The feelings came out of nowhere, totally catching me off guard. The ugly head of Jealousy. The demon of Insecurity. Each emotion equally messing with my resolve. I had just finished reading the fourth blog of the day under the tags “Christian Blog” and “Christian Devotional.” What was supposed to be an exercise devoted to receiving inspiration and encouragement for my own writing was unexpectedly adding fuel to the fire of self-doubt and insecurity.
The Lord planted in my heart years ago to write. Going through a routine day, I would think of ways I could connect snippets of everyday life with truths in the bible to make a point. Despite my ideas, I kept pushing off writing. I shoved “my calling” to the deep corners of my already cluttered mind and filed my ideas away for a rainy day.
Then the rain came….one morning after getting the kids off to school, I went to my computer and starting pecking away. I am not a prolific writer mind you. I love to read. I occasionally journal but my writing has never amounted to organizing anything further beyond my Dollar Tree journal.
However, this day was different. I sat down at the computer and started typing and something rather unexpected happened. What was once an effort to start; I COULD NOT STOP writing. I wrote and re-wrote. God was beckoning me to “put yourself out there,” “don’t be afraid to share what I’ve taught you.” I had just come out of a particularly dark time in my life; there was something very cathartic about writing. It provided an opportunity for me to express myself, share, cry, and reflect.
A fulfilled calling was developing. I was finally writing. Years had gone by, but my “obedience” finally was seeing a pinhole of light seeping through the door of my writer’s soul. I finally broke through all of the muck and negative self-talk (what we women are especially good at harboring) and I posted a few blogs. I prayed over each one and asked God to use them how He saw fit.
Then, I waited. And one day “it” happened.
I took a break from writing and hopped over to another blog site. I had read many blogs in the past but I had intentionally stayed away from them while I started my new writing venture. Assuredly, two things would happen. One, I was afraid I was going to unintentionally pull from someone else’s material or accidentally “steal” their idea. I wanted to see the amount of fresh ideas I could conjure up on my own. Two, I was afraid I was going to get discouraged by the massive quantities of material out there from others in which to choose.
Nonetheless, I diverted my attention temporarily to reading others’ stories and blogs instead of writing on my own. “Just a peek,” I told myself. Even though strongly cautioned not to take the bite of the apple, I made a full meal out of the “Blogger of Eden” fruit. I must have eaten a whole basket of apples in one afternoon….sour apples.
The more I read, the more intimidated I became. I was not prepared for the overwhelming emotion and lack of confidence engulfing me. I was stricken with envy and even started being embarrassed of the blogs I had already written and posted. I wanted to take each “piece of work” and put it in the computers trash bin—(wherever it goes from there, I don’t know; but I didn’t want to find it). In my “research,” I read work from writers who were eloquent. Vivid imagery and descriptive language practically leaped off the page. I was swept away to a land I didn’t feel I belonged. I had just began my writing career and here I was ready to throw in the writing towel. Compared to the material I was working on, my measly efforts were nowhere in the same league as the other more experienced, seasoned, writers.
“I must have totally translated my calling wrong,” I thought. God wouldn’t give a challenge like this to a woman who was so unequally yoked with the “competition” as I. Had I been delusional to think my writing was actually detectable in the blogging masses? I was a Dr. Seuss in the land of Hemingway. (No offense to Dr. Seuss but I was looking for something a little deeper than “The Cat in the Hat” blog).
Then, an overwhelming feeling came over me, encouraging me to stop writing. And, I did. I tucked my writing tail between my legs, did what any unsuitable writer did when they felt they had been “out-written.” I out right quit. It took me years to start writing; it only took me seconds to quit.
I went about my day, still bothered by my comparison shopping experience and my writing failures. I was really doing others a service by stopping; I wouldn’t let others feel the need to shop at my ”bargain-brand-blog-shop”. They had the likes of “the-finest- boutiques- in-Paris-blogs” to consider.
By the end of the day, I was mentally exhausted, ego bruised black and blue. My writing worth was a pile of rubble on the floor. I knew I would eventually have to get up and dispose of the heap, but for right now, I was “content” to look at my pile and sulk. With the bees’ nest of inferiority emotionally stirred up, I went to bed with the same self-identity issues of a Who in Who-ville.
I couldn’t sleep. So, I lowered my tired defenses and prayed….“Lord…why did you plant this seed in my heart to write? You know the quality of work in comparison to my own. “Those writers” are who you need—not me. “Those writers” are the Grand Poobah’s of blogging. I don’t know the first thing about reaching audiences for you, building a platform, or getting a message across. Will you please reveal what it is you would have me to do? I want to be obedient. Can you help me in my confusion? In my vulnerability? In my intimidation?
In the silence of that moment, I felt something wash over me like a subtle wave. I felt a tenderness slowly softening me. I must admit I was prepared to hear from God in a more demanding tone considering the way I had been acting. If not the demanding tone, perhaps the “get up and dust yourself back off” kind of coach-like speech. You know the one. The speech where the coach encourages his less than better batter after his second strike out to “get back in the game…shake it off!”
Let me tell you what I did NOT hear. I did not hear “go to the computer and write.” God must be agreeing with me….finally.
Then I heard a voice speak to me, clear down to the depths of my sorry soul:
“I did not ask you to start writing FOR YOU. I asked you to start writing FOR ME. When you compared yourself to “other writers,” I knew you were no longer doing it for me… but for yourself.”
Gulp. If a spiritual “talking to” like this one doesn’t make you want to crawl in a spiritual, proverbial hole, I don’t know what will.
He was right; I had begun my journey on fire. I was writing not to my hearts’ content, but His heart’s content. Yes, I wanted to put my best foot forward and be successful, but I knew where I belonged. Where I belonged was in the back seat of the authorship car; but at least I was in the car going somewhere! When I started comparing myself to other writers, I lost my voice He was giving me to speak. I was trying to sit in the driver’s seat with NASCAR writers. I lost sight of the goal. I took my eyes off Him and I was staring at a girl brimming with doubt and incompetence.
After some time in prayer and reflecting on this experience a little more, I got up this morning and I sat down at the table in front of my computer. I tried writing from a God perspective instead of the first person, Me perspective.
I am human, racked with emotion and feelings. I’m a whole ball of yarn coming off the spool unraveled half the time; but, this writing experience has allowed me to get honest with God. My perspective was off. He stopped me in my tracks before I could go any further. You see, He didn’t want me to write with an overly zealous, selfish attitude. He wanted simply a person (who can be anybody by the way) to follow through and write a message He had planted deep in their hearts for a reason…..to bring Glory and honor to the Author of my life. He wasn’t calling the qualified to write for Him, He was qualifying the called.
Today, as I’m ready to post these vulnerable thoughts, you are not reading this blog from a prospective Emily Bronte or a Dickinson of the “bloggesphere”. I am also not writing because I feel you have anything particular to gain from ME.
What you are reading is hopefully the words expressing something you would miss if I didn’t obey the call to write from HIM. It is with this new sentiment that I pen my thoughts and try to align them as closely as I can to HIS thoughts.
May you always have more of Him and less of me.