I’ve been trying to convince myself that it’s okay that I haven’t been writing lately. That it’s not a big deal that I have four abandoned novels whose characters keep popping up in my thoughts and dreams. Who cares that I haven’t written a blog post in a week? Not me! No big deal! I’ve been trying to convince myself that if writing is just a hobby, that there’s no need to force it. That all of those successful authors who recommend discipline and a time designated for writing every day are career writers who depend on their words for their livelihood. I’m just a girl with a blog. I don’t need discipline.
But then yesterday I was working on the Wall of Words and Colors I started in my bedroom (Painting counts as art, right? So if I am painting, then it doubly doesn’t matter that I’m not writing.) and I was searching through old notebooks for words of inspiration or encouragement to go with my latest colors. I looked through my notebook from March – April 2014, back when it only took me a month to fill 70 pages. Then I looked through my May – August 2014, back to when it took me three months to fill 70 pages. Then I got out my August 2014 – Now notebook, which has book quotes, a letter to my dad, and one story. It’s practically empty. Before I could even think, “It’s not a big deal. Who cares? It’s not like you write for a living or anything,” I thought, “Something’s missing.”
This morning at church we had a guest pastor. Guest pastors can be hit or miss. This one was a huge, bit hit. A homerun. I was nodding along so hard my head almost came off. He had a lot of amazing, excellent points that I was furiously writing down in my church notebook so I could look back on them later. He talked about Mark 9 and Exodus 32. He talked about Jesus and Moses and the mountain and the valley. He talked about belief and unbelief. He talked about transfiguration and transformation, of our God who Loves and His Son who Saves. He talked about a lot of really good and true things.
There was one question this pastor posed, however, that hit me right in the chest. It knocked me back a bit. Brought tears to my eyes. He asked, “What is the thing in your life that is robbing you of your joy? Of your life?” Without thinking I made it personal. Automatically I wrote down, “What is the thing in your life that is robbing you of your joy? Of your Words? Or your life? Of your full life?” What is robbing me of my Words?
What is it that is keeping me from filling notebooks, writing blog posts, scribbling words furiously on scraps of paper before they leave me, finishing a darn novel? And of course it hit me. Hit me right there in the chest in the church. Hit me because I couldn’t avoid it, couldn’t rationalize, couldn’t “it doesn’t really matter” it away.
The thing that is keeping me from my Words, from my full, joyful life with Jesus, is the same dumb thing that’s always in the way. The same dumb thing I’m constantly tripping over, trying to get past, while at the same time obsessing over and dwelling on. A thing that isn’t really dumb at all. What’s blocking me from my whole, full, joyful life full of Jesus and Words is that darn husband I still don’t have. And that future I can’t see clearly. And all those unanswered questions and the what-ifs. I’ve spent so much time lately (and you know, for the past twenty years or so) pondering what might be one day maybe in the future or in the not-so-future or now or tomorrow with this guy or maybe with another guy I’ve never met yet or maybe this other guy who isn’t sure that I’m choking my Words before they get a chance to surface. Which means I’m choking my Jesus before He gets a chance to speak through me. Or to me.
I’ve been holding my husband-babies-future like a ball of twisted yarn in my hands, turning it over and over, poking it and prodding it, adding and taking away elements, knotting and re-knotting in an attempt to make sense of what I can’t know.
“Hm, this could work. Or or we could do it like this. This might be nice. Maybe this. Or this. Oh and this? Yeah, that. We could live here. And do this. And I could do this and that thing. And I think I want this many kids. And we could name them this and this. And we should get them from here. And this and that and this and that.”
Meanwhile God is standing by with itchy fingers just waiting for permission to grab hold of the future I’ve all but ruined with my pulling and stretching. Meanwhile God is loving me, beside me, shaking his head at his silly daughter who still hasn’t learned she really doesn’t know anything. I’ve been spending so much time trying to untangle this unknowable future mess that I’ve been missing out on other things. Like right here and right now things. And inside and special things.
Finally today God said, exasperated, “Just give it to me! Let me do it!” And I’m letting it go. At least I really really want to let it go. Give it over. Give it up. Let Him work it out and reveal each little un-knotted knot to me in His time. Because if I can’t even handle one kid poking another kid in the eye with a crayon at the same time that another kid decides to write on the crayon box, how on earth could I handle all of my husband-babies future revealed to me right now? Let alone the living-working-animals-church future that comes along with it?
So why haven’t I been writing lately? Because I’m holding on to stuff that does not yet matter and might not ever matter. Because I’m choosing a made up story of what might be over the stories that exist inside of me right here and right now. Because I’ve made some guy my God. But I’m letting go. Or at least really really trying to. Above all, I want Jesus. Above all, I don’t want to quit the Word.