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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Willingness (02/21/05)

TITLE: Carnie & Spree
By Cheri Hardaway


“Ugh!” Carnie complained. “Why did they choose 'willingness' for the next challenge topic? Who picks this stuff anyway?” she groused.

“Now, Carnie,” Spree soothed, “that’s why it’s called a challenge. You get the chance to stretch yourself, to move out of your comfort zone.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah…. I’m floppy, I’ve been stretched so far already. I’m skipping this one,” Carnie pouted.

“Okay. Maybe you do need a rest. Maybe you’re trying too hard,” Spree conceded, secretly glad Carnie was weakening.

“So now you want me to quit?” Carnie asked petulantly. “Aren’t you the one always talking about stepping out in faith? Don’t you always quote the Bible to me? Aren’t you going to give me that old stuff about letting God touch someone through my words?” she mocked.

Unruffled, Spree quoted quietly, “But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased,” (Hebrews 13:16, NKJV).

Unable to rile Spree, Carnie was done complaining. Despairing, she now whined in self-pity, “I try so hard. I work and I toil, birthing these ‘brainchildren.’ Every time I imagine this is THE ONE – the winner – and then it falls into that pit of mediocrity, with all my others.”

Spree held her peace, a picture of tranquility.

As I listened to my constant companions, I knew I would be forced to pick sides, as always. I sighed. This was getting old.

Carnie, short for Carnality, has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. Her sole concern, pleasing herself, consumes her. Her arguments are compelling. It would be nice to quit striving. It would be nice to avoid disappointment. She needs to win and be affirmed to keep her motivation.

“Maybe you could give up the vanity without giving up the writing,” Spree suggests softly, butting into my thoughts. How does she always do that?

Spree, short for Spirit – Holy Spirit – has only been part of my life for the last few years. While Carnie’s influence continually tempts me to please only myself, Spree exhorts me to please my Creator, urging me to invest in others’ lives and to live for serving Him.

These two battle daily for my favor. And the battle can become quite intense!

God has called me to write. I know He led me to Faith Writers as a place to learn and to grow. I may not be published – may never be – but He daily shows me His faithfulness and blesses me with the ability to share it with others through the written word. All He asks of me is to be willing to use the gift He has placed within me.

The choice is mine. I can listen to Carnie and sow to my flesh, which profits nothing and reaps corruption, or I can listen to Spree and sow to the Spirit. The Spirit gives life.

“Well,” whispers Spree, “what’s it gonna be? Will you write this week? Are you willing?”

Recognizing defeat, Carnie is strangely silent as I answer, victoriously nodding my head, “Yes, I will.”

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This article has been read 1033 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Debbie OConnor02/28/05
Just love it. Fun and lighthearted, yet delivering an important message. Great work!
Amy Davis02/28/05
Excellent! The cute name of this drew me to read it. I can TOTALLY relate to this story!
donna robinson03/02/05
Thank goodness Spree always wins! This week's challenge was definitely met. You let the reader in on a sneak preview of the battle we all do. Solid without being gooey!
Dave Wagner03/02/05
You've got an awful lot of talent to be in the beginners' category...

Thanks for posting. A good read.
Pam Kumpe03/03/05
too good....for sure...this was excellent, I agree, doesn't read like beginner work to me.
Delores McCarter03/04/05
Cute! I like your tongue in cheek approach, but please don't get discouraged. The key is that you are WRITING and submitting your work for others to review. That in itself is deserves a big KUDOS on your part. You are working on honing your craft. God may be the only one who knows where your writing will end up, but stay encouraged, my friend...and keep up the good work! (smile)
Crista Darr03/09/05
Cheri, thanks for the encouragement. Thanks for "letting God touch someone through (your) words."