As we saw last time, finding a physical activity to recharge our creativity and put our day job behind us is important to writing on a disciplined basis.
In addition to daily booster charges, we also need to look for opportunities that afford the chance to gain a new perspective – and new writing material.
This summer, I went to Nicaragua with a team of amazing, diverse people from my church Spring Hill Baptist Church and two other like-minded churches. Our three churches partnered with Chosen Children Ministries to go to Nicaragua and support their national team in any way we could.
Going on a mission trip will ultimately challenge your definition of what relying on God means – and open your eyes to see all the blessings we have back home. On a less serious note, it will also teach you that flexibility is essential and new experiences are not optional.
Be warned that you may not enjoy all of them. During the course of the week, I tried goat cheese and soggy plantains. I’m not going to sugarcoat: I strongly disliked them both.
I also learned how to communicate Christ’s love to people through an interpreter, explain games with a limited knowledge of Spanish, mix mortar, and organize crafts without tables, chairs and the smallest semblance of structure. And yet, I can’t even begin to explain how energy and enthusiasm soar – and yet they do! – even when air conditioning means pushing down the windows and roommates include ants, lizzards and roaches (thankfully, no bed bugs).
Going to Nicaragua is a big commitment and something that requires months of planning. The trip definitely challenged my comfort zone and introduced me to an abundant number of new experiences.
However, you don’t have to jump continents or cross language barriers to challenge your comfort zone. Little steps and decisions, like volunteering or trying something you don’t think you’ll necessarily enjoy, can afford the same kind of eye-opening results.
Challenge yourself to break out of your routine – maybe once a week or at least one a month. You may find the experience to be like my encounter with goat cheese: pungent and repulsive. Regardless whether you decide to go back for seconds, the experience will have taught you something about yourself and perhaps given you new inspiration for writing material.