James Prescott

exploring how words & stories shape lives

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‘Mosaic of Grace collects the messy & broken parts of our lives & helps us to sort the pieces into a beautiful work of sacred art, giving glory to God” - Sarah Bessey, Author, “Jesus Feminist”

What Vicky Beeching Coming Out Teaches Us About Courage & Identity

A week ago the former worship leader & musician, now theologian, broadcaster and writer, Vicky Beeching, came out. It made news nationally, with interviews on all the main news networks on both TV and radio. It was front page news in national newspapers.

Vicky was the first person who coached me as a writer. For several months three or four years ago, we went through a series of hour long Skype sessions and e-mail conversations concerning writing, blogging and the direction of my own writing. It led to me setting up the self-hosted blog I have today. We’ve had several face to face, e-mail and social media conversations since.

She played a major part in my writing journey.

Her coming out was one of the bravest things I’ve ever seen. And it taught me some important lessons both about courage, and about discovering our identity.

The Courage Of Authentic Writing

The flashing line. He sits there, in front of me. Every time I stop typing, he’s there. Waiting for me to type another letter. This flash only stops when I give in to the demand for words. And only by turning off my computer, and indeed my phone and tablet, can I avoid it completely.

But sometimes we just sit. We wait. With a white screen in front of us, and just a line.

Flashing. Waiting. Teasing and taunting us.

Many of us don’t write because we think we have nothing to say. Or we think what we do have to say doesn’t matter, or won’t be good enough, or people will think is ridiculous.

But other times, in fact, more than we’d care to admit, we don’t write because we’re scared.

In fact, we’re terrified.

Why I Want To Be Rubbish At Impersonations

I didn’t have anything to write when I sat down to write the first draft of what became this post. I was sitting thinking of what I was going to get down on my word processor, and I almost began two or three times. But what kept coming up was the same old piece in a different format.

It happens so often now it’s almost not funny.

I don’t want to go round in circles in my development as a writer and growth as a person, that I keep coming back to the same ideas every few years, or even every few months. I recognise, as C. S. Lewis once said, ‘there’s no new ideas in literature”.

But at the same time there’s always a fresh way of communicating something which isn’t repeating yourself.

Isn’t there?

Why You Must Sacrifice Safety To Be A Difference Maker

In some ways, I am still searching for my true niche in writing. I am passionate about grace, about identity, calling, and the power of story in our lives. Encouragement, social media, creativity and writing are also big passions for me, which I write about from time to time.

In the past, and the recent present, I’ve been hugely frustrated by this. I watched friends find their voice and niche and kept getting frustrated at my inability to find mine despite numerous failed attempts.

As a friend pointed out, when you’re someone who wants to make a difference, when you’re not sure how to do this, it can be frustrating.

At my office, there are several people who have been working for the company for years. Those who have been at the same pay grade, doing the same job, at the same level, for 30 years. And it may be this was the furthest they could get with their abilities. But often it’s because they either haven’t found their true calling, lost confidence they can make a difference in the world and just want some form of security, or like where they are so much they never want to leave.

Do you know people like this?

And are you in danger of living like this?

Why It’s The Screw Ups Who Change The World

For the longest time I’ve thought to do what I do as a writer, I had to have it all together. Or at the very least, give the impression of having it all together. ‘The only way people will respect me and follow my writing is if I at least appear to have my life sorted’, goes the argument.

I’m sure I’m not alone in this. Many of us are told from a young age that the people who ‘make it’, the people we should aspire to be, are the ones who have it all together.

You know who I mean. The ones who manage their life well, earn lots of money, can (and occasionally do) boast about their achievements, who manage their time, energy and money perfectly. The people who have so many strategies for every single area of life they have them coming out of their earholes.

We all know this type of person.

And we’ve all be seduced by this story – whatever path we choose to follow. I was for a long time. I looked at other writers and thought ‘If only I had my life together like them’ or ‘If only I had their character or integrity’.

But it’s a lie.

Why You Need a Rollercoaster Season

When you ride a roller-coaster, and your entire body is strapped in tight, you are completely safe. There’s no getting you out of that roller-coaster. You don’t need to hold on.

However, I don’t know about you, but when it comes over the brow of the highest point of the ride, my first inclination is to hold on tight. I don’t need to hold on, but I do.Because it makes me feel safe. Holding on tight somehow this gives me control over my safety.

But to get the most joy out of these rides, I need to let go. Wave my hands in the air as the ride descends from the highest heights. It’s totally counter-intuitive, but it’s the only way to fly. And when you do it, you feel alive.

Life is very similar. We think holding on tight to what we have is the way to keep moving forward. We feel safe. We feel more in control.

But the key to personal growth doesn’t come from holding on tight. It comes from letting go.

Surrender is what leads to growth

Why Giving Isn’t About Your Glory

When I began blogging, I did it to be famous. That’s the sad, honest truth. I was desperate to be popular, successful, better than anyone else. I wanted everyone to be looking at me, praising me, telling me I was great. I didn’t appreciate the gift I had. I knew I could write, but I found it so easy I didn’t realise what a gift it was.

Looking back, it’s pretty shameful.

I began my writing journey thinking there were some creative people and some who weren’t. Some who could write and some who couldn’t. Some people with a voice, and some without. It’s a common perception amongst many.

But over the years, the more I wrote, the more I grew to love writing. And the more writers I met, the more I realised the talent I have is a gift, to be given to others, for their benefit. A responsibility.

And as time went on I realised writing, communicating, wasn’t just about ability. It’s about having a story.

3 Ways to Eat & Give Better Words (Guest Post by Deanne Welsh)

Trees spend years pushing against the earth, making room for their expanding roots. The nutrients and water soaked up by the roots help the tree grow strong and tall. When we look at towering trees, it is easy to forget they began as a small seed.

Words begin small. They are formed in our minds and roll off our tongue into the air. Although they seem to disappear into nothing, words can either nourish or poison a soul.

“I’m proud of you.” My Dad finished reading my first eBook; his words envelope me and I feel myself standing straighter as my resolve to continue writing grows.

“Why did you do that?” I feel my soul shrivel when confronted with the questioning eyes and derisive words. It’s more of a statement than a question.