjoy Wednesday but I guess I am like the lion "for my life is simply unbearable without a bit of courage." Like Lori, I am a bit of a procrastinator. Trying to work on that.
    I have never read the book Wizard of Oz but think I will put on my reading list,
    Thanks, Gina, for this interesting post today
    mrstgr at msn dot com

  23. Oh Gina, what a beautiful, funny, moving post.

    I believe God wants me to hold on to what He's given me, stop questioning, and run the race marked out for me. Instead, I continue to hold it to my chest, tight, tight, and tell Him all the reasons why I'm not ready, not talented, not fit, not good enough.

    Never good enough. I'm quite sure He's tired of hearing it.

    Thank you for this wonderful post today. God bless you and I hope you feel better each day!

  24. Thanks for sharing this Gina, and thank you for all of the lovely reminders of Oz. I was so sucked into the story of Oz that I read as many of the books as I could get my hands on when I was a kid.

    The area where God is stirring my heart is putting myself out there, taking a risk, gaining a little my old friend the Cowardly Lion.

    But on Wednesdays, I most relate to Dorothy: I just want to go home!

  25. I'm always late to the party. Gina, you just make some much sense whether you're making me laugh or moving my heart ;)


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