Early on, the life of faith looks beautiful in the distance, but very confining up close. So many rules. So many prohibitions. So many boundaries. But the guardrails prevent us from experiencing the consequences of the natural laws during our early learning.
But our persistence pays off. Maturity is unconcerned with guardrails, only the beauty in the distance. We have one who guards before and behind, to the right and to the left.
“I have come, not to abolish the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill them.” ~ Matthew 5:17
How do I claim what I know?
That may sound silly but it is the topic of my conversation with Jodi, my law student daughter. This is on my mind because, as a blogger and fitness professional in this age of the internet, I give lots of stuff away. Intellectual stuff. You tempt and tease readers with articles about what you do, how it could help them, why they should buy, invest, sign up. Gleaning emails is considered good business practice.
But much of what I post, both here and on my website, is what I know. On my website, it’s what I have learned and discovered and worked out over the years. Here, the discovering happens when I write from some nugget that lands in my brain. Either way, it’s what I know. And my question is, “does it belong to me?”
Because once it’s written and sent over the digital airwaves, it’s free for the taking. Anyone can cut and paste, copy and post, re-blog or tweet, or who knows what. And I’m good with that. As long as it is used appropriately and they acknowledge the source. But what if the re-poster calls it their own? Does it really belong to me? I mean, it’s just an idea and some words on a computer screen.
Jodi, who is researching copyrights and patents and the difference between them, says, “Mom, it’s your intellectual property.”
“When does it become my intellectual property?” I ask, so TOTALLY out of my league now.
“The moment you write it.”
“You mean, the second I type the words, that thought is mine?” My mind is racing now. “Don’t I need to copyright them or something?”
“You can. But you don’t have to,” my amazingly wise daughter tells me. She cites some findings and uses some big lawyerly words but they are muffled by the spinning now happening between my ears.
So every time I sit down to write, I am creating something. Something real. Something I own. And the law recognizes this.
So all those stories that are in orbit in my brain…if I write them, they are mine. If I name them, I claim them. The second I create them, they become real. That is amazing. That’s a big responsibility. That’s scary.
Other words intervene, somehow slowing the spinning.
“He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” ~ Revelation 21:5
God is constantly commanding us to write his words: on door frames, on scrolls, on tablets, on our hearts, and in our minds. It’s not enough for us to think them; we are to write them. Because then they become ours.
- when He speaks our name, we come to life.
- when He writes our name, we are claimed.
- when He calls our name, we are saved.
If I am God’s intellectual property, then when I write what he is creating in me, it is mine…and His. He knows the law. After all, He wrote it. And keeps writing it. Praise God.
My name is Wendy and I am not a rule-follower. I just discovered this about myself. Call it an epiphany. All these years I thought I was a person that lived according to the rules. But no.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t go around looking for rules to break and havoc to wreak. I’m not a rule-breaker, per se. Just a rule-expander. I don’t like to be hemmed in by the rules.
I should have realized this in high school, when I got busted by the shop teacher for not having a pass in the hallway. Why did I need a pass? I was a student government representative, an officer in my class and a straight-A student. How could he question by right to be in the hall without a pass? Didn’t he know that people like me don’t break the rules? We expand them.
A hall pass, that’s for the other kids. The untrustworthy kids.
Mr. shop teacher, wherever you are, I apologize. You were right. I was in the wrong. I’m sorry.
Of course, that incident didn’t change the high school me. Just made me mad. I wrote some letters. Really showed them. But today it still speaks to me. Shows me the truth about me: I have always liked to use the rules for my own ends. Show me the boundaries – fine – but wouldn’t it make more sense to modify here and here?
Face to face with Christ himself I would probably offer a bit of advice about some updates needed to the scripture text.
Go ahead. Call me out on this if you want to. But I’m pretty sure that Christ would engage this conversation. No judgment. Because He knows that negotiation is what I need to find the line between fair and foul. And His ultimate patience allows me to keep searching for it. His great love for me knows the comfort I will feel when I find it.
But step one is admitting I have a problem. I’m not a rule-follower.