Everyday Faith

Words, take flight…

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I’ve been missing in action around here for awhile now.  I regret that.

“A writer should write something every day,” they say.  “Keep the writing muscles flexed…toned.  There is no room for atrophy.”  As Carlos Fuentes wrote: “Writing is a struggle against silence.”

And I try to do that.  I do.  Not simply because my career, if that is what this is to be, will never take off if I don’t continue to write.  No, I try to write every day because I AM A WRITER.  It’s not just what I do…but who I am.  It is both.  Even when words are not on paper, they words swirl in my mind and organize themselves into cohesive thoughts and paragraphs.  I write because it is who I am.  The words and the screen and the keyboard are an extension of myself.

Just as surely and verily as that is true, though, sometimes it is simply not reality.  Sometimes the words just don’t come.  Or rather, they are there, but they are not organized.  They refuse to be organized, even, like a crowd of preschoolers under the influence of cupcakes and KoolAid turned loose on a playground.  They run and dart and swirl and spin, carefree and unconcerned that their behavior is stressing everyone out.

A blog, I have found, cannot survive when thoughts are left unordered.  I think, in a way, that blog readers expect blog writers to do something they themselves perhaps cannot: order their thoughts into words and phrases that make sense of life in this world.  That is part of the gift of writing.  A writer, as we consider ourselves, has the gift of being able to take thoughts and give them wings…wings that will carry those words into the world and into hearts and lives beyond their starting point.

Let us not forget, though, that writers – blog or otherwise – are people.  We’re just people, and we are not immune to the cruel, soul-squelching, spirit-stifling influences of this world.  Sometimes a blogger – the writer – cannot make sense of things any more than the reader can.

And there, I think, comes the challenge.

When thoughts will not take flight – when they are anchored to the ground, dug in deeply to the earth – what does the writer do?  Does the writer cease to write?  Does the blogger take a leave of absence until things make sense again?  Does the writer hold off on writing anything at all until the thoughts are orderly and logical?

Or…does the writer continue writing…put the jumbled thoughts out there for everyone to see?

And then…if the blogger chooses the latter, is that really okay?  Is it really okay to narrow that perceived gap between writer and reader?  Don’t people read blogs, at least in part, expecting to find something they don’t find within themselves?

I read blogs, and if I honestly examine my motives, this is part of why I do.  I like to read blogs because there is insight there – ideas and thoughts other than my own.  With those words come both escape and inspiration, and I am freed from my own mind and allowed to imagine.  The reality is that if those blogs became rambling…if I stopped finding insight there…if they seemed as jumbled as my own mind, I might stop reading.

The core of my fear – the reason I have little breaks from writing like this one recently – lies there.

There is a reason you read.  There is something you’ve come to expect here, even if you’ve only been reading for a short time.  As in any other market in the world, if you don’t get what you came for, you will not come again.  My words have a standard to live up to.  My words have to do a job.  If they don’t……well………

So if my thoughts are jumbled and the words refuse to be organized and what I’m writing doesn’t seem good to me, I will not write.

Chalk it up to perfectionism…fear of failure…pride…what have you.  If it cannot be done well, it is not worth doing.

On the flip side, though, is the other – and more powerful – reason I read blogs or books or whatever.  I read to find echoes of my own heart pulsing through the general human existence.  I read to realize and remember all at once that I am not the only one.  I’m not the first or only person to feel scared…alone…lost…badly in need of grace and yet somehow unfit to receive it.  I read to see that all the things I’m feeling within this tumultuous heart are not unique to myself.  I am not alone.  I am not the only one.

Because I read to accomplish that, then, I think I write to do the same for others.  There is no value in hiding…in pretending we are put together and whole and doing just fine if, in fact, we are not.  It does nothing to alleviate the ache we feel inside, and only serves to intensify the ache others feel within themselves.  I wholeheartedly believe in the power of transparency.  There is healing to be found when we strip off the carefully constructed facades and allow the inside of ourselves to show.  I have experienced it in my own life and I believe that God has used my transparency to transform the lives of others.

In that, friends, I find renewed purpose and energy for my writing here.  Whereas in the past I have written only when I felt like I could contribute something clean and well-constructed.  In the future, though, I will contribute nothing more than my authentic self: rescued by Grace, carried by Mercy, and constantly pursued by a Love that I know and yet cannot understand.  I think that is my calling.  Yes, to share the revelations of God I receive in the everyday moments of life (and I do pray that those continue).  Also, though, to be myself.  To show the world a story more grand than even the most fantastic human writer could construct.  To give glory to the ultimate Author, stepping aside to play a minor supporting role to His lead.

Friends, this may make no sense.  Maybe it does.  I don’t know.  I pray, though, that in the coming months we are all blessed by this refocused philosophy, and that in it all, God is glorified as I seek to best use the gifts He has given me.

I look forward to being transparent together.  This might be scary, but it’s not about perfection.  It’s about reality.  And anyway………who says we can’t have a little fun with it?

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I hope you stick around to see what God is going to do here.

Journeying with you (and maybe getting a little bit silly along the way),

Jess

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